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Cookbook Challenge: Vegan with a Vengeance!

April 8, 2013

I feel like that warrants an exclamation point, don’t you?  Vegan with a Vengeance was my very first ever vegan cookbook.  It scared the bejeezus out of me, at the time…8 years ago.  I was new to vegan cooking and it had a lot of ingredients I had never heard of, and it was sadly underused for awhile.  I used it for the seitan recipe (which I steam instead of simmer) and the reuben recipe and the tempeh sausage crumbles, and that was about it.  It did make me fall in love with tempeh and made me realize that making seitan isn’t scary at all.  Then I grew into my vegan-ity (new word?) and my tastebuds got more awesome, and I went back and realized that all the recipes that looked scary at first now looked tantalizing as hell!  The last time I did a cookbook challenge, I really fell in love with this book.  So when we got an Isa/Terry free week for this challenge, I jumped at the opportunity to crack it open once again!  The whole point of the challenge (for me, anyway) is to make recipes you’ve never made before, so I started with a couple that I should have made long ago, but never did.

Welcome back to my life.

Welcome back to my life.

Fronch Toast!  Guys, I haven’t had French toast in at least  5 years.  At least.  Why did I let it go so long?  Why did I think that this recipe was so scary?  I’ll tell you why: chickpea flour.  Once upon a time, chickpea flour was, like, intimidating.  Or I didn’t know where to find it.  Or something.  But now I keep a huge bag of it on hand at all times for falafel and socca and seitan and other delicious things.  This came together so simply!  I was afraid the chickpea flour would make it taste sort of bean-y, but it didn’t.  It just made the batter nice and thick and sort of egg-y, without the grossness of eggs.  It did smoke the hell out of my cast iron pan and kitchen, but it was totally worth it.  I was eating alone that evening, so I just made one piece, and then put the rest of the batter in my fridge for quick breakfasts.  I had French toast for breakfast 3 days in a row in under 10 minutes!  Amazing!

The best breakfast.

The best breakfast.

I made the Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties to go with them.  I already knew I liked the tempeh sausage crumbles, so I would probably like tempeh in this patty form as well.  I was right!

tempehsausagepanPerfectly uniform little patty friends.

tempehsausagetowelThese made me so happy.  I froze most of them, so I can have them for breakfast whenever I feel like it.  They’re also really great crumbled up in a salad, and they make a divine sandwich with big slice of tomato and schmear of vegan mayo.  I thought they were a little mushy, and might add some vital wheat gluten next time, just to firm them up, but the flavor was spot on.  They went really well with the Fronch Toast, too!  Sweet and savory for the win!

Not chili.

Not chili.

I was a little wary of making this Chipotle, Corn, and Black Bean Stew because I thought it would taste just like…chili, but with potatoes.  Which, I guess it sort of did, but it was good!  I topped mine with avocado, scallions, and crushed up tortilla chips, just because it seemed like a good idea.  I liked how much lime flavor was in this stew.  I think it really made it different from my usual chili, which was nice.


I froze a couple of servings of this to eat in a few months.  I’m interested to see how the potatoes freeze/unthaw because I don’t think I’ve ever had a frozen potato that wasn’t in french fry form.  I think it’ll be ok though, and is probably a good candidate for freezing!

Pyrex shot, oops.

Pyrex shot, oops.

I forgot to take a photo of this Moroccan Vegetable Tagine before I portioned it out for lunches because I had a friend over and because, wine.  We both really loved this!  I was afraid that the cinnamon flavor would be overwhelming (you know me, cinnamon sensitive!), but I guess since it was in stick form and not powdered that it was much more subtle!  I also didn’t think I would like the raisins, but I definitely did.  It needed a little pop of sweetness here and there.  I substituted yellow summer squash for the zucchini because my grocery store was out of zucchini the day I went shopping, but I don’t think it made any difference, besides being less green.  Yeah, this was a total winner that I will definitely make again.  Yes, it’s a lot of chopping of vegetables, but I like chopping.  Just put on a good podcast and zone out, you know?  Also, sriracha, because…sriracha.

Moroccan Tagine1I served this over whole wheat couscous.  I have to say, as leftovers it was even better than the night I made it!



And here is a bonus shot that my friend took while I was cooking for her!  Note my ridiculous cookbook collection.  Hooray for Vegan with a Vengeance week!  This week I’m cooking from the PPK blog, and so far there have been a couple of major successes!  I love it when I can go into a recipe knowing it will work because I know the author is thorough and cooks the way I like to cook.  Thanks, Isa!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2013 1:33 pm

    Awww, I think VwaV was my first vegan cookbook too! I’ve never made the french toast from it, but, dang, super craving it now. And that soup! Loves!

  2. April 10, 2013 5:35 pm

    I totally feel the same way about VWAV, when I first got it I was all weirded out by the recipes (my culinary repertoire was almost non-existent at that point) but now I’ve come to love a lot of the recipes. Although I don’t think I’ve tried any of the ones you’ve mentioned, I’m totally craving those sausage patties now!

  3. April 16, 2013 8:50 pm

    VWAV wasn’t my first vegan cookbook, but it was pretty much the most important of my early vegan cookbooks, and showed me a whole new world of vegan cooking and also online vegan fun times. I don’t use it as much anymore because now I have a zillion cookbooks, but I should go back to it.

  4. April 17, 2013 7:24 am

    French toast! I love French toast! I’ve eaten it at restaurants but for some reason I’ve never made it myself. Maybe it’s because if I buy a loaf of bread it disappears before getting stale enough to French it up?!

    • April 17, 2013 10:21 am

      Yeah, I never have bread left for it to get stale, so I staled these up on purpose. I sliced the baguette and then put it in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes on each side, then left them out in the air while I prepped everything else. They were sort of stale after that, but were definitely stale the next day, after I stored them in a flimsy plastic bag.

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