I had to smile when I saw the title of this cookbook, Vegans Go Nuts, by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. You know, a lot of people would say vegans are nuts, period (I can say that as a long-time vegan). Seriously though, this is a fun cookbook from the title to the photos to the recipes. Nuts and seeds are an important part of a healthy whole-foods plant-based diet, providing fibre, vitamins and minerals and a healthy source of fats. According to Dr. Michael Greger, regular consumption of (unsalted) nuts and seeds may extend the average lifespan by about 2 years!
So what are you waiting for? Dive in!
Vegans Go Nuts starts with a couple of useful chapters, explaining all the ins and outs of nuts and seeds for the reader. First, a glossary with nutrition and other interesting facts about a wide variety of common nuts and seeds. One thing I really like are the tips on subbing one nut or seed for another in recipes, as well as the detailed information on proper storage and soaking times. Next is a chapter on how to make some basics, like nut/seed butters, milks, flours, creams, mayos, dressings…you get the picture. It gives you a clear picture of just HOW useful nuts and seeds are in the vegan pantry!
And finally we get to the recipes for breakfasts, mains, soups/salads/sides, and desserts. The recipes are easy to follow, use ingredients that are pretty common, and are categorized at the top of the page by type of nut, whether they are gluten-free, or have a GF potential, soy-free, and level of ease/difficulty.
If you love nuts and seeds, and are looking for ways to include them into your diet creatively, you will love this book! Just check out this example for Sesame Za’atar Pepper Soup with Roasted Pepitas:
Sesame Za’atar Pepper Soup with Roasted Pepitas
SEEDS: SESAME (TAHINI) A ND P EPITA > GLUTEN-FREE POTENTIAL > SOY-FREE POTENTIAL
Enjoy this colorful soup with crunchy tortilla chips or pita chips on the side: they also help tame the spiciness. If you like milder foods, either halve the amount of jalapeño or nix it completely. Make the most out of your oven roasting time: roast the peppers needed here alongside those for pages 37 and 39. The roasting can also be done ahead of time; refrigerate the cooled peppers in an airtight container.
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 small jalapeño pepper
- 1 generous cup (157 g) frozen corn
- 3 tablespoons (48 g) tahini paste
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
- 2¾ cups (650 ml) vegetable broth
- 1½ teaspoons grapeseed oil
- Scant ¾ cup (110 g) diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) za’atar blend (this is a generic name for a mix of Middle Eastern herbs and spices used in Arab cuisine. Usually it is a blend of thyme, oregano and marjoram mixed with sesame seeds salt and other spices)
- 2 teaspoons (11 g) tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup (110 g) drained fire-roasted diced tomatoes or any diced tomato
- Dry-roasted pepitas
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Tortilla chips or pita chips
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Place the whole peppers on a medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast until soft and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to make sure the peppers don’t burn, and flip to char both sides.
At the same time, place the frozen corn in an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Roast until lightly browned, about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
While the peppers and corn are roasting, whisk the tahini with the water in a small bowl. Whisk into the broth.
When the peppers are done, place them in a glass bowl fitted with a lid to steam for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers, and discard their seeds and core. Mince the jalapeño, and chop the other peppers into bite-size pieces.
Place the oil and onion in a large pot. Sauté on mediumhigh heat until quite fragrant and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and add the za’atar, tomato paste, and garlic, cooking for about 30 seconds. Deglaze with the lemon juice. Add the roasted peppers and corn, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered 15 minutes, until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with garnishes of choice.
photo & recipe courtesy of Fair Winds Press and Quarto Cooks
YIELD: 4 servings
We have been happily featuring Vegans Go Nuts on the Vegan Mainstream Cookbook Club this week, and we will be drawing for a giveaway copy on Monday, August 29. If you haven’t done so already, leave a comment on the post here to enter the draw: https://plus.google.com/115449850275641668569/posts/6cDKNjnxQRM.