Classic Dishes Made Vegan Means No More Excuses!
If you had a cookbook where the classic dishes you loved were made vegan, would you have any excuse to continue eating meat and dairy? Let me introduce you then But I Could Never Go Vegan from the author Kristy Turner. This cookbook, with section titles that read like common excuses people come up with to avoid changing their eating habits, is a great vegan cookbook for beginners (especially for the price: less than $20 on Amazon!).
Browsing through the book when I first received it, I have to admit I found myself giggling at the excuses that end up grouping recipes in the various sections. Here are a few examples:
- Where would I get my protein? (vegan dishes packed with healthy, plant-based proteins)
- Just thinking about salad makes me yawn (creative salad ideas that are NOT boring)
- Tofu doesn’t taste like anything (tasty tofu variations)
- You can’t bake without butter or eggs (baked goods)
Have you heard these excuses when trying to prepare vegan food for others? With this cookbook, you have the perfect recipe ideas to set them straight!
Classic Dishes Made Vegan: A Few Examples
There is often a misconception that eating vegan means you’ll have to give up on classics from your childhood. The cookbook But I Could Never Go Vegan goes a long way in addressing this misconception with veganized recipes for many of the American classics (and classics from other countries as well). The list is long, 125-recipe long, but here are several of the recipes in this book that will help you recreate some of the dishes you fear you would never savor again once you became vegan:
- Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Sunflower Cheddar
- Corn Fritters with Chile-Lime Sauce
- Buffalo Cauliflower Calzone with Cashew Blue Cheese
- Tempeh Bacon Mac & Cheese with Pecan Parmesan
- BBQ Jackfruit Fajitas with Guacamole
- BBQ Bacon Burgers
- and the list goes on…
You never have to fear missing out or never being invited to potlucks with these classic dishes made vegan.
Testing Recipes from But I Could Never Go Vegan!
I tested five of the recipes from the book for this review. When I test recipes, it allows me to convey whether I feel they are easy or complicated to make, whether they require simple and easy-to-find ingredients or not, and to taste the result and give you an honest appreciation. Of the five recipes I tried, four turned out really amazing, and one was a disappointment. Not bad 😉
“Honey” Mustard Kale Slaw
In the summer especially, a fresh coleslaw is always a welcome addition to meals. This kale slaw is made with purple cabbage, carrots, kale, and a “honey” mustard dressing that keeps it light yet flavorful. The “honey” here is either Happy Bee Honey for which there is a recipe in the cookbook (made with apple juice, coconut sugar and lemon juice), or agave syrup, which is what I used. Obviously, you cannot make a honey-mustard dressing using real honey when you prepare a vegan slaw, as honey is not vegan. I love this slaw, I have made it several times since trying the recipe, it makes for a colorful and very tasty salad to accompany many main dishes. A classic… somewhat reinvented!
Lentil, Chard & Sweet Potato Curry
I love a good curry, and have made my share of curries since becoming vegan. This recipe however simply blew my tastebuds away! A colleague of mine, someone who is not vegan but trying to cut down her family’s intake of meat, also tried this recipe and was stunned. I believe it is the sweet ingredients (sweet potato and plain coconut yogurt) that marry the mix of spices particularly well and leave you with this silky textured curry sauce. I also enjoyed being able to use chard in the recipe, as I have been growing some in my backyard and regularly pick a few leaves for cooking. If you buy the book only for this recipe, you will not be disappointed!
A friend I met recently regularly posts his culinary creations on his Facebook. One day, he posted pictures of homemade seitan breakfast sausages. This reminded me that I had been wanting to try making my own seitan for a while. I was happy to find a recipe for homemade seitan in But I Could Never Go Vegan. The recipe is simple and straightforward, it simply requires a little bit of time to steam-cook the seitan (30 minutes in total). The resulting seitan was flavorful, had a firm yet chewy texture and was perfect to make the next recipe I tried: Thai seitan satay. Note that to make seitan, it is necessary to have a steamer basket.
Thai Seitan Satay with a Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Satay is a dish consisting of meat grilled on a skewer and then served with a dipping sauce. Typically made with chicken or pork, these are often not a main dish but more of an appetizer. I made this vegan version of Thai satay using the homemade seitan I had prepared a few days before. I cut the seitan in strips and then marinated it overnight. I then grilled these babies on the BBQ and served then with some spicy peanut dipping sauce (recipe also in the book) and kale slaw.
There is nothing the traditional meat-based satay have on this dish. The texture of the seitan comes very close to cooked meat but the flavor is more interesting and complex.
Obviously, the downside is that you have to have some seitan on hand. You can buy seitan at the store, but since it’s so easy to make, why not make a few batches ahead of time, freeze them and then use them whenever needed.
(picture shown at the beginning) I have had good success in making scrambled tofu that came pretty close to scrambled eggs. When I came across this recipe, I was curious to see if I could make chickpea omelets that would ressemble regular omelets. Unfortunately, although the result looks pretty, it was not very good. The omelets came out very dry, even though I adjusted the recipe for liquids a few times. I also found the chickpea flour taste to be overwhelming. This is the one recipe that disappointed me and that I would not make again.
Overall though, I have to say that most of my tests came out terrific, and this is why I can recommend this cookbook to all new vegans, especially those who are struggling with letting go of some misconceptions about what vegan food is and tastes like.