Monday, 18 June 2012

Book Review - 350 Best Vegan Recipes

I'm going to be back to front this week and start with the recipe reviews, and then move on to more general comments. The recipes I made -

Page 38 Big island nori rolls
These were tasty, but too big! Making 6 or 8 smaller rolls instead of 4 big ones would have made eating easier and a lot less messy. Flavours were good, and I loved the use of the nuts in the filling, the rolls just needed to be smaller.

Page 58
Spicy, sweet and tart roasted chickpeas
Candied chickpeas really. For me, far too much sugar. I had to shake the chickpeas in a sieve in order to remove a bunch of it, and if I made again would use less and more spice / lime. Nice enough, and the crunchy chickpeas were good but I'm not entirely convinced that sweet chickpeas are for me.

Page 82 Go go breakfast bars
I used old fashioned rolled oats instead of spelt as they were easier to find, and used dried cranberries for the cherries. I shared these and had 2 people ask for the recipe. Very tasty, though a little too sweet for me for a breakfast item.

Page 87 Easy homemade granola
I had the opposite issue here. I found this granola needed more sweetening for my taste preference. Not a lot though. I like how the OJ made the oats clump together to get those wonderful clumpy bits I like in granola.

Page 148 Athenian roasted potatoes
I needed to cook for longer uncovered to get any browning or crispness, so next time I would allow for that, or increase the oven temp at that point. I'd also use less of the after cooking drizzle as that made them a little soggy (after spending all that effort to crisp) and was a touch oily. Tasty though and H really enjoyed!

Page 152 Chinese long beans with orange sesame glaze
I was expecting a sweeter stickier glaze, less liquid-y. I also think it would have been nice to give the option for regular beans (which is what I used) in the variations. Tasted god but next time I think I'd cut the beans a little shorter as this length made them a little tricky to eat.

Page 163 Picnic macaroni salad
Nice, if a little plain. I did add in capers and red pepper after trying it to add more flavours. Easy to make, but really did need more mayo added once it had sat in the fridge.

Page 165 Middle eastern balela salad
I made with canellini beans as per the variation and really liked the fresh herb flavours. I found there to be a little much oil for my preference but that is an easy fix.

Page 169 Kale quinoa tabbouleh
Another one where I felt there was a little too much oil, but overall I liked this use of both quinoa and kale. The kale softened quite nicely, and the herbs added a fresh lift.

Page 220 Cilantro black bean burgers
Subbed rolled oats for the spelt as above. Had a little trouble with the burger patties crumbling as they cooked so next time would add a tiny touch of liquid and allow these to chill for a bit before cooking. Tasty though. The better of the bean burgers flavour wise that I have made for a while.

Page 222 Pad thai with crispy tofu
Yum. I ended up with no bean sprouts in mine though as I bought them the day before and by the time I was ready to use them they'd gone all soft and watery. Bleah. I would make adjustments to this recipe for next time (which would have been nice to have as a variation) to enable me to use tamarind paste as it is easier to get here than pulp, and also to use chili flakes instead of whole chilies - again for convinience. Flavours were great though!

Page 240 Rice noodle bowl with lime-arugula pesto
The pesto for this was lovely, and I would make again for sure. Would be lovely with grilled vegtables, baked potatoes and even corn-on-the-cob! I'm not entirely convinced that rice noodles were the best fit for it however, there was (to me) a bit of a discord in flavours and textures.

Page 267 Cream of broccoli soup
One of the best soups I've had recently! I would cook the potato a little bit more in the first part before adding the broccoli so that once the broccoli is done it is almost falling apart, making it easier to process and add another level of creaminess to the soup. I only ate hot, but it did reheat well with a little liquid added.

Page 302 Caper and pine nut vinaigrette
Nice with roasted asparagus! Though I'm not sure I'd use as a salad dressing - a little too much oil, which didn't really emulsify completely.

Page 304 Fresh raspberry mustard vinaigrette
I added a step of straining this once blended to remove the pesky raspberry seeds and liked the dressing much better once I had. Very fruity, a little sweet, but good with slightly bitter greens such as spinach and arugula.

Page 352 Mexican chocolate pudding
The texture of this was sublime. Loved the hint of cinnamon, though in the future I would leave out, or at least reduce, the almond extract as I found this flavour a little overpowering. My younger daughter liked this a lot.

Page 370 Decadent chocolate truffles
I rolled mine in coconut seeing as there is coconut milk in them! Subtle flavour there and really nice. These did firm up quite a lot in the fridge so would be best if given a little time to return to room temp before serving.

So, there we have it. Overall the flavours of the recipes I made were awesome! None of teh recipes were overly time consuming or too "chef-y" in the skill level required. However, seeing as how I felt that most (if not all) of the recipes I made needed a small tweak in some way to better suit my tastes  I don't know if I would necessarily say these are the best ever 350 vegan recipes! Pretty darn good, yes absolutely, and I would recommend anyone to try this book bearing in mind that you may need to adjust a little, but best? maybe not.

As with all books I've seen from this publisher the recipes are well laid out and easy to follow, with nice recipe introductions and a generous smattering of Tips, Hints and Variations throughout the book. There are 2 colour photo inserts showing the recipes, not just random produce, or the author. In the introductory sections there are pantry stocking hints, (usual for many vegan books but still handy) and also menu suggestions using the recipes for different themes which is a helpful addition.

Apologies for the lack of photos this week, I was a little slack / lazy.

2 comments: said...

oh my gosh those breakfast bars look so delicious! yum! great review!

Trent Bigelow said...

The breakfast bars do look like a healthy (and delicious) alternative to so many things. Do you have a go-to vegan pancake recipe? I noticed a new vegan, gluten-free waffle mix seeking support on Kickstarter right now:

Your recipe books on Amazon look wonderful!