Monday, 11 June 2012

Book Review - Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food

The title of this one is a huge mouthful! Just like much of the food you'll be making from it once you've got this beauty home! (I know, how corny is that)

The book starts with a nice introduction to the low-cal but full flavour focus of the book, including a look at comfort food and the importance of exercise in any lifestyle. This is followed by a bunch of nutritional info, including portion sizing and control, specifically focussed on the Lo-Cal theme, which is very handy, then there is a run through of ingredients you may not be familiar with. The next section is a menu section, giving alternatives for a variety of calorie-per-day plans to suit individual requirements. All very helpful. If you're one of the people who don't read the introduction sections in cookbooks I would recommend you make an effort to read these sections.

The recipes themselves all have per portion nutritional information, which I would expect from a book advertising itself as "low-cal", are easily followed, nicely laid out, and come with a colour photo insert (for those of you who love that sort of thing).

I did find on some of the recipes I made that the portions were smaller than I would use, however, looking at the menu section, many of these recipes appear to be served as part of a meal instead of as the meal. (So my eating 2 portions of the Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons for lunch, instead of as part of a lunch, is not as bad a thing as I first thought.) Just bear in mind that if you have a big appetite, or are serving for someone with a big appetite, or are using the recipes without other recipes alongside, you may get fewer servings than specified.

Recommended? Yes, and not just if you are looking for low-cal food. You may need to disregard the portion sizes if you're not looking to loose weight, but the food is really good so this is a book you should have! I also think that Alicia's writing style has grown and developed as she writes more books and I look forward to more from her in the future.

What I made - in page number order as always.....
Page 52 Almond Granola
Though I had to sub other nuts and seeds for some of the almonds as I ran out. Very nice granola, and I would make again..

Page 101 Chickpea Cheese
I don't know if I would call this "cheese" myself, Its like a differently, slightly chees-y, flavoured hummus. Very tasty and easy to eat, and worth making, but maybe not called "cheese".

Page 106 Five-Minute Garlic Spinach
Yum. I make spinach like this all the time so I knew I would love this. Very easy, and also easy to eat the lot as lunch!

Page 126 Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons
Buy the book for this recipe alone. Seriously. Either half of the recipe (the dressing or the croutons) by itself would be enough for me to shout "Genius!" but combined...... You really have to try this one!

Page 132 Spicy Kale Slaw
Nice salad. Though I would have liked the kale to soften a little more. I'll massage it next time. The flavour profile is very similar to the next recipe, and very tasty.

Page136 Moroccan Carrot Salad
Simple, refreshing and delicious. Better the next day as it sits.

Page 139 Amaranth-Quinoa Salad
I love the tiny pop that the amaranth brings to this salad. A tasty introduction to the grain if you have not used it before.

Page 148 Yellow Split Pea Soup
I like my pea soups smooth so I blended this one even though the instructions don;t say to. Simple, tasty, warming, and filling.

Page 159 Black Bean Burger
I served my burgers with the Kale Slaw not on a bun. Nice enough, little bit on the boring side without the ketchup, which really made these yummy.

Page 169 Ole-Fashioned Chili Beans
I used chickpeas and black beans as it is what I had available. Turned out lovely. Very simple but very tasty and filling.

Page 181 Baked Risotto
Love the simplicity of it, and fresh from the oven is was nice, but  I found the squash and zucchini got a little over cooked, more so if it had to wait before serving. I wouldn't plan on leftovers for this reason.

Page 186 Chickpea Cacciatore
Served over pasta. I love chickpeas so was sure I'd love this, and I did!

Page 188 Kung Pao Tofu
The sauce here is especially good! I like how the texture of the tofu is after the baking, but really I could eat anything in this sauce.

Page 201 Vanilla-Almond Ice Cream
The only recipe I didn't like. I think it was due to my yoghurt being quite strongly "bean-y" which leant a similar bean-y taste to the ice cream. I also found it not sweet enough after freezing.

Page 225 Lemongrass Soda
So refreshing and vibrant I will make this often.

3 comments: said...

Great review! it sounds like a cookbook i'll definitely have to try....that kung pao looks amazing!! thanks for sharing!

Lee Ann said...

Thanks for the review.

sara said...

thanks for the review! i'm trying out this cookbook too, but i haven't made the caesar salad yet. sounds like a winner!