04 June 2022

Two New Vegan Cookbooks (Weekend Cooking)

As promised last week, today's post is all about two recent vegan cookbooks. Though they are both focused on plant-based eating, they have different perspectives.

Book cover of BOSH! on a Budget by Henry Firth and Ian TheasbyFirst up is BOSH! on a Budget, the newest cookbook by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, who are well know for promoting a vegan lifestyle in cookbooks and on their YouTube channel BOSH.tv. Thanks to the publicists for the review copy of this cookbook, which will be released next Tuesday.

Rather than define a certain money limit for what constitutes "budget cooking," Firth and Theasby take a broader view that isn't tied into local food prices and individual resources. Instead, they save money by engaging in batch cooking, eating in-season foods, opting for homemade over convenience food, and cutting down on food waste. The beginning of the cookbook includes several useful features, such as tips for cooking and using up the food you have on hand. Throughout the cookbook are recipes for homemade versions of common ingredients, such as sauces, tofu, and pasta.

My favorite recipes were the salads, soups, and stews, though I really liked the General Tso's Tofu and have several others (like Baked Ratatouille Rice) marked to try. All the dishes are 100% plant based, though many rely on vegan alternatives, especially vegan dairy products. I made and liked the Spanish-Style Stew but must confess that instead of the vegan sausages called for in the recipe, I used the real thing.

overhead photo of vegan shakshukaOther recipes in BOSH! on a Budget take a different approach to mimicking animal-derived ingredients. Look at the "eggs" in the shakshuka (see scan). They look real, but they're actually made from vegan yogurt and a tahini-pepper sauce. Very clever and fun.

I didn't bake from this cookbook, but vegans who are looking for yummy desserts won't be disappointed by the tray bakes, tarts, and cookies. Note that the sweet treats are plant-based but still have gluten.

Beginner and unsure cooks will appreciate the step-by-step detailed style of the recipe directions. Firth and Theasby have your back from prep to serving, guaranteeing that each element of the dish will be ready at the same time.

Recommendation: BOSH! on a Budget by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby will appeal to a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian cooks. The book is especially helpful to new cooks and, of course, anyone looking to save some money but still eat healthfully. Because I'm not a big fan of vegan meat and dairy substitutes, I'm inclined to adapt the recipes to suit our needs. On the other hand, those who are following a vegan diet for any number of reasons will appreciate having vegan copy-cat recipes in their arsenal.

Note: Photo credit: Lizzie Mayson.

book cover of Body Harmony by Nicole BerrieThe second cookbook is Body Harmony by Nicole Berrie, who is the person behind the Bonberi website. Thanks to Abrams Books for providing me with the review copy of this cookbook as part of the Abrams Dinner Party.

Like many other people around the world, Berrie turned to a vegan lifestyle after years of dieting and general food confusion. In the first chapters of Body Harmony, Berrie talks about her lifelong struggles with eating as well as her journey to finding peace and balance in her body and soul. She clearly and frankly talks about her food philosophy and how she is able to "maximize digestion and energy" through food combining, intuitive eating, and making sensible choices, while still indulging and enjoying her meals.

Whether you have similar issues as Berrie's or not, you'll find plenty of delicious eating within the pages of Body Harmony. The recipes are incredibly appealing and easy to make. Few (if any) recipes rely on tofu or soy "meat" products, and almost all of the ingredients are readily available to everyone, even those in a small town.

photo of salad in a wooden bowlAs is often the case, I was drawn to the salads first. I love a good chopped salad and was thrilled to see several included in Body Harmony, such as Mexican Chop, Italian Chopped Salad (yum!), and Joe's Chopped Salad (from a Miami restaurant; see photo). I made the Spicy Roasted Broccoli, the Chickpea Tuna (no tuna involved and delicious), the Creamy Cilantro Rice, the vegan Chopped Liver (see recipe), and the Rigatoni alla Vodka. Recipes I've marked to try include Buffalo Cauliflower, Soba Noodle Salad, Spinach Dill Rice, Lemony Oregano Potatoes, and Simple Massaged Kale Salad with Beets and Avocado.

The recipes were all easy to make and 100% successful. So many of the dishes called to me and fit my tastes and eating style. I also liked that Berrie introduces each dish with a personal story or tips for substitutions or serving.

Recommendation: I like that Body Harmony by Nicole Berrie can be used on a number of levels. For me, it's a source of yummy plant-based dishes to supplement my omnivorous diet. Others will be taken by Berrie's personal health journey and her food philosophy. Vegans and vegetarians will likely give this cookbook a permanent place in their kitchen as a source for easy, delicious, go-to recipes.

Like Berrie, I grew up eating chopped (chicken) liver at almost every family gathering. My fraternal grandmother made the best chopped liver I've ever eaten. Because I have several vegetarian and vegan friends and family members, I was excited to try Berrie's vegan version of a childhood favorite. Note that I didn't have parsley in the house, so I used some torn basil in the photo. The spread is fabulous; the texture and flavor are perfect. Next time I make this, I'll cut the recipe in half or to a third; it made a lot for just the two of us (not that we had any trouble eating it all).

Chopped Liver
vegan pate on a square plate with crackersMakes about 3 cups

  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) avocado oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion chopped, or 2 cups (420 g) chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 cups (150 g) brown lentils, cooked
  • 1 cup (105 g) raw walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil. Add the onion, garlic, and tamari and saute on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked down. Let cool. Transfer the onion mixture to a food processor or blender and add the lentils, walnuts, and remaining 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the oil, the salt, and pepper. Blend until creamy. Serve as a dip with crudities or use as a "pate" spread.

Note: The recipe is used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. The photos are my own.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)

6 comments:

Tina 6/4/22, 8:10 AM  

I'm on board about the chopped salads as well. There is so much variety with ingredients.

Claudia 6/4/22, 12:17 PM  

I've recently been given or checked out a few vegan cookbooks and have gotten some good inspiration, but am probably at my limit.

Jackie McGuinness 6/4/22, 12:35 PM  

I found several of the BOSH books at the library so will go through them.
I love chopped liver as well so will try this. I did a mushroom pate a while ago and loved it too.
I really need to make more salads, I've said that before!

Marg 6/5/22, 3:29 AM  

I really wish I was better at salads but I really am not!

Apologies for not having the link up this week. Apparently I forgot to do the second half of mmy post! lol

Shieldmaiden96 6/5/22, 9:33 AM  

My cookbook collection is, aside from a couple of vintage vegetarian books, all vegan, and I love the BOSH recipes. I actually make their General Tso sauce in a double batch to keep on hand for quick stir fries. I love the idea of recipes geared toward using what's on hand.

Karen 6/5/22, 2:14 PM  

Ooh, that chopped "liver" looks good!

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