Monday, July 16, 2012

Meatless Monday: American Vegan Kitchen

American Vegan Kitchen: Delicious Comfort Food from Blue Plate Specials to Homestyle Favorites (Woodstock, VA: Vegan Heritage Press, 2010), by Tamasin Noyes, is an unassuming-looking book with a surprising amount of good stuff inside.

200+ recipes replicate the comfort food of America’s diners, cafes, and bistros as vegan alternatives! Included are deli sandwiches, burgers and fries, mac and cheese, pasta, pizza, omelets, pancakes, tasty soups and salads, casseroles, and desserts.

American Vegan Kitchen: Savory Seitan

Since seitan is featured in so many of the recipes, I decided to try out the “Savory Seitan” recipe, so other recipes could follow in turn. One thing I really liked about this recipe is that it has an option written for slow-cooker use—easy as I didn’t have to keep an eye on it. The other positive about the slow cooker version is that it creates "roasts" of seitan, so you have multiple forms that can be cut from each one, increasing the possibilities of this already versatile food. Pretty simple ingredients, with the only 3 not available in my local grocery store (Jewel-Osco) being vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and soy flour. I didn't use browning sauce (because I didn't know what it was), but everything else you might have in your pantry right now. Easy to follow recipe, especially  in the slow cooker, though I forgot to turn off the cooker and it went an extra hour. Ultimately though, it tasted just like the store-bought seitan!

American Vegan Kitchen: Cherry Chocolate Bread Pudding

The other recipe I immediately tried was “Cherry Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce,” because, hey, life is short and you should eat dessert first! Again, ingredients are typical off the shelf stuff you might already have. Soy creamer, vegan margarine, tapioca flour, and vegan chocolate chips are things you might not find at your local grocer. This ended up being made without the vanilla sauce or drizzle, as I had forgotten to purchase custard powder for the sauce and was too lazy to make the drizzle. Flat out, this was an awesome dish -- I could see this being served for a brunch as well as dessert. Just the right amount of sweetness, with the yummy bread taking front and center. If you served this to a non-vegan, they would never know it wasn't made with dairy.

This is a good cookbook for both vegans, those thinking about adopting the vegan lifestyle, or just need to make something for that pesky vegan relative. Most of the ingredients seem typical of most people's pantries and the unusual ones shouldn't be too hard to find at the local natural foods store. It will be nice to explore more of the recipes!

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of the Vegan Heritage Press. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the book a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.

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