on February 29, 2012
I'm deducting only half a star so this is actually a four and a half star review.
I have this as an ebook and I really love it because I'm a slow cook (always have to double the prep time on recipes because I can never get them made in the amount of time they supposedly take) and this cookbook makes getting dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time doable.
My two caveats is that I would love for there to be less fat in the recipes (I don't need them to be fat free, but healthier would be nice) and also, for them to use fewer expensive ingredients (like puff pastry or sun dried tomatoes in oil). I have Robertson's Vegan on the Cheap as well and it is a good cookbook but far more time consuming.
At this point, I would give my left arm (well, almost) for a book of quick, tasty, healthy and cheap vegan recipes. But until one comes along, I will continue endangering my Kindle by bringing it into the kitchen so I can use this book. The recipes are quick, tasty and vegan, which is the best I've been able to find.
So far I've made the following:
Ginger Sesame Seitan with Spicy Basil Snow Peas -- I made a variation of this this substituting super firm tofu for the seitan and broccoli for the snow peas as she suggests could be done. It was very good.
Coconut-Curry Cauliflower and Chickpeas -- just so so. I thought this recipe relied too much on the curry powder for flavor which is fine if you have superb curry powder but mine was not enough by itself. It tasted curry like but didn't pop.
Tofu Skillet Scramble -- Also good and to save time I just threw in fresh red pepper without roasting it first.
Spicy Smoked Portobello Tacos -- Very good. I made it with chopped crimini mushrooms.
Moroccan Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Spinach -- Very good especially considering how speedy it is to make. A little heavy on the tomato flavor, but I've already made it twice.
Southwestern Pasta Toss -- Pretty good but I thought it needed something to make it a little more saucy.
Sweet Potato Spinach Soup -- Excellent. Maybe not the healthiest thing I've ever had, with 1/3 cup of Peanut Butter but really worth making once in a while.
Chard and Red Lentil Soup -- Also excellent, and healthy. I think this might be my favorite recipe from this cookbook so far. And if you make it with red chard, it also has a lovely color.
Burrito Scramble -- Good.
Farmer's Market Pasta Salad -- Good. I substituted stir-fired broccoli for the fennel, since I'm not a fan of fennel.
Tempeh Normandy -- Very good even with substituting cider for the apple brandy.
I also recommend Robertson's companion book, Quick Fix Vegetarian - also a vegan cookbook regardless of its title.
Since I posted this review, I've made the following:
Rotini with 10-Minute Tomato-Olive -- terrific, just excellent. I used San Marzano crushed tomatoes and I'm sure that didn't hurt. This sauce was oily, but so good that I've made it four or five times now.
Roasted Ratatouille -- pretty good but a little dry. I had to bake it about ten minutes more than the recipe called for.
Linguine with Artichokes and White Bean Alfredo -- good but I think the sauce would make a truly awesome party dip without the pasta.
Jerk Vegetable Skillet -- very good but not that quick for me.
Seitan Donburi -- good and fast but needs more veggies. I think next time I make it I'll throw in a frozen Asian vegetable mix.
Portobellas Stuffed with Chickpeas and Chard -- very good but took me a long time to make. Not a "quick fix" for someone as slow in the kitchen as I am.
Sicilian Stuffed Shells -- excellent. The tofu filling with the parsley and raisins was very good.
Chickpea and Spinach-Artichoke Crostini -- good and surprisingly filling.
Lemony Couscous and White Bean Pilaf -- good but very lemony.
Shortcut Mushoom Risotto -- okay, but not wow. Texture somewhat similar to risotto but I can make an equally fast and better risotto in the pressure cooker.
Lebanese "Sleek" -- Very good (I used the Za'atar spice mix option). Loved the combination of kale and black eyed peas.
Green Chile Tofu Migas -- okay.
White Beans with Mushrooms and Sauerkraut -- okay, esp. considering that I dislike sauerkraut and vegan sour cream, both of which this dish contains.
Tofu "Scampi" with Spinach (made with dulse granules) -- Excellent, even though I must've done something wrong and the coating came off the tofu in the pan. We didn't care, it was just so delicious.
One Pot Pasta Primavera -- Good and very quick to make. It reminded me of the Aglio Olio pasta I've had in Italian restaurants.
Update 1/12/2013 I've added more recipes to this review (everything starting from Sicilian Stuffed Shells on down to the end) and want to say that at this point, I'm thinking of cooking my way through this book, I like it so much.
on October 18, 2011
When my boyfriend went vegetarian last year I wanted to show my support for his healthy lifestyle change so I picked up Robin Robertson's Quick-Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals in 30 Minutes or Less. We're just out of college and we live on a pretty strict budget so we were able to quickly and affordably make the recipes out of that cookbook with very little fuss! Not only that, but as a non-vegetarian I was absolutely loving the meals we were making!
So when he told me he was going vegan, I knew I had to pick this up for him for his birthday! And, much like with Quick-Fix Vegetarian, I'm glad I did!
Robin Robertson never fails to deliver on really scrumptious recipes that are easy to make and affordable. We're usually able to pick up 90% of the ingredients listed within at our local Trader Joe's and only occasionally do we have to go to Whole Foods to find a rare item. This makes making dinner very budget-friendly.
Here are some of the recipes we've tried so far and have adored:
The Jerk Seitan and Vegetable Skillet - Even though I still eat meat, I think seitan is a great and very tasty substitute. And, as a bonus, you don't end up feeling all bloated and heavy after mealtime.
Black Bean Sunburgers - We were always spending a pretty penny buying black bean burgers in bulk at Costco, but this recipe showed us how to save money making our own! They freeze really well so it's great being able to make a bunch at a time and saving them for later. Super tasty!
The Tiramisu Parfaits - These are TO DIE FOR tasty! One of the things my boyfriend has struggled with is how a lot of vegan deserts end up tasting dry or brittle. It was nice to whip these up and they taste just as good (if not better) as the real thing!
Easy Artichoke Puffs - I absolutely adore artichokes, so I could wait to try this one. We made these when we were having (non-vegan) company over and everyone ate them right up. Our guests loved them just as much as we did.
What I like most about this cookbook is the variety. Every course of a meal is covered and Robin Robertson doles out some very practical advice in the introduction of the book about the vegan lifestyle as well as how to properly equip your kitchen and stock your pantry for preparing these meals. I would definitely suggest this book as a first cookbook for anyone thinking of making the transition over to veganism. This book isn't too intimidating for beginners, but still has a great sense of variety for more experienced diners.
I honestly think you can't go wrong with this book, vegan or not, especially for this price! If you pick it up, you'll be glad you did!
I was so excited that Robin Robertson came out with a new cookbook. Roberson's books have long been a staple at my house, but with her new book, Quick-Fix Vegan, I think she's outdone herself.
According to the book cover, Quick-Fix Vegan contains 150 "healthy, homestyle meals" that can be prepared in "30 minutes or less." Unlike other "quick" cookbooks that rely heavily on jarred sauces and prepared foods, the recipes in this book are made largely from whole, unprocessed foods . . . foods I have on hand and feel good about serving my family.
The chapter of Starters and Snacks includes Moroccan Pumpkin Hummus, Super Nachos, and Easy Artichoke Puffs. I made the vegetable fritters--a mixture of shredded onions, potatoes and vegetables, held together with flour and nondairy milk--for my family and they were a huge hit. In fact, I've made them several times since, varying the vegetables, herbs, and flours with excellent results. The leftovers, if there are any, go great in the kids' lunchboxes. It was a bit challenging to get the fritters all cooked in under 30 minutes, but getting several skillets cooking at once does decrease the cooking time (though adds to the cleanup time).
I'm a big soup fan--especially this time of year--and Robertson includes some great ones. We loved the Creamy Greens Soup made with kale and coconut milk; and the Cream of Mushroom Soup was sublime. I haven't had a chance to try any of the Speedy Sandwiches or Snappy Salads, but am looking forward to making the Sloppy Portobellos, Seitan and Slaw Wraps, Freeburgers, and Burmese Ginger Salad.
The selection of Stovetop Suppers and Pasta Express dinners include a variety of veganized international favorites like Tofu "Scampi" with Spinach, Jerk Seitan and Vegetable Skillet, Korean Hot Pot, and Skillet Lasagne. I made the Tofu Skillet Scramble and it was super quick and easy, and very flavorful. The book also includes recipes for condiments, gravies and chutneys, and desserts like Pear Turnovers, which I am dying to try, and Molasses Ginger Cookies with blueberries.
Every recipe I tried worked well. The instructions were clear and simple. The ingredients are ones I had on hand or could find easily. Some of the recipes do take longer than 30 minutes to prepare. For example, the baking time for the Portobellos Stuffed with Chickpeas and Chard is 25 minutes. But you still need to prep the ingredients and cook the chard for 7 minutes. So read over the recipes carefully if you really are pressed for time just to be sure.
My recommendation? This is one of the best cookbooks I've found in a long time. The meals are great for families--nothing too outlandish, but nothing boring either. It is definitely the first one I'll turn to in the busy months to come.
on December 3, 2011
Vegan chef Robin Robertson, who has written more than twenty books, including a few of my favorites--Vegan Planet, Vegan Fire and Spice, Vegan on the Cheap, and along with husband, Jon Robertson, Vegan Unplugged, has put together another fabulous collection of mouth-watering plant-based recipes. In her latest book, Quick-Fix Vegan, she helps readers prepare fabulous vegan meals inexpensively and deliciously in 30 minutes or less. Drawing on culinary influences from around the world, the book is jam-packed with great-tasting recipes for the most sensational snacks, salads, soups, sandwiches, stove-top suppers, and sweets you'll ever eat!
I have a rule of thumb about cookbooks: it's basically, "three strikes and you're out." If I try three recipes at random, and none of them are very good, I cut my losses of time, money, and energy and recycle the book. But my experiences with Robin's previous books have always been positive--I've yet to try one of her recipes that wasn't a winner. So when I began looking through the pages of Quick-Fix Vegan and decided to first try her recipe for Seitan Gyros, I knew I was going to love it. But this dish exceeded my expectations, as the seasonings and refreshingly light tzatziki sauce (which I made with the new Greek-style coconut milk yogurt), made Robin's gyro our family's new favorite sandwich.
More Quick-Fix Vegan recipes we loved: Indonesian Vegetable and Tofu Scramble, which blends together a medley of Southeast Asian flavors to create a tasty twist on a staple dish; Moroccan Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Spinach, which went from stovetop to table in just fifteen minutes and boasted no fewer than eight aromatic spices that made every bite delectable; and Thai-inspired Primavera-style Coconut-Cashew Noodles that combined the vibrant taste of fresh green vegetables with chewy pasta noodles and a dreamy-creamy sauce.
Rather than relying on packaged, highly processed faux meats and cheeses, I love that Robin's recipes are made from inexpensive, healthful, and hearty whole foods with modest amounts of minimally processed ingredients like tofu and seitan. More recipes from Quick-Fix Vegan that I can't wait to wrap my lips around include Romaine and Pear Salad with Sherry-Walnut Vinaigrette, Sloppy Portobellos, Curried Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Cauliflower "Rice," Catalan-style Crème Brûlée, and Apple Pie Parfaits! (Yes, there is a whole chapter filled with yummy desserts!)
With the bounty of delectable recipes you'll find within its pages, Quick-Fix Vegan's cover price is a bargain that will pay for itself many times over by saving you time in the kitchen and cash at the grocery store.
on November 28, 2013
As an expat who spends most of my time living abroad, I was looking for ideas for easy vegan recipes that I could make with local produce and ingredients. Unfortunately, nearly every recipe in Quick-Fix Vegan calls for ingredients that are only available in American supermarkets: vegan sour cream, vegan cream cheese, vegan yogurt, Old Bay seasoning, vegan puff pastry, frozen vegetables, jarred roasted red peppers, canned beans, premade marinara sauce. It's not worth it to pick up the cookbook and get excited about a recipe then find I can't make it, or that assembling it from ingredients I do have would take exorbitant amounts of time (e.g., soaking and cooking dried beans). I prefer to cook with fresh, plant-based ingredients rather than processed "shortcut" ingredients.
If you are in an area with limited access to vegan processed foods, or if you prefer recipes made solely with fresh whole foods, look elsewhere.
Following a heart attack, my doctor recommended a strict vegan diet without oil of any kind, and over the past few years I have studied a number of vegan cookbooks in search of information, inspiration, and the occasional recipe that seems actually worth making. I had high hopes for QUICK-FIX VEGAN, which was recommended by a friend, and it is true the book offers quite a few notions. But the book is not entirely what it proclaims itself to be.
Robertson declares that these recipes can be made in thirty minutes. That may be true of an already expert cook, but I find it rather unlikely. Robertson also indicates that most of her ingredients should be on hand in any reasonably well-stocked kitchen. Again, that may be true of an already subtle cook, but I don't believe it for a minute.
Robertson offers, for example, a recipe for Spicy Peanut-Hoisin Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli--which requires eighteen ingredients and the use of a large cooking pot, a small saucepan, and a large skillet. Ziti With Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes requires thirteen ingredients; and so-called "Quick" Vegetable and Quinoa Soup requires sixteen! I don't believe I'll be able to execute these recipes in thirty minutes even if I had all the ingreidents on hand, and that is somewhat unlikely as well. I don't think I've had previous need for kochujang paste. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure what it is.
A good many recipes also include a fair amount of oil or ingredients that have a fair amount of fat, and Robertson is also somewhat prone to noting ingredients like "vegan butter," "vegan cheese," "non-dairy milk," and so on. I must also note that I'm not enthusiastic about cookbooks that tell me how to make a salad or sandwich. I do believe I can manage those on my own. On the other hand, Robertson does offer an interesting section titled Easy Make-Ahead Bakes. Once again Robertson includes recipes with extensive ingredient lists--Jambalaya Bake has fifteen ingredients--but in this section she is somewhat more realistic about the time involved, and many of the recipes do seem interesting. I also think she offers one of the most effective recipes for seitan I've seen.
When all is read and done, I have to say that QUICK-FIX isn't in the least the "easy to prepare and cook" book the author wants us to think it is, but on the whole it does offer a goodly number of recipes that seem interesting or which can be easily adapted to your own taste. Mildly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
on May 2, 2012
If I'm rushed for time, I know I can make a salad or a sandwich in less than 30 minutes, I don't need to buy a book to tell me how to do that. I needed a book to tell me how to make the main course/entree in under 30 minutes. This book really only has one chapter (24 recipes) devoted to main dishes you can get to the table in under 30 minutes.
The bulk of the book is recipes/chapters for things that under normal circumstances don't take more than 30 minutes to make- like appetizers, salads, sandwiches, sauces, condiments. I can get those recipes in any other cookbook out there, I don't need to buy a "30 minute or less" cookbook to get a recipe for salad dressing. The book also contains a soup and pasta chapter, but my feelings stay the same, I can get those recipes anywhere. There is a dessert chapter, but if I'm so rushed for time I have to get a meal on the table in under half an hour, a dessert isn't something I'd even try to do.
Even more annoying to me then the skimpy amount of 30 minute entree recipes, is a whole a chapter of entree's that take well over 30 minutes, some show bake times of over an hour! The author admits these don't fall into the 30 minute time frame...so why include them in book for meals in 30 minutes or less? Isn't that sorta cookbook bait-and-switch? Her thoughts are you do the prep work when you have more than 30 minutes to spend on it and aren't looking to eat afterward, then you cook it on another day when you have more than 30 minutes to wait for it to bake. To me, these are just "regular" recipes that got included in a 30 minute or less cookbook to fill it up.
I've tried three recipes and they are good. I have almost every book from this author and do enjoy her recipes. I just think when you offer a book for meals in 30 minutes, you should get recipes for meals, not sandwiches or salads, and that those meals should be able to be done in 30 minutes.
on October 15, 2011
I love the way Robertson starts this book, "As much as I love to cook, most days I'm too busy to spend much time in the kitchen." That simple sentiment is exactly how I feel most nights. I want to have a delicious, wholesome homecooked meal every night ... but I don't always have the energy to cook it. In the absence of a live-in vegan chef, this book is going to be my savior for late evenings and low enthusiasm. The recipes in this book are straightforward, without a lot of exotic, hard-to-find ingredients. I highly, highly recommend the One Pot Pasta Primavera (pg 67). The pizza dough is also super easy to put together, nearly foolproof, and great to have on hand for a quick dinner.
on October 15, 2011
For those who have any of Robin's previous books it will be no surprise that this is another winner! For those who don't this is the perfect introduction to Robin's recipes.
Not only are the recipes quick and easy to put together, they are delicious as well! I was lucky enough to be a tester for this book and some of the recipes have become my "go to" recipes - especially when cooking for friends and family. The Chocolate Cheesecake is absolutely amazing! The Orecchiette with Puttanesca Pesto is my most favorite recipe and the pesto can be used for so many other things. The 2 Tomato Pastry Purses are like inside out bruschetta - and everyone will think you fussed all day to make them.
Shortcut Mushroom Artichoke Risotto, Super Nachos, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Hoison-Peanut Sauce, BBQ Pinto Portobello Sandwiches, Sicilian Style Orzo Salad.... all fantastic!
There were a few combinations and techniques (shredded portobellos!) that made me think "why didn't I think of that before?".
Get the book- you won't be sorry!
on October 29, 2011
With 25 years of professional culinary experience and food writing under her apron strings--and almost as many cookbooks!--best-selling author, Robin Robertson, here serves up 150 recipes, each with its own introduction. Short and sweet--not to mention savory--these recipes are fast (all can be prepared in 30 minutes or less), full of flavor, and largely made with fresh ingredients quickly combined with pantry and fridge staples.
I hadn't made it past the "Starters and Snacks" before I knew what I will make first: Moroccan Pumpkin Hummus. I am wild about the flavors of Morocco and, in fact, chose that flavorful cuisine for my "big" birthday dinner last May. Plus I am an utter fool for pumpkin anything. And, hummus? Well, it is just about the perfect food. And, in Robin's inspired hands, it becomes even more so.
I've always loved fusion cuisine in which one dish is presented in the guise of another, and Robin shares one after another enticing example in this cookbook which draws its inspiration from, quite literally, a world of flavors. I hadn't even made it out of the "Starters" before I had found the second recipe I want to try: Jerk-Spiced Kale Chips.
Never odd, but often surprising, Robin's flavor combinations are both interesting and appealing, like these chips or, say, her avocado sauce for pasta. Recipe after recipe will have you asking, "Why didn't I think of that?"
So, if, like me, you love fresh takes on old faves, then you will find much to love in this book well beyond the Starters. Eight more chapters of recipes, each with its own index and introduction, make the most time consuming and difficult task narrowing down the options. Fun food--take "Snowballs in Hell," for example--and bold flavors--like "Burmese Ginger Salad"--are hallmarks of this very readable cookbook. But, if you're more into basics, you won't be disappointed. Recipes like Zucchini Frittata, Skillet Lasagna, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Mac and Cheezeburger Bake fit that bill.
In addition to the expected chapters of starters, soups, sandwiches, salads, sauces/condiments, and desserts, main dishes are conveniently divided into ones you make stove top, ones you bake, and pasta because we all know the latter is a food group unto itself. At the beginning of the book, the "Getting Started" chapter is practicality personified with time-saving strategies, a description of the Quick-Fix Pantry, complete with lists, Ingredient Shortcuts, tips for planning ahead and using leftovers, and oh-so-much more.
Though the only full-color photographs in this book are on the front and back covers, Robin's vivid, but succinct writing paints a vibrant picture of each dish, of the vegan kitchen, and, indeed, of the vegan lifestyle itself.