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One-Dish Vegan: More than 150 Soul-Satisfying Recipes for Easy and Delicious One-Bowl and One-Plate Dinners Paperback – September 10, 2013
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Vegans have just as much need for soups and casseroles as any other eaters, dishes a cook can prepare ahead and that can serve for lunches at desks, for fast leftover meals, and for freezing against another day’s dinner. Robertson exhibits imagination and experience in her recipes’ design and execution. As do so many expert cooks, Robertson commences with stock—in this case, simple vegetable stock, which can add lots of flavor to many different dishes, not just to soups. Ethnic cuisines contribute intriguing variations on lasagna and even popular pad Thai. She devotes an entire chapter to chili. Certain ingredients appear frequently, especially chickpeas. But Robertson covers plenty of other beans and similar protein sources to help ensure balanced nutrition. Specialty items, such as nutritional yeast, appear sparingly. Those with particular food sensitivities will appreciate her noting which recipes avoid allergens like gluten and soy. --Mark Knoblauch
About the Author
Robin Robertson is a veteran restaurant chef, cooking teacher, and an acclaimed writer. She pens a regular column for VegNews Magazine and has written for Vegetarian Times, Health Naturally, Restaurant Business, National Culinary Review, American Culinary Federation Magazine, and Better Nutrition. She has written numerous cookbooks including the best-selling titles Vegan Planet, Vegan on the Cheap, and Quick-Fix Vegan. Robertson currently writes, promotes her books, and teaches classes on her innovative vegan cuisine from her home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where she lives with her husband and two cats. Her website is www.robinrobertson.com
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This cookbook has many of the same positive aspects as the previous ones: quick and easy preparation, real and common ingredients, overall healthy dishes, and easy adaptations for gluten free or soy free options.
My partner is gluten free, so we do modify quite a bit of the recipes from our favorite vegan authors. We've found it easier to modify than to stick to a dedicated gluten free and vegan cookbook (which many have unhealthy dishes or rare ingredients). Robertson actually has a wide variety of gluten free recipes, and most of the remainder do have easy options for substituting for a gluten free diet. The same goes for soy free. Most ingredients are easy to find, and are often already found in a vegan pantry. Foods such as silken tofu and almond milk can easily be found at Whole Foods and other markets in the same style.
One reason I love this book is the large section with nothing but chili! And they are each unique. I have been cooking through the chili section and I have to say I am very impressed. There is a lot more variety than I thought possible! Other great dishes include hearty salads, pastas, noodle dishes, stews, and more! The flavors are so fresh and appetizing that even my non-vegan friends enjoy the dishes!
The other note about this book - all of the recipes are one dish recipes. There are a few condiment recipes and options (such as vegan sour cream - she recommends making your own, but does say store bought can be used as well). But the condiment recipes are not included in the total, unlike some other cook books which claim beverage, condiments, and even dressings and frosting as individual recipes.
I have prepared a few dishes from this book and have been solidly impressed. Robertson counts among my favorite vegan cook book authors. Along with Lindsay Nixon, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The blend of healthy and filling is quite appreciated for this vegan!
I also recommend the following vegan cook books:
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less
Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers
I have made many of the recipes, and have yet to run into one that is overly difficult or not tasty. But seriously. This book is worth buying for the vegan chili recipes alone! The beer chili is my favorite so far!
The chapters are divided into sections such as Soups, Main-Dish Salads, Stovetop Simmers, Chili (there are lots of chili recipes - the author has another entire book devoted to chili), Sautes and Stir Fries, Pasta, and Oven to Table. I'm enjoying the versatility of the recipes, including many recipes for sauces that rely on something other than cashew cream for the base. The "Cheddah Sauce" uses potato, carrot, broth, nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk and other seasonings, and it's delicious. Many of the recipes are quite quick to assemble, such as the Cauliflower Comfort Bake. Some of others that I tried this weekend and enjoyed were Greek Gyro Salad, Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad, and Fusilli with Creamy Summer Vegetable Sauce (which uses white beans as a base for the sauce - delicious!).
I'm looking forward to trying more and more of these recipes. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is, for me, there are too many recipes for soups and chilies. I find those two items very easy to make vegan so was hoping for more casserole-type ideas. All in all though, I recommend this book.
You will need a pantry well-stocked with gourmet ingredients to use this book effectively. Artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, exotic grains, kalamata olives---you'll need all these as well as ingredients like fresh herbs, greens, avocados, mangoes, and misc. veggies. Most people will not have all the ingredients for the recipes on hand without buying them specially. I loved that the recipes generally don't call for commercially-made vegan meat-substitutes (other than tofu, seitan, or tempeh), and that they give the option of using cans or fresh ingredients (with quantities). It's very well thought-out. It would have been nice if there had been pictures.
I tested out the quality of the recipes by three random recipes, and it seems to me that a newbie in the kitchen might have trouble with them. I followed all three very closely so it would truly be her recipe, and not my creation, that I was reviewing.
The Tunisian Chickpea and Kale Stew was tasty in an usual kind of way; I thought it might be vaguely Indian flavored because of the spices, but it was very mild and, for me, off-beat. My husband called it "remarkably good"--so it was definitely a success. I had some issues with the preparation, though: it calls for "6 cups of chopped stemmed kale," which I assume meant "6 cups of stemmed kale, chopped" because to get "6 cups of chopped kale" you would need a mountain of kale. I asked someone new to cooking if she would have understood what that meant and she admitted that, no, she would have thought you needed 6 cups of kale after it was chopped. Yikes! (My interpretation was clearly right because the recipe is chock full of kale and quintupling the amount of kale would not have improved it.) It also calls for "2 cups vegetable broth, plus more if needed." Two cups was not even close to enough--it didn't even cover the ingredients, so I don't know why the recipe didn't call for the correct amount, which clearly was much more than 2 cups. (I needed about 6 cups.) It also says to simmer the stew for 20 minutes, but that was not nearly long enough to cook the diced potatoes, and I needed to cook it twice as long. Also, the portion sizes seem off--it is supposed to feed 4, but this made a lot of stew. Maybe 4 hungry vegan lumberjacks! In our family of 5, this made a main meal plus leftovers. So although the recipe turned out well, I don't know why there were so many inaccuracies.
The Chipotle-Citrus Tofu and Broccoli was oh-my-goodness wonderful. I found that the recipe worked fairly well as written, with the exception that the amount of oil called for to sauté the tofu was woefully inadequate. My tofu was sticking like crazy until I added about three times as much as the recipe calls for. But the flavor of this finished recipe was unbelievable--all of us had multiple helpings and I enjoyed every bite of mine. A true winner! I was very bummed not to have leftovers, since it was so good I was hoping to have it for lunch the next day, as well.
The Greek Gyro Salad (under the chapter "Main Dish Salads") was likewise terrific. I couldn't believe how much it tasted like a real Gyro, and so much healthier. I did again have portion-size troubles--I ended up needing to double the seitan quantity--but that just could be because we loved how the seitan came out. I was unsure about the celery (it's definitely not a part of normal gyros), but it was a nice addition for that crunch. My daughter called this one "scrumptious." Paired with a pita, it really was enough for a main dish.
Is this a good cookbook for you? You should consider whether you are comfortable with long lists of sometimes occasionally exotic ingredients, and if you're ok with modifying a recipe on the fly if something isn't working. If you can deal with these potential difficulties and want a collection of fabulous recipes, then I say, go for it!