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Vegan Junk Food: 225 Sinful Snacks that are Good for the Soul Paperback – December 15, 2011
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"Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck" by Thug Kitchen
Explore more than 100 easy and accessible recipes to give you a solid start toward a better diet. Learn more
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"Vegan Junk Food is meant for you to create occasional treats, but these recipes are worth the wait!" --Vegetarian Journal
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Whether you like your junk food sweet or savory, chocolaty or cheesy, Lane (can I call you Lane?) has got you covered. The 225 recipes in this collection are divided into ten categories: breakfast foods; deli favorites (i.e., sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and sliders); comfort-meets-takeout foods (entrees); crusts and carbs (pizzas and breads); festive grub (party foods!); dips, hummus, and sauces (including sundae toppings!); savory treats; cakes; candies and cookies; and grab `n' go sweets (brownies and bars). As you can see, the recipes are roughly divided between meal-type items (entrees, main courses) and snacks/desserts.
The husband and I tried out about twenty recipes before I sat down to write this review; and, while I don't usually review cookbooks, this is easily the largest number of recipes I've sampled for a cookbook review, like, ever. (I just couldn't stop myself; everything looks so good!) Possibly it's the most recipes I've made from a single cookbook, period. Though I own a ridiculous number of them, I don't use cookbooks with much frequency; more often I cook from memory or pull recipes off the internet. But VEGAN JUNK FOOD? Most definitely joining my repertoire!
The book's obvious strength, of course, is the food: oodles and oodles of junk food! Pizza. Pasta. Tacos. Pot pies. Casseroles. Cupcakes, pies, and brownies. Empty calories as far as the eye can see! Wait, that's not entirely fair: some of these foods aren't all that bad for you. Ironically, many of the recipes in VEGAN JUNK FOOD are actually healthier than my own versions. The Mac and Cheese Bake, for example, uses a vegan Velveeta-like cheese sauce made of potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, nutritional yeast, and soy milk. Even factoring in the additional vegan cheese shreds in this dish, it's still way better for you than my own mac & cheese recipe, which is basically just pasta and processed vegan cheeses (namely, Daiya and Follow Your Heart). Don't let the book's title fool you: while these foods may look and taste like junk food, they're not all super-trashy.
With options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, VEGAN JUNK FOOD is versatile. Mix and match the recipes for something new - or experiment to make them your own. For example, I used leftovers from some of the recipes to create new banana ice cream dishes!
While some of the recipes call for pricey vegan meats and cheeses, Gold doesn't rely on these products exclusively. (Unlike my own blog, VEGAN JUNK FOOD doesn't read like a Lightlife ad!) In fact, she offers diy recipes for many of these vegan staples so you can make `em your own bad self, oftentimes at a fraction of the price! See, e.g., gravy (page 61); ricotta (pg. 120); sour cream (pg. 120); cheese sauce (pg. 121) basil pesto (pg. 124); and ranch dressing (pg. 126), to name just a few!
My complaints are few and relatively minor. Some recipes reference other recipes - to return to the Mac and Cheese Bake, the Cheese Sauce is its own recipe, located in a different section of the book - but don't include a page number alongside the recipe title, thus forcing the reader to consult the index in order to find it. A minor annoyance, compounded by the index's lack of user friendliness. (I find it counter-intuitive and difficult to use.) An estimated cook time and rating for difficulty on each dish would have been nice too, but I suppose both are easy enough to gauge by reading through the instructions.
I also ran into issues with two of the recipes - the batter for the Almond Joy Bar Cake and the Red Pepper, Caramelized Onion, and Hash Brown Quiche wasn't pourable when it ostensibly should have been. (Also, the Bar Cake stuck to the pan!) Still, out of twenty recipes, two small glitches? Not so bad! Especially when you consider my lackluster track record with baked goods. Brownies, why you no like me?
Super stars: Pesto Chicken Pizza with Creamy Garlic Sauce; Cinnamon Roll French Toast; Fettuccine Alfredo; Chicken Pot Pie; Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Simple pleasures: DIY Vegan Parmesan; Basil Pesto; Sausage Gravy
Still on my to-do list: Strawberry Daiquiri Crepes; Waffles with Creamy Maple Sauce; Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings; Pizza Rolls; Sausage Puffs; all the pies, cakes, cupcakes, and brownies, starting in mid-2013
Enjoy with: Riots, not diets
Even though my kids and wife has never been sick since then, I on the other hand have been (mostly due to bacon!... Man! I love Bacon)
I dont cook, not even rice! All I know to do is boil eggs. So, in my house I have to be fed. That also leaves me as a third world citizen where I don't have a vote in what's cooking or what's for dinner.
Last two years, for suckers's day... I mean father's day, I got one stinking piece of filet mignon barbequed outside (wife refused to cook it inside.) I also notice her feeling a disconfort of nauseas while cooking my dead animal on the grill.
THIS BOOK brought a new perspective into my whole experience of Vegan food. The book has allowed my wife to cook for us (remember I said I dont know how to cook) wonderful strips of some vegetable in the shape AND TASTE of BACON!! It was delicious. Then she cooked several other of the receipes in there, and they were AMAZING. They looked and TASTED like my favorite junkfood, but guess what?? they were healthy and good for me... go figure!
Ever since I got this book, I started checking for glitches in the matrix. I said to myself... "this... looks like bacon, taste like bacon smell like bacon and feels like bacon; but I know it is just a figment of my imagination..." So, I asked my lovely wife to just said to me "Honey I cooked some 'original' bacon for you"... Ahhh Ignorance is Indeed Bliss!!
Highly recommend this product
Liked it so much I purchased it for family and friends too. They have reported back that thy just love it. No need to go to culinary school or specialty stores to make the recipes.