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The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour Paperback – October 1, 2011
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"Hester, who blogs at http://www.healthyslowcooking.com and http://www.busyvegan.com, has written a no-nonsense, easy-to-understand guide to vegan slow cooking. The first chapter is a brief introduction to the slow cooker, with an ingredient substitution list. In the next 12 chapters, readers learn how to make soups, stews, curries, casseroles, breads, party dips, and desserts, among other items. Hester draws her inspiration primarily from American (Chick’n Mushroom Casserole; Corn-Tastic Tex-Mex Loaf), Indian (Baigan Bharta; Easy Veggie Chickpea Biryani), and Asian (Ma Po Tofu; Thai Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables) cuisine, but many other culinary traditions are represented. Soy- and gluten-free dishes are clearly labeled, but a list of these dishes isn’t included in a separate index. Dishes are indexed by the main ingredient, so Tofu Bouillabaise and the Smoked Tofu and Stars soup recipe are both found under 'tofu.' In a larger cookbook, this would be detrimental; here, it is merely annoying. VERDICT: This is a great slow-cooker cookbook with scrumptious dishes featuring ingredients that are easy to find in any major grocery store." - Library Journal XPress
About the Author
Kathy Hester is the founder of the blog Healthy Slow Cooking (http://www.healthyslowcooking.com) and author of The Vegan Slow Cooker, Vegan Slow Cooking for One or Two, Oatrageous Oatmeals, The Great Vegan Bean Book, The Easy Vegan Cookbook, and The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot. She writes for various online health and cooking websites, including Bright Hub (http://www.brighthub.com), Divine Caroline (http://www.divinecaroline.com), Everything Mom (http://www.everythingmom.com), and The Healthy Hostess (http://www.thehealthyhostess.com). She lives in Durham, NC with her partner, two cats, and one dog.
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For a long time, I was not the biggest fan of the slow cooker because most of the recipes I found were comprised of processed ingredients and just plain boring and bland. And let's not forget the slow cooker recipes that require a zillion preparation steps, thus defeating the purpose of an appliance that is meant to save some time. Recently, though, that's been changing, as I've been compiling and developing a lot more recipes that fit my desire for flavorful, healthy recipes using wholesome ingredients. And that are quite easy to throw together. This book is a wonderful piece of that collection and I can't wait to try more of the recipes, because they all meet exactly what I'm looking for.
Besides great food, Hester delivers others requirements of a great cookbook: simple ingredient lists; clear, concise instructions (that even highlight the steps which can be completed the night before); and options for substitutions to meet various dietary needs.
I've made 3 of the recipes "as-is": Veggie Gumbo with Cheater Roux, Tempeh & Veggies in Spicy Peanut Sauce, and Chana Saag (Indian Greens with Chickpeas). All of the recipes were easy to assemble, and cooking times were very accurate in my new slow cooker. However, all 3 recipes were really bland. I found myself doctoring all 3 recipes near the end of cooking time, adding additional salt and spices, and other ingredients not called for to make them exciting. So, definitely disappointing on that front.
However, since I have no previous slow-cooker experience, using these recipes as a guide for cooking techniques/times and flavor profiles gives me the confidence to make my own awesome slow cooker meals. Just last week, I took the cheater chili recipe, added a bunch of pre-sauteed bell pepper, onion, garlic and mushrooms, some beef TVP and used my own spice blend and it turned out awesome.
If you're a vegan new to slow cooking, I'd recommend it just to get an idea of the sort of meals you can make. Just be prepared to play around with additional spices. However, I would hesitate to recommend this book to non-vegans that are looking for healthy veg meals. This cookbook does not showcase the best of vegan food. I am actually considering buying some highly-rated non-vegan slow cooker cookbooks to veganize the recipes.
I have tried so far:
-mushroom lasagna with garlic-tofu sauce
-chorizo and sweet potato enchilada casserole
-chick'n normandy with apples and brandy sauce
They were each completely delicious!
And there are so many more I'm looking forward to. The recipes I tried were complex and comforting enough for a weekend dinner, and easy enough for a weeknight- most of them have distinctly fall/winter flavors, but that was exactly what I was looking for in this book.
These recipes, simply, are packed with flavor. My omnivorous partner has raved about each of these and asked me to put them on regular rotation. :) The recipes are simple to assemble and the payoff has been fantastic each time.
I noticed a few critiques of the use of 'fake meat' products- yes, there is lots of call for seitan, tempeh, and tofu. Some soy-rizo. This doesn't bother me: I'm always looking for creative ways to use these products in meals, and this book delivers.
I guess I'm gushing, so I'll wrap this up. But really, I am completely impressed with this book, and I highly recommend it.