At the time it came out, Veganomicon was one of the most anticipated vegan cookbook releases ever. That was over eight years ago and there has been an incredible proliferation of amazing vegan cookbooks that have come out since then but this handy volume can still hold its own against most any newer cookbook. In fact we still open it up regularly and find new recipes. Like these tasty black bean burgers. The recipe is posted here. They came together quickly for a nice weeknight meal with some roasted potatoes on the side. And our 52 cookbooks list continues to grow!
It’s been a while since we’ve posted but we’ve got a good excuse – we’ve been spending a lot of time testing recipes for Robin Robertson’s next cookbook. Meanwhile we just picked up a copy of her newest release, Cook the Pantry, and are looking forward to trying many of the quick and easy recipes there. Tonight we made Everyone’s Favorite Black Bean Chili and it was indeed a favorite. It was so quick to make I also took the time to make guacamole and corn bread. The recipe is here. We didn’t use soy curls but did add lentils. The addition of barbecue sauce gave it a subtle sweetness that was quite nice. Our 7-year-old loved it.
And we’re already anticipating Robin’s next book because the recipes we’ve tested so far have all been fabulous. To wit:
While we love thumbing through cookbooks for new recipes to try (or pulling out our old favorites), the reality is that we just don’t have the time to do that very often. We’ll certainly post here about cookbooks or recipes we’ve found that we really like but our day to day meals are often whipped up on the fly with whatever we have on hand. I’ll admit that I tend to be one to cook more from recipes but Darlene is a master of cobbling together whatever we have in the fridge and the pantry and making it into a great meal. She’s taught me that meals don’t have to be elaborate to be satisfying and nutritious. Let’s take a look at a couple of recent examples of what I’m talking about. First up, the bowl (or plate in this case), which generally consists of a grain, a vegetable and some beans or tofu (or both) with a sauce or dressing of some sort.
Here’s what’s on the plate, along with some ideas for how you could change it up.
- Brown rice. We often cook a big pot of brown rice on the weekends and use it for a couple of meals during the week but if you haven’t done that and you don’t have the time to cook brown rice, how about quinoa?
- Black beans. Just plain ‘ol beans that we cooked in our Instant Pot. Don’t have a fancy schmancy pressure cooker? No worries, just open up a can of any beans you have on hand.
- Tofu, diced and fried in a little olive oil. You could leave this out entirely but if was a nice addition here.
- Roasted butternut squash. A baked sweet potato would make a fine substitution, or change it up entirely and use steamed broccoli or roasted brussels sprouts or sauteed kale or any other vegetable under the sun. If you’re really in a rush, microwave some frozen broccoli. We almost always keep a bag of frozen broccoli on hand to add to a quick meal and frozen vegetables are still very nutritious.
- This was all tied together with a ranch style dressing from Terry Hope Romero that Darlene found on-line. We almost always make our own dressings and you should too, if for no other reason than you’ll save money. Dreena Burton has quite a few dressing recipes in her cookbooks, as does Isa. And if you don’t want to go to the trouble of looking for a recipe just whisk together some olive oil, cider vinegar or lemon juice (or both), a bit of prepared mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s another example of throwing stuff together for a quick, satisfying meal – burritos.
We almost always have tortillas on hand because the kids love burritos and quesadillas. And while there’s no shortage of burrito recipes available, I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe for a burrito. Here we have the black beans and rice again, cooked beforehand and at the ready, along with avocado, mango salsa and cashew sour cream. You could certainly use salsa from a jar and we do so regularly (especially in winter with a dearth of fresh tomatoes), but here Darlene made a nice quick salsa with a small can of diced tomatoes (drained), some frozen diced mango, diced onion, plus a little oil, cider vinegar, oregano and salt. For the “sour cream” we used the Cashew Crema recipe from Viva Vegan! and it’s very similar to this one from Oh She Glows. (One tip on this front: if a recipe calls for soaked cashews but you don’t have any that have been soaking, you can boil them for a few minutes and get similar results.)
Hopefully this post has inspired you to move beyond cooking from a recipe and into whipping up a quick meal with whatever you have on hand! (Just remember to always keep rice in your pantry and you’ll be well on your way.)