Friday, August 15, 2014

Cookbook Review: Vegan Eats World

Reviewed by Josie Moody, Vegan Outreach's Office Manager

What's one of the best things about being vegan? Testing out new recipes, of course!

I had the perfect opportunity do so using Terry Hope Romero's newest cookbook, Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet.

Her previous cookbooks, Veganomicon, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World all have homes in my cookbook library.

This book was user friendly in so many ways. It has easy, readable directions, colorful pictures and a mixture of recipes that left me wondering how one woman could continue to come up with interesting and tasty ways to prepare food.

I flipped through the pages, trying to decide which recipes would, literally, make the cut. Although the book focuses on dishes from around the world, I wanted to choose twists on something familiar. I also didn't want to blow my grocery budget on expensive, obscure ingredients. Luckily, it was easy to do as recipes are categorized based on the time needed to prepare, ingredients, level of difficulty, expense, and more.

See below for the three recipes I chose and how they turned out.

I look forward to using Vegan Eats World again and again as I go on many more excursions, all from the comfort of my own kitchen!

Peruvian Purple Potato Salad

1 1/2 pounds purple potatoes
3 tablespoons aji amarillo paste 
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
A few twists of freshly ground pepper
4 scallions, sliced as thinly as possible
3 ripe red tomatoes, core and seeds removed and finely diced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pits removed and sliced
1 ripe avocado, diced into 1/2 inch chunks and tossed with 2 teaspoons lime juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


1. Peel the potatoes, dice into 1 inch cubes, place in a 3-quart pot, and cover with 3 inches of water. Bring to boil over high heat and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until very tender, then drain.

2. In a mixing bowl whisk together aji amarillo paste, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add 1 cup cooked potato chunks and with fork or potato masher, mash the potato into a chunky puree. Add the remaining potatoes, scallions, tomatoes and olives. Use a rubber spatula to fold the potatoes into the dressing.

3. Mound the salad onto a serving platter or into deep bowls and arrange chunks of avocado on top. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.

Like many recipes, the part that actually took the longest was preparing the items for the dish. After everything was measured out, chopped and whisked, creating the actual salad was almost effortless.

My biggest concern while preparing it was that it would be dry due to the starchiness of the potatoes. This, however was not the case, as the lime-salt-olive oil-aji amarillo blend created the perfect amount of moisture, with a hint of flavor that by no means overwhelmed the dish. I was pleasantly surprised as well with how much the chopped kalamata's added a zesty complement to this side.

A couple of notes: If you cannot find aji amarillo, curry paste (available in most grocery stores) could work as well. This potato salad also tasted great reheated the next day for my lunch. It seemed to absorb more of the flavor, and some leftover peas I tossed in there were a great addition.

Roasted Broccoli with Sage

I love roasted vegetables. However, when ordering out, I often find inconsistency in quality for such a basic dish. Sometimes the vegetables can be bitter, tough, burnt, or dry. Still, I decided to try my hand with Roasted Brocolli with Sage. I'm glad I did.

I believe the single greatest reason that the broccoli turned out so well is Romero's suggestion to not merely sprinkle the vegetable with olive oil, but to hand rub it over each piece of broccoli. The idea of covering my hands in olive oil seemed a bit messy for my taste. Instead I tossed the chopped florets into a gallon sized Ziploc bag, measured out the oil, and massaged the pieces through the bag.

2 pounds broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage or 6 fresh sage leaves, sliced into thin shreds
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A few twists of freshly cracked black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the broccoli florets away from the stem, and slice in half any big florets (wider than 3 inches).

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pile the florets and stems in the center. Pour the olive oil over the broccoli, then sprinkle with sage and salt. Now use your fingers to thoroughly rub the oil into the broccoli florets and stems, making sure to evenly coat the stems and get some oil in between the crevices of the florets.

3. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 20-26 minutes, turning broccoli occasionally with long-handled tongs. Broccoli stems should be tender and the flower buds gently browned. Watch carefully and don't let the broccoli burn, or the tops of the florets may dry out and become bitter. Remove the baking pan from the oven, sprinkle the broccoli with lemon juice and black pepper, and toss thoroughly. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Sour Dilly Cream

I often forget how simple it is to create amazing vegan sauces and dips. I really like using recipes that I can envision tweaking as an accompaniment to another dish. I had yet to try Just Mayo, and the Sour Dilly Cream gave me an opportunity to do just that.

Using only five ingredients, (Romero also gives you the option of replacing the mayo and yogurt with vegan sour cream), it doesn't get much easier than this, especially if you buy minced garlic in the jar like I do.  Although it suggests using a food processor, you can readily create the proper mixture with a cereal bowl and fork or whisk.

3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
1/4 cup thick vegan mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sea salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped dill 

Directions: In a food processor or in a large measuring cup using an immersion blender, pulse together the yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic and salt until smooth. Pulse in the dill a few times. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

I could easily see replacing the dill in this recipe with Sriracha sauce, pepper flakes, or chopped jalapeno if you're looking for something spicy. If you do have a food processor, another option could be replacing the dill with fresh chopped cilantro. There are endless possibilities!

From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014