When my blogging buddy over at The Roasted Root, Julia Mueller, asked if I wanted to review her new book, "Let Them Eat Kale!"...I'm not going to lie, I was a little hesitant. Don't get me wrong, Julia is an immensely talented writer and recipe developer, her site is gorgeous and there are few blogs I enjoy reading more than hers. She has a clever, sarcastic, and downright hilarious voice that always has me laughing. I feel as though Julia's down to earth vibe and realistic approach to food and life itself are similar to my own.
However, her recipes aren't vegan or vegetarian. Gasp! Admittedly, I felt a bit squeamish promoting a book that had recipes with meat and dairy, but I'm not about "all or nothing" when it comes to others and consuming less animal products. As we always hear, it's about progress, not perfection. I know many of my readers aren't vegan or vegetarian, but may still want to be more plant-based.
So I agreed to review her book. Julia was so wonderful and she said if I wasn't comfortable doing it, I was under no obligation and that she totally understood. She's such a sweetie. However, I have loads of non-vegan cookbooks that I love and if you're vegan, you probably do too. We know how to substitute for meat and dairy, what works, what doesn't, what can be emulated and what you seriously should not (faux salmon, anyone?)!
"Let Them Eat Kale!" is a book where many of the non-vegan products can be heavily substituted. The recipes are majorly plant-based (hello, it's a book entirely about kale...come on) and while reading through, I kept making mental notes of recipes that I just had to try. Sweet Potato Veggie Burritos with Coconut Curry Sauce. Yes, please. Indian Chickpea Stew with Kale. Give it to me now. Superfood Stuffed Acorn Squash. Never met a squash I didn't like, especially a stuffed one. It was my Thanksgiving feast!
If you're new to veganism or just not really sure how to substitute, below you'll find a handy list of what I like to use. Like I said, you could eat your way through half this book without making a single change, still keeping it vegan. However for the recipes that may need substitutions, here's a list of vegan superstars I used to replace animal-exploiting foods/products:
- chicken egg = (for baking) 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed and 2 Tbsp. water/ = (for scramble) firm tofu
- cow's milk = coconut, almond, soy, hazelnut, hemp, cashew milk...the list goes on and on..
- cow's cream = full-fat coconut milk
- cow's milk yogurt = soy or coconut yogurt
- cow's cheese = really depends on the type but I've used miso, Parmela, tofu, or just omitted completely
- chicken meat = usually tofu but I've used chicken alternatives such as Gardein
- cow's meat (steak or hamburger) = really depends, but I enjoy the alternatives like seiten or just use veggies like eggplant
- fish meat = I will use tofu but fish is hard to replicate so I don't try to very often but there are veggie alternatives in the frozen food section
- chicken or beef broth = vegetable broth ( because why wouldn't you!?)
- honey = agave nectar or maple syrup
See how easy? What do you like to use as vegan substitutes?
I especially enjoyed that the book has several pages in the beginning devoted to the knowledge of all things kale. It's nutritional content, differing varieties, and even how to grow it!
Yesterday, I picked up some stunning multi-colored kale at the grocery store. It was mostly purple with streaks of deep green and I knew I wanted to showcase the beauty. It had such a sweet smell to it and was so tender. This kale needed to be the star in a recipe, so I decided to make a variation of Julia's White Bean Kale Dip.
Instead of two cans of cannellini beans, I used one can, and then one can of chickpeas. I don't often use cannellini beans and I happened to only have one on hand. A big change I made was adding 4 tsp. of red miso to the dip in place of the salt. I thought it really gave the dip some dimension. I enjoy bold flavors and for some reason I'm going through a miso-fanatic craze right now, if you couldn't tell by yesterdays recipe. MISO FOREVER!
- 1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 fresh sage leaves
- 2 cups packed kale leaves, de-stemmed, washed and torn
- 4 tsp. miso paste
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
I think this book would be a great addition to any kitchen that's trying to get in more veggies or lean towards a healthier, more plant-based diet. Or if you just really freaking love kale. Josh N., this books for you! Yes, there are some animal-based recipes, but the vast majority of cookbooks do and there are substitutions that can be made, just with any great recipe.
I hope you check it out! I have several recipes already tabbed to try and many of them are vegan or vegetarian already! "Let Them Eat Kale" can be found on Amazon or in your local bookstore.
German Word of The Day
Dip --> Soße (zoo-sehl)
Good Deed of The Day
Did you see this article on Tuesday from the Wall Street Journal about how meat prices well on the rise compared to vegetables? "It’s a good time to be a vegan. Meat prices are up 9.4% in June from a year earlier, and pork, fish and eggs are more expensive, too." Well, you heard it here first. It's a good time to be a vegan!