Viva Vegan Dinner of Deliciousness!

I love vegan cookbooks.  I really do.  I have a ton.  I read them instead of novels or graphic novels or magazines or whatever it is that “normal” people read. But…here’s the thing.  I rarely make recipes from them.  I just…don’t really plan ahead in that way much.  I shop based on what’s in season, what’s local, what’s on sale, and then I prepare food around these ingredients, plus the staples I always have like bulk quinoa, beans, spices, oils, etc.

But every once and a while, I decide to follow a recipe, usually when I’ve been reading a book and realize I actually have the ingredients they’re using.  This happened a while ago when I was having a read of Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan. I had a hankering for some beans and rice quinoa, had a bunch of zucchini and an aging squash on the veggie shelf and figured I’d give some recipes a go.

I cooked up a big ol’ pot of black beans a la Terry’s instructions, and hoooo boy. They were tastier than your average pot of beans, and I’m honestly not even sure why.  I think I followed her instructions to use less water, and not be afraid of using the bean cooking liquid almost as a sauce.  Near the end of cooking I threw a few chunks of onion and some salt into the pot for flavour, and served these beans straight up as a side.  OM NOM NOM.

I also made her lime-y cilantro-y rice with, um, quinoa. Because I like it better. And it was delish.

And then!  Oh, and then I made the Calabacitas, or mixed squash saute, with zucchini, butternut squash, onions, oregano, cumin, jalapenos, some tomato,  lime juice…and crack?  I don’t know. This was ridiculously delicious, somehow all of the parts came together to make something even more delicious than I imagined it could be.

These are pretty much the only recipes I’ve made from Viva Vegan to date, even though I totally covet everything in the book.  I’m just bad at using other people’s recipes.  I’ll let you know if I get up to anything else delicious from here.  There’s a “cheese” sauce I’m dying to try, but apparently the important “secret” ingredient is saltine crackers, and I just can’t bring myself to buy them and/or eat them.

I feel like I always see other bloggers cooking recipes from books. Am I a weirdo for not actually doing this very often? Or is it all a sham!? How often does everyone cook from cookbooks, or “uncook” from raw books or whatever?  I’m curious!

6 thoughts on “Viva Vegan Dinner of Deliciousness!

  1. I'd say I probably follow a recipe (usually with some changes) 2-3 times a week, for 1.baking, 2.serving other people, and 3.trying something new-there's so much to try! That's usually what ends up on my blog because I think it's more interesting than the salads, smoothies and other messes I throw together on my own, although those are actually the majority of what I eat :-)

  2. Well, I'm part of a cookbook club now so I've actually been using my cookbooks a little more than usual lately – about 5 to 6 times a month. However, I joined partly because I never used my books and felt ridiculous that I kept buying them anyway.
    Before then, the only times I would follow a recipe were if I were making something special for omnis or for a holiday, if my boyfriend specifically requested something, or like Dianne, if I were baking something.
    I'm glad I'm using my cookbooks more now because I feel like I'm learning about foods, techniques, and flavors, even if I tend not to follow recipes exactly. It helps me with my own endeavors more.

  3. I like to follow recipes, especially when for a baked good, but lately the salads and soups can be merely spring boards. I love recipes – from food blogs and cookbooks – and since delving more into vegan cooking, I am using a lot of my vegan cookbooks. I have Viva Vegan and glad to hear this worked out well! I used her technique for cooking black beans for the Portobello Feijoada and really liked it. It converted me into cooking my own beans. They tasted so much better than canned.

  4. I only follow recipes when I am feeling unfamiliar with a concept or an ingredient. Otherwise, I use the cookbooks as inspiration and somehow find a lazier way to make it.

  5. great comments, guys! Like dianne & foodfeud mentioned, I like the aspect of learning new techniques/ingredients/flavour combos that I get from really following recipes vs. just throwing together any old mess, like I usually do! I think I may actually start challenging myself to use more recipes from books in a more structured way instead of totally butchering the recipes like I usually do!

    janet- cooking beans from scratch is, to put it mildly, life changing! haha. they keep so much flavour and nutrition vs. canned beans! so, double bonus.

  6. I love having tons of raw food 'uncookbooks' because they're so interesting to look through and I can drool over every page. However, I tend to only pick one recipe, then use it over and over again as a staple until I have it memorized. Then I forget all about my books until I have tons of awesome ingredients, and I'm like 'what can I make now!'…
    And then the cycle starts all over again. 😀

Comments are closed.