Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eight Ingredients = Two Yummy Vegan Dishes

Y'all know I love to cook, and I don't typically shy away from time-consuming dishes. I'd say I probably spend about one-third of my time piddlin' in the kitchen. But I do have a social life. I work out at the gym five days a week. I go out with friends for drinks, movies, live theater, concerts, and weird costume parties. Some nights, I need to get dinner on the table with a quickness. But rather than turn to takeout, I typically opt for an easy-peasy recipe.

Enter The 4-Ingredient Vegan, a new book by Meribeth Abrams and Anne Dinshah. It's pubished by the Book Publishing Company in Summertown, Tennessee, and though I just began cooking from the book, I have a feeling it's about to make my life a little easier.

As the title implies, every recipe in this 150-page cookbook has only four ingredients. That makes for a cheaper meal with less prep. Last night, I whipped up these Stuffed Bell Peppers in no time:

These colorful bells are stuffed with brown rice, canned vegan chili (I used the Whole Foods generic chili), and salsa. Although it's technically five ingredients here due to my use of the optional nutritional yeast topping, this recipe shines with simplicity. Of course, I also used salt, pepper, and hot sauce, but those don't really count as ingredients.

On the side, I couldn't resist trying the Asparagus in Corn Sauce:

Asparagus is baked with a sauce of pureed corn, celery, and cumin. That's it. Doesn't sound like much, but the cumin really pumps up the flavor in this dish. And the baked corn sauce gets all crusty and delicious in the oven. Here's what the spears looked like on my plate:

Though I've only tried these two recipes, I've dog-eared many more recipes in the book like Seitan with Tomatoes and Sauerkraut, Pumpkin-Bean Soup, Baked Bean and Tater Casserole, Crispy Artichoke Hearts, Vegan Fudge, and Banana, Chocolate, and Ginger Pastry. Can you believe all of those recipes only contain four ingredients?! It's crazy, but it's true.

Granted, a few recipes call for hard to find convenience foods, like the Ravioli with Broccoli in Coconut Sauce. Though it sounds divine, I'm not sure where I'd ever find the frozen butternut squash ravioli called for in the recipe. Another recipe calls for vegan pierogies, which I've never seen in a store ... though I'm sure that might be available in a place with more selection than Memphis.

Luckily, about 99 percent of the recipes call for whole foods or easy to find convenience foods, like canned chili, canned beans, pre-made hummus, tator tots, or tomato soup. I have a feeling The 4-Ingredient Vegan will become an essential guide for busy (and cheap) vegans. It certainly will be essential for me.

UPDATE: Several commenters have mentioned that Rising Moon Organics makes a vegan butternut squash ravioli that's available at Whole Foods. After checking out their website, I do recall seeing that packaging in my Whole Foods' frozen food aisle. Maybe b-nut squash ravioli is available in Memphis after all!

19 comments:

Jacklyn said...

thank you for the book suggestion, ill check it out. can really use a quick meal cookbook, especially now with the weather so hot

Sarah (GF vegan) said...

I love the sound of that book- 4 ingredient recipes are my kind of recipes :) Thanks! x

JL Goes Vegan said...

Great review! I'm going to get the book!

Rick said...

sweet book, and loving the asparagus w/ corn sauce

Serena said...

This is such a great idea! Especially when pressed for time/ scrambling to use ingredients before they go bad.
I'll have to look into this book.

Jessica @ Lima's Vegan Kitchen said...

This looks like a great book. I was looking for a recipe book like this so now I'm glad I know!

miss v said...

that's such an awesome idea. my peta vegan cookbook is the same way - lots of short recipes, but some rely on convenience foods.

i love that crusty corn sauce!!!

miss v said...

that's such an awesome idea. my peta vegan college cookbook is the same way - lots of short recipes, but some rely too much on convenience foods.

i love that crusty corn sauce. yum!

Kiersten said...

I would totally use this book if I had it. I love to cook too, but sometimes I just don't have the time to cook much (thank you homework and exams). The asparagus dish sounds yummy. I'm going to try something of my own like that.

Mary said...

Here in Miami you can get butternut squash ravioli under the brand name of Moon Rising Organics at Whole Foods in the frozen food section. It's delish. You might take a look at your Whole Foods for it. I usually put pesto on it, but I'll have to take a look at this cook book and try a new way.

JennShaggy said...

All of these dishes look amazing! I'll have to check out that book :)

Definitely invest in the sausage maker. It makes life so much more simple...except for cleaning it. That can be a bit of a biotch haha.

Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.risingmoon.com/

rising moon organics makes a very yummy frozen butternut squash ravioli. whole foods sells it. it IS vegan! :) hope this allows you to try that ravioli recipe! :)

Michelle said...

I am so going to get that cook book. I need some easy and quick recipes for during the week. Thanks for suggesting it! The dishes you made look very yummy!

The Shenandoah Vegan said...

That cookbook sounds perfect for me. I was saving my cookbook dollars for the Cookin' Crunk book, but maybe I should buy this one instead...hmmmm...!!!

Erin said...

Mmm, the corn sauce sounds super tasty. Neat book!

Pure2raw twins said...

Oh wow both dishes look great!!

Teresa said...

omg - so loved the pic of the asparagus that my mouth watered!
I ordered the book on Amazon.
Thank you!!!

Eric said...

wild... ive never even thought of a corn sauce like that over veggies. very interesting.

Wendy said...

"I'm not sure where I'd ever find the frozen butternut squash ravioli called for in the recipe"
At one point I know Whole Foods carried this.. Not sure if they still do as it was a fall/winter foods selection?
Just in case you were wondering.