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!