Veganize It features easy DIY recipes for vegan staples and also recipes that use those staples to mimic beloved classics we all grew up eating in our omnivore past lives. For example, you'll find recipes for homemade coconut milk or oat milk, aquafaba butter, and smoky vegan queso. You'll also see recipes for homemade plant meats, like seitan roast or tempeh bacon.
But then there are other recipes in the book that use those homemade ingredients — Piccata Meatballs with Penne and Asparagus (using homemade vegan butter and homemade meat-free meatballs), Devilish Ham Salad (made with homemade vegan ham and homemade mayo), or Summer Rolls with Fish-Free Nuoc Cham (using, you guessed it, homemade fish-free fish sauce). Of course, Robin makes it simple for those who'd rather not spend extra time making staples; she also suggests store-bought items that can be used in their place.
I love the variety of meals included in this book. The recipes run the global gamut, and some feature veggies as the center of the dish (like Jumpin' Jackfruit Chili) while others are focused on vegan protein (like Seitan Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce). I had a hard time choosing what to try first because everything looks so amazing (the full-color pics are gorgeously styled). But then I came across Breakfast Nachos, and well, my choice was clear. Because nachos. For breakfast.
Tortilla chips are topped with a tofu scramble-black bean mixture that's seasoned with onion, garlic, and cumin. Then that's topped with Robin's homemade Smoky Vegan Queso, a spicy dip with a nooch-cornstarch base. This dip is so good, and I'm glad I've got leftovers for eating on its own. It's like the classic nooch sauce that all vegans made in the early 2000s, except there's no flour, so it's creamy without that gravy-like consistency. The cornstarch thickens and gives it a silky smooth texture.
That's all topped with fresh tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and avocado. Delicious! I air-fried some corn tortillas to make my chips, so they were pretty much fat-free. Nothing against fat, but I love it when chips are basically health food. One thing to note: I actually didn't eat these for breakfast. I made them for a hearty brinner last night! But they'd be perfect in the morning too.
The publisher has graciously offered to let me give a copy of Veganize It away to one lucky reader (U.S. residents only, please -- their rules!). So just leave a comment on this post letting me know what meal you love to veganize. Be sure and leave an email address (unless you're sure I already know how to contact you through a blog or Facebook or something). I'll randomly select a winner on Friday (March 31st) morning at 9 a.m. CST.
Also, the publisher has given me permission to share the Breakfast Nachos and Smoky Vegan Queso recipes! Here ya go!
Text excerpted from VEGANIZE IT! © 2017 by Robin Robertson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photo by William and Susan Brinson.
Nachos for breakfast is a fun way to start the day. Make the queso sauce in advance and the nachos will come together quickly.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, chopped
12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and diced
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ cups cooked or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 recipe Smoky Queso Sauce (below), kept warm
1 (13-ounce) bag restaurant-style tortilla chips
1 Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and scallions and cook 2 minutes longer. Add the tofu and salt, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast, cumin, and turmeric. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Stir in the beans, cover, and keep warm.
2 In a medium bowl, combine the tomato, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt to taste and mix well. Gently stir in the avocado.
3 To assemble, spoon a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a large plate. Place half of the chips on top of the sauce. Spoon half of the sauce on top of the chips, followed by half of the tofu and beans, and then half of the salsa. Top with the remaining chips and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately, garnished with additional cilantro, if using.
Text excerpted from VEGANIZE IT! © 2017 by Robin Robertson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
SMOKY QUESO SAUCE
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
This easy-cheesy sauce is great for nachos or folded into cooked pasta for a zesty mac and cheese. If chopped pimientos are unavailable, you can substitute 3 tablespoons chopped roasted red bell pepper.
1 (2-ounce) jar chopped pimientos, drained
1 teaspoon canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
⅓ cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 ½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk or water
1 Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
2 Transfer to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Use as desired.