Cookbook Challenge: Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites

So VeganMoFo is upon us here in Australia already! How did that happen? Before MoFo officially kicks off (and before my productivity is severely limited by an overflowing Google Reader) I thought I should get this week’s cookbook challenge recap out of the way.

This was the cookbook challenge week that Chadwiko had been looking forward to, as we ventured into fully-fledged ‘dude food’ territory with Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites. Do you have someone in your life bothering you about what vegans eat other than tofu and sad-looking green things? Hand them a copy of this book! Packed full of recipes for super hearty, homestyle and not-at-all-diet-friendly meals (with beautiful photos courtesy of Celine, of course), this one is sure to challenge some preconceptions.

I’ve had this book for a while, but since a lot of the recipes are definitely ‘sometimes foods’ rather than everyday options, I haven’t made as much as I would have liked. So this week I dived right into three recipes that I’ve had my eye on since first flipping through the pages.

This peanut butter fudge is so simple, but the payoff is great! This was delicious, addictive and a pretty significant amount never made it to the fridge to firm up- so just like ‘real’, non-vegan fudge, I guess. But it was too dangerous to have this much sugar just sitting in my fridge, begging to be eaten- so rationing it out into cookie form seemed the responsible decision.

These peanut butter fudge cookies may contain oats and wholemeal flour, but that’s where the ‘healthy’ qualities end. These are a total sugar overload- a tiny bit sweeter than I would usually prefer, and lacking in salt for my tastes (the salted peanuts alone didn’t quite cut it)- but still a delicious treat. But heed my warning- when this book promises recipes for ‘monster appetites’, it’s not kidding. This recipe is supposed to yield ’12 large cookies’ (made using a 1/4 cup measure!). With portion control in mind, I downsized slightly… and got 30 still-pretty-large cookies. With this much sugar, getting through a whole 1/4 cup sized cookie would be a pretty impressive (and surely dangerous) feat.

I know that I said this book isn’t going to be your new go-to for greenery, but after the intense sugar hit from those cookies, I was craving something green and savoury. Kale bagels fit the bill! The recipe isn’t a quick and easy one, even for a yeasted bread recipe. This involved making a separate marinated kale salad dish, and incorporating it into the dough. But with an overabundance of kale in my fridge (owing to my supermarket’s recent decision to start stocking the stuff- no more trips to the other side of town to get kale for me!), I was up for the effort. It paid off- not only because the bagels turned out great, but because the kale itself made a delicious side dish. So delicious in fact, that I made it again the next night to serve alongside dinner.

But back to the bagels. Mine were slightly underbaked after the time given in the recipe, but nothing that a few more minutes in the oven didn’t fix right up. These were still softer than other bagel recipes I’ve tried, but this just made them perfect for bagel sandwiches (with avocado, baby spinach and sprouts- fillings taken from the incredible green sandwich in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day). Chadwiko also had these toasted with Tofutti for breakfasts and reported that they were delicious this way too. Again, this recipe made a lot more than the book stated. I halved the recipe (which promised eight bagels) and still got six reasonably large ones. But these were universally loved, so I’ll make the full recipe in future- too many kale bagels can never be enough!

I finished up with these barbecue seitan buns. Bread rolls baked with a sticky, meaty barbecue filling- handheld and delicious, what’s not to love about these? Served with grilled corn and the aforementioned ‘kale with a kick’ salad, these could only have been improved with sunshine and a picnic table (that part is still a few weeks away here in Canberra, so the dining table had to do). The deliciousness combined with convenient portability means that these will definitely make a reappearance at picnics to come this summer.

I had hoped to squeeze one more hearty meal out of the book this week, and had my eye on the sautéed cheese tortellini. Apparently fate had other ideas, as Canberra is currently in the grip of a city-wide Tofutti shortage. I’m choosing to take it as a sign that the universe is just looking out for my waistline, so tortellini will have to wait. But not too long, I hope- this book has definitely piqued my monster appetite!

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Comments: 5

  1. Veggie Sara October 3, 2012 at 6:30 am Reply

    It all loks delicious! I liked veggie burgers and since this of the same author, I might like it too. It was not one of ghe best vegan books though.

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  2. KZCakes October 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Cute dress!! good looking pics as well ;)

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  3. charj October 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm Reply

    There are so many great looking recipes in this book. I haven’t made anything yet because the quantities are so huge. Even cutting the recipes in half would make more than I could eat in a reasonable amount of time.

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  4. Mands October 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm Reply

    That pb fudge looks delicious and I bet it was nice in the cookies, even if a bit sweet. And those buns, the filling looks so good!

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  5. Emmy October 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm Reply

    That fudge looks so good!
    I haven’t cooked much out of that book either for the same reasons as you. I really must get it out and make it a weekend treat or something, First on the list to make will be those buns! They look super yummy.

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