You’re probably familiar with Laura Theodore from her PBS cooking show Jazzy Vegetarian, which is now in its third season and can currently be seen on the Create channel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Her new cookbook Jazzy Vegetarian Classics is the companion book to the show, and all of the recipes to the delicious dishes that Laura cooks up on the show can be found within its pages. On the television show and in her cookbooks Laura focuses on flavorful, classic meatless dishes that can be made without strange or hard-to-find ingredients. These are the kind of meals that you can easily serve to your omnivore friends at a dinner party, or your picky-eater family members at the holidays. Chances are that they won’t even miss the meat. Dishes include Spaghetti and Wheatballs, a veganized Jazzy-Style Caesar Salad with Cashew Parmesan, Polenta Pizza, Oven-Baked Two-Bean Chili and even decadent desserts like German Chocolate Cake and Blueberry Cheeze-Cake.
Jazzy Vegetarian Classics is a gorgeous hardcover book full of delicious recipes and mouthwatering photographs. In the book’s introduction, Laura talks about how she was able to combine her love of performing with her love of food to create the Jazzy Vegetarian. Laura – and all of her recipes – are actually vegan, but when she came up with the name, the word “vegan” wasn’t used much, and most people didn’t know what it meant. Laura also provides a list “Jazzy Basics”, making it easy for those new to vegan cooking to stock a their pantries. She also provides sample menu ideas, along with music suggestions to play with each meal. The book is packed with recipes for everything from breakfast and snacks to soups, stews, pastas, pizzas and desserts. There are recipes for main dishes, side dishes, beverages and even sauces and dressings. There’s really something for everyone.
Since these meals really are classics that anyone can enjoy, Dennis picked up a copy of the book to give to his parents in Oklahoma when he went to visit them last month. He texted me one night to say that he was cooking Spaghetti and Wheatballs, and my response was “Hey! You need to cook that for me!” And when he came home, he did! This meal is cat approved, as we found half eaten wheatballs all over the kitchen counter after we ate our own meal, although I probably would advise against cooking it for your feline friends. They’ll just demand dinners like this all the time if you do.
While Dennis was making the wheatballs, I threw together a couple apple turnovers. Even though I like to bake, I usually avoid making anything that requires rolling out dough. The genius behind these turnovers is that the “crust” is actually whole wheat tortilla! Dessert only took a few minutes to prepare and it was ready to eat when we were done with our pasta.
One morning I was watching Jazzy Vegetarian while eating an English muffin for breakfast. Laura just happened to be making breakfast during the episode and the show’s star was her Tofu Ranchero recipe. It looked so good that it made me resent my muffin. I immediately went shopping to pick up all of the ingredients for the recipe, along with the ingredients for Laura’s Cornbread Sweet Pepper Mini Muffins. This was the perfect breakfast, and would even make an incredible dinner!
I recently interviewed Laura Theodore for Chic Vegan and then she interviewed me on her radio show. She also stopped by Montclair for a book signing, and I had her autograph an extra book so that I could give it one of you wonderful readers. One lucky winner will win an autographed copy of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics. Follow the instructions below to enter. US residents only. Contest ends at midnight EST on Sunday, November 3rd.