A few years ago there were only a few vegan cookbooks on the market, making it easy to pick one, if you happened to be browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Now there are hundreds, which is both good and bad. It’s good to see that veganism has taken off and is headed to the mainstream, but it’s bad because it’s tough to know what to buy if you’re interested in purchasing a new cookbook. You could spend hours reading reviews on Amazon or reading back covers at the bookstore, but I’m here today to save you the trouble. If you buy only one new cookbook this year, it should be Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking by Annie and Dan Shannon.
Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking is all about saving money, and doing so as deliciously as possible. The recipes here are frugal, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on taste. I mean, does anything sound more mouthwatering than Cajun Nachos or a Rustic Pesto and Heirloom Tomato Tart? This book is packed with over 200 recipes, so you could get through the better part of year without making the same thing twice. (Which also saves you money, because you won’t need to buy another cookbook!)
The beginning of the book is dedicated to the art of saving, with a plethora of tips and tricks for staying thrifty when shopping. I love that the recipes all have side bars, pointing to other recipes in the book in which you can use up leftover ingredients. There’s even a chapter decided to cooking with leftovers, so nothing gets wasted. The recipes will take you through the whole day, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there’s even a chapter for holidays and special occasions.
Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking is an extension of The Shannons’ first book Betty Goes Vegan, in that it takes an historical look at home cooking. This time, rather than channeling Betty Crocker, Annie and Dan look to the money saving techniques of Great Depression and World War II, and they throw in a pinch of mealtime inspiration from Julia Child for good measure.
All of the recipes in Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking contain ingredients are easily found in just about any grocery store, which means that you save time as well as money. (No driving around to different health food stores looking for specialized ingredients!) I know that vegans will love this book, but also think that omnivores who are looking to reduce their meat intake and save money at the grocery store will really enjoy it too.
- 1½ cups raw walnuts
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked dry cannellini beans
- 3 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
- 1 tablespoon applesauce
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ⅓ cup vegan beef broth or vegetable broth (we recommend Better Than Bouillon)
- ½ teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pinches crushed black peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking rolled oats
- ½ red onion, diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 to 6 hamburger buns
- Your favorite hamburger fixings
- In a food processor, combine the walnuts, beans, garbanzo bean flour, applesauce, and flaxseed and process into a puree.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the onion powder, thyme, garlic, nutritional yeast, vegan broth, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Use a spoon to mix in the walnut puree, then mix in the oats, onion, and parsley.
- Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into 4 to 6 patties. They’ll cook better if you don’t make them too thick.
- In your favorite cast-iron skillet or favorite frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches, carefully move the patties to the skillet. Brown on the first side for 1 minute, then carefully flip with a spatula and gently press the patties down. Once the patties are browned on both sides, transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties, adding the remaining olive oil to the pan after the first batch.
- Toast the hamburger buns while the patties are cooking.
- Place one patty on each bun and top your burger with mustard, BBQ sauce, pickles, or whatever your favorite hamburger fixings are.
- I recommend trying it with some A.1. steak sauce. Yep, it’s vegan!
I have a copy of Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking for one lucky reader! Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on July 26, 2015. Good luck!