I taught myself to cook out of necessity when I went vegetarian in the early 90s, because my mom’s idea of vegetarian food was a bag of frozen cubed carrots, corn, and peas that had been heated in the microwave. I bought a couple of cookbooks, subscribed to Vegetarian Times, and hit the kitchen. Over the years, I’ve taken a few cooking classes here and there, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I formally trained as a plant-based chef in the Rouxbe Plant-Based Professional Course, which was developed by Chad Sarno. I learned tons in the class, and I developed a lot of confidence in the kitchen.
If you don’t have time to take the Rouxbe course, you can learn to cook with Chad, his brother Derek, and David Joachim with their new book The Wicked Healthy Cookbook.
The Wicked Healthy Cookbook crushes any stereotypes that vegan food is bland or tastes like dirt, and it elevates to the level of gourmet cuisine. This book will teach you how to cook healthy food that’s full of flavor and will have even hard-core omnivores coming back for seconds.
The recipes in The Wicked Healthy Cookbook vary from easy-to-make dishes like this Broccoli with Fermented Black Bean Sauce to more elaborate fare, such as Banana Blossom with Coconut and Chile or Niçoise Salad with Plant-Based Eggs and Olive Dirt. If you’re new to vegan cooking, don’t worry about anything being too difficult to make, because Chad and Derek are good teachers, and they include easy-to-follow instructions.
The book is packed with tips for cooking wicked healthy meals, and it includes lots of information for new chefs, including what type of equipment to have on hand as well as lists of ingredients to stock your kitchen with. Seasoned vegans will love the new, innovative recipes.
With this book, you’ll learn how to make your own pizza dough and your own tortillas. You will get to experiment with ingredients that may be new to you, such as banana blossoms and lobster mushrooms. You’ll also learn how to create party-friendly spreads, such as a mac & cheese bar, a loaded baked potato bar, and a taco bar.
- Time to Get Wicked Healthy
- What to Keep on Hand
- The Conscious Cook’s Mind-Set
- Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to Taste Like Shit
- First Bites
- Straight-Up Vegetables
- Comfort Food
- Nature’s Candy
- Wicked Healthy Juices and Cocktails
- Sauces and Basics
May has been a busy month for me so far, so I decided to start my wicked healthy cooking with Broccoli with Fermented Black Bean Sauce. This dish comes together in a matter of minutes, so it was perfect for dinner on a hectic weeknight.
I’ve had broccoli with black bean sauce many of times, but I’ve never had it likes this. This recipe calls for fermented black beans, rather than the black bean paste that’s traditionally used. I didn’t have time to run to the nearest grocery store to pick them up, but fortunately, Amazon has them. I had never had them prior to buying them for this dish, and I was surprised by their bold, salty flavor.
This dish was much better than any takeout I’ve ever had, and it came together much more quickly than waiting for delivery! The recipe says it serves four as small plates, but we added some rice, and we got two full servings out of it.
How to Make Broccoli with Fermented Black Bean Sauce
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Then you heat the oil in a large wok or pan.
- Next you add the onion and cook it about 30 seconds
- Now you add the black beans, garlic, ginger, and dried chiles and cook them for another 30 seconds.
- You add the broccoli and water chestnuts to the pan next and cook them for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Add 1/4 cup of vegetable stock and cook for another 15 seconds or so.
- Finally, you add the sauce to the pan and cook for another minute or so, or until it thickens.
I don’t like water chestnuts, so I left them out, which makes me think that you can easily adapt this recipe to suite your tastes.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure you use tamari, rather than soy sauce.
I plan on doing more wicked healthy cooking in the future. Next up, King Satays with Spicy Peanut-Ginger Sauce!
Broccoli With Fermented Black Bean Sauce
Black Bean Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon agave or other sweetener
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or thinly sliced fresh chiles
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 white onion sliced thin
- 2½ tablespoons fermented black beans rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1- inch piece fresh ginger minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 dried red chiles such as cayenne
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- ½ cup sliced water chestnuts (fresh or canned)
- About ½ cup vegetable stock
- For the sauce: Whisk together the wine, tamari, agave, sambal oelek, sesame oil, and pepper. Whisk in the cornstarch. Set aside.
- For the vegetables: Have everything prepped and ready to cook. The cooking will go really fast, so it’s crucial to have everything prepped. Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over the highest heat. You want the pan blisteringly hot. Pour the oil around the edge of the pan to evenly cover the surface. Add the onion and stir-sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the black beans, garlic, ginger, and dried chiles; stir-sizzle another 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and water chestnuts. Use a spatula to press the broccoli against the wok to sear and get some color on it, 15 to 30 seconds more. Add ¼ cup of the stock and continue stir-frying to steam the broccoli and soften it, about another 15 seconds.
- Add the sauce and stir-fry until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute. The sauce should thicken and coat the broccoli. If it’s too thick, add a little more stock so the sauce lightly glazes the vegetables. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Other Easy Stir-Fries Include:
- Tofu and Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry
- Spicy Soy Curl Stir-Fry
- Tofu Teriyaki Stir-Fry
- Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts
- Coconut-Peanut Butter Chickpea and Broccoli Stir-Fry
I have a copy of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. The contest ends at midnight on May 15th. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!