Once upon a time, there was a very lucky girl who decided to review cookbooks. All of a sudden her mailbox (I’m talking the retro snail mail kind of mailbox), was full of amazing, exciting, ridiculously fun (nerd alert!), vegan cookbooks.
The next cookbook up for review is Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton. You may know Dreena from her blog Plant-Powered Kitchen or perhaps you already own one of her earlier cookbooks Let Them Eat Vegan!, Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan, Vive Le Vegan!, or The Everyday Vegan. Yes, that’s right, Dreena is no newbie to cookbook writing, she has 5 vegan cookbooks on the market! I am thinking this girl knows a thing or two about cooking up some plants.
I haven’t met Dreena in person yet, (one day!) but I am sure she must be one of the most loveliest of all people. I remember when I first started blogging, I probably had like 10 followers, one of whom I call mom, and I wrote this post 1 Year Vegan. Dreena came across my story, read it, and tweeted at me that she liked it!
Someone so influential in the vegan world took the time to read my story, I felt like a superstar that day. And so the love of blogging began…
Plant-Powered Families focuses on healthy, kid-friendly recipes. I don’t have kids yet, but the inner kid in me (which I sometimes think makes up about 75% of me), was jumping with joy when I received this book. Simple, yummy, easy, and healthy recipes. I’m talking vegan cheesy dips, quick pastas, veggie burgers, sloppy joes, fries, pudding, cookies, granola bars. All things kids (and I) love, and all things made with health in mind. Applause please.
WHAT I LIKED
- Every recipe is whole-food plant based, meaning no oils and minimal processed foods. Healthy is the name of the game!
- Foreword by Neal Barnard, MD, one of my favourites (nerd alert #2).
- Recipes that kids will like but are actually GOOD for them. Have your cake AND eat it too.
- Dreena has written notes and tips throughout the book, to help you get the best results for each recipe.
- This book is so much more than just a cookbook, there are sections on: Prepping Your Kitchen, Picky Eaters, School and Lunchbox Solutions, Tips for Hosting and Attending Kids’ Parties, DIY Staples, Cooking Guides, and Meal Plans. Basically, whatever question you may have about raising a vegan family, I think Dreena covers it. I’m definitely holding on tight to this book for my future.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Some recipes contain some difficult to find ingredients such as white chia seeds, coconut sugar, kelp granules. You can generally find these products in health food stores or order them online on Amazon.
- Some of the breakfast and dessert recipes contain Vega brand name products. I have no problem at all with Vega, (I have some in my cupboard now) but not everyone may have access to it.
If you are raising a vegan family, or plan to in the future, this is the perfect book for you. It’s not just the healthy, kid-friendly recipes that make it a great find, but all of the information and advice from this experienced vegan mom make Plant-Powered Families a must have.
Get your copy of Plant-Powered Families Here!
To test out the cookbook I made three of the recipes. The first I tried was the Creamy Fettuccine. I am always amazed at how many ways you can make a creamy dish in vegan cooking. This recipe is made with a mixture of almonds and cashews. The result is a light, creamy, mild, satisfying, easy to devour the whole bowl in 14 seconds kind of dish. Yep, totally had this twice in a row.
The next recipe I tried was Tofu in Cashew Ginger Sauce. Dreena gave the option of using peanut butter instead of cashew butter in this recipe, which is what I did, so I guess you could call mine Tofu in Peanut Ginger Sauce. This was a super simple to make, creamy, saucy, comfort food goodness. I loved how this recipe only require 8 ingredients, and that it came together in under 30 minutes. This is a great lazy weeknight meal.
The last recipe I tried was the The Mild Cheesy Dip. This was my favourite of the three. A little more complicated with lots of ingredients, but it was so worth it. I made this dip and brought it to a party where it was devoured in point three seconds by vegans and omni’s alike. It was lovely, creamy, cheesy, but what makes this recipe really cool is the secret ingredient. Potatoes! Yes, this is a potato dip. I think I’m in love. Test the recipe for yourself.
- ¾ cup peeled, precooked, and roughly chopped yellow or red potato
- 3 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2–2 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast (see note)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 ½ tablespoons chickpea or other mild miso
- 1 tablespoon white chia seeds
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛–1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
- 1 ¼ cups plain unsweetened nondairy milk (plus more to thin as desired; see note)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½–1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
- ¼–1/2 cup salsa (optional; see note)
- Combine all ingredients except salsa in a blender (starting with ½ tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast) and puree until very smooth.
- Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan, and heat over low/ low-medium heat for 5–8 minutes, stirring often, until mixture starts to slowly bubble and thicken. Avoid thickening the sauce over high heat because it can cause scorching. Add extra salt/ lemon juice to taste, and 1–2 tablespoons of milk to thin sauce if desired. Stir in optional salsa, and serve!
Milk Note: I prefer to use plain, unsweetened soy or almond milk in this cheese dip. If you can’t use nut milks, then opt for soy.
Salsa Note: We love this dip with several tablespoons of mild salsa added in. You can also try adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes, minced green onions or chives, sliced olives, fresh herbs, a few tablespoons of chopped jalapeño peppers, or a few dashes of hot sauce to kick up the heat!
Idea: Try adding ¼ cup of diced raw carrot when blending. It adds a nice pop of orange color to the dip. If using a standard blender, you may want to cook carrots until tender to fully puree
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of Plant-Powered Families ↓↓↓