John, the VegInspired Chef, has been a self-taught chef for upwards of 8 years. His inspirations came from well-known TV chefs such as; Emeril Lagasse, Alton Brown, and Mario Batali. John has a collection of cookbooks that range from grilling to bread making to baking. He found America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated about three years into his self-study and has mastered the techniques and tricks they share through their website, cookbooks, and TV series. I am telling you all of this because when we started adopting a whole food, plant-based, vegan lifestyle we he had all new skills to learn. We reached out to vegan and plant-based cookbooks for inspiration and techniques. Click here for our resources.
For Christmas 2014, we received the cookbook “But I Could Never Go Vegan!” By Kristy Turner. Even from first glance, I felt it was going to be a winner; it has beautiful pictures accompanying each recipe. It has chapters that make sense for new (and seasoned vegans)… we all hear (or said) the same excuses. Additionally, the recipes looked achievable enough, even for an amateur cook like me. In the small towns where our families are from, some of the ingredients might be difficult to find (agar flakes, kelp granules), but with the Internet and proper planning anything can be found and shipped right to your door.
So, we dove right into the book for our annual New Year’s Eve Festivities and made Peasamole (pg 240) and Artichoke Crab Cakes with Siracha Tartar Sauce (pg 202). Both recipes were easy and impressive. The Peasamole had an excellent flavor profile and was good with store bought tortilla chips. The Crab Cakes were amazing. I always loved good crab cakes and knew that crab was something I would omit from my vegan diet, so finding a recipe that incorporates plants with the flavor of the crab… is perfect!
Other recipes we’ve tried are:
Cashew Blue Cheese (pg 46) – We omitted the spirulina, so our “cheese” didn’t have the blue hue, but it was great. We let it dry out per the instructions and added some additional ingredients to make a dressing. It worked perfectly for our application. I highly recommend this. Blue Cheese is one of the only items I can honestly say I miss. I miss the act of dipping buffalo flavored foods into the dressing, not the actual dressing. We did find a vegan-friendly restaurant in Rochester, NY that has a yummy blue cheese dressing that is vegan. It was fantastic!
Mediterranean Tofu Scramble (pg 66) –We made this recipe one Sunday morning when we had company. I don’t recall if we had all of the ingredients because I believe it was impromptu and not planned. The flavor combination in this recipe is perfect. We paired it with some vegan Bloody Mary’s, and it was a hit!
Chickpea Omelets (pg 84)– John was captivated by this recipe and every week he would say, “We need to try the chickpea omelets.” The menu plan would be completed, and we would forget to add the ingredients for the Omelets. We finally added them and made them one Sunday Morning, and they are divine! They paired nicely with our “Cheesy” Grits recipe and our breakfast potatoes. The texture and flavor were perfect, and I think that chickpea base would lend itself well to other applications.
Chickpea Sloppy Joes (pg 98) – This was our most recent recipe, and it was so great! The texture and flavors of the recipe on a hamburger roll brought me right back to childhood without the meat! 🙂
Lentil, Chard and Sweet Potato Curry (pg 143) – This recipe is probably one of our favorites! It has inspired us to try other types of lentils/dals and work with other curry flavor combinations. We served this recipe with rice both times we made it, but I could see it working well with crusty bread or another grain, such as quinoa.
I have a list of recipes I want to try from this book… Cauliflower Picatta, Iced Oatmeal Cookies (you know – cookies similar to those that come in a pink bag!), Chickpea Fries, and… the list goes on and on! I can’t tell you when I will finally get to try all the recipes, but I can assure you that while we have over 30 physical cookbooks (and of course there is Pinterest and blogs) we always grab “But I Could Never Go Vegan” off the shelf for recipes because we know that the recipes are spot on every time.
Thank you to Kristy Turner for a great book! We are so glad that this book came into our life at the perfect time!
Click here to grab a copy for yourself! Let us know in the comments below what you think of the book and what your favorite recipes are! Tag us on Instagram @veginspired with your thoughts!