You make me feel like a Natural Vegan Kitchen

The folks of Book Publishing Co. are at it again and holding a contest giveaway in unison with their Live Delicious, Eat Vegan campaign, a contest that includes Christine Waltermeyer’s Natural Vegan Kitchen cookbook. I was sent a copy of it for perusal and review.

Christine is the founder and director of the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, the school that most of us who love to cook find ourselves perma-daydreaming about.

Being an incorrigible dessert-comes-first type of dudette, I started leafing through the book from the bottom up, and was pleasantly surprised to see that Christine used to be addicted to sugar too, but managed to switch to wholesome alternatives instead with the positive outcome of now keeping her sugar cravings at an absolute minimum.
I find myself especially tempted by her recipes for Apricot Mousse, Red Berry Mousse and Vanilla Amazake Custard.

While some ingredients might have people who are new to veganism and to healthier foods scratch their head in wonderment at first, they can rest assured all that’s needed to know is carefully detailed in the Glossary, page 177.

It’s good to find old and new favorites made healthier bound together in a beautifully written and laid out book such as this one, and I can already tell I will have fun trying more recipes from it in the very near future.

Nutritional info per serving can be found in every single recipe, which I know a lot of people are interested in. This is entirely personal, but having a past history of obsessing over such numbers, and being lucky not to have any health issue forcing me to be on the lookout for such info, it’s something I don’t really pay attention to.

I am not the ultimate expert in Sloppy Joe recipes, since I’ve never tried the real (so to speak) thing, but having tasted and loved both the Snobby Joes that appear in Veganomicon and the recipe Joni created for our upcoming book, Hearty Vegan (wait for it, waaaaaaaaait for it … Sloppy Jonis), I just knew I had to give a go to another version that makes use of an unusual ingredient for such a meal: unsweetened apple butter.

I changed a couple of things in my execution of Christine’s recipe, due to being on a total grocery shopping strike: I used reconstituted TVP in place of tempeh, and Bavarian rye sourdough bread instead of the buns. No biggie, it all turned out absolutely smashing and I am now a firm believer in the guest appearance of apple butter here. I’m also eager to do a mash-up of all the above- and below-mentioned recipes, using lentils in place of any soy-based meat sub.

I served it here with sliced red cabbage sautéed in peanut oil with a pinch of sea salt, just long enough for it to be tender but still crisp, and then doused with an unhealthy amount of Sriracha.

US readers: if you’d like to receive my copy sent to you media mail, leave a comment and I’ll randomly pick someone Sunday night.
Megan/mcsassypants won.

Sloppy Joes
Recipe from Natural Vegan Kitchen, by Christine Waltermeyer
Used with kind permission of the publisher

1 (8-ounce) package gluten-free tempeh
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic (2 teaspoons)
Pinch sea salt
1 cup unsweetened apple butter
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
4 whole-grain buns

Steam the tempeh in a steamer basket over boiling water for 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. When the tempeh is cool enough to handle, coarsely grate it or crumble it by hand into a medium bowl.

Heat the water and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic, and salt. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the tempeh and cook and stir for 5 minutes.

Combine the apple butter, tamari, and mustard in a small bowl.
Add to the tempeh and mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve on whole-grain buns.

Yield: 4 servings

  • Kathryn says:

    I would love to own this cookbook just for the dessert section that you speak of that focuses on naturally sweet foods rather than sugar. I am constantly struggling with this and any new ideas are always welcomed. Of course, I am sure I would make good use out of all the other sections too =)

  • Stephanie says:

    ME want that book. But I dont know..Ive grown rather attached to my cravings. THey keep me warm at night with their sweet promises of happy sugar coma dreams. *sigh*

    • Celine says:

      I’m with you. I really have nothing against liking sugar in the end, as long as the cravings aren’t totally out of control.

  • Hi Celine! I love the name slobby joes! Yours turned out great. Why are you on a grocery store strike – trying to use up what you have first?

    Hope all is well with you!!


    • Celine says:

      I’m just trying to empty the pantry, but mostly? I just can’t be bothered going out for anything other than working out right now. hi there Jenn! how have you been doing?

  • miriam says:

    less sugar sounds good to me…

  • andrea devon says:

    oh i would love a copy of that book… desserts first, for sure! i would love to make those mousses, and the amazake custard- i’ve got to learn how to use that.