One of the great things about being a food writer is meeting other amazing people whose purpose and passion is centered around food. One of the people I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with during my food adventures is Kathy Hester, one of my favorite people in the world of food, blogger at Healthy Slow Cooking and writer of unique and inspiring vegan cookbooks. For those of you who follow me regularly, you know I’m not a vegetarian, much less vegan, although I greatly appreciate using an abundance of vegetables for every meal.
Kathy’s book, The Great Vegan Bean Book, changed my thinking on vegan cooking. Not only can vegan food be super hearty, but it is also bright and flavorful with an underlying simplicity. I found it easy to make substitutions with a little dairy and other standard ingredients from my kitchen. Given the ways this cookbook has inspired me, I can only imagine the doors it will open to practicing vegans, and those hoping to implement a new vegan diet. Currently, Kathy has two other cookbooks on the market, The Vegan Slow Cooker and Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You (the latter one sounds great for those nights when I’m having dinner on my own).
A bean-based vegan cookbook is ideal for those needing to incorporate more protein in their meat and dairy free diet. Kathy uses beans in baking, for breakfast, in simple salads and as the base for a Sloppy Joe (YUM!).
The recipe I chose to post below for this review is a simple tomato soup, made hearty and taken to the next level by the incorporation of a white bean purée used in the tomato base. It is the perfect dish to carry you into the cool days of the Fall. In the recipe below I’ve made a couple of substitutions with items I had on hand in the kitchen, and the final product turned out great (although not strictly vegan). I have made note of the substitutions and the original ingredients, so you can choose how you’d like to prepare your own. So, eat up, enjoy and pick-up one of Kathy’s books for even more veggie spiked inspiration.
Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this cookbook, but was not required to write a review. Further, I received no monetary compensation for this review.
Yield: About 8 Servings
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Small Yellow Onion, minced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Fresh Basil, Chopped (original recipe: 1 Tsp Marjoram)
1 Tsp Fresh Oregano, Chopped (original recipe: 1 Tsp Thyme)
1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 Tsp Ground Rosemary
2 Cups 1% Organic Milk (original recipe: 2 Cups unsweetened nondairy milk)
2 Cans (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes or 3 Cups Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
3 Cups White Beans, cooked or 2- 15 oz. can rinsed and drained (original recipe: 1 1/2 Cups White Beans or 1 can)*
Fresh Ground Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
*I used a mix of Snow Cap, Navy Beans and Great Northern.
1. If using dry beans, soak overnight then cook in salted water according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat Olive Oil over medium heat in a large stock pan. Add Onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the Garlic and Herbs and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add the Milk, Tomatoes and 1/2 Beans and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Once blended, add remaining Beans and leave whole (additional whole beans are optional and not part of the original recipe). Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
4. Heat for another 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat. Add more Salt if needed to complete and balance flavor.
5. Serve hot with your toppings of choice (I used Sour Cream and Fresh Basil). Enjoy!