Hello all! It’s finally feeling like spring in NYC… flowers are blooming, trees are green, new life is emerging… and so are new vegan cookbooks! I’ve recently received several exciting new cookbooks to test out and review, like NYC Vegan by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment, and Veganize It! by the prolific Robin Robertson. I will be posting reviews of both of those (and a giveaway!!!) soon, but first up is yet another exciting new vegan cookbook, YumUniverse Pantry to Plate: Improvise Meals You Love―from What You Have!―Plant-Packed, Gluten-Free, Your Way! This new book by Heather Crosby is perfect for new vegans or the vegan-curious who are perhaps intimidated by vegan cooking. What Crosby does is share master recipes that are easily customizable, making it simple to improvise with the ingredients that you have on hand, or with the ingredients you prefer or are more comfortable with. So no more running to the store if you’re missing that one ingredient for a recipe you wanted to try, you can work with what’s already in your pantry! Crosby provides plenty of helpful, general cooking tips as well, I especially like her section on working with aromatics, where she shows you which ingredients to combine to create flavor profiles for different types of cuisines – Chinese, French, Indian, Thai, Moroccan, and many more. Her recipes are like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book (Am I the only one old enough to remember those? Do kids still read those?) where you can pick from several different options, personalizing each one based on your dietary needs, what you have on hand to use, or whatever you are craving that day! Soon you’ll be improvising and freestyling your own scrambles and granolas, tacos and veggie burgers, and even desserts like a pro! But if I’m making it sound like you have too many choices to make, not to worry! Crosby also provides absolutely scrumptious and healthy recipes to follow as well. Some of the recipes that have me drooling are:
*Coconut, Mango, and Macadamia Granola
*Cinnamon-Spiced Red Lentil Dip
*Cheesy Yuca Fries
*Mushroom & Sage Lasagna
*Dynamite Mushroom Maki
*Millet and Veggie Empanadas
*”Red Velvet” Peppermint Choco-Chip Cookies
*Coconut-y Hazelnut & Chai Crunch Bars
*And her entire section of “Sneaky Brownie” recipes, that are all rich and decadent brownies with “sneaky” ingredients hidden within, like pureed beets, carrots, or squash!
The Experiment (publishers of YumUniverse) has graciously granted me permission to share with you Crosby’s recipe for Mocha, Almond & Chocolate Chunk Brownies, pictured above. These absolutely decadent brownies have pureed carrots in them, which totally makes them health food, so you need not feel any guilt for devouring the entire pan.
Mocha, Almond & Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Roasted chicory root tea is a nice caffeine-free substitute for coffee in these brownies if you want to change it up. Be sure to source a gluten-free, vegan chocolate bar if you have sensitivities. I highly recommend serving warm with vanilla Nice Cream (page 280) and/or Butterscotch (page 33).
- ¾ cup (110 g) raw, unsalted almonds
- Pinch plus ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) unrefined coconut oil, gently warmed to liquid, plus more for greasing
- 1¼ cup (200 g) brown rice flour
- 1 cup (200 g) Sucanat
- ¾ cup (85 g) blanched almond flour
- ½ cup (25 g) cocoa/cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon ground psyllium husk
- 1½ cups (195 g) diced carrots, steamed and puréed
- ½ cup (120 ml) warm water
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (170 g) chopped dark chocolate (one to two 3-ounce/85 g bars)
- ¼ cup (20 g) fine-ground coffee
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Scatter the almonds in one layer on the sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast for 7 minutes, remove, cool, chop, and set aside.
- Grease an 8- or 9-inch (20 to 23 cm) square baking dish with oil. In a large bowl, stir together the rice flour, Sucanat, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, psyllium, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the carrot purée, oil, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until thoroughly incorporated, then fold in the chocolate, coffee, and almonds. Spread in the baking dish and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the edges and center are dry. Cool entirely in the dish, slice, and enjoy. Store in the fridge for a few weeks, or freeze for a few months.
Recipe from YumUniverse Pantry to Plate © Heather Crosby, 2017. Photographs copyright © Heather Crosby, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com