Hi friends! Let’s get 2018 started with THE vegan cookbook review you’ve been waiting for. I’m talking about The Edgy Veg cookbook by the original YouTube queen of DIY vegan fast food, Candice Hutchings. Y’all know I can’t be completely impartial because I’ve been subscribed to the channel for at least five years and am a big fan. I’m guessing a lot of you are big fans already too. But I’ll try my best to give you a thorough review by trying out some of the recipes, sharing my thoughts those and on the rest of the book.
Jump to the included recipes:
I love many of Candice’s recipes (like her veganized Popeye’s Bonafide Chicken and KFC-inspired Nashville Hot Cauliflower) but I was more keen to get my hands on this cookbook for the array of internationally inspired recipes. There are the obvious comfort foods like pizza and burgers. There’s also comfort foods for a Canadian city kid like me which includes things like ramen, Jamaican patties and samosas too. It’s the kind of cookbook you could eat out of for every meal of the day and for special occasions as well. If you haven’t figured it out already, I LOVE this cookbook!
Video Review for The Edgy Veg Cookbook
The Edgy Veg cookbook comes in a beautiful hardcover full of great photos to inspire and motivate you to get into the kitchen and actually try the recipes. For those new to vegan cooking, there’s a section to get you started with guides on vegan pantry items, what equipment you might need, and buying/making vegan substitutes for meat, dairy and eggs. Not to mention a whole section on making different types of vegan bacon. The book is not just for vegans though. The recipes are made to delight anyone’s taste buds; every one has been “carnivore approved!”
I started with breakfast; the logical place to begin. This book has pancakes, waffles, french toast, scrambles and bakes. But the breakfast dish that reigns supreme in my heart is the almighty Benny! Veggs Benny!
I enjoy this recipe because it’s:
- quick to make,
- blender-friendly, and
If you watch The Edgy Veg, you might have seen Candice make Vegan Eggs Benedict already. But the version in the book skips store-bought egg replacer (the particular brand which is hard for me to find) and has you making it from scratch. Like a true chef 😉
But you don’t need chef level skills. Traditional Hollandaise sauce is made from egg yolks combined with lemon juice and mustard that’s heated and whisked constantly while a thin stream of butter is poured in so it emulsifies. I remember from my pre-vegan days how annoying the process was. My arm would ache from whisking and if you poured the melted butter too fast, the sauce would separate and get clumpy. Then you’d have a sore arm and clumpy gross sauce that you would never serve at brunch without a paper bag over your head.
This vegan Hollandaise sauce makes things much easier. And perhaps healthier too. Simply blend silken tofu, unsweetened almond milk, lemon juice, and some flavouring ingredients together first. One of the key ingredients is nutritional yeast which gives this sauce much of its savoury flavour. For those new to the vegan pantry, nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheese-like or chicken-stock like flavour. It’s delicious on/in everything savoury. And it helps this sauce take on the yellow hue of traditional Hollandaise sauce.
Another key ingredient is black salt, also known as kala namak. Find it at Indian grocery stores, health food stores and online. Confusingly, black salt is not black but pink! Pinkish grey. It smells strongly like eggs with naturally occurring sulfur. A little goes a long way.
When you first blend the sauce, that eggy smell might even seem overwhelming. However, the aroma does mellow when you heat up the sauce.
After all those ingredients are well combined and smooth, melted vegan butter is poured into the running blender in a slow steady stream. Vegan butter is one of the greatest gifts to vegan-kind in my opinion. Specifically, I’m talking about Earth Balance Buttery Spread. It tastes very much like real butter and it acts like butter in cooking and baking. No other vegan butter/margarine alternative that I’ve tried comes close.
The resulting Hollandaise sauce is creamy and flavourful. I could taste the tofu under the other favours but it’s very mild. I bet most people won’t be able to tell. I could see myself putting this sauce on more dishes like roasted vegetables or used as gravy with a seitan roast.
I did hope for a slightly thicker consistency. Next time I might use extra firm silken tofu instead of soft to get a thicker result. I wouldn’t say this vegan Hollandaise tastes exactly like traditional Hollandaise sauce but it is delicious and does a great job on Tofu Bennies.
Thai Basil Beef
The next dish is Thai Basil Beef. Not with beef, of course, but vegan ground round. I used Yves Original Veggie Ground which is available at most major grocery stores in Canada. I love how this book is full of dishes inspired by different cultures. Canada is super multicultural especially in our major cities and this book really reflects that.
But the main reasons I decided to try this recipe is because I happened to have most of the ingredients in my pantry and it had the icon indicating the recipe should take 45 minutes or less to make. There are also icons to indicate gluten-free recipes and recipes that are especially good for entertaining.
I loved this dish for its bright bold flavours. Thai basil is herbaceous and fresh and a bit peppery. The chillies make this dish spicy but not too spicy. It was quite salty for me but not too salty that it couldn’t be balanced with rice and fresh cucumbers and lime juice added the perfect tang.
After shooting and filming the Veggs Benny and Thai Basil Beef, I tried more recipes including:
- Half-baked Mac and Cheese,
- Become a Master of Seitan: Chicken,
- Dill Pickle, Nacho, and Cool Ranch Popcorn shakers, and
- The Ginger Shot
Everything I tried was delicious! Do yourself a favour, get this book. It’s at all the major book retailers online and off. I’ve seen it for great prices, totally more than worth the money.
And that’s my opinion. Let me know yours in the comments below and let me know what your favourite Edgy Veg recipes are. Thanks so much for reading, my friends. Sorry about the long break between videos and posts lately. I’m not going back to a regular schedule as life has thrown other priorities at me but I’ll still be posting when I can. Sign up for email updates in the sidebar so you don’t miss a thing! Bye for now!
Printable recipe for Veggs Benny + Ritzy Hollandaise
- 12 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 block (10oz/300g) medium or soft tofu, cut into 8 slices about 1/2 (1cm) thick
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices of your favorite vegan cold cuts, sliced into bacon-like strips
- 4 English muffins, halved
- 1 recipe Ritzy Hollandaise (see below)
- In a large bowl, combine asparagus and olive oil; toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet, and roast in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until tender but still crisp.
- While your asparagus is roasting, heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add tofu and a pinch of salt and pepper. (Don't be shy with the salt: tofu literally has no flavor, so salt with conviction!) Cook for 10 minutes on each side, flipping once, until tofu starts to brown on the edges, just like an egg would. Set aside.
- Heat the same pan you used to prepare the tofu over medium-high heat. Lightly fry cold cuts for about 3 minutes, flipping once, until heated and slightly crispy. Congratulations, you've just made vegan bacon!
- Place 2 English muffin pieces on each plate and top first with cold-cut bacon slices, thing tofu egg, followed by asparagus spears. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and add a sprinkle of cayenne and chopped chives. Serve immediately and say "So long" to that hangover!
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
- Use baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- This recipe uses metric measurements; 1 cup = 250ml, 1 tablespoon = 15ml, and 1 teaspoon = 5ml.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (125ml)
- 1/2 cup soft silken tofu (125ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon black salt or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup vegan butter, melted (75ml)
- In a blender, combine almond milk, tofu, black salt, nutritional yeast, mustard powder and turmeric. Blend on High until smooth. Add lemon juice and blend until smooth. Add cayenne and pepper; pulse until well combined.
- Remove the plug in the lid. While the blender is running, slowly add vegan butter through the hold in the lid and blend until smooth. Check the taste and consistency of the hollandaise and adjust salt, pepper and lemon juice, if necessary.
Printable recipe for Thai Basil Beef
- 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed (250ml)
- 1 1/2 cups water (375ml)
- 7 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 red Thai chiles, halved and seeded
- 3 large shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (45ml)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup tamari (60ml)
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire
- 2 lbs veggie ground round
- sea salt
- 1 cup packed fresh Thai basil leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 red Thai chiles, sliced
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1/3 cup tamari (75ml)
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (90ml)
- 5 fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced cucumber (60ml)
- In a large saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, while you prepare the recipe. Use a fork to fluff up the rice when ready to serve.
- In a food processor, combine garlic, red pepper, red Thai chiles and shallots; pulse until a coarse paste forms.
- In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add paste and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until fragrant.
- In a small bowl, whisk together water, 1/4 cup (60 ml) tamari, coconut sugar, 2 tbsp (30ml) mirin and vegan Worcestershire. Set aside.
- Add veggie ground round to skillet and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add tamari mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until veggie ground round is steaming and heated through. Make sure to check the amount of liquid in the skillet: if it gets too dry, add a little bit of water. You do not want this to be dry. Add more tamari or mirin to taste.
- In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, red Thai chiles, mirin, tamari, lime juice and basil leaves.
- Once the veggie ground round is heated through, add 1 cup (250ml) basil leaves. Cover to wilt the basil quickly, about 2 minutes, max.
- Serve over rice with a side of cucumber slices and a tiny bowl of serving sauce.
This recipe uses metric measurements; 1 cup = 250ml, 1 tablespoon = 15ml, and 1 teaspoon = 5ml.