Today I get to share something really fun and exciting with the whole world: a review of Jill Nussinow’s ebook, Nutrition CHAMPS:The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating & Cooking for Optimum Health, Happiness, Energy & Vitality, as well as a worldwide giveaway for one lucky reader! 😀
Dianne from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen was kind enough to ask me to check out Jill’s book because she knows my frustrations with US & Canada only giveaways. Let me say, I am one lucky fish! This is such a fun book full of old favourites and new treats, all presented thematically according to six food groups:
Herbs and Spices
Pulses (beans, peas and lentils)
Seeds and Nuts
Nutrition CHAMPS is an amazing collection of recipes with contributions from various cooks and bloggers such as Heather Nicholds, Robin Asbell, Fran Costigan, and Kathy Hester, among many others who really know their stuff and how to create taste sensations! There are so many recipes in this book (200, in fact!) that I had difficulty figuring where to start, but seeing familiar names in the mix made it all the more exciting to try out as many of the goodies as possible. Here are just a few of the recipes contained in Nutrition CHAMPS:
- Cabbage and Red Apple Slaw [see below!]
- The Veggie Queen’s Raw Kale Salad
- Broccoli with Turmeric, Ginger and Garlic
- Cilantro Avocado Dressing
- Garlicky Lemon Spinach Salad
- Wild Mushroom Farro Stew
- Simple Shiitake and Broccoli (Mock) Stir-Fry
- Pinto Bean Quinoa Burgers [see below]
- Lemony Lentil and Potato Chowder [see below]
- Spicy Peanut Citrus Sauce
Yum, yum, and yum! Obviously I couldn’t try every single recipe, but I did try my darndest! I’ll start off by saying that the introduction by Jill and Foreword by Dr Mary Wendt sets the tone perfectly for the purpose of Nutrition CHAMPS: whole, healthy food which is the basis for good living and long-term health. Jill herself says that one can adjust the recipes to how you usually cook (less or more oil, sugar or not), so in that way I’m thrilled that it isn’t one of those rigid system recipe books that attempts to prescribe every minute detail of your new “diet” but rather offer you delicious, easy, and versatile dishes to try out and incorporate into your daily eats.
Before I get into the nitty gritty here are a few snaps and comments on some of the treats I managed to make so far!
Pinto Bean Quinoa Burgers – Jill Nussinow
Um, yes please and thank you? I’ve had hemp seeds in my pantry for a few months now, unopened, because I honestly had no idea what to do with them until now, and I am SO glad I added them to a burger patty for that extra bit of crunch! I didn’t have the fresh herbs (using dry instead) and didn’t have enough quinoa for 3/4 cup, nor could I add garlic thanks to an intolerant husband (boo hiss), but I made a splash at it and it really was tasty. For Man-thing’s tastes I would double up the portions for each patty and make it uber thick, because he’s used to meaty burgers (silly omnivores), but this totally hit the spot for me, especially alongside pumpkin fries and an amazing dipping sauce I made (and will share at a later date!).
Verdict: Will make it again…and again! Definitely thickened up for Man-thing’s silliness, but I ate it crumbled over raw zucchini pasta and homemade tomato chunk sauce and it was also heavenly like that.
What really captured my imagination with this book is the simplicity of the majority of the recipes but the absolute flavour sensations that emanated from such basic shopping lists (always good for morale and the wallet!). With a number of them I was muttering to myself about whether I was missing some ingredients or if it was actually going to be tasty, and then – WHAM -Sensational!
Nutrition CHAMPS is a wonderful resource on your bookshelf simply because it is so varied in what it has to offer: all courses and meals can be catered for, and it clearly states serving sizes. A lot of the recipes are gluten-free, low to no oil, and are also sensitive to those who aren’t really allowed the world’s worth of sugar. Each recipe is preceded by a little ditty on the healthful qualities of the star ingredient or suggestions for how best to serve the dish and for what occasions, or even with personal descriptions of how it is supposed to taste – all of which are things I love. I adore it when recipes are personal and have meaning, even if it is just an excuse to salute the shiitake mushroom or beautify the oft-scoffed at broccoli head.
With all my photo spam, by the way, I totally forgot to mention the beautiful illustrations in the book by Emily Horstman and Josef Sorenson! I love the artwork in the book because it reminds me in some ways of the traditional nature etchings you find in some books and it gives a totally wistful and magical quality to the look and feel of Nutrition CHAMPS. There aren’t any photos, other than on the cover, but that’s actually my bag of candy in some ways – I get such a thrill making a dish and styling and making it my own, and because the flavours come out so great in each dish there’s no reason to worry about it looking ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
I really can’t give any students grief about a lack of comprehension skills since I read this as red cabbage and green apple, which is why my version of this salad is topsy turvy colour-wise. Verdict: I love cabbage salads (check out my sweet cabbage + apple caramel pitas from the other day) so this was just a winner.
Just as with any recipe book, sometimes you have to make adjustments for what’s actually in the pantry, but the recipes themselves are so solid that even substitutions, like the kidney and butter beans for the intended chickpeas, don’t break the spell – the taste sensation is just as delicious. I always demand such versatility from recipes I use because that’s real life – no-one wants to get home after work and then dash out to the shops again to be 100% on board with what’s on paper just to make something edible!
Oh, and if all this savoury is making you panic, don’t worry – in the 200 recipes, many of which are gluten-free, you will definitely find your wondrous sweet treats (approved by non-vegans wholeheartedly)!
And, of course, let’s not forget the recipe I get to share with you today!
I love lentils and the red ones break down so nicely but unfortunately turn yellow when cooked. This is comfort food at its best. The lemon and mint also makes it incredibly refreshing and fresh tasting, something not always easy to do mid-winter. Serves 6–8
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups red lentils
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups unpeeled diced potatoes (red look nice but any will work) 1 cup chopped greens like kale, mustard, chard, collards or sorrel
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil, if using, over medium heat in a large stockpot.
- Add onion and sauté for 3–4 minutes until it begins to soften. Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the lentils, broth and potatoes.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes or until the lentils and potatoes are tender.
- Purée the mixture with a hand blender.
- Add the greens and cook 5 more minutes until they are wilted.
- Stir in the lemon zest and juice and the mint. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
©2105 Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, from Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health Happiness, Energy and Vitality www.theveggiequeen.com
Oh yes! I’m a sucker for lemon, greens and mint, so this was really a delightful combination that I can’t wait to spring on family members – I am convinced certain omnivores will rethink their “vegans suck” attitude pretty quickly once they get whiff and taste of this. Creamy, flavourful, and with those stirred in greens there’s just an extra layer of texture to enjoy.
It’s a very filling dish, so one can easily stretch it to 8 – 10 servings if you’re going to have a monster salad on the side, but Man-thing polished off half the pot in one go, so it could just be me :p I used sweet potatoes instead of normal ones because that’s how I roll, so that extra bit of natural sweetness worked wonders with the tang of lemon.
All in all, every dish I tried was a success, and I’m not kidding around when I say that I’m excited to keep trying, especially the closer we get to winter – there are some amazing fresh recipes but also some warm and comforting ones like the chowder which appeal to every taste and every season. Most of the recipes use normal, everyday ingredients, and the biggest splurge we made was on cashews, which most people have in their pantries anyway, if all your deliciously evil raw cheesecake photos are to believed, dear bloggers!
And now for the part you’ve all been biting your nails over, I’m sure: the worldwide giveaway! The giveaway starts today and ends next Monday, 2 March, at 00h00 GMT + 2 😀
This giveaway is now done!