Month: February 2021

Tzatziki from Vefa’s Kitchen

Sorry hummus but tzatziki is probably my favorite dip of all time. Though I’m not sure if it’s a dip, a sauce or a spread. I’ll drink it by the bucketload either way.

I used to think tzatziki was hard to make until a Greek co-worker told me it was easy. The tricks are not grating but cutting the cucumber and adding olive oil, lots of it.

This recipe hails from Greece The Cookbook, also known as Vefa’s Kitchen (order in the US or UK) and has got you ready to dip in no time, great with pita bread, chips, fish or (mushroom) gyros.

A white enamel bowl with a blue trim filled with tzatziki topped with olive oil and a black olive on a fake concrete background.

Classic Greek tzatziki

Dorothy Porker
A classic recipe for Greek tzatziki from Vefa's Kitchen.
Prep Time 10 mins
If you're making Greek yogurt from scratch 6 hrs
Course Appetizer, Dip, Sauce, Side dish, Spread
Cuisine Greek
Servings 2 - 4 people

Equipment

  • Strainer, if making Greek yogurt from scratch
  • Cheese cloth, see above
  • Bowl x2, 1 if you're not making Greek yogurt from scratch

Ingredients
  

  • 3 c - 750 ml Greek-style yogurt or plain, strained in a cheese cloth for 6 hours
  • 1 cucumber peeled and finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 t - 1.5 g salt
  • 3-4 T - 45-60 ml olive oil
  • 3 T - 45 g dill finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Mix together 3 c - 750 ml Greek-style yogurt with 1 peeled and finely chopped cucumber, 3-4 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 1/4 t - 1.5 g of salt, 3-4 T - 45-60 ml olive oil and 3 T - 45 g of finely chopped dill, cover and leave to cool in the fridge.

Notes

Tzatziki keeps for 2-3 days in a closed container in the fridge. 
Keyword cucumber, dips, greek, sauce, spreads, yogurt

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor klassieke Griekse tzatziki.

Greek Mushroom Gyros

My first love wasn’t Dutch-Indonesian food, because that was just there, my first love was Greek food.

There was a lovely little ouzerie in Utrecht where I first learned about the pleasures of shared little nibbles. From tapas, to dim sum and sushi, I prefer little nibbles because they invite conversation. Where more formal ‘European’-style dining, with courses, tends to shut people up. “Quiet, for the main has appeared.”

I’d visit the ouzerie at least once a month during my time near and in Utrecht, taking friends, boyfriends, prospective boyfriends and people from work throughout the years.

Later I would visit Crete and fall in love with the food even more. But proper Greek food is hard to replicate in the Netherlands. The quality of the produce is a huge aspect of it (you haven’t tasted a courgette until you’ve had a courgette on Crete) so as far as home cooking’s concerned Greek has been low on my radar.

(Please note I have not been to Eleni since the late 90’s so I do not know if it’s still as lovely as it used to be)

Mushroom fest Y2K

As I’m venturing more and more into vegan and vegetarian cooking however, mushrooms have come onto my radar in a big (BIG) way. Merrily chomping away on some teriyaki king oyster mushrooms courtesy of The Omnivore’s Cookbook it hit me: oyster mushroom gyros! As a foundation I used this recipe from Real Greek Recipes and with a few tweaks a star (or rather an easy weekday lunch or dinner recipe) was born.

A portrait of Dorothy Porker in the old Dutch master style with a collar made of pita breads in front of a turquoise curtain

Tzatziki and pita bread

I used the tzatziki recipe from Greece the Cookbook (order in the US or UK) for this and store-bought pita bread. I really thought I was going to make my own pita bread but it was not a let’s also make bread sorta of day, energy wise. I’ve been baking things from Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet and everything has come up a treat so I reckon his pita bread recipe, which you can find here, is also solid if you do have the energy and want to give it a go.

A close up of three white bowls and plates with blue trim, topped with a pita bread cut through the middle filled with roasted oyster mushrooms and tzatziki.

Greek Mushroom Gyros - Vegan

Dorothy Porker
A quick and easy vegan take on classic Greek gyros with tzatziki.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
If you're making Greek yogurt from scratch 6 hrs
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Greek, Vegan
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Strainer, if making your own Greek yogurt
  • Cheese cloth, see above
  • Bowl, see above
  • Bowl
  • Frying pan
  • Toaster or oven for pita

Ingredients
  

For the tzatziki, store-bought is fine as well

  • 3 c - 750 ml Greek-style yogurt or plain, strained in a cheese cloth for 6 hours
  • 1 cucumber peeled and finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 t - 1.5 g salt
  • 3-4 T - 45-60 ml olive oil
  • 3 T - 45 g fresh dill finely chopped

For the oyster mushroom gyros

  • 3 T - 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz - 250 g oyster mushrooms coarsely torn
  • 1/4 green bell pepper coarsely chopped, optional
  • 1 T - 15 ml red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 T - 7.5 ml lemon juice fresh is preferred
  • 1/2 T - 7.5 g dried oregano
  • pinch salt
  • ground black pepper

To serve

  • pita bread ready-made

Instructions
 

Make the tzatziki - again: store-bought is fine too

  • Mix together 3 c - 750 ml Greek-style yogurt with 1 peeled and finely chopped cucumber, 3-4 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 1/4 t - 1.5 g of salt, 3-4 T - 45-60 ml olive oil and 3 T - 45 g of finely chopped dill, cover and leave to cool in the fridge.

Make the oyster mushroom gyros

  • Heat 3 T - 45 ml of olive oil in a large frying pan. SautĂ© 1 finely chopped shallot and 3-4 finely chopped cloves of garlic in the oil until they start becoming translucent.
  • Add 9 oz - 250 g torn oyster mushrooms and 1/4 coarsely chopped green bell pepper if using. Leave to sit until the vegetables start to get some color on them before giving the pan a toss. Do this until the vegetables have turned soft and start to turn golden brown and the pan is almost dry.
  • Now keep stirring the vegetables while you toss in 1 T - 15 ml of red wine vinegar and 1/2 T - 7.5 ml lemon juice. The liquids will sizzle and dry out quickly, imparting a slight tang to the vegetables.
  • Once the liquids have evaporated, add 1/2 T - 7.5 g of dried oregano and add salt and pepper to taste. Give it another quick stir before serving the gyros on warm pita bread with a good dollop of tzatziki.

Notes

  • You can keep the prepared oyster mushrooms for 1 day in the fridge and reheat until crisp in a hot frying pan but it's best finished fresh. 
  • The tzatziki keeps for 2-3 days in a closed container in the fridge. 
Keyword easy vegan, greek, gyros, mushrooms, tzatziki

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor vegan paddenstoelen gyros.

Perkedel Kol Bunga – Cauliflower Fritters

Most Dutch-Indonesians I know mainly eat perkedel jagung (corn fritters) but I’ve always got perkedel kol bunga (cauliflower fritters) growing up. It’s a recipe from a small cookbook called Rijst Tafelen (rice tabling, verbing things is awesome – coming up with eating traditions during colonial times and then adding them to your list of Unesco World Intangible Heritage is not) by Lia Warani. A book I don’t see a lot of other Dutch-Indonesians talk about either.

If you can get your hands on it (and know how to read Dutch/ use a translating app) it’s a pretty fun little addition to your Asian(ish, Dutch-Indonesian food differs from Indonesian food proper) cookbook collection.

Spice variations

In the recipe below I’ve included the original spice mix as suggested by Lia Warana. The recipe is headed ‘bloemkoolkoekjes’ (cauliflower cookies) and then basically says: make the recipe for jagung ‘koekjes’ (cookies) but replace the corn with cauliflower. Obviously you could replace the cauliflower with corn in my recipe.

I’ve also included the spice mix I used for the photos. Which is the spice mix from Nik Sharma‘s eggplant pilaf from Season (order in the US or UK). Obviously a completely different dish, but I had some of the mix leftover and it worked really well.

You can leave out most of the spices or just add your own. I like leaving everything but the spring onions out and topping with good ol’ Old Bay for example. The possibilities are endless.

How do I eat cauliflower fritters?

I grew up having these as a side with rice and a pork and potato perkedel. Nowadays I have them as my main. They go really well with tzatziki or raita stuck on some pita or naan for example.

A head of cauliflower covered in cauliflower fritters, surrounded by its own leaves, on a blue background.

Perkedel Kol Bunga (Cauliflower Fritters)

Dorothy Porker
A quick and easy recipe for Indonesian style cauliflower fritters from Lia Warani's Rijsttafelen.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side dish
Cuisine Dutch Indonesian, Indonesian
Servings 2 - 4 people

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Large frying pan
  • Serving spoon
  • Plate
  • Paper towels
  • Slotted spoon or similar for removing the fritters from the oil

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium cauliflower chopped, see instructions
  • 4 T - 60 g flour you can use plain, corn, rice, etc. also work
  • 1/2 c - 125 ml water + a little extra, if you don't want to eat vegan 2 eggs with 2 T of water also works
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • vegetable oil for shallow frying, I prefer sunflower

Option 1: Lia Warani's spice mix

  • 1 1/2 T - 25 g desiccated coconut
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs parsley finely chopped
  • 1 chili deseeded and finely chopped

Option 2: Nik Sharma's spice mix

  • 1/2 t - 2.5 g ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 g ground coriander
  • 1/4 t - 1.25 g ground chili flakes
  • 1/4 t - 1.25 g ground turmeric
  • 1/4 t - 1.25 g ground green cardamom
  • 1/4 t - 1.25 g ground cloves

Option 3

  • whatever you think works

To finish

  • sprinkling salt

Instructions
 

To prepare the cauliflower

  • Remove the outer leaves from your cauliflower and then start slicing off the outer layer of the florets.* You should cut about 1/4 inch - 5mm deep. Crumble these layers into smaller pieces of various sized using your hands. Note: little bits of cauliflower will get everywhere, but I promise you it's worth it.

Make the perkedel kol bunga

  • Mix together 4 T - 60 g of flour of choice with 1/2 c - 125 ml of water thoroughly until you have a thin batter.
  • Now mix the spring onions and cauliflower and whichever spice mix you are using into the batter until well combined.
  • Preheat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat and set aside a plate with some paper towels.
  • Once the oil is good and hot, it should be shimmering but not smoking, remix the cauliflower batter with your spoon, so you get a good mixture of batter and vegetable in your serving spoon and spoon out an even layer, gently sliding it into the hot oil and flattening it a little into an even layer. If pieces of cauliflower separate themselves just gently tuck them back or attach them to the fritter with a little more batter.
  • Bake on one side until golden and crisp and then turn over and bake until the top is golden and crisp. This takes about 2-4 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan, in my frying pan I can bake about 3-4 max per batch.
  • Remove from the pan. Drain on the kitchen towel and season with salt. They are most delicious fresh and great with rice and some greens, as a snack, on some pita with tzatziki or raita, etc. etc.

Notes

Once fried these cauliflower fritters keep for about 2-3 days in the fridge. You can reheat them in 10-15 minutes in a hot oven at 400 °F - 210 °C.
* For this recipe you will be left with the core of the cauliflower. I would use this to make a nice and creamy cauliflower soup.
Keyword easy vegan, easy vegetarian, fritters, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe, kid friendly, kol bunga, kubis bunga, vegan sides, vegetarian sides

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor perkedel kol bunga (bloemkoolkoekjes). 

Dark & Stormy Crème Brûlée

I love ginger (beer) and I love spiced rum, so when I spotted Yvette van Boven‘s recipe for dark and stormy crème brĂ»lĂ©e in the Delicious Christmas Special I had to have it. It was as amazing as you imagine it to be (if you like ginger beer and rum).

Hong Kong ‘egg’ tarts from Sasha Gill

Because I’d previously made Sasha Gill‘s vegan Hong Kong ‘egg’ tarts from her book Jackfruit & Blue Ginger (available through Bookshop.org in the US and UK) I knew a vegan custardy situ was possible. So I decided to make a vegan version and share it with you.

Crème Brûlée tools

It’s nice if you have a blow torch at hand for this, though a broiler or an oven with a grill also work. If you are going to invest in a blow torch I suggest you get the kind that you snap onto a gas cannister, rather than the kind you have to fill yourself (which I have), as the latter are very fussy and have to be refilled more often than is desirable.

In the photo you can see I have tons of ramekins perfect for crème brĂ»lĂ©e. These are all ramekins left over from store-bought desserts that came in ramekins and that I’ve saved over time. I think this is the best way to get ramekins because you get a free ready-made snack with them. You could also use a large tart or pie dish to make one big brĂ»lĂ©e if that’s what you’re working with.

Not kid-proof

Obviously because this dish contains alcohol it is not suitable for children. To make it suitable for children you could leave out the dark and stormy syrup and lime, see recipe notes.

Seven bowls of crème brûlée sit together on a pink backdrop. The bowls are different heights. All the brown bowls are out of focus. One blue bowl in the center of the image is in focus.

Dark and Stormy Crème Brûlée - Vegan

Dorothy Porker
Combining recipes from Yvette van Boven and Sasha Gill this recipe brings together the delicious flavors of the classic Dark & Stormy cocktail with a luscious vegan crème brûlée.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Setting time 8 hrs
Course Cocktails, Dessert, Party snack, Sweets
Cuisine French, Vegan
Servings 8 - 9 people

Equipment

  • Small saucepan
  • Strainer or sieve
  • Bowl, jar or bottle
  • Oven
  • Blender
  • Ramekins x 8-9
  • Oven dish(es) that will hold the ramekins as well as a fair amount of water
  • A kettle for boiling water
  • Kitchen foil to cover the ramekins
  • Fridge
  • Blow torch, oven with grill or broiler

Ingredients
  

For the dark and stormy syrup

  • 1 can ginger beer about 12 oz - 330 ml, I like Old Jamaica
  • 1" - 2.5 cm ginger grated
  • 5 T - 90 ml rum separated into 3/ 2 T - 50/ 40 ml, I prefer spiced

For the dark and stormy crème brûlée

  • 1.3 oz - 600 g silken tofu
  • 3/4 c - 200 ml non-dairy milk I use vanilla flavored soy milk for added oomph
  • 1 1/2 t - 9 g vanilla extract
  • 3.5 T - 20 g vanilla custard powder check the ingredients to ensure this is vegan
  • 1 c - 125 g sugar
  • 1/2 c - 125 ml dark and stormy syrup see above
  • zest of 1 lime the green, not the white, the latter is unpleasantly bitter
  • pinch salt

To finish

  • 1/2 c - 60 g cane sugar plain sugar is far less delicious in this instance

Instructions
 

Make the dark and stormy syrup

  • Place the contents of 1 can of ginger beer in a small saucepan with 1" - 2.5 cm of grated ginger and 3 T - 50 ml of rum and bring to a boil.
  • Boil the ginger beer, ginger and rum mixture for 10-20 minutes until it is reduced to at least half it's original amount.
  • Strain the mixture through a strainer or sieve into a bowl, jar or bottle, before adding an additional 2 T - 40 ml of rum and leaving to cool.

To make the crème brûlée

  • Preheat an oven to 260 °F - 125 °C.
  • Blend together 1.3 oz - 600 g of silken tofu with 3/4 c - 200 ml milk, 1 1/2 t - 9 g vanilla extract, 3 1/2 T - 20 g custard powder, 1 c - 125 g sugar, 1/2 c - 125 ml dark and stormy syrup, the zest of 1 lime and a pinch of salt. Taste to check if you'd like to use more syrup, vanille, lime or salt.
  • Divide the mixture across 8-9 ramekins. Place the ramekins in oven trays and pop the kettle on to boil some water.
  • Carefully pour the boiling water into the oven trays around the ramekins so the water reaches roughly halfway to the top of the ramekins.
  • Carefully place the trays into the hot oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Remove the trays from the oven and remove the ramekins from their water bath. Leave to cool to room temperature, about half an hour, before covering them with foil and placing them in a fridge to set overnight (8 hours).

To finish

  • Before serving, take the ramekins from the fridge and top with an even layer of cane sugar before using a blow torch, broiler or hot oven grill to melt the sugar on top. Stay close in the latter two instances as the sugar will burn quickly.

Notes

  • Obviously because this recipe contains rum this recipe is not suitable to serve to children. 
  • You could also make these without the dark and stormy syrup and lime zest for plain vegan crème brĂ»lĂ©es but I do recommend to taste the mixture before pouring it out to check if it needs more vanilla. It can remain a bit on the soy side of things if you don't.
  • These crème brĂ»lĂ©es keep covered for about 3 days in the fridge. Just be sure to hold off on adding the burnt sugar topping until right before serving.
  • Leftover dark and stormy syrup can be kept in a closed container in the fridge for up to 3 months, use it to make more crème brĂ»lĂ©es or to flavor a freshly baked cake for example.
  • If this is available to you, please consider using fair trade sugar for this recipe. 
Keyword creme brulee, dark and stormy, dessert, easy vegan, ginger, ginger beer, rum, sasha gill, vegan dessert, yvette van boven

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor dark & stormy crème brûlée.

My Favorite Veg-Based Cookbooks

With Veganuary coming to a close and my covert announcement in Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter on recipe writing and ingredient sourcing on the kinds of recipes I will be sharing here, I thought now was as good a time as any to walk you through some of my favorite vegan and vegetarian cookbooks.

To be clear, I’m not vegan or vegetarian because limiting my eating options causes problems for me, but I do eat a mostly vegan and vegetarian diet and try to shop as animal, human and planet friendly as possible.

I promise these 13 vegan and vegetarian cookbooks will keep you as inspired as I am about centering vegetables on your plate.

Vegetable Kingdom – Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a star in his own right in (vegan) cooking and after reading Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes, I can see why. I can’t recall a best of 2020 cookbook list without it, so I had to have it.

With Bryant’s classical training at first glance this book can come across as a bit ‘cheffy’. Once you realise virtually each recipe is a menu in and of itself, and that you can take each individual component to make your own combinations or just cook one of them at a time, it all becomes a lot less intimidating so all you’re left with is inspiration.

I’ve already made the fantastic charred leak and mushroom toast with a pinenut puree from Vegetable Kingdom but the taro root cakes and cornmeal-fried oyster mushroom po’boy are also high on my hitlist along with all the other purees mentioned in the book. Or Vegetable Kingdom here if you’re in the US, or here if you’re in the UK.

Rosa’s Thai CafĂ©: The Vegetarian Cookbook – Siaphin Moore

My brother took me to Rosa’s Thai CafĂ© in London’s East End (our old haunt) years ago and I distinctly recall it blowing my mind. Before I’d only had heavy Thai ‘curries’ but Rosa’s showed how bright and refreshing Thai cooking can be. So when I spotted this book and saw one of my favorite photography and styling teams had worked on it I had to get it.

There are quite a number of reasons to love this book. The photography by Louise Hagger and styling by Alexander Breeze is stellar, for one. The recipes are mostly vegan and extremely diverse in scope. But above all, Saiphin Moore has embellished each recipes in Rosa’s Thai CafĂ©: The Vegetarian Cookbook with her rich personal history of eating experiences, recipe sources and more. This book gives you a real feel for all the regional Thai cuisines and Saiphin’s past growing up and living in various parts of Asia and now the UK.

All the recipes, including this gaeng penang tua lima (vegan butterbean panang) are surprisingly easy to make, which is just icing on the cake to me. Order Rosa’s Thai CafĂ©: The Vegetarian here if you are in the UK.

Jackfruit & Blue Ginger – Sasha Gill

If you’re looking for a broader vegan Asian tome, Sashi Gill is your woman. In Jackfruit & Blue Ginger: Asian Favorites Made Vegan Sasha shares well-beloved classic Asian dishes from India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, China and Japan, made vegan, as well as some basic techniques to veganize recipes of your own accord.

Chapters are organised by region, which makes it easy to find something to suit your mood or come up with a cohesive vegan menu for a dinner party.

One thing in particular that I love about this book is that it also contains sweets or ‘desserts’ from each region (most Asian cuisines don’t work with desserts, but have sweets throughout the day instead). The vegan Hong Kong ‘egg’ tarts made with silken tofu in particular are amazing and a recipe I’ve made and fed to others again and again, it also formed the foundation for my vegan dark and stormy crème brĂ»lee. Order Jackfruit & Blue Ginger here if you’re in the UK or here if you are in the US (it appeared under another title).

Greenfeast – Nigel Slater

As a voracious reader I prefer reading that challenges and discomforts me. But there are times when something more soothing is required. As a young one I found this comfort in Kurt Vonnegut, because he seemed as miffed by the ways of the world as I was (and still am).

Now that I’m older I cannot think of a single more soothing voice than Nigel Slater‘s. One of my favorite recipes of his is called an earthy meal in a bowl type soup, a title that describes his writing to a tee. When you read Nigel you know you are going to be alright.

Greenfeast comes in two parts: Spring, Summer and Autumn, Winter. These books will help you cook with the seasons and as Nigel states, are intended more to inspire than to be very exacting with. They are my go to when I’ve bought a vegetable but no longer know what to do with it. I just pull them out and browse, good things surely coming my way. Greenfeast is a bit cream and cheese heavy and very classical European in scope, which makes it a great place to start for anyone only just venturing into more veg-based eating straight from plates full of meat.

Order Spring, Summer here if you are in the US and here if you are in the UK. Order Autumn, Winter here if you are in the US or here if you are in the UK.

Vegan with Bite – Shannon Martinez

I got to know Shannon over some late night/ early morning transnational DMing (don’t be gross) and knew I had to get one of her books immediately. Lucky for me Vegan with Bite had just come out.

Shannon isn’t vegan but her restaurant is vegan and so are the recipes she shares because *gesticulates at planet*.

My favorite thing about this book is that ingredients aren’t prefaced with ‘vegan’ (vegan butter, vegan milk, etc). It’s a vegan cookbook so when Shannon says butter she obviously means vegan butter and when she says milk she obviously means non-dairy milk. That’s just a level of duh I’m really into. She also gives you some very useful pointers as to what to look out for when buying ready-made products because so many products that sound like they may have meat in them no longer do (chicken stock cubes, for one, rarely contain chicken – at least in Australia).

One of the chapters is called Minimum Effort, Maximum Results and another has the byline Zero Waste, Maximum Taste and these are pretty much the rules I cook by so you can see why I have to recommend it. Order here in the US or here in the UK.

Joe Yonan – Cool Beans

I bought one of Joe Yonan‘s other books years ago, when he still included meat. He’s since committed to sharing meat free recipes only.

With Cool Beans, the title kind of speaks for itself. It made me realise beans are a great staple that I could be eating more of without it being a sad ‘tin of beans’ sort of affair. Cool Beans includes a whole bunch of classics (paella! hummus!) from the world over as well as some of Yonan’s own concoctions all with a bean-centric focus. He even includes some tips on how to avoid the notorious musical side effects of beans: farts. Apparently it helps if you cook them well, and this is just the book that’ll help you do it. Order here in the US or here in the UK.

Lagusta Yearwood – Sweet+Salty

I got Salty+Sweet: The Art of Vegan Chocolates, Truffles, Caramels and More by Lagusta Yearwood because Alicia Kennedy recommended it. In it, her famous Lagusta’s Luscious truffles and caramels feature prominently. If you’re good at coming up with funky flavors and adjusting recipes to your own needs (it me) this may feel a bit one-note when you first start reading it. I can come up with funky truffles perfectly fine on my own, thank you very much.

That said, Lagusta gives such great and in-depth information in the perils of shopping and producing ethically (sugar and cacao are a nightmare) and things get a little bit more exciting (for me at least) on the caramel end of things, which is why I’ve decided to include this here. I was talking about uncomfortable reading earlier: this book will make you uncomfortable. But then you get to make better decisions and make vegan chocolate truffles in exciting flavors (or come up with your own, I’ve got kimchi truffles on my mind for one), so it’s all good. Order at Bookshop.org in the US or in the UK.

Vegan Soul Food – Jason Tjon Affo

This is an honorable mention because Vegan Soul Food by Jason Tjon Affo isn’t actually available in English (yet). But it’s a beautiful vegan cookbook full of colorful photography ánd food, mostly inspired by Jason’s Surinamese roots. Which makes this an incredibly diverse cookbook, because Suriname contains multitudes.

My recipe for vegan kue lapis flavored monkey bread was based on Jason’s vegan monkey bread recipe from Vegan Soul Food, so there you go.

Nosh – Esther Erwteman

Nosh: Mijn Vegetarische Joodse Keuken (My Vegetarian Jewish Kitchen) is a lovely and beautiful book by Esther Erwteman who runs Amsterdam-based deli, cooking school and eatery (the former two when there’s no Covid going around) Esther’s Cookery. This is another honorable mention because it’s only available in Dutch right now.

In Nosh Esther interweaves her personal history with her Jewish faith, explaining why certain dishes are prepared and eaten at certain times as well as explaining how certain less obvious choices made it into her repertoire. If you live in Amsterdam be sure to help yourself and help Esther by visiting her shop and getting some good nosh, or if you’re not be sure to order some of her prime goodies in Esther’s Cookery webshop. I’ve gotten a really nice aubergine grill and some lovely harissa’s from her and she also offers workshops online.

Zaitoun – Yasmin Khan

Another honorable mention because strictly speaking Yasmin Khan‘s Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen is neither vegan nor vegetarian. That said, only 13 recipes in this book contain meat. These recipes can easily ignored in favor of all the veg based dishes in this book. The unique insights Zaitoun offers into the Palestinian kitchen and reality are another element of this book that cannot be ignored which is why I had to include it.

I’ve made the falafel and fennel pickle from this book. Both were simple and delicious, so if you’re into Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors with a bit of back story this book is for you. Order in the US or in the UK.

Ed Smith – On The Side

I found On The Side in the discount isle at the American Book Center in The Hague. Intrigued by a book consisting of just sides, I bought it. This book has been my most trustworthy companion ever since. I don’t know why there aren’t more books on sides, though this might be the only one you’ll ever need.

Every recipe includes tips on what to combine them with or how to combine them with other recipes from the book to make a full meal. Furthermore there are not one but three (THREE!) indexes. You can browse based on your main protein, based on what veg you want to use or based on how much time you have. As such it served for the inspiration of the way I’ve set up my chapters and the additional vegan and vegetarian index for my book Nomnomnom.

I previously shared a peppercorn and lime rice recipe from On The Side. Order On the Side at Bookshop.org in the UK.

Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables

Sadly as it turns out Lucky Peach was not a happy place. And now as I read some of the older copies, I can tell it was all a lot more bro dudey than I can stomach (I’ll confess I was more bro dudey when I first read them too). Still, when I got my hands on my first Lucky Peach I fell in love hard because up until that point I didn’t know food writing like this existed.

Fast forward whatever years later and all I’m missing is #1. While the issues of the magazine are hard to get a hold of, most of the books are easy to find and out of all of them I think Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables might give you the most bang for your buck. The photography is amazing and the recipes are all accessible and easy to follow, with LOADS of flavor. Vegan too.

In general I find vegetarian cookbooks lean a little too heavily on cheese (and I love cheese, just not for every meal) while vegan cookbooks are just diet books in disguise. Power Veg is just a good old cookbook that leaves you feeling hungry and ready to wield some veg.

You can find some recipes from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables here.

That’s my roundup for vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, I hope the scope is wide enough to have something in the list for you. Be sure to order from your local bookstore!

Zoek je deze kookboekentips in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor 13 van mijn favoriete vegan- en vegakookboeken.