Big Vegan Virtual Potluck & Giveaway

When Robin Asbell asked me to participate in her virtual potluck, I immediately said yes. I already knew that it was a fabulous cookbook, as I had purchased a copy at my local Powell’s Books. I happened to look at the shelf, and spied a single copy tucked in amongst other cookbooks. This was several months before the release date, and I knew that if I didn’t snatch it up at that very minute, I would have to wait patiently for its official release. After perusing the pages, it was inevitable.  I had to have a copy.

When it comes to cookbooks, I’m looking for a lot. First off, since I already have at least 300 cookbooks stuffed on my bookshelves (my husband would argue that it’s probably closer to 500), a new book has got to bring something special to the table. This is what immediately struck me about Robin’s book. These recipes are not only unique, but mouth-watering delicious. Robin really knows her stuff, as is evident in this very innovative collection of 350 recipes. These are not just versions of the same old vegan recipes flying around the internet. What you’ll find here is a fresh take on real, whole-food ingredients put together in new and creative ways. We’re talking lots of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, seeds and nuts, with enticing recipes like Sweet Quinoa Pumpkin Seed Pilaf, Griddled Oat Polenta With Smoky Maple-Tempeh “Bacon”, Overnight Oat Date Rolls, Teff Breadsticks, Thai Blackened Chile Sauce, Guatemalan Pumpkin Seed Simmer Sauce, Nori Wasabi Almonds, Porcini Pecan Mushroom Pate, Edamame Dumplings In Handmade Green Tea Wrappers, Arugula, Fennel And Smoked Almond Salad With Prosecco Dressing, Asparagus Quinoa Risotto, Three-Nut “Cheese” Quesadillas with Fresh Mango Salsa (and homemade fermented nut cheese), to Tempeh “Steaks” With Mushroom-White Wine Sauce, Chinese Tangerine Mock-Duck With Kumquats, Amaranth Polenta With Barbecued Veggies and Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Creamy Almond Sage Sauce. And I haven’t even mentioned the desserts, which not only look fabulous, but are a lot healthier than their traditional counterparts.

Last night I made the Spanish Chickpea Fritters With Romesco Sauce. They were out-of-this-world good, and had us practically licking our plates. Although the recipe serves 4, if you have hungry teens or spouses, you may want to double the recipe. Yes, they are that good! They are also gluten-free, as long as you use GF bread in the Romesco sauce. That reminds me too, this book is very gluten-free friendly as well (minus the usual suspects of pizzas, breads, some various recipes and seitan). It does have 350 recipes after all; )

Below is the recipe for Spanish Chickpea Fritters With Romesco Sauce. If you want to win a copy of this fabulous cookbook, please leave a comment below (along with a way to reach you in case you win). If you want to get your name into the cookbook drawing twice, go to the Julie Hasson page (it’s public) on Facebook, click “like”, and leave a comment there telling me why you want to win this book.

Thanks again to Robin Asbell and her publisher for organizing this Virtual Potluck and giveaway!

The fritters cooking, top and the finished fritters with Romesco sauce, bottom

This recipe is from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell © 2011, published by Chronicle Books, reprinted with permission.

Spanish Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce
The tradition of Spanish tapas is such a fun way to eat—bite-sized morsels of tasty food that just happen to taste great with Spanish wines. These fritters are flecked with spinach and when you dip them in a roasty Romesco sauce, you can’t go wrong.
Serves 4

1 cup/115 g chickpea flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
1 cup/30 g chopped spinach
3 cloves garlic, slivered
1/8 tsp baking soda
¾ cup/200 g cooked chickpeas, drained
1 cup/240 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 small scallions/spring onions, chopped
3/4 cup/180 ml Romesco Sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 200° F/95° C/gas 1/4 (for keeping fritters warm if you will not be eating them immediately). Set out a large, cast-iron frying pan and a baking sheet/tray lined with three layers of paper towels/absorbent paper for draining them.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, and cumin, then add ¾ cup/180 ml hot water a little at a time, and stir to make a smooth paste. It should be about as thick as pancake batter. Let stand for 1 hour
3. Stir the spinach, garlic, and baking soda into the batter, then stir in the chickpeas.
4. Pour the oil into the frying pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. Heat until a drop of batter sizzles in it. When the oil is hot, stir the batter and ladle scant ¼-cup/60-ml portions into the hot oil. When the oil starts to sizzle again, lower the heat to medium. Cook until the fritters are bubbling and browned, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on the paper towels/absorbent paper. Serve hot, sprinkled with scallions, with the romesco sauce for dipping.

Romesco Sauce
Romesco is the perfect topper for all sorts of Spanish-flavored items, from tapas like roasted potatoes to Spanish Tortilla. It’s a great change from tomato-based sauces, with sweet peppers and almonds that nourish your very essence.
Makes 1 1/2 cups/360 ml

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
½ cup/55 g slivered almonds
Three 1-in/2-cm slices white baguette (I used gluten-free bread)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large roasted red peppers/capsicums, peeled
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
½ tsp salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a large sauté/frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the almonds and baguette pieces. Stir, cooking until the nuts are golden and the bread is toasted, about5 minutes. In a blender or food processor, mince the almonds, bread, and garlic . Add the peppers, parsley, and paprika and process to make a paste. Add the vinegar and salt and process, then drizzle in more oil 1 tbsp at a time to make it the desired consistency. If you are cutting back on oil today, stir in water to thin it.

If you want to check out what the other potluck participants made for this Virtual Potluck, here are the links:

DAY 3:
Green and Red Spaghetti
Sandra Gutierrez
Bengali Curry of Cauliflower and Kidney Beans
Robin Robertson
New Potato Rendang with Green Beans
Pat Tanumihardja
Sundried Tomato-Kale Calzones AND
Pumpkin Cherry Bundt Cake
Leinana Two Moons
Peanut Butter Tart with “Ganache”
Tara Desmond

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