This has really been the year for great vegan cookbooks. It’s so much fun to see all of the amazingly talented chefs sharing their own style of vegan cuisine. Every chef and author brings something different to the table. Their own flair. And let me just say that Crazy, Sexy Kitchen is right there with the best of them.
The book is written by the very talented duo, Kris Carr and chef Chad Sarno, along with an extra serving of guest chefs. Kris’s excitement and love of fresh, flavorful, healthy food really shines through, and makes you want to dance right into the kitchen. Combine that with Chef Chad Sarno’s delicious recipes, and you’ve got a great cookbook that you will reach for over and over again.
This was a book that I was really excited to review. At first glance, I was really taken in with all of the beautiful photographs. I think there may be a photo for almost all of the recipes in the book, or at least pretty close. Then I started marking the different recipes that I wanted to try. Dishes like Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burger, Coconut and Red Lentil Soup, Chickpea Crepe with Mushrooms and artichokes, Truffled Edamame Dumplings with Shallot Broth, Hearts-Of-Palm-Style Crab Cakes with Remoulade, Sage Polenta with Nana’s Marinara, Walnut Falafel, Chickpea and Root Veggie Tagine, Beetroot Ravioli with Cashew Cream Cheese, Wild Mushroom Croquettes with Horseradish Cream, and Indian Chickpea Blinis with Cashew Coconut Chutney. Unfortunately I’ve only had a chance to try a handful of them so far, but everything was really delicious and were recipes that I would not only make again, but serve to company too.
There seems to be a nice mix of recipes in the book, from the more complicated or special occasion recipes, to everyday smoothies, fresh juices, lots of simple salads, vinaigrettes and dressings, raw dishes, roasted vegetables, scrambles, grains, beans and greens, homemade cheeses (like Truffled Parmesan and Cashew Pine Nut Ricotta), cashew based aioli and sauces to snacks and munchies like Rockin’ Rosemary Popcorn to Curried Cashews and Kale Chips. There’s even a small dessert chapter too, although with 150 recipes, the emphasis in this book is more on fresh vegetables and fruit than chocolate cake. Oh, and the book is very gluten-free friendly too.
I made the Crazy Sexy Bean Chili the other night for dinner, and it was outstanding. All of the spices were beautifully balanced, and it was filled with both black and kidney beans, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes (I used sweet potatoes) and kale. It was not only delicious and flavorful and filling, but super-healthy too. Lucky for you the publisher is letting me share the recipe with you. The only change that I made to the recipe was omitting the maple syrup, since the sweet potato added a lot of it’s own sweetness to the chili.
There are a handful of recipes in the book do call for a fair amount of oil (along with many that don’t), or are maybe richer than I might ordinarily make for a weeknight meal. But the nice thing is that you can easily adjust the oil in some of those recipes (like the Chickpea Crepe), and they still come out great. Plus, every now and then, I like to indulge in a dish that’s rich and flavorful.
So if you’re looking for fresh, flavorful and healthy food, this book is for you. I know that I already have Post It Notes marking recipes to make this weekend, and the Lentil and Chard Ragout is on the menu for tomorrow night. And, lucky for you, the very generous publisher of this book (Hay House), is letting me give away two cookbooks to my readers (Canadian and U.S. only). So, hurry up and leave a comment below, along with a way for me to reach you. Oh, and just for fun, tell me what your favorite vegetable is too. Good luck!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book by Hay House, and they are sponsoring the giveaway. My opinions, as always, are completely my own.
Crazy Sexy Bean Chili
This chili has a spicy kick. For less heat, remove seeds from the jalapeño and feel free to use only half the chile.
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chile, finely diced
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 cups ground seitan, crumbled tempeh, or finely diced mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup diced potato
2 15-oz. cans of black beans, rinsed
2 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, rinsed
1 14-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 cup kale, chopped
Diced avocado, for garnish, optional
1. Toast cumin seeds in dry soup pot over medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic.
2. Add oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Stir until onion is golden and translucent. Add chili powder, seitan, zucchini, and potato, and stir well. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, 2 cups water, maple syrup, sea salt, and cilantro. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
3. Remove from heat; stir in kale. Garnish with diced avocado and sprigs of fresh cilantro, if using.
Recipe and photo courtesy Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr with Chad Sarno (Hay House)