There are times when I need a little inspiration in my life, or actually, my kitchen. Most days, I have so many pending recipe ideas I can’t crank them out fast enough. Other times, however, I can’t think of a darn thing to make. It is times like these that I turn to others for inspiration. My personal favorite thing to do is pick up a fellow blogger’s cookbook. It is my “mini dream” to one day publish a cookbook of my own; so it is always so wonderful when I see my peers succeeding in this field. Ginny McMeans of Vegan in the Freezer has a fabulous new cookbook out named The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook. It boasts 126 simple vegan recipes that also contain instructions on how to freeze them for a later date. When I saw she needed bloggers to review I immediately accepted and was sent a sturdy hardback copy with beautiful photos and some of the coolest recipes I have seen in a long time. When I say “coolest recipes”, I mean I literally jumped up and down when I saw a VEGAN evaporated milk recipe. My mouth watered when I read the recipe on Cauliflower Chickpea Pizza Bites and then again when I saw her American Tetrazzini….I mean come on! AND you get to freeze it all for a later date?!?
You’ve got to check this bad boy out. Something else that I thought was really great about her cookbook is that the recipes are recognizable. There are no crazy ingredients, just ones you can find at your local grocery store. It is the perfect addition if you are looking to make 2016 a healthier start for you and/or your family. We are not always motivated every single day to get in the kitchen and cook, so why not use what motivation you have to cook and then freeze your creations? Then you’ll have healthy meals on the nights you are “le tired”.
So…you are probably wondering what recipe I chose to taste test, yes? I honestly had a difficult time deciding so I chose to make a good old fashioned soup in honor of the current freezing temperatures in my area. West African Peanut Soup! This, my friends, was my inspirational ticket! Simple ingredients, most of which I already had in my cabinet, and end results of mhmmm and ahhhhh. When I use peanuts I generally make an Asian dish, so loading this soup with peanut butter and whole peanuts was a new process for me. The bonus part of this recipe is that the garnish is another one of Ginny’s recipes-Nondairy Parmesan Cheese. I am glad that recipe made a good bit, because I have been putting it on everything! Salty, cheezy, and textured just like the Parmesan cheese I grew up sprinkling on my spaghetti (the kind in the big plastic bottle you keep in the refrigerator door)!
This soup is warm and rich, the kind that coats your throat and makes you want to eat more and more. The rice makes it hearty while the carrots and peanuts add texture and really bring home the depth of flavor in the broth. I found the one cup of rice it called for was a bit more for my taste. Next time I will cut back on it, simply because I want more of the delicious broth! I think it may be that my rice cooker cooks in such a way that the rice continues to absorb a lot of liquid even after cooking. If you cook your rice on the stove top the one cup serving may be just right. Regardless, this soup was supposed to last us the weekend, and my husband and I ate it all the first day!
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Or you can purchase your own copy HERE on Amazon! If you love it as much as I do, be sure to leave her a good review!
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 cups vegan vegetable stock
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- 1 cup carrot, chunked
- ½ cup peanuts
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- A couple of dashes of hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black
- Nondairy Parmesan Cheese (find in cookbook)
- Cook the brown rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker,place the rice and 2 cups of water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring the rice to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and let simmer over medium-high heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Check that the rice is done and then remove from the heat.
- In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Add the vegetable stock and carrot and bring to a boil.
- Add the peanuts, tomato paste, peanut butter, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
- Add the cooked rice and heat through. Serve hot in a bowl, with Parmesan sprinkled on top.
- Storing in the refrigerator:
- Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: Let cool to room temperature. Freeze in hardsided freezer containers for up to 3 months. To prepare after freezing, defrost in the refrigerator overnight because it is a pretty solid mass and will take longer to thaw.
- Reheating:Place in a saucepan
Reprinted with permission from “The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook” by Ginny Kay McMeans