When I was asked if I wanted to make a recipe or two from Laura Theodore’s new cookbook, Vegan–Ease, I immediately said yes. I didn’t just want to make one recipe but chose to make two: one sweet (Maple-Raisin-Date Truffles) and one savory (Quick Red Lentil Curry Soup).
When it comes to easy, these recipes truly are. Author Laura Theodore, aka The Jazzy Vegetarian, defines Vegan-Ease as combining the terms vegan and ease. It describes “simple plant-based recipes, using readily available ingredients that are animal-free. She says that the recipes contain ease-y to find ingredients, ease-y to prepare dishes, ease-y on the wallet menus, ease-y on the earth meals and ease-y to eat foods that will please your palate and satisfy deliciously.”
The book has a front section that provides a well thought out list of pantry ingredients, as well as kitchen tools to get started. Recipes have an ease factor between 1 and 3, with 1 being the easiest. Both my recipes have an Ease Factor of 1. I believe that almost anyone can make them easily although the truffle recipe requires a “high speed blending appliance”, which I luckily have.
Here’s my take on the Quick Red Lentil Curry Soup. It was certainly easy to put together and cook. I used a large, thin-skinned red potato with a golden interior and did not bother peeling it which made the recipe even easier.
Quick Red Lentil Curry Soup and Maple-Raisin-Date Truffles from Vegan-Ease by Laura TheodoreChef’s Note:To sort the lentils, spread them out in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Remove any stones, dirt, broken lentils, or other debris. The lentils are now ready to be rinsed and used in your recipe. You may also sort split peas or dried beans in this manner.
- 32 ounces vegetable broth
- 2 cups peeled and diced red or white potatoes
- 1½ cups sliced carrots
- 1 cup red lentils sorted and thoroughly rinsed (see note)
- 8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms diced
- ½ cup filtered or spring water plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder
- Put all of the ingredients in a medium-sized soup pot and bring to a boil over medium-
- high heat.
- Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes,
- stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are soft.
- Add more water, as needed, if the soup becomes too thick as it cooks.
- Serve piping hot.
NotesNeeding only fifteen minutes to prep, with only seven ingredients to assemble, this soup is an excellent candidate for a nutritious lunch or informal supper. As the red lentils cook, they break down to magically thicken the broth. Before you know it, you have a hearty delicious soup, ready to serve. Recipe © 2015 Laura Theodore, published by Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC, reprinted by permission.
I found that the recipe was cooked in less than the 45 to 50 minutes recommended which makes it faster (at around 30 minutes the lentils and all the vegetables were cooked). As someone who is used to using a pressure cooker, quick wouldn’t be in the title for me (this would take just 4 to 6 minutes at pressure), although compared to most soup recipes, this soup is quick.
Also, I prefer more heavily spiced food and think that the soup is even better with 1 to 2 teaspoons, rather than just ¼ teaspoon, of curry powder. This soup is a keeper, I can envision seasoning it in many different ways. I am a sucker for red lentils and mushrooms, which add amaazing texture, so give it a whirl.
The Maple-Raisin-Date Truffles sounded so good, I knew that I had to make them.
- 9 large Medjool dates, pitted
- 1⁄3 cup raisins
- ¼ cup raw unsweetened shredded dried coconut
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Put the dates, raisins, coconut and maple syrup in a high-performance blending appliance and process to the consistency of soft dough.
- Transfer the date mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Using a cookie scoop, spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the date mixture, and roll it into a ball.
- Continue in this manner to form 10 to 12 truffle balls.
- Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until coated and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, truffles will keep up to 3 days.
The truffle ingredients came together in my high speed blender in less than a minute. I then rolled them in cocoa powder, and then refrigerated them for 1 hour, as instructed. I ended up making 11 truffles which matches the 10 to 12 that the recipe states you will make.
Although the truffles are a bit sweet for my liking, they were good. Next time I make them I will omit the maple syrup. Their name will no longer represent them but I think that they will suit my taste more. I might also add ¼ cup walnuts or pecans when blending to cut the sweetness even more. I love both the flavor and texture of coconut in the recipe. I agree with the recipe head note about serving these to company. I suggest making them and keeping them in the freezer so that you don’t eat them all at once (yes, they’re that good). Then you’ll have them around when you want them. I bet that they taste great frozen, too.
This 262 page hardcover book covers a lot of easy, vegan ground, with recipes from appetizers through desserts, and even some dishes specifically for holidays. I can see new vegans, those in transition and people who want simple to make and tasty recipes using Vegan-Ease as their go-to cookbook. Thank you Laura Theodore for another winning cookbook.
Note: I received a copy of this book so that I could review it.