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Vegan Express Recipes (by Nava Atlas)

I'm really enjoying this Vegan Express cookbook by Nava Atlas.  I've made several recipes, and most have been quite tasty.  I really like that Nava includes loads of menu suggestions; it makes it really easy to pull together full meals with entrees, sides, and salads.  One thing worth mentioning is that Nava's books are geared more toward family recipes; if you prefer more spice/salt, just add it.  I'd love to hear what all everyone here has made from this cookbook.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake--awesome, easy, and delicous!  If you love peanut butter and chocolate, you'll love this.  One layer cakes are perfect for my small household.

Our Favorite Chocolate Cake--super tasty!  I love that this makes only a 1 layer 9" cake; there are only 2 in my household, and anything more is really too much.

Butterscotch Mousse Pie--I thought I would love this, but for whatever reason I didn't.  I'll probably try making it again sometime, using maple syrup rather than brown rice syrup.

Spicy Tofu Triangles on a Cool Bed of Lettuce--easy, quick, and really tasty!  I really like the spicy tofu over the cool lettuce with dill dressing; it makes a great combo.

Singapore-Style Yellow Curry Rice Noodles with Tofu--simple, tasty, and makes a ton!  For my taste, I did add additional soy sauce for extra salt.

Creole Coleslaw--I typically love coleslaw, but I didn't like the sweet pickle relish in this one.  I do like the addition of the pineapple.  Next time, I'd omit the relish.

Cheese Grits with Corn--I love cheezy grits!  This recipe's success, in my opinion, is dependent on what cheeze you use.  Nutritional yeast sauce in place of the grated vegan cheddar is a tasty option.  The mature white cheddar Cheezly would likely be good, as well.

Come on, VW peeps!  Certainly, I can't be the only one with this cookbook. 

Pad Thai--Really good!  I was wary of trying this, as I already have another pad thai recipe that I love.  However, this turned out quite well.  I thought the inclusion of coconut milk and ketchup was weird, but I have to admit the final result is tasty.  This doesn't really wind up tasting coconutty with all of the soy sauce and lime juice; it just gives the dish a bit more moisture and sauciness.  I also followed the recipe note and tried this with udon noodles, rather than the traditional rice noodles, which made for a little different variation.

Golden Tofu Triangles with Rich Peanut Sauce--Tasty!  This is very reminiscent of a similar Thai restaurant appetizer.  I did only make half the tofu, as I was only serving 2.

Rich Peanut Sauce--Simple, tasty, and quick to throw together. 

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Oooh. I'll look into it!  ;)b

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I like it, too! I haven't made a ton out of it yet, though.

Tofu Shakshouka - good, sorta like a tofu scramble. Good use of boxed silken tofu.

Szechuan-Style Tofu with Eggplant - really yummy! Tastes like good takeout but much healthier.

Barbecue-Flavored Roasted Tempeh and Vegetables - I wasn't super crazy about this one. The BBQ sauce didn't really penetrate the veggies. Also I don't think the cook time is nearly long enough. I went an extra 10 minutes and the veggies were still pretty firm. I'd probably cook longer next time and maybe marinate the veggies in the BBQ sauce first.

Lemony Couscous with Broccoli - very nice side dish, nice bright lemon flavor.

Lentils with Greens and Sun-Dried Tomatoes - another good side dish, lots of flavor. I actually cooked my lentils from scratch rather than using canned per the recipe.

White Pizza with Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onions - I really wanted to love this pizza. I was totally psyched up to make it. Unfortunately, it just didn't wow me. I think the white sauce is kind of weird tasting. I also subbed eggplant for the mushroom - maybe that was part of why I didn't like it??

Roasted Summer Vegetable Platter - good, basic recipe.

Middle Eastern Chopped Salad - another good, basic recipe

Recipe Not Required Salad - artichoke hearts, corn, cherry tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds - YUM!

All in all, I like the book. It's good when you want a quick meal. I also like the serving suggestions, they are very helpful!

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Thanks, lebkuchen, for adding to the reviews for this cookbook.  I've had my eye on that Lemony Couscous with Broccoli for a while now; I hope to try that soon.  The Lentils with Greens and Sun-Dried Tomatoes also sounds tasty.

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I made Curried Chickpeas with Chutney Bulgur last night. It sounded great and it took 15 minutes from start to finish. However, the chutney bulgur calls for an entire jar of mango chutney. The one I used (Trader Joe's mango-ginger) was SOOOOO HOT that the dish was just overwhelmingly hot. I couldn't really taste anything but hot. However, I really do think this is just a matter of preference. Next time, I'll try it with maybe half a jar of chutney and half a jar of apricot jam.

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Last night, I made the Spinach, Artichoke, and Chickpea Salad. I used mixed baby greens instead of spinach, which is a recommended substitution in the recipe itself. This was good - simple, easy to throw together, healthy, filling. I've made something similar to this before, but this has a couple of unique additions, such as halved baby carrots and sliced red cabbage. I liked it and will definitely make it again.

A couple of nights ago, I made the Quinoa and Red Bean Salad with Crisp Veggies. This was fine but I don't know that I'd make it again. The salad flavors didn't really meld together for me all that much. I had leftovers and was able to try it again the next day, but I didn't see a big change in the flavor. Still, it was a healthy main dish salad so that's always a plus. I served it with some baked sweet potatoes drizzled with sunflower seed butter, and that was super yummy!  ;D

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Orzo Soup with Roasted Vegetables
Pretty good. Orzo in soup is yummy.

Miso Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Watercress
Hands down, my favorite soup in this book. The pairing of watercress and sweet potatoes is delicious. I usually use extra firm tofu and depending on how hearty I want it will add up to a pound.

Pink Bean, Quinoa, and Spinach Soup
Found the pink beans in my local Mexican market, but will probably just use pintos in the future. Delicious! The quinoa gives it an interesting texture and it's good both warm and room temperature. Another favorite.

Thai Tofu with Pineapple and Veggies
Simple and yummy. Substituted corn kernels for the baby corn.

Tempeh, Kale, and Sweet Potato Skillet
Delicious! Cooking the cashews softens them up a little. I used sambal oelek which was just great with the tempeh and sweet potatoes.

Tempeh and Green Beans with Shiitake-Miso Gravy
Good, easy comfort food.

Gingery Rice with Sweet Potatoes and Peas
Yum. A little dry, but good.

Quinoa with Corn and Scallions
Good, but would probably add a little more cumin in the future.

Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Pine Nuts
I remember liking this, but I don't usually have pine nuts or dried cranberries on hand.

Miso-Ginger Red Beans with Broccoli
Good, but I barely remember it. Unique in that it's an adzuki-based entree that doesn't have squash in it.

Lentils with Greens and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
I really wanted to like this, but something about this was off. Oddly bitter. May make again.

Pineapple Coconut Noodles
Easy and yummy.

Pasta Jambalaya
Okay, but not much to write home about.

Soba Noodles with Green Beans and Almonds
Not really fair to dislike it because I was looking for a mushroomy flavor, but I'll give this another try.

Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Peas
The creamy flavor fell right off the veggies, but was retained a little in the rotini. Next time I'll try thickening some creamer separately to pour on top.

Pasta Puttanesca
Great for skeptical relatives.

White Pizza with Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onions
Yummy! Yes, I do think the mushrooms make a difference.

White Pizza with Asparagus and Spinach
Honestly, there are better uses for asparagus, where it won't roll off of what you're eating. Tasted pretty good, but inconvenient.

Big Quesadillas with Refried Beans, Spinach, and Avocado
Super easy and makes for a satisfying after-class snack.

Great Grated Veggies with Tahini Dressing
Great way to use up broccoli stems.

Creole Coleslaw
Tasty.

Sweet and White Potato Salad with Mixed Greens
Delicious, uncomplicated summer dish.

Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Parsley and Olives
Fun side with a good combination of flavors and textures.

Spicy Sesame Broccoli
Really simple and nicely spicy.

The only dessert I've made so far is the Dense and Fruity Banana Bread. Even my banana-hesitant fiancé loves this.

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Tonight I made the Valencian Rice and Red Beans. This was a winner! It might be my favorite from the book so far. The rice and beans were so creamy and delicious. All of the ingredients (tomatoes, sliced green olives, scallions, chopped parsley) really melded together. The only thing I found lacking was the salt - it says to add salt to taste, so don't by shy with it! This was great, and I'll definitely make it again. I served it with some frozen broccoli spears for a simple but yummy dinner.

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I made the Polenta with Black Beans and Spinach. It was a little dry, but very tasty! Great combination of flavors and textures.  ;)b

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Pad Thai

Weeknight supper, straightforward and fairly tasty. Subtle flavoring, almost bland.  I used curly Chinese lo-mein style noodles.  Definitely add the peanuts and cilantro--the peanuts really make the dish.

I served it with some simple pan-fried tofu. I thought it would be a hit with my kids and was surprised at how all of them firmly rejected this dish.  Usually at least one of them will like/eat what I've made.  Actually, my daughter who hates vegetables offered to pick out the broccoli and eat that, but otherwise they wouldn't have anything to do with it. While I thought it was a good weeknight supper dish, I didn't love it enough to make it over their objections again and force them to eat it.  So I probably won't be making this again.

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Our favorite chocolate cake--I thought it wouldn't be chocolatey enough so I sprinkled a handful of chocolate chips on the top of the batter before baking. I have got to stop doing this.  The ganache-type frosting is very rich and the extra chips in the cake were too much.  I used almond milk and cashew butter in the frosting.

My only complaint about the recipe was that it calls for 3/4 cup each of whole wheat pastry and white flour.  That is such a pain to measure.  I thought that I could taste the whole wheat pastry flour in the batter and the final product, but my mother said she had no clue it was a healthy cake since it was so rich.  My kids scarfed down their pieces.  I will make this again but without the extra chips.

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Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Peas - i made this and, fearing the problem that Evergrian had, i took all the veggies out and thickened the sauce a bit with some starch (what kind, who knows.... i have a bulk bag of it that i forgot to label). the result was fantastic. we left the peas out (didn't have them) and i added a touch more asparagus (to use the whole bundle). YUM. DR wouldn't stop talking about it and has requested it again already. i used juice from 1 lemon on it - the dressing is light and tangy, not really "creamy" but the creamer does add a little something.

i've made a couple other things. I should get my book and review what i've done !!!

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Last night I made the Pink Bean, Quinoa, and Spinach Soup.  My husband liked it, my kids hated it and I thought it was mediocre.  It was easy enough, but the flavor was thin and the soup needed more backbone overall.  You just can't add a spoonful of curry powder to a watery broth and call it a day.  To be fair, I did not add the onions and no doubt they would have boosted the flavor.  I thought the idea of the soup was good and it was quite nutritious--I might make this again and change all the seasonings.

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Pad Thai

This was gross.

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Tempeh, Kale, and Sweet Potato Skillet

Made this tonight with a large head of kale from the farmers'market. Discovered at the last minute my tempeh was way out of date, so I subbed baked tofu and that worked well.  The recipe doesn't say when to add the sweet potatoes so I added towards the end since mine overcooked a little and were quite soft. I used just the curry powder and not the optional paste so the curry flavor was barely noticeable.  Somewhere after mixing together the kale and tomatoes, I decided I didn't like the look of the whole enterprise and I added about 2/3 can of light coconut milk towards the end. Served it over whole wheat pasta. My husband and I liked it. My kids didn't love it but they ate it so I might make this again.

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Way late to the party but miso and sweet potato soup.I adore it except i sub spinach for watercress and add a little tofu fried in earth balance.Amazing!

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