- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Chronicle Books (June 20 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1452154708
- ISBN-13: 978-1452154701
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.5 x 26 cm
- Shipping Weight: 839 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life's Adventures Hardcover – Jun 20 2017
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About the Author
Shelly Westerhausen is a recipe developer, photographer, and the creator of the blog Vegetarian Ventures. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
From the Publisher
100 Wholesome, Meatless Recipes for Everything from Drinks to Desserts
A Note from Shelly Westerhausen
Adventures come in all shapes and sizes, and I consider it an adventure anytime you jump into the unknown with all senses firing. Sometimes cooking can be an adventure--walk into your kitchen and put together new flavors, follow a new recipe, try out an unknown vegetable, or develop a new cooking technique. I'm here to encourage vegetarian adventures in your own kitchen.
Because I live by my sense of adventure in all things, the recipes in this book are organized into adventures specific to each season. The categories follow the kinds of exploring I like to do in my region, but the food works for all kinds of outings. For example, the Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies (page 192) found in the hiking section are also great for road trips, camping, or even an afternoon snack at school or work. The Whole-Wheat Pumpkin & Poppy Seed Crackers (page 50) are not only perfect for picnics but also for holiday hosting and road trips.
Creating engaging memories with your food is also a way to get you more excited about planning your future meals. Let's be real: are you more likely to get excited about that breakfast sandwich grabbed from the convenience store or about the breakfast bake that you prepped the night before and baked for a few friends before a busy workday? Not every day is going to allow time for these slow moments, but planning ahead will make them more likely to happen. Enjoy these recipes on the go when necessary but also make sure to set some time aside to really enjoy them at home when you can.
Chilled Peanut Noodles
These slightly spicy noodles are the perfect portable meal since they can be served at room temperature or chilled. The peanut butter will give you a protein boost, while the noodles will keep you full for hours. This dish is best served with peanuts and cilantro, which are added just before eating, though they can be added earlier if you don't want to carry around three separate containers. If the sauce thickens up too much after sitting in the refrigerator, just add a tablespoon of water to thin it out.
Serves 4 as a Main
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the soba and cook until almost al dente, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the snap peas and let boil for 1 minute more. Drain the soba and the snap peas and transfer to a large bowl.
In a high-speed blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, honey, chile sauce, lime juice, and water and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour over the soba, add the bell pepper and carrots, and toss until everything is completely coated in the peanut sauce. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or a small portable cooler for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, garnish with peanuts and cilantro.
- 8 oz [230g] soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti
- 1 cup [100g] snap peas
- 1/2 cup [130g] creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp hot chile sauce (such as Sriracha)
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup [80ml] water
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup [140g] peanuts, chopped, for garnish
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
About the Author
Shelly Westerhausen is the author and photographer behind Vegetarian ‘Ventures, a meat-free blog that focuses on the adventurous side of vegetarian cooking. She is a freelance recipe developer, writer, and photographer whose work has been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, and Vegetarian Living. She stopped eating meat at age twelve, and, growing up in Indiana, she’s watched (and helped!) Midwestern vegetarian cuisine develop into the rich and tasty scene it is now. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
Top customer reviews
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Something else that I completely identify with is how regionality shaped Westerhausen’s vegetarianism. When she says, “Most Midwesterners don’t understand why anyone would give up eating meat” I felt as though you could sub in “Albertan” for “Midwestern” and that statement would still hold true. Growing up in Alberta, where farming was such a part of my childhood (my grandparent’s farm, located just outside Edmonton was the place where we spent much of our free time growing up), my family found it really tough to understand the whys of my decision not to eat meat. Since much shared experience as a family revolves around food and food-related activities I think what they were really wondering is how those shared experiences could transcend eating meat. Could the food ties still bind without it?
This is where Vegetarian Heartland comes in — focused on seasonal cooking, the cookbook is organized by season but then each season is divided into a related activity with corresponding recipes. From fruit picking and cookouts to being snowed in or just plain brunching it with friends this book is a wealth of inspiration. What really speaks to me is all of the attention that is paid to cooking with fresh, wholesome ingredients without being too fussy. I found that all of the recipes I tried were interesting and many provided fun twists on old favs.
It’s the old favs I find myself dwelling quite a lot on these days. Now that I have a child of my own, I find myself thinking back to my own childhood and the foods that my mom made for us that were comforting and wholesome. When I saw Westerhausen’s recipe for Apple Bread Cheddar Grilled Cheese I knew this would totally fulfill my yearning for a dish that was nourishing and one that I could share with my daughter in hopes that it would be a dish she would remember fondly in her later years (no pressure, eh?! but those early-memory food experiences start somewhere right??). The recipe shows you how to first make the apple bread (pictured above) and then how to get that cheddar and tangy mustard grilled (I like to grill mine in my waffle maker nbd) to gooey perfection. Those sammies were 100% enjoyed, no doubt about it! The apple bread itself was more like a moist, sweet bread (think banana) rather than a yeasted loaf of sandwich bread. Totally fine, the bread was great but I did find myself cutting the sugar down a bit (I did this in a few other recipes I tried but that’s the beauty of these recipes, they’re easily altered or adapted to fit whatever preference you have. So while there really aren’t specific vegan, gf, etc adaptations given for most of the recipes you can very simply convert what you need to in order to meet your diet. So when I omitted the egg white from the savory granola recipe and replaced it with coconut oil the results were pretty fantastic and I don’t feel like the integrity of the recipe was affected). I found it easy to source ingredients for the recipes — fresh vegetables, in season. I was also able to rely on my pantry staples (i.e. veg stock, canned beans, etc).
I really appreciate Westerhausen’s attitude towards new/first time cooks — she really tries to both inspire and empower them to venture out and try new things. For example, take crackers. While you can totally buy them pre-made, in a store she encourages you to make your own because she provides a really easy and tasty recipe with her Whole-Wheat Pumpkin & Poppy Seed Crackers. Not only will you impress yourself but those you share them with. Oh, while you’re at it make a batch double batch of the Salted Maple Pecan Butter to accompany those darn fine crackers (both pictured below).
The combinations of ingredients is really quite unique and wonderful too. She really takes the time to re-imagine classic dishes — the pairing of raspberries and hazelnuts in her pancake recipe is incredible (pictured below). She’s completely right — the hazelnut meal does compliment the ripe fruit so gorgeously! Seriously! So. Good. Not that I’m a huge Baba Ghanoush connoisseur but I found the addition of mint to her recipe to be really inspired. Such a fresh (literally) take on a classic. She also knows when to economize — take the Vegan Wild Rice & Potato Chowder (pictured below). No fancy herbs or spices just a generous seasoning with salt and pepper to completely draw out the flavours of the wild rice and veggies! (and if I were to poll my husband I think he would say that this soup was his standout favourite of this book!)
What Vegetarian Heartland ends up being is a completely unique cookbook that really is shaped from it’s Midwestern roots — as Westerhausen explains “our vegetarian heartland culture is there” and she does a wonderful job mapping out what that culture looks and tastes like.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chronicle Books for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Her intro is typical of how she began to eat vegetarian at a very young age (12) and how hard it was to find vegetarian foods in her small town. However, as she grew she found it becoming more accepted and available. Her unique layout of this book comes from her blog Vegetarian 'Ventures and because she feels she lives by a sense of adventure in all things, the recipes in this book are organized into adventures specific to each season. This book also is strongly focused from dishes you'll find in the modern Midwest. They are based on the produce and meat- centric traditions of this region.
There were so many recipes that look good I didn't know where to begin. I dove in trying five recipes to start with.
Lager Onion & Lentil Soup(pg 202): Shelly's version of a French onion classic, this soup came together quickly and was fantastic. Follow her instruction closely when she says to caramelize the onions - this taking about 30-40 min. This really brings a deep rich flavor to the soup. Also the use of tamari adds great depth too. the Swiss cheese toast is a wonderful bonus on top. Will make again
Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies(pg192): I was wondering how these cookies would come together with no flour added. Well the magic is in the small amount of baking soda added. Also, because there is no flour, these cookies are lighter and slightly crumblely. They came together easily. I added pumpkin seeds, cranberries, dark chocolate minim chips. They have an intense peanut butter flavor which is expected since that's the main ingredient. I liked them a lot, my husband on the other hand was not a huge fan.
Vegan Chocolate-chip Pumpkin Bread (pg 191) This whole wheat sweet bread came together fast. The cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and clove really stand out as well as the chocolate making the pumpkin subtle. I really like a pumpkin flavor so I've noted to half the chocolate in this recipe for next time. The consistency of the bread is perfect. Hearty but moist and soft. Shelly's right about the bite of salt adds a terrific savory balance to this vegan pumpkin bread.
Brown-sugar & Rosemary Popcorn (pg95): OMG!!!!! this was fabulous! Who knew rosemary and brown sugar and butter LOVED popcorn so much. I never would have dreamed to put this together and then on popcorn of all things. I agree wholeheartedly with Shelly's statement about popcorn on the stove top is far better than any popcorn in a microwave bag and using a local sourced corn all the better too. (if available in your area)
Sage Ices Tea (pg 86): I have an abundance of sage growing right now in my garden and I was excited to see Shelly 's inspired recipe of adding it to iced tea. I made a batch first thing today and it's wonderful. I used stevia instead of honey.
This is a book for everyone. The recipes are so good that you could easily have picked this book up and not missed the meat. You don't need to be a vegetarian to enjoy these recipes. And while there are some Midwest-specific recipes (Indiana persimmons!), anyone should be able to make these in any place of country when the season is right.
I love the way Shelly breaks up the recipes: by season, then by adventure. You can replicate that adventure by going on a hike, or out on the lake; or you can just make these at home as the kids ramble home from school (as I probably will).
There's a tender humility and gentleness to the tone and feel of the book. It comes across in the photography and the writing and the recipes themselves. A cookbook like this could have been overbearing and pretentious, but like the Midwest itself Shelly's recipes are what they are: straight up delicious.