When it rains, it pours.
And I’m not just talking about the drippy Spring weather we’re experiencing in Chicago this week.
Lately, for me, it also seems to be ***Raining Cookbooks!***
In addition to Jazzy Vegetarian Classics (pssst: there’s still a few days left to enter my giveaway), BenBella Books also invited me to participate in the “Spring Clean Your Diet” Blog Tour they are hosting for the launch of The China Study All-Star Collection Cookbook!
Disclosure: BenBella Books provided me with a review copy free of charge, however all opinions are my own.
Just like the original The China Study Cookbook I reviewed last Fall, the recipes in this new book are all Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes. However, this time, in addition to some of her own recipes, author Leanne Campbell incorporated dozens of recipes from some of the biggest names in plant-based cooking, including:
However, since my cookbook collection already includes books from many of the authors above, I did recognize about 1/3 of the recipes in the book as ones that were already part of my collection, though there were also several new-to-me chefs (like Heather Crosby and Chef AJ).
That being said, I think this would be the *perfect* book for someone who was just starting out their vegan cookbook collection. With so many great chefs all in one book, it’s a great way to compare the chefs side-by-side to figure out who’s style & methods you like the best.
Plus, all of the recipes are simple and wholesome and the book is very well organized with beautiful color photos of almost every recipe.
As usual, I had a great time testing out the cookbook and put it to great use. Here’s what I made:
Almond Cardamom Cream Chia Pudding with Fresh Berries by Heather Crosby – p. 46
I made a triple batch of this for a week of breakfasts for Mike and I. It was one of the quickest breakfasts I’ve made in a long time, plus it kept really well all week long and was perfectly filling.
The recipe calls for blending Almond Butter, Water, and Dates along with some vanilla and spice. Next, I stirred in some Chia Seeds, let them set, then topped it off with Strawberries, Coconut, & Hemp Seeds. Truly so simple! (hint: the recipe is currently in the Amazon.com preview pages for the book
Thanks to the clever cover-up of sweet fruit and tart citrus, this recipe is able to cram in A LOT of bitter Kale (1 cup of kale per serving!) without sacrificing any flavor.
The recipe’s tip suggested trying a mix of root vegetables
, so I decided to cook up some of my Spring CSA
haul which included white carrots
and some gigantic parsnips
. The Orange-Cumin-and-Pepper
flavors worked beautifully together, though I learned a very valuable kitchen lesson: With so much Spring produce to use up, I over-zealously quadrupled the recipe and stacked my baking pan too full.
The veggies on the bottom were so moist and flavorful (for which I fully give credit to this amazing recipe), though the ones on top were dry and bland (totally my fault!). I definitely hope to make this again… the right way!
I loved how the sweet peas and carrots paired with the zesty BBQ sauce in this stew. We used frozen black-eyed peas instead of dried ones and this came together quickly enough for a week-night dinner.
This was my favorite recipe from the cookbook and one I definitely plan to make again. I was amazed by how much the quinoa and lentil mixture resembled traditional taco-meat once it was mixed with an easy, homemade Taco-Seasoning.
I think these would make for a crowd-pleasing, kid-friendly meal and I’m hoping to test these out on my family when they visit me in June.
Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars by Dreena Burton – p. 32
Last, but definitely not least, Mike and I both LOVED Dreena’s recipe for homemade granola bars and will definitely be making them again. Like all of Dreena’s recipes, I also think these would be crowd-pleasers & kid-pleasers. In addition to making these for my niece, I also want to bring them to the next Office Potluck.
Dreena also made the recipe super-easy by advising the use of parchment paper and recommending to pre-cut the bars before baking. I know Dreena is always very thorough in testing her recipes and her tips worked like a charm, resulting in perfectly crunchy, chewy bars with virtually no mess.
As part of the “Spring Clean Your Diet Blog Tour”, I was encouraged to select a pairing for the recipe of my choice to create a perfect meal.
I wanted to pair some protein and fruit with these delicious breakfast bars, so I made mini parfaits in jars for Mike and I to take along for an on-the-go breakfast.
For the parfaits, I used Happy Herbivore’s recipe for Tofu “Yogurt”
(a favorite of mine!) and topped it with a quick Raspberry-Banana Chia Jam
(inspired by the smoothie in Jazzy Vegetarian Classics
that I couldn’t get enough of).
was kind enough to let me share the recipe for these delicious Breakfast Bars with my readers:
PUMPKIN SEED AND CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL BREAKFAST BARS
MAKES 12–16 BARS RECIPE BY DREENA BURTON
These are a terrific “on-the-go” healthy breakfast or a perfect snack anytime of the day. Our whole family loves them!
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cups oat flour
- 3–4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 2–3 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (see Tip)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8–1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 1–2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened plain nondairy milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, oat flour, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the brown rice syrup with maple syrup and milk.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, stirring until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to an 8 × 8 baking dish or brownie pan lined with parchment paper and press it down until evenly distributed.
- Using a sharp knife, cut to mark out the bars before you bake them to make it easier to fully cut and remove the bars once baked. (I usually mark out 16 bars, but you can make them whatever size you like.)
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and let cool in pan. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to fully cut the bars, then remove with a spatula.
Mini chocolate chips are great if you have them. You can also substitute the pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips with raisins, cranberries, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, unsweetened coconut, or other dried fruit (chopped, if needed).
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I’d love to hear from you!
Who are your favorite “All-Star” vegetarian chefs?
Have you ever made Chia Pudding or Chia Jam?
Disclaimer: This post contains Affiliate Links to help offset the costs of my blog. All opinions are my own.