This Cookbook review is LONG overdue! As a huge fan of the China Study Cookbook Series, I leaped at the chance to snag a review copy of their latest publication – China Study Quick & Easy by Chef Del Sroufe.
Unfortunately, this opportunity fell into my lap right around the time my Morning Sickness was starting, and I had NO idea how horrible it would be or that it would be in full force till my 18th week of pregnancy…preventing me from cooking anything from Memorial Day to nearly Labor Day.
Thankfully, I’m back in the kitchen again and was able to give this cookbook a thorough testing for you! My appetite is still a little more timid than usual, forcing me to skip over some dishes I really WISH I was able to try – like the apple & raisin studded Fruit & Vegetable Curry, the Pineapple Popsicles, and all of the many delicious-looking Pasta Dishes (since I developed a strange aversion to Noodles that I’m working to overcome)… but I look forward to trying them sometime after baby comes, when Quick & Easy meals will certainly be all I’ll have time for!
Like all the cookbooks in the China Study Series, this book is completely Plant-Based, Refined Sugar-Free and Oil-Free. You won’t need “Fake” anything as an ingredient for these recipes. Instead, you’ll use ingredients like Beans or Tofu for proteins, Dates or Maple Syrup to sweeten, and Avocado or Nuts to give richness.
I found all of the recipes I tried to be TRULY quick & easy, though Chef Del gives tips & tricks to make Meal Prep even easier. He uses a few simple base recipes to make a variety of dishes, and offers Sample Meal Plans to show how to simplify your week. For example, you can make a batch of Mushrooms Barbacoa on the weekend, and then use it throughout the week for both the saucy Barbacoa Mushroom Burritos and the Mushroom Tacos with Peanut Slaw.
What I Made
Let’s start with breakfast! This Strawberry Cream Smoothie (recipe here) was incredible and I highly recommend you try it! It’s supposed to taste like Strawberry Ice Cream – AND IT DOES! The only change I’d make to this recipe is DOUBLING IT. It truly makes just 1 medium-sized smoothie otherwise, and you’ll want more.
Or for breakfast on the go, try these hearty Oatmeal-Raisin Breakfast Bars (recipe here). In addition to Oats & Raisins, Peanut Butter makes these bars a filling meal even for big appetites like mine. I also found these made a great afternoon snack while at work.
I made the Late-Summer Potato-Green Bean Salad for an al fresco afternoon Potluck. I was worried it might have come out a bit too vinegary, but my PPK Potluck pals assured me they really liked it, and I even saw a few of them take seconds!
One tip I have for this recipe is to be sure you are truly cutting the potatoes into a 1/2-inch dice. To save time, the potatoes and green-beans are boiled together. If, like me, your measuring is way off, they won’t both be done at the same time. Luckily the Green Beans floated, so I was able to skim them off the top while my twice-as-large-as-they-should-have-been potatoes continued to bubble away.
Next, getting into dinner-y fare, are the Southwest Burgers (recipe here) which are seasoned with Cumin and crusted in Cornmeal with a base of canned Refried Beans and Bulgur (which is one of the easiest grains to prepare!). We subbed in Corn Starch for the more expensive Arrowroot and they came out great! We also made extra to freeze for later.
Chef Del suggests serving these on a bun with Salsa, Avocado, and Onion, but I actually preferred mine eaten with a fork, cutlet-style. The Salsa topping truly is key though!
We also made the Date and Soy Stir-Fry Sauce which is much cheaper than store-bought Stir-Fry sauces and almost as quick to throw together. Again we subbed in Corn Starch for the Arrowroot and it worked great, though it did make the sauce a bit cloudier.
Hands-Down my favorite entree recipe though was the Warm Mushroom Salad Sandwiches. I found myself licking the Silken Tofu & Toasted Pine-Nut Cream out of the blender. These sandwiches were so creamy and comforting and I can’t wait to make these again!
Growing up, my mom often made a dish of Mushrooms, Onions, and Farmers Cheese over Rotini Pasta, and this pretty much nailed that flavor, so I have a hunch this would be great over noodles too – and I hope to try that once my weird noodle aversion is cured!
Last but definitely not least, the Almost Instant Sweet Potato Pudding was also a huge hit. Inspired by Sweet Potato Pie, this “Pudding” of canned Sweet Potato or Pumpkin comes alive with Dates, Allspice, and Orange Zest. The serving sizes for this recipe were huge and satisfying. I recommend serving it at room temperature with some Non-Dairy Whipped Topping & crumbled Graham Crackers for a very cozy treat!
Recipe Coming Soon!
BenBella Books & Chef Del are allowing me to share one of my Fall Favorite recipes with my readers – but I couldn’t decide which one! The Warm Mushroom Salad Sandwiches were my favorite, but my hubby preferred the Sweet Potato Pudding. I need your help in breaking the tie!
Please leave a comment letting me know whether you most want the recipe for the Warm Mushroom Salad Sandwiches or the Almost Instant Sweet Potato Pudding and I’ll soon be posting the recipe with the most votes!
Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!