Archive for Cookbooks

Lasagne Soup {Vegan}

Okay, who doesn’t love lasagne?? 

I mean, if a cartoon cat can’t resist it, who am I to say no? 

Yeah, lasagne is one of those classic comfort foods; layers of soft noodles, tomato sauce, and cheese…. it’s the stuff of dreams. 

Lasagne Soup LivB Vegan on a budget

You know what’s not dreamy about lasagne? Making it! Especially if you do everything from scratch. If you make the tomato sauce, include vegetables, make the middle cheesy/creamy layer, have to deal with massive, floppy, half-cooked noodles… yeah. It’s a huge pain the tukus. 

So, while I do love a good lasagne, I very seldom make it. Because it’s a lot of work. 

So, while I have been testing out recipes from @itslivb‘s new cookbook, Vegan on a Budget these past couple of weeks, I was excited to try her recipe for Lasagne Soup. 

She intros the recipe by saying: “two years ago I made a video on my YouTube channel called “Vegan Recipes for Lazy Days,” which included this recipe. The video was a huge hit and people all over the world discovered the wonder that is this soup. It tastes like lasagna but requires only one pot and 30 minutes to make. It’s basically magic.” So I was intrigued… the recipe is vegan, plus it’s not nearly the amount of work to make a regular lasagne, PLUS all the good lasagne feels? 

I was in! 

I made a big pot of it in my Staub on top of the stove (though I’d love to adapt this for IP), and the week I made it, I was sick. I was miserable and I had a head cold. So ate some for lunch, and it was so good! Really satisfying and wonderful for my cold. Michael was home that day from school, because he also was not feeling well, and he tried some, and he also really enjoyed it! 

So yay! When you get a thumbs up from the resident teenage ominvore, that’s a winning recipe.

Image credit: Brilynn Ferguson

Famous Lasagne Soup 

(Recipe courtesy of Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget by Olivia Biermann © 2019 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped mushrooms
  • 21/2 cups (625 mL) Marinara Sauce (page 12) or store-bought
  • 31/2 cups (875 mL) vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried brown lentils
  • 8 lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
  • 1 cup (250 mL) baby spinach
  • 1 batch Vegan Ricotta (page 20) or
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) vegan cheese shreds
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Method

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the marinara sauce, vegetable broth, lentils and lasagna noodles; stir to combine. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the lentils and noodles are tender.
  1. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Ladle into 4 bowls and top each with a spoonful of ricotta or vegan cheese shreds. Garnish with fresh parsley and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

 

 

Cookbook Review: Vegan on a Budget

It’s a well-known fact that the thing I spend the most money on (outside of rent, because Vancouver), is food. 

Some girls are into expensive handbags, but me? I prefer cheese (okay, and Fluevogs). 

I buy a lot of food. I sometimes am at the grocery store every day. A well-stoked pantry makes me happy. Options for dinner make me happy. Being able to satisfy my cravings without leaving the house? Happy. 

I have a few tricks I’ve learned over the years to help keep my food budget under control, but I’m always happy to accept a little help from the experts. 

One cookbook I’ve really relied on in this area is Good and Cheap, but it’s not vegetarian, so my use of it is somewhat limited. 

 

I was excited to see Canadian food blogger/vlogger Olivia Biermann just published a cookbook called Vegan on a Budget. The publisher sent me a copy and I dug right in. 

I made a bunch of recipes from the book: Seitan, Lasagne Soup, Chocolate Lava Pancakes, Cinnamon Rolls, and Chocolate Walnut Cookie Bars. 

Chocolate Walnut cookie Bars LivB Vegan on a budget

My favourite of all the recipes were the Chocolate Walnut Cookie Bars. They were basically brownies, though the texture of them was perhaps a bit firmer than I usually make my brownies. They were chocolatey, soft in the middle, with the crispy bits on the sides… and I loved the addition of walnuts for crunch. I will definitely make this recipe again. Lasagne Soup LivB Vegan on a budget

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the Lasagne Soup. I was a bit on the fence about it when I read the recipe. It seemed really simple and I wasn’t sure that it would be hearty and fulfilling, but it totally was. I made it when I had a cold and it really hit the spot. Michael tried it and he liked it. It made a big batch, so I have frozen the rest to bring to one of my mama friends. I’ll share this recipe with you later in the week. Cinnamon Buns LivB Vegan on a Budget

The Cinnamon Buns were also good. This recipe was for quick cinnamon buns, meaning they were unyeasted and didn’t have to rise. I made them on a weekend morning for brunch. They were good out of the oven, still warm. I added a quick glaze to them to finish. 

The Seitan was good, basic. Much like many seitan recipes I’ve made before. Seitan is a tough one to include in a budget cookbook, as vital wheat gluten can be expensive, though it goes a long way. Chocolate Lava Pancakes LivB Vegan on a budget

Finally, as it was Pancake Day, I made the Chocolate Lava Pancakes. I maybe did them wrong? Cooked them too long? As they weren’t lava-y enough for me. I also thought they could have been more chocolatey-er. 

There’s a section in the front of the book for money-saving tips, and also a few sample menus, which I appreciated. 

But I think I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a discussion about budgets and how to eat well for less. I realize this is somewhat challenging to do when you are trying to sell a cookbook that is going out to different parts of the country, or even in the world. Prices for veg and other staples vary wildly based on where you live, where you shop, and what time of the year it is. But sample meal plans with dollar figures would have been cool, or perhaps an estimation of how much each dish would cost per serving. 

All in all, Vegan on a Budget contains recipes that are simple, and mostly contain a few basic ingredients that shouldn’t be difficult to find. I would recommend this book for college students, or those just striking out on their own and learning to cook, who may also be on a smaller, fixed budget. 

It would also be great for new vegans who want easy, accessible recipes. 

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