A vegan diet can seem daunting—and expensive—which is why a lot of people don’t make the leap. If you’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan but aren’t sure you’re ready to give up your favorite comfort foods and sweets, Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease is a great book to have on hand. The recipes are super simple, straightforward and supermarket-ready—no special trips to the health food store or co-op required. Laura takes familiar family favorites like banana bread, crab cakes and lasagna and simply gives them a plant-based twist—and you’ll barely need to go out of your comfort zone. We like that each recipe includes an “ease factor”, as well as full nutritional information, to make it easier to plan your meals and ensure you’re getting all the protein, fiber and other good stuff that you need.
Choosing a plant-based diet is made deliciously easy with Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet, a new approach to living vegan. Written by Laura Theodore, the award-winning host of public television’s Jazzy Vegetarian, this comprehensive guide is suitable for novice cooks and long-time vegans alike, offering more than 130 step-by-step, wholesome, “eco-nomical,” and satisfying recipes that are quick and easy, each complete with nutritional analysis. Each recipe is ranked with an Ease-Factor to make it easy to choose recipes that fit into any busy schedule, using ingredients already on hand. This cookbook and guide includes all you need to know to embrace a cost-saving, healthier lifestyle for you and your family.
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe from vegan-ease
This simple-to-prepare potage is rich in taste and creamy in texture, without the use of dairy. A quick cashew “cream” (no pre-soaking of the cashews required) adds a touch of elegance, and the coconut milk beverage adds richness and depth to this impressive soup.
- 5½ cups cubed butternut squash, (about 1 medium squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1½-inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 2½ cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or nondairy milk of your choice
- 4 to 6 basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Put the cubed squash, olive oil and Italian seasoning in a large bowl and toss gently until thoroughly coated. Arrange the squash in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is soft and slightly golden. Put the pan on a wire rack and sprinkle with the sea salt. Let the squash cool for 25 to 30 minutes (see note).
- Meanwhile, put the cashews and 1?2 cup water in a high-performance blending appliance and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the cashew “cream” to a small bowl, leaving about 2 heaping tablespoons in the blender container. Add the cooled squash, coconut milk and 2 cups water to the cashew “cream” in the blender container and process until smooth, adding more water, about 1?4 cup at a time, as needed, to achieve the desired consistency.
- Pour the soup into a medium-sized saucepan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Using a small spoon, swirl about 1 tablespoon of the cashew “cream” into the top of each serving, in a pretty pattern. Garnish with a basil leaf (optional). Serve piping hot (see notes).
Recipe from Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore (Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC 2015), reprinted by permission. Photo by David Kaplan.
- You may roast the squash up to 24 hours ahead of time. After cooling, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until use.
- This soup may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. If making in advance, let the soup cool after blending, pour the cooled soup into an airtight container and refrigerate. To reheat the soup, pour it into a pot. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water to achieve the desired consistency. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until heated through.
- The cashew cream may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until use.
One Oh My Veggies reader will win a copy of Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease cookbook.