Book Review: The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is an essential reference for flavor pairings, nutrition information, and how-to tips for creating a plant-based diet. 

vegetarian flavor bible review

As National Nutrition Month comes to a close, I have the chance to introduce a book that will hopefully leave you inspired to get into the kitchen and create veggie-based meals. If you’ve ever asked yourself “What can I make with this?” The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, authored by award-winning Karen Page, has the answer. It’s a valuable reference to have on the kitchen counter for anyone, not just those of us who cook mainly with vegetables. More of a reference manual than a cookbook, it combines the basics of plant-based nutrition and how to maximize vegetarian flavors with in-depth lists of creative food pairings and tips.

One of the most valuable aspects of the Vegetarian Flavor Bible is its generous section on flavor matchmaking. As you know, I am big on creating simple meals with what I have on hand. I love to turn leftover black beans, some sprouts, sliced avocado, and crumbled tempeh into a week-day lunch. Since I’m pretty familiar with all of those ingredients, it comes easily to me. But what if I had never used tempeh before? The Flavor Bible’s matchmaking section describes tempeh’s flavor, its nutritional profile, tips on how to steam and marinate it, what flavors tempeh goes with, and it lists menu ideas on food pairings. Want to use tempeh in a sandwich? The flavor matchmaking guide suggests it pairs well with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss. Tempeh Reuben, anyone? For a quick dinner idea the Flavor Bible suggests tempeh with coconut milk, collard greens, curry, and sweet potatoes and also lists the spices and complementary vegetables to go along with it.

If you’re in a vegetable rut and want to learn a few surefire ways to make them more of a focus on your plate, the Vegetarian Food Bible is worth scoping out. It will help give you the confidence to try new foods and help you make simple steps towards incorporating more real, whole foods into your lifestyle. Click here to learn more or buy the book!

 


 

Nourish: 21 Days of Clean Eating spring program starts April 13th

Lima Bean Saute with Basmati Rice

Christmas Lima Bean Sauté with Basmati Rice

This lemony Basmati rice and lima bean saute is a tasty, gluten-free dinner that will change the way you think about rice and beans!

Lima Bean Saute with Basmati Rice

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win  prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time and I cook rice all the time for my family. 

It’s Christmas in March! Not really, it’s just a cool name for a lima bean. Have you ever cooked with these guys? I picked some up last week from the bulk food bins at Whole Foods just to make this recipe. I knew I was making a rice and bean saute for this contest, but I wanted to use a bean that I’d never eaten or cooked with before.  How can you resist a Christmas lima bean? Christmas limas are a beautiful white and purple-ly brown color and are quite a bit bigger than your normal lima bean. They turn a lighter, reddish brown color when cooked and have a sweet, hazelnut flavor.

Rice and beans are not something I grew up eating. I was a big pasta gal. My husband ate rice like it was his job. His family is Egyptian so rice is kind of like water for him. I don’t make it every night but when I do, he’s happy. He’s not a huge fan of brown rice; he prefers the sticky nuttiness of Jasmine rice. Norah will pretty much eat any rice I put in front of her. A favorite after-school snack for us is to heat up jasmine rice and then roll it up in those little seaweed snacks. We talk about her day while eating Nori rolls. It’s kind of cool.

I’m not huge fan of brown rice. It really doesn’t taste that great and why eat food that doesn’t taste good? We generally eat US California grown white rice in our house because it tends to have the lowest amount of unsavory chemicals on board. All US rice is a sustainable, locally-grown GMO-free food, which I appreciate. It’s also affordable, unlike a lot of other healthy food. When shopping, think “US Grown” and look for the words grown in the USA on the label, just to make sure. Rice is also naturally gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains, making it a great option if you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.

Lima Bean Saute with Basmati Rice 2

I actually prefer the less sticky Basmati style rice that I used in this recipe; the beans were already a bit mushy (mushy in a good way) and I didn’t want to have mush on mush. This recipe has so much flavor and it was so simple to make. I soaked the beans overnight and then boiled them for about 30 minutes. I sauteed some onions and garlic in olive oil and then added the beans. Once they had a nice caramelized look to them, I threw in some cooked Basmati rice and seasoned it up with lemon juice and zest, marjoram, and fresh dill. Even though it’s a cooked dish, it has a fresh taste to it thanks to the lemon.

Christmas Lima Bean and Basmati Rice Saute

I know this not the prettiest dish on the planet, but it is the most delicious! It’s even better the next few days as the flavors all meld together. Hany even mixed some into his scrambled eggs for breakfast. The next time you’re in the mood for a satisfying bowl of rice and beans, I’ve got you covered.  Here’s the recipe:

Christmas Lima Bean Sauté with Basmati Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lima beans (I used the Christmas variety, but any will work)
  • 1 cup US grown Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice + 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp marjoram, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cover beans with water and soak overnight. The next day, rinse and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain.
  2. Cook rice according to package directions.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic until browned. Add lima beans and saute until browned and caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once browned, add rice, lemon juice and zest and herbs, again add salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, stir in fresh Feta cheese and garnish with fresh dill.
http://foodconfidence.com/2015/03/12/christmas-lima-bean-saute-with-basmati-rice/

Asian Sesame Noodle Salad

This vegan, gluten-free version of Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! 

This Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! It's vegan and gluten-free made with black bean noodles, fresh asparagus and beautiful purple cabbage.

This lightened-up version of Asian Sesame Salad is dear to my heart. It played a starring role in my life during the summer of 2004…the summer when my husband and I started dating. We ate so much of this Asian Sesame Noodle Salad we had to break up with it, literally. You can read more about our love affair with this noodle salad and get the recipe hereI’ve been recreating it for years using different types of noodles but never found a good replacement. I think this recipe comes pretty close!

This Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! It's vegan and gluten-free made with black bean noodles, fresh asparagus and beautiful purple cabbage.   #cleaneating

I’ve tried using kelp and zucchini noodles but these Explore Asian black bean noodles might just be the best iteration thus far. I love that they’re dense enough to hold up to the almond butter dressing, which really is the key. I created this version for my Inspired Vegetarian Column on Healthy Aperture, a site where you can search for healthy recipes (which also happen to be quite pretty). I modeled the recipe after a similar salad made with thick and delicious udon noodles. Udon is great, but it’s super dense and very high in calories. You can’t eat too much of it, as me and my husband found out the hard way.

This Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! It's vegan and gluten-free made with black bean noodles, fresh asparagus and beautiful purple cabbage.   #clean #vegan @glutenfree

This salad is the perfect way to ring in the spring here in DC, but I’ve also brought it to many an outdoor summer potluck. I hope you’ll try it! Click here to Healthy Aperture for the recipe!