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It’s pretty hard to argue that 2014 has been the year of the vegan cookbook.

Bringing it to a whole new level, our favorite cookbook authors and bloggers have created some truly amazing books with creative concepts, inventive recipes, and beautiful, artistic design. And just when I thought 2014 had hit it’s max for totally awesome cookbooks (silly me) I found myself flipping through the pages of yet another outstanding piece of work –  Terry Hope Romero’s Salad Samurai.  

Terry Hope Romero is one of the most prolific vegan writers out there, creating (and co-creating) some of the biggest vegan cookbooks (as well as some of my favorite) such as  Veganomicon, Vegan Eats World, Viva Vegan, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. As a seasoned author and recipe developer, it does not surprise me at all that she has contributed to the year of the vegan cookbook with a stunning book that has quickly found a place as one of my favorite cookbooks.  

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Since finding this cookbook on my front stoop several weeks back, I have not stopped carrying it around. It’s found a permanent place in the diaper bag next to toddler snacks and baby diapers, for those moments throughout the day that I can sneak in a few more peaks. Filled with 100 hearty salads, a large variety of dressings, “seriously hearty” toppings, and even a chapter on sweet breakfast salads, this book covers everything you need to know about making an outstanding salads year around.

Things I love about this book:

1. Salads for all seasons. Salads are not just for summer anymore! Terry’s invaluable creative mind has now provided us with salads all year around.  Relying on the fruits, vegetables, and grains of the season she has made some amazing creations such as: Coconut Samosa Potato SaladCurry Pumpkin Collard Wraps, Sesame Noodles in the Dojo, and Seitan Steak Salad with Green Peppercorn Dressing….I could basically list every fall and winter recipe here as I intend to try almost every single one of them.

2. Stunning, large photos for nearly every recipes. Taken by the talented  Vanessa K Rees (you know, the woman who created the beautiful pictures for Isa Does It) the photographs in this book help showcase how truly unique and hearty these salads are – even you salad skeptic will be amazed. As a visual person this component of any cookbook is hugely important and oftentimes the largest factor in deciding to purchase a book. To see for yourself, check out some of the photos over at VKRees’s portfolio page. You will be amazed. 

3. Wildly Creative Salads. In this book you will find some of the MOST INGENIOUS SALADS ever. When I first heard it was a vegan cookbook about saads, I’ll admit, I thought it a bit …unnecessary. But I was wrong. I mean, come on, the BKT (Bacon, Kale, Tomato) Bowl, Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad, Lentil Pate Banh Mi Salad Rolls. I seriously flip through this book and think, “there just aren’t enough meals in the day”. Additionally her section on “seriously hearty topping” has got my mouth watering with Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan, Ginger Beer Tofu, Maple Orange Tempeh Nibbles…

4. Menu planning, ingredient lists, and more. I don’t know about you but I really love the first chapter of cookbooks that has all the lists (yea lists!), tips, and whatever other information the author gives us. Terry’s intro gives the readers a weekly salad guide with how and what to prepare each day for easy and hearty meals all week long, an awesome ingredient list which details each ingredient (history, taste, use, etc.), and a short section on the basic equipment needed – which isn’t long or obscure making salad making easy and available to everyone. 

5. Creative design through and through.  This is one way that cookbooks in the past couple of years have really amped it up. With seemingly a lot more attention put into layout, design, colors, even textures, I am seeing a trend that is turning cookbook writing into beautiful, cohesive works of art. Salad Samurai is, of course, no exception. Each page was carefully and artistically crafted which makes me even more eager to read each word, try each recipe, and drool at each photo – over and over again. 

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Great news! You don’t have to wait to get your hands on this book before digging into one of these delicious creations by Terry Hope. The people at Da Capo Press are letting me share one awesome recipe with you.

This Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad is seriously good. I have already made this twice in two weeks. Fresh, tangy, creamy, and bread-y this salad has everything! Despite having several components that make the preparation look daunting, I was able to throw this salad together in about 30 minutes and it has become one of my favorite meals of the summer. 

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Inside Out Apple Crisps
serves 4
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Inside-Out Apple Crisp
  1. 4 Granny Smith Apples
  2. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  3. 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  4. 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  7. 1/8 tsp salt
  8. 2 tbsp vegan butter, non-hydrogenated (I use earth balance)
Caramel Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 3-4 tbsp water
  3. 1/4 cup non-dairy creamer
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Core and slightly hollow out the apples. Do not remove too much fruit or the apples will lose shape when baked.
  3. In a small bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and spices. Cut in vegan butter, mixing by hand until fully combined and oats mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Scoop oat mixture into the apple, packing lightly.
  5. Place in baking dish and bake apples for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. To make the caramel sauce combine sugar and water (just enough to cover sugar) in a small pot over high heat and bring to boil. Do not stir; agitating the sugar will cause crystallization. Continue boiling for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has melted and begins to turn a rich golden brown.
  7. Immediately remove from heat and slowly add non-dairy creamer while whisking. The caramel will bubble up quite a bit so use caution while adding creamer. Let caramel set for 20 minutes to thicken.
  8. When ready to serve, top each apple with caramel sauce and serve warm.
Notes
  1. Make Inside-Out Pear Crisps by replacing apples with pears. Before hollowing out, slice the bottoms off of the pears so they stand up straight. Bake for 20-25 minutes at the same temperature.
My Darling Vegan http://mydarlingvegan.com/

From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

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This book was sent to me for review but, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.