Holy Yum Yum

It’s about time I give a shout out to one of my new favorite cookbooks, which I finally got a chance to cook from over winter break. The funny thing is, this book is so beautiful and its recipes so inventive, that it became one of my favorites from the moment I bought it, months before I could actually whip up any of its crave-worthy recipes. If it’s not obvious from the title, I’m talking about Vegan Yum Yum (I’m linking to it so you can buy it right now! It’s that good…) by Lauren Ulm, author of the beloved Vegan Yum Yum blog.

As I flipped through the book, I quickly realized that my usual post-it note system for marking “must make” recipes was not going to fly. My post-it notes were running low, and what’s the point of marking every single page anyways? With a beautiful color photo (taken by Lauren herself!) for every single recipe – recipes that are not only mouthwatering, but healthful and easy – can you blame me? Plus, sweet potatoes and chickpeas abound in Yum Yum’s recipes, which pretty much sealed the deal.

My first venture into the book was before I even had the book. Let me explain: the Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta has been on Lauren’s blog for more than a year, and one chilly frigid night in Scotland, I decided it was the only thing that could warm me up, heart and soul. Incredibly simple and “super quick” indeed, this recipe has become a staple for both lazy nights and dinner parties. It’s that darn good.
The first recipe we tried from the book once it was actually released were the Miniature Napoleons with Eggplant Cream, a.k.a the cutest appetizers in the world, which my mom assembled for a good friend’s birthday party. If you don’t have the book, the recipe’s here.

With preparing the eggplant, cutting all the veggies-to-be-roasted into uniform circles, and stacking everything up, these are superrr labor intensive (hehe, good thing it wasn’t me doing the labor!), but totally worth it. We had to tweak the eggplant cream a little (I think we added extra cashews, lemon juice, and salt), but once it was tweaked, it was damn good. :) These were a huge hit at the party, so make ’em if you’re looking to impress and have some free time.

This is the Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad atop some romaine lettuce. This salad was bursting with fresh, simple flavors, and the crushed toasted almonds gave it a nice crunch. I think it’d be better on its own though, but it was my decision to serve it on romaine, so can’t fault the book there. And, yes, that is an artichoke bowl.

Another recipe that really caught my eye was the Delicata Squash Stuffed with Cherry Apple Almond Couscous. Obviously, a beautiful presentation…

I used this roasted brown rice couscous from Whole Foods, and I really liked its earthiness paired with the sweetness of the apples, cherries, and squash. A drizzle of agave-mustard sauce brings it all together. Since I prepared this meal with my good friends Allison and Vince, it was all the more special!

Okay, so the next two meals may not be quite as beautiful as the former (though they’re still pretty nice looking), but they were hands down two of the best meals I’ve ever made. So just prepare yourself.

I’m serious. Are you preparing?

Italian Rice and Beans. A modest name for a scandalously good dish. This is why having a photo for every recipe in a cookbook is valuable–if I hadn’t seen the wonderful burst of color and texture in Lauren’s photo, I may have skipped this recipe!

It’s just brown rice, spinach, Great Northern beans, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon zest with a few seasonings, but, holy yum, is this good. Let’s just say I fully attribute my half marathon performance the next morning to this carbo-loaded dish’s excellence. I know everyone hates this expression (and I do too!), but this was a party in your mouth.

Aren’t the colors gorgeous? Nature is an artist.

Another colorful and unbelievably delicious recipe in Vegan Yum Yum is the Creamy Sweet Potato Bake.

Sweet potatoes, kale, and pasta (I used TJ’s brown rice fusilli), drenched in a tangy, cashew-based alfredo sauce, topped with bread crumbs (I used brown rice ones–noticing a trend here?), and baked until crispy on the outside. Comfort food at its finest.

I would make this dish again, and again, and again. And maybe again.


11 responses to “Holy Yum Yum

  1. Wow, VeganYumYum has done it again! She truly is an amazing recipe creator and photographer. The Italian Rice and Beans look like a spectacular twist on a vegan favorite.

  2. amandasdomestic

    I love posts like these for two reasons: you review recipes from a cookbook I own and you post fabulous photos. I now feel more encouraged to give a few of those a try, with your stamp of approval. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The Shenandoah Vegan

    Guess I'll have to consider buying that book. You're a great sales woman.

  4. I might have to buy it just for the Sweet potatoes, kale, and pasta bake alone! YUM!!!

  5. Those dishes look AMAZING! I really want to get that cookbook now (not that I need another one).

  6. Okay, okay, I'll buy the book! What a great review of these recipes. All this food looks beautiful and delicious!

  7. The Voracious Vegan

    WOW! I need to add this book to my list for sure. I love that it has a picture for each recipe, I think that is so helpful. And tempting! I find it hard to get excited about recipes with no picture. I think everything looks fantastic…drool…

  8. I was wondering what other peoples' opinions on this one were! I love Lauren's blog and recipes, I had heard very little about her book. Happy to have your input, sounds like another one to add to my wish list.

  9. Hi there, thank you for the comment on my blog post! I've set up a vegan blog using my same blogger account here – http://amykins-theveganite.blogspot.com/ – It's only got one post, which is the one you read, but I hope to keep a track of what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, and how difficult (or not) it is to be vegan in England and manage to get fed!Also, your blog has made me incredibly hungry, just got in from work though and don't think 9.45pm is a wise time to attempt culinary greatness! Amy :)

  10. Thanks for the review! Lauren does take beautiful photos. That delicata bowl looks delicious!

  11. I am crazy about that cookbook, and your versions look amazing! Great photos.

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