On the surface, these Italian and West African soups have very little in common – aside from being served in a bowl. Dig a little deeper and you will find both in Terry Hope Romero’s new(ish) cookbook Vegan Eats World. When I learned that she was planning a new cookbook as a follow up to the excellent Viva Vegan! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It took some serious constraint and a severe warning/spoiler that I would be getting it for Christmas so I wouldn’t jump the gun. One of the best Christmas presents ever!
Vegan Eats World clearly demonstrates Terry’s love for authentic dishes from around the world. All are researched to the hilt to make them as legitimate as possible, which is a must. My general approach to opening the world in my kitchen is to Google a country, find some traditional dishes, and write down the ingredients and troop to the appropriate ethnic market. I never escape the market without more unplanned purchases than what was on the list. Back in the kitchen, I cook to my heart’s content and Google what exactly to do with the splurge purchases (often with no labels in English). Terry clearly shares this approach – right down to making your own spice mixes. Touching on dishes from all 6 continents with a significant population (i.e. humans >> penguins), you have a dish for every occasion! My first two dishes, White Bean Farro Soup and West African Mafe were hits. I have made many more since, and I have yet to be disappointed! An added bonus is the humour throughout – what other cookbook do you have that references both Boy Meets World and Brave New World with puns?
(Note: there are some recipes that are clearly updated versions of those found in Veganomicon and Viva Vegan! as well as the spanakopita recipe from Isa’s Vegan with a Vengeance. However, there is still plenty of new material for this to be an absolute must in your cookbook arsenal. The updates also add to the dish – making them even better than the original!)
White Bean Farro Soup
This is like Italian Wedding Soup. Or a warm hug on a winter night. Hearty, filling, and something that will remind you of log cabins and skiing in the winter. I made it with kamut instead of farro, because I forgot which one to get at the bulk store. Kamut adds a chewy texture and was fantastic – I am sure farro is just as delicious! It’s a simple soup, but beautiful in composition. Terry has posted her own review as well as the recipe here. (Slurp!)
West African Mafe
It has been debated that I could live off of peanut butter. I am a sucker for savory peanut butter recipes, and when I saw this West African Mafe recipe I knew I had to make it. Peanut butter lovers take note – there are not one, but three peanut butter soup recipes – all from different cultures! It amazes me that with a slight tweak to spices and the vegetables you throw in you can be transported to Chile, Asia, or West Africa. Similar to the Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Stew (from Asia), this West African Mafe was superb. Full of protein due to the tofu and the peanut butter, the broth is rich and hearty with plenty of spice to go around. It is definitely a distinct dish from the Asian counterpart, with a more subtle heat ‘punch’ – it sneaks up on you and makes you crave more. The eggplant soaks up the broth flavour wonderfully, and the addition of greens give the stew some colour. Serve with a green salad and your grain of choice and this is a superstar meal that will fuel you for whatever adventures take your fancy!
The recipe is on page 160 of the cookbook, and can be viewed via Google Book Preview: Deluxe Tofu Vegetable Mafe.
Vegan Eats World delivers some amazing recipes with a healthy dose of humour and fun. It’s a pleasure to read and delicious to cook!