TexaVegan: Low-Fat, Down-Home Recipes for Everyone

I got a ton of cookbooks for Christmas this year.

Everyone in my life knows I love to cook and bake, so these were perfect gifts for me that I was overjoyed to receive! The list includes:

Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

The Cheesy Vegan by John Schlimm

Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson

Easy as Vegan Pie by Hannah Kaminsky

The Vegan Bible by Editors of Publications International Ltd.

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean by Lindsay Nixon (who is the BEST!)

The only problem is: which to cook/bake from first!

Well, I’m actually starting off with a cookbook I didn’t receive as a Christmas gift, but that I received around the same time and have been given the opportunity to review: TexaVegan by Deborah Brutsche. Also, I thought it looked awesome and pretty perfect for my dietary preferences.

And, as hinted at from the title, the author — Deborah Brutsche — is from Texas like me!

So, a couple thoughts on the book before I get into the recipes I made:

  • This would be a great cookbook to give someone just starting to cook vegan. Brutsche goes over the different types of vegan items called for throughout her cookbook; however, basically all of the ingredients used are basic and easy to find. She even has a whole section called “Stocking a Vegan Fridge” that lists all the vegan kitchen staples and explanations of them.
  • Most of the recipes seem quick and contain ingredients that are easily accessible in basic grocery stores. For each dish I’ve made so far, I already had most everything I needed for them.
  • Although the cookbook is “low-fat”, Brutsche does use a slight amount of oil in many of the recipes, which I try to avoid usually. However, even though I usually leave out/replace oil called for in any recipe, for these I did so as to stick strictly to the recipe.
  • The book also doesn’t contain any pictures, which may turn some people off, but I promise the taste and appearance of the finished recipes more than make up for it!

Now, for the first dish:

Bean & Chili Pasta Bake

This was delicious!! Quick, easy, and worked well as a weeknight meal. I love pasta dishes, and I love how baking it gave the noodles a nice crispiness. The sauce was pretty simple, with basic veggies like tomatoes, corn, and onions. I plan to make it a regular.

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Potato & Veggie Sausage Bake

Another baking dish! As implied in the title, this one called for vegan sausage (Gimme Lean brand is what I used).

Here’s the meat being sauteed and browned…
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Then a yogurt sauce with green onions and spices…

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And everything layered and baked with sliced red potatoes!

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Now, I am actually not a big fan of veggie “meat” substitutes. Honestly, they freak me out a little bit with how similar they are to actual meat… which I guess is a compliment to the modern vegan meat companies! But I was still very impressed with this recipe. The yogurt sauce was my favorite. And my boyfriend LOVED it with veggie sausage. So I would make it again for sure, maybe just picking around the meat for me. 🙂

Nut & Medjool Date Crust with the Yogurt Pie Filling.

Brutsche includes several crust recipes and then separate pie fillings recipes, so you can easily mix and match any of them. I went with this combo — an almond-date crust and cream cheese yogurt filling — which was extremely easy and very delicious! I also added some sliced banana between the crust and filling, because I’ve made several Engine 2 pies that did this and were really amazing.

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Yum!! Probably my favorite recipe so far, just because I love dessert and I love cream cheese. 🙂

So, overall, I’m very impressed with this cookbook and intend to pull recipe ideas out of it regularly. I would recommend it to anyone, whether vegan for many years of veg-curious, because of the easy yet creative recipes. You just have to overlook the fact that there are no pictures. Well done, Deborah Brutsche!

What is most important to you when buying a cookbook — do you look for quick recipes, creative recipes, pretty pictures, or something else?