In Cookbook Corner. Liliana Tommasini of My Cookbook Addiction joins us once a month to review a new cookbook or an old favourite. This is her review of Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f**k from House of Anansi. Released in fall of 2014, it has been consistently in the Amazon.ca top 10 best selling cookbooks and as of April 2020 it was still the number 1 ranked vegan cookbook and in the top 30 of all cookbooks.
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I wasn’t aware of the Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f*ck cookbook until a few weeks before the 2014 Food Bloggers of Canada conference held last October. I must have had my head buried in the sand because this book is written by Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, the Los Angeles-based authors of the vegan blog Thug Kitchen, which was hailed as sensational throughout the food blogging world.
They were presenters at the 2014 Food Bloggers of Canada conference where they shared the story of how their blog became one the most popular vegan food blogs and won Saveur magazine’s Best New Blog of 2013.
I don’t own any cookbooks that contain profanity so I showed it to my adult daughters and asked them what they thought about it. Their response was “Really mom, like you never swore before?” Point taken.
The Thug Kitchen cookbook features over 100 original recipes for: breakfast; salads; soups and stews; salsas, sips and snacks; burritos; and baked goods and desserts. Sample recipes include: Cornmeal Waffles with Strawberry Syrup; Roasted Beet and Quinoa Salad; Creamy Ravioli with House Marinara; White Bean and Red Lentil Burgers; Maple-Oat Banana Bread; and, Blueberry Walnut Lavender Scones. The recipes are easy to follow and most of them are accompanied by enticing colour photos.
Throughout the book you will find Dropping Knowledge pages on knife skills, knowing your herbs and other useful information, and basic how-to pages on techniques like building a salad and roasting garlic. There’s also a chapter with advice on how on how to stock your pantry and how to shop wisely.
I tested a few of the recipes from the cookbook. The following are a couple of my favourites.
Wedding Soup with White Bean Balls and Kale
This has to be one of the best soups I have made. It’s easy and fast to prepare with simple ingredients. The bean balls are baked, not fried, and it all comes together when the bean balls are served in a bowl covered by ladles of the vegetable soup. The bean balls do fall apart as you’re eating the soup, giving it a rustic look and the taste is incredibly delicious! This soup is a meal in itself and satisfies the heartiest of appetites.
Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos
This recipe made me love burritos. Again, it’s another easy- to- make recipe. The vegetables are mixed with spices and baked until cooked. All you have to do is prepare the burrito trimmings and let everyone at the table make their own burrito. Visit the Thug Kitchen blog for the recipe.
Thanks to the House of Anansi Press, below is the recipe for the Wedding Soup with White Bean Balls and Kale:
- Cooking spray
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cups cooked white or cannellini beans*
- 1⁄2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast** or flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 2 teaspoons no-salt, all-purpose seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil, and oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup small dried pasta**
- 9 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups chopped kale or other dark, leafy greens
- 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and ground pepper
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
- Crank your oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Now, make the bean balls. Chop up the onion and measure out 1⁄4 cup. Save the rest but push it to the side; we’ll use that shit in a bit. Mash up the beans in a large bowl until they form a paste. Some whole bean bits are cool, but try to keep that to a minimum. Stir in the rest of the ingredients including the 1⁄4 cup chopped onion and mix it all up so that everything gets distributed. You might need to use your hands to really get in there. Don’t act like you’re too cool to touch bean paste. If it feels a little dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. Roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball and put them on the greased up baking sheet. You should get 20 to 25 depending on your rollin’ skills. Spray them with a little cooking spray and bake them for about 30 minutes, turning them over halfway, until both sides are golden brown.
- While the balls are cooking, get your soup ready. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rest of that onion from earlier (told ya), the carrots, and celery and sauté until the onion starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pasta and cook for 30 more seconds. Gently pour in the broth and let it all simmer together until the pasta is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Fold in the lemon juice, greens, salt, pepper, and parsley and turn off the heat.
- When everything is ready, place 3 or 4 bean balls in the bottom of a bowl and gently ladle the soup over them. Serve it up right away. The balls will slowly break apart as you eat and everything will taste so damn good together you’ll understand why it’s called wedding soup.
** Orzo, elbows, stars, letters, whateverthef**k you got.
Is Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f*ck bookshelf worthy?
This cookbook is absolutely bookshelf worthy and not only for vegans. Once you get past the profanity, you’ll realize that this is a well-written cookbook that provides delicious, easy to make vegan recipes and promotes a healthy approach to cooking. I’m not a vegan, but I sure do love my veggies and the Thug Kitchen cookbook has a place on my bookshelf.
Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f*ck
Authors: Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Hardcover, 212 pages
Cookbook Corner was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She lives in Laval, QC with her husband, youngest daughter, two cats and an expanding cookbook collection. Now, the Sunday lunch celebration continues in her family. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.