The day the long-awaited Oh She Glows Cookbook showed up on our doorstep was an exciting one indeed.
My wife and I do a lot of cooking at home, and time permitting, we make as much as we can from scratch — staples like almond butter, hummus, almond milk, and vegetable stock. Foods that of course you can buy, but it just feels better (and it’s usually cheaper, too) to make them ourselves.
And if there’s one blog that has helped us find our way along this less-trodden (these days), do-it-yourself path — and one blog that seems to turn up whenever we Google “how to roast pumpkins” or “oil-free vegan pancake recipe” — it’s Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon.
Though we haven’t met in person, Angela has become an online friend of mine. I jumped at the chance to get a review copy, knowing major points would be scored on the home front (as they always are when advance copies of cookbooks show up) but also genuinely excited to see how Angela would distill her considerable natural cooking chops and hundreds of recipes on her blog into a cohesive, comprehensive book format.
To nobody’s surprise, she has done it beautifully, with rustic, DIY elegance.
In addition to making great food, Angela knows how to photograph it, too: she did all her own photos for this book (check out her fun shots of my buffalo hummus from when she reviewed my book last fall to see what I mean). The result is a colorful, farmhouse-vibed volume of approachable vegan recipes that draw on a nice collection of homemade staples — chia jam, almond milk, vegetable stock, mushroom gravy, pumpkin butter, cashew cream, and beans from scratch, to name just a few.
The recipe I’m sharing today is my favorite so far, but all eight or so that we’ve cooked have been hits. And a remarkable thing about the Oh She Glows Cookbook, as Erin pointed out to me, is that all the recipes look good enough to make — not just a handful of standouts, as is the case with many cookbooks (though a few “keepers” is really all I need to consider a book worthwhile).
To end my gush, I’ll point to the balance between health and taste Angela has struck with her new book: though every recipe is vegan, Oh She Glows is decidedly not oil-free, salt-free, soy-free, sugar-free, or gluten-free. The recipes are labeled as such when they are, and easy to adapt otherwise: the two items in the preceding list that I’ve started paying attention to are oil and salt, and though the amounts in most of Angela’s recipes are fairly modest already, it’s been no problem to adjust as desired. For my family, for where we are right now on the “healthy and homemade, but tasty and practical” spectrum , Oh She Glows is perfect.
Alright, recipe time! Well, almost. Two more details, including the giveaway:
- The Oh She Glows Cookbook is officially released today (March 4th)! Check out Angela’s sneak peak post, or just go get it on Amazon (affiliate link). Oh and by the way, don’t be confused by the two different covers — the carrots one in this post is the U.S. version; Canada’s has a parfait on the cover.
- Angela and her publisher are generously giving away a copy of the new book to one lucky No Meat Athlete reader! To enter, just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll select the winner at random on Monday, March 10th. If you win, I’ll email you, and update this post with whatever name you put in your comment. [UPDATE: The winner of the cookbook is Jennifer, who commented on March 4th, 2014 at 3:18pm. Congrats Jennifer, and thanks to all 604 entrants!]
Thanks to Angela for the chance to review and give away a copy of her book (on release day, no less), and for permission to share this fantastic soup recipe. The Italian chickpea croutons had our house smelling like it was an occasion far bigger than a random Wednesday night, and with a slice of rustic wheat bread, this creamy soup with the chickpea croutons stood on its own for a substantial, comforting meal.
Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons
Reprinted with permission from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon, published by Avery, a member of the Penguin Group, copyright 2014.
Note from Angela: This is a classic cream-based tomato soup, revamped to be good for you and free of animal products. Blending a small amount of soaked cashews into the soup transforms the tomato base into a luxurious, creamy soup, and the sun-dried tomatoes add depth of flavor to the tomato base. And with the crunchy Italian chickpea “croutons,” there are no traditional bread croutons required. Be sure to soak the raw cashews in the water the night before (or for at least three to four hours) so they are ready when you plan to make the soup.
Makes 8 cups (2 L)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 to 40 minutes
Gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free, grain-free
For the Chickpea Croutons:
1 (15-ounce/425-g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) onion powder
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) fine-grain sea salt or Herbamare
For the Tomato Soup:
1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small to medium yellow onion, diced (1.5 to 2 cups/375 to 500 mL)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) raw cashews, soaked (see page 11)
2 cups (500 mL) vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce/793-g) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup (60 mL) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 mL) tomato paste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 mL) dried oregano
3/4 to 1 teaspoon (4 to 5 mL) fine-grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL) dried thyme
Fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Make the Chickpea Croutons: Preheat the over to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Place the chickpeas on the paper towels and place a couple of paper towels on top. Roll them around until any liquid on them has been absorbed. Discard the paper towels.
2. Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl and stir in the grapeseed oil, oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and then spread the chickpeas in an even layer on the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Give the pan a shake from side to side and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, watching closely, until the chickpeas are lightly charred and golden.
4. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. The chickpeas will crisp up as they cool.
5. Make the Tomato Soup: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
6. In a blender, combine the soaked cashews and the broth and blend on high speed until creamy and smooth. Add the garlic-onion mixture, tomatoes and their juices, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste and blend on high until smooth.
7. Pour the tomato mixture into the saucepan in which you cooked the onions and set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the oregano, salt, pepper, and thyme, all to taste.
8. Gently simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors have developed.
9. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with 1/3 to 1/2 cup (75 to 125 mL) of the Chickpea Croutons. Garnish with minced fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper.
Tips: The chickpeas will lose their crispness in the soup, so be sure to add them just before you sit down to eat — or you can even add the chickpeas as you eat the soup.
If you have leftover chickpeas, make sure they’re cool, then pop them into a baggie or container and throw them in the freezer. Freezing the chickpeas seems to retain their crispness better than leaving them at room temperature. To reheat, simply pop the frozen chickpeas into the oven at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 5 minutes or so, until thawed. Voila — instant roasted chickpeas!