I love, love queueing up a long list of Youtube cooking videos to play in the background while I’m cooking, especially on long recipe testing days. Edgy Veg is one of the regulars on these cooking playlists, so I was really excited to check out their first cookbook. As a fellow independent maker, it makes me so so happy to see indie recipe developers thrive.
This book is filled with some classics that should be really familiar to lots of people who cook mostly American-style foods - dishes like pizza pockets, mac n cheese, vegan big macs, and spaghetti and meatballs. Although it does include desserts, this is definitely a book of savory meals. We went all out and tried the Chick-Fillet Deluxe, which is a vegan Chick-fil-A dupe. People, the recipes are GOOD. Not only did my boyfriend and friends sit in disbelief at how good this sandwich was, but the next night we got takeout and my boyfriend said “it just pales in comparison to that chicken sandwich.” Yep, agreed!
Let me just go down a couple of critiques/downsides of the book from our point of view. Don’t get me wrong - the recipes are good. Real good. Just wanted to give you our opinion on other aspects of the book, because cookbooks aren’t just a list of recipes.
The style of some of the writing and recipe titles are not our taste - we’re definitely the kind of people who don’t go to Moe’s because they force you to say the long, embarrassing name for your burrito, or groan and point to the menu instead of saying “Chocolate Thunder From Down Under” because, ugh. I just can’t. In general, I don’t think this book is a lot like Chickpea - the design, paper, and writing style is a lot different. But that is totally okay - just wanted to note it for those of our readers who feel drawn toward our style. (Think of it like being a dog person or a cat person - we’re more cat people, they’re more dog people.)
The next point: the book at certain points feels like it could’ve been pared down or more heavily focused. The big appeal of Edgy Veg, to us, seems like well-veganized American diner “carnivore” classics, like the seitan, bacon, or fish-centric dishes. But then there are a few international dishes that I don’t feel like fits entirely, like pho or butter chicken. There’s a whole section on salads, where her introductory sentence is “Let’s get on thing straight: salads bore me.” (Even on their website about page, they say they don’t like salads.) I get it, we want to give a new life to vegan staples, but just don’t include it if you’re not beyond passionate about it or it doesn’t add something extra to the book. Totally not saying that the recipes aren’t good, but I think it could’ve done without a few of the outliers in the overall layout of the book.
But, like most diners I’ve gone to, there are always one or two extra items or sections that they could do without. I still love the recipes in this book - they’re definitely the comfort foods I’ve grown up with, and would easily make any of them for friends if I were hosting a party. Heck, I’ve definitely had “veganize a taco bell breakfast crunchwrap” on my To Blog list for the past six years, and she’s definitely got a crunchwrap in here. It’s my thing, and I’m super excited to try more of these recipes.
If you’re into mostly American-style food, especially dinners and fast food, you’ll really love the Edgy Veg cookbook. It’s got some extravagant recipes that would impress anyone, vegan or not. And I don’t say that lightly.
WHO THIS BOOK IS FOR
I would recommend this book to new vegans, or vegans who want to share very convincing food to non-vegans. (You get a lot of value for your money, because the book is packed with recipes, too!)
- the essentials
- brunch: the hangover story
- souper natural
- not-boring salads
- the main squeeze
- on the side
- thirsty girl
- sweet endings…or beginnings, we don’t judge
THE BEST PART
That I could veganize nearly every childhood meal with this one book. YES.
- mason-dixon crab melt
- no-fuss BLT (using coconut bacon)
- black lemonade
- lox and cream cheese bagels
- baja fish tacos
WHERE TO GET IT
Courtesy of The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore Approved Recipes by Candice Hutchings and James Aita © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Available where books are sold.
James swears that the legendary Chick-fil-A sandwich is the best chicken sandwich ever created. He challenged me to recreate this “magical work of art” when he first agreed to try out this whole vegan thing. Naturally I agreed, because relationships are totally about compromise to get what you want in the end. After many exhausting attempts with a taste tester who kept telling me it wasn’t quite right, James finally proclaimed that I had nailed it — you couldn’t tell the difference at all. You’re welcome!
- 2-3/4 cups dill pickle juice, divided 685 mL
- 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, divided 17 mL
- 4 Become a Master of Seitan: Chicken Burgers (see recipe below)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 175 mL
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 500 mL
- 1/3 cup organic confectioners’ (icing) sugar 75 mL
- 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp paprika, divided 17 mL
- 2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 10 mL
- 1 tsp chili powder 5 mL
- 1 tsp sea salt 5 mL
- 1 tsp baking powder 5 mL
- 1 tsp garlic powder 5 mL
- Peanut oil for frying
- 4 white burger buns
- 4 slices vegan cheese (I like provolone)
- 16 dill pickle medallions
- Hot sauce (optional)
1. In a shallow bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) pickle juice and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper. Add burgers, making sure they are submerged in the marinade, and marinate for 1 hour.
2. In a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat peanut oil to 325°F (160°C). If you are frying on the stove, you will need about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of oil.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) pickle juice and almond milk. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners’ sugar, remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) cayenne, paprika, peppercorns, chili powder, sea salt, baking powder and garlic powder. Set aside.
5. Coat each burger in the flour mixture, then toss it into the milk mixture, coating evenly on all sides. Coat generously in flour mixture again.
6. In batches, place burgers in hot oil. Fry for about 5 to 8 minutes, flipping occasionally, or until the outside is crisp and golden brown. Using tongs, remove burgers from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel.
7. Heat a large, dry skillet over low heat. Toast buns, cut side down, for about 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Remove buns from the pan. Place vegan cheese on bottom half of each bun and top with fried chicken and 4 pickle slices. Serve immediately with your favorite hot sauce, if desired.
We are often too lazy to make burgers from scratch. If you’re hard up for time, you can use a store-bought vegan chicken cutlet or burger substitute or smoked tofu.
Become a Master of Seitan: Chicken
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten, divided (approx.) 265 mL
- 1/2 tsp sea salt 2 mL
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 30 mL
- 1 tsp onion powder 5 mL
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning 2 mL
- 3/4 cup All You Need Is Broth (see recipe below) 175 mL
- 1/4 cup tahini 60 mL
1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup (250 mL) wheat gluten, sea salt, nutritional yeast, onion powder and poultry seasoning; whisk to combine.
2. In another large bowl, combine vegetable broth and tahini; whisk until smooth. Using a spatula, carefully fold wheat gluten mixture into vegetable broth mixture until combined. (You might need to use your hands for this.)
3. Sprinkle work surface with 1 tbsp (15 mL) vital wheat gluten. Knead the dough until it’s elastic but not dry. Add additional wheat gluten if dough feels too sticky and knead some more. To make Chicken Burgers, see below.
1. Complete the Become a Master of Seitan: Chicken recipe (above). Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C.)
2. Divide dough into 6 small burgers or divide into 8 equal pieces and roll out into 1/2-inch (1 cm) schnitzel cutlets. (Keep in mind they will grow to be about twice their size, so make them smaller than you would normally.) Place burgers or schnitzel in a Dutch oven and cover completely with vegetable broth. Cover and cook in preheated oven for 1 hour, flipping seitan after 45 minutes. Remove burgers or schnitzel from broth and let cool for about 45 minutes on a wire rack. Use as a substitute in any recipes that call for chicken burgers or schnitzel. These taste the best when they are breaded, baked or fried.
All You Need Is Broth
Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)
- 3 tbsp olive oil 45 mL
- 1 large white onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped
- 10 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 4 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cremini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped 500 mL
- 3 tomatoes, halved
- 1 garlic head, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2-inch (1 cm) piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup sprigs fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley 60 mL
- 1 tsp salt (approx.) 5 mL
- 12 cups water 3L
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns 5 mL
1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, rosemary, parsley and salt; sweat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften and brown lightly.
2. Add water, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until the liquid has reduced by half. Taste along the way, and salt if you need to.
3. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into another large pot, bowl or mason jar, discarding solids. Let cool completely; cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.