Isa’s done it again!

I thought Veganomicon was supposed to be the ‘ultimate vegan cookbook’, but I think it may have been deposed.

I know I was probably the last vegan in the world to get my copy, but I’m absolutely loving Isa Does It! Before it arrived last month, I’d been imagining it to be a soft-covered book of about 100 pages – one of those cookbooks that are a bit like a thick magazine. It was such a lovely surprise to rip the package open and find a beautiful, big, hard-cover book with gorgeous colours and photos and illustrations.


I usually like to write notes all over my cookbooks – changes that I make to the recipes or which members of the family liked or hated particular dishes. I think I’m going to have to resort to post-it notes for this book, because I just can’t bring myself to write on it. The pages are far too pretty for my hideous scrawl!

You know how some cookbooks are great to browse, but the recipes are too intimidating or they just don’t work well – this one is not like that. Everything I’ve made from it has turned out really well (including Nacho Night on Christmas Day). And the recipes seem so different to those in most of my vegan cookbooks – rather than just different combinations of stir fries and pasta dishes, there are unusual nut creams and dressings, ‘meaty’ things (for want of a better term), and really practical information about tools and techniques.

On Isa’s advice, I’ve even gone and bought myself a cast iron frying pan and a metal spatula, so I can cook my burgers and tofu without a ton of oil and keep the browned surface intact when I flip them. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Pizza Bowl

This weekend I made the Pizza Bowl (p. 204). It seemed like a much healthier way to get the tastes of pizza without the regret of all the fat and refined carbs. I was also fascinated by two parts of the recipe:

  • cashew sauce (full of a whole lot of delicious stuff)
  • vegan sausages (I wanted to try making my own).

Steamy Beany Sausages

I started by making up the Steamy Beany Sausages (p. 237). They were surprisingly quick and easy, and it was nice to have sausages and know exactly what was in them. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the directions said, “Don’t worry too much about shaping it, as it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.” And awesome it was! When I unwrapped the foil packages, there they were – actual sausages! (without the nasty bits)

Just-steamed sausage, still in the foil.

One of the just-steamed sausages.

Cashew sauce

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the cashew sauce smooth enough – again. H (my daughter, who wasn’t home at the time) has mastered cashew sauce, but mine usually ends up grainy. I had the old ‘air pocket in the blender’ problem. Over and over I scraped it down, but it didn’t help much, and I finally gave up trying. H said I should have drizzled a little bit more liquid in while the blender was running. I’ll try that next time.

If you make this, hang on to any leftover sauce. We had it for lunch on Sunday mixed through a big pile of shredded vegies. Much tastier than your average coleslaw.

Silverbeet instead of kale

I did change the recipe slightly, by using silverbeet instead of kale (I had a huge bunch of silverbeet that was filling up half my fridge, and I wanted it gone!). Unfortunately, as cooked silverbeet doesn’t hold it’s shape as well as kale, it didn’t look quite as nice as the kale in the cookbook – but it did taste great.

Pizza Bowl with wilted silverbeet and delicious sauce

It didn’t matter that the sauce was a bit too grainy, because it tasted really, really good. The roasted red capsicum really made it special. Next time I’ll cut the hole in the piping bag slightly smaller though.

And one from Veganomicon

Late last week I tried another of Isa’s vital wheat gluten recipes – the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. I thought these were a bit nicer than the sausages (probably because they were fried instead of steamed), and they were also fun to make.

Chickpea cutlet

OK, I hadn’t done any shopping during the holiday week, and I’m ashamed that we were down to frozen peas and corn for our vegies. (The only thing left in our vegie garden is parsley, as you can see).

Meaty Beany Chilli

Last night I made the Meaty Beany Chilli with Cornbread Muffins (p. 169, Isa Does It)…and forgot to take a picture. Here’s the video from Make It Vegan (I’ll let you imagine that mine looked as good as Isa’s).

15 thoughts on “Isa’s done it again!

  1. I’ve browsed through it in the bookstores and am thinking this one might go on my to do list – beautiful book with great recipes but a silly name that relies on people knowing Isa (which I know lots of vegan’s do)

    • So I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have it. For a while there it seemed like all the bloggers (& my sister) were cooking from it. I was dying of jealousy.

      I haven’t seen it in any bookshops yet. I had to order it online and it took FOREVER to turn up. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about the name. It’s not very descriptive, is it? Maybe they thought that the word ‘vegan’ might frighten some people off…although it’s written on the cover anyway.

  2. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t even cracked my IDI yet, but thanks for the reminder about the wonder of parsley potatoes; I have both in my fridge right now.

  3. This “H” says drizzle a bit more liquid in next time too. 🙂

    I love this book too, I like that she writes like she talks and her directions are easy for anyone to understand. K and I have a little plan to push us to try new recipes. We will each choose one night a week to make a recipe we have never tried before and this book could be all me need for reference.

  4. Pingback: I finally got Veganissimo! | The Lentil Institution

  5. Pingback: Cast iron: getting your tofu crispy | The Lentil Institution

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