I finally got Veganissimo!

Vegans in the northern suburbs of Melbourne had barely dried their eyes following the closure of the Radical Grocery Store when a new vegan grocery store opened its doors in Thornbury. H and I made a visit to Mad Cowgirls a couple of Saturdays back and found some exciting stuff – including the cookbook everyone’s talking about – Veganissimo!

Mad Cowgirls vegan grocery shop

Mad Cowgirls is in a group of new shops in a lovely, old, red brick building that has been recently renovated (I can’t even remember what was there before). Strangely, even though it’s quite close to my house, I didn’t even know it had opened until I read about it on Where’s the Beef?

I won’t say too much about the shop in this post, because true to form, I forgot to take my phone, camera or iPad, so I couldn’t take pictures – but I’ll definitely be heading back there soon, so I’ll rectify that in a proper Mad Cowgirl post.

For now, I want to report on just one of the most exciting things for me – the small bookcase at the back of the shop displaying vegan books. Most exciting of all, it included a copy of Leigh Drew’s Veganissimo!



I’ve been drooling over Veganissimo dishes on Made of Stars, Veganopoulous,  and Where’s the Beef? since late last year. It seemed like almost everyone had this book – and I wanted it too!

Of course, when I saw it on the shelf I snapped it up, and then got sick the following day, so I wasn’t able to try out any of the recipes until a couple of days ago. I love this book, because like Isa Does It, it doesn’t just have the meat removed from old favourites or tofu taking the place of meat. Instead it invents whole new creations and ways of cooking vegan food.

Where Isa’s special feature is smooth, nutty creaminess, Leigh’s seems to be the nut cheeses, which by all reports are really special. I’m looking forward to trying them, but in the meantime, here’s my attempt at the Vegan Meatball Subs.

Vegan Meatball Subs

In my dizzy-headedness, I truly believed I had all the ingredients, but I didn’t. I had to make quite a few substitutions, but happily it still worked really well and tasted great.

Lots of substitutions…

  • I left out the green olives because mine were a bit old – so I added a big whack of Dijon mustard for flavour instead.
  • I had run out of quinoa flakes, so I whizzed up some oats in the food processor.
  • I used fresh sage instead of dried, because it’s about the only survivor in my sunburnt and neglected garden.
  • I didn’t make the tomato or cheese sauces, because I was just too tired.
  • I had no vegan Worcestershire sauce (or any other kind, for that matter), so I just left that out.

…but they still worked

I used the food processor for just about everything, which made it quick and easy. The balls were easy to shape and held together well, even through the frying stage.

Vegan meatballs frying in a cast iron frying pan. In the background are fried meatballs on an oven tray ready to be baked.

I had to lie down again by the time the balls were baking, so the kids organised the rolls and salad…and oven fries. I would have chosen to have a lot more vegies with it, but I’m not complaining at all. The two of them did a fantastic job of cooking ALL the meals during the previous week, while I was stuck in bed. We didn’t even have takeaway food once – and they didn’t even resort to baked beans!

Veganissimo vegan meatball sub with oven fries

The subs were delicious – but the fries were dried out (but I’m not complaining!)

Anyway, the ‘meat’ balls were a big hit – really tasty with a firm chewy texture and nice and crunchy on the outside.  There were quite a few leftover, so we had them the following day tossed in passata, with herbs and spices and pasta. And I’d like you to guess whether I remembered to take a picture…Correct! No picture.

What’s next?

I’m really looking forward to trying a lot more of the recipes – particularly the cashew cheese that seemed so popular on vegan blogs over Christmas.

Several recipes from Veganissimo are available on Leigh’s blog if you’d like to try them out. I’m planning to try the Corn Fritters next.

Better than My Kitchen Rules!

OK, that wouldn’t be hard, would it? Here’s a video I found showing Leigh making Chocolate Melting Moments.

18 thoughts on “I finally got Veganissimo!

  1. Oh don’t tell me that it has lots of nut cheese – that is one of my fascinations – will need to get to mad girl’s grocery. I finally got isa does it and love it but am trying to keep the cookbook habit under control. But those meatball subs look fantastic

    • You know, I thought of you when I saw the cheeses – I know you like to dabble in non-dairy cheese making too. This book has a chapter called ‘Charming cheses, pates, dips and spreads’. There are four cheese: Chive and Cashew Creme Cheese, Soft Macadamia Cheese, Baked Ricotta and Mozzarella. There are also cheesy sauces in some of the other recipes. When the weather cools down a bit I will try them out.

      I know what you mean about the cookbook habit. At the end of 2013 I promised myself there would be ‘no more cookbooks!’ Since January I’ve bought two. :-/

  2. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book – the meatballs are one of my fave recipes 😀 I had such a great time writing and testing the recipes, gives me great pleasure to see so many folks enjoying it!!


  3. Another cookbook! Sounds like a goodie. Vegan cheeses are something I’ve been planning to make because I think Keith needs something creamy and very savoury to snack on. He misses cheese much more than I do. I guess I’ll have to make some crackers too.

    Very soon we are going to make a big trip to your side of town to buy lots of stuff for the pantry. Our little health food shop has a few things but we feel in need of a few treats we don’t have to make ourselves. Perhaps we could make that the day we all go out for lunch.

      • I’m so glad you bought the book!
        Have you made the cashew cheese yet? It is the best!
        I make a batch every 10 days or so. I freeze half. It is very popular in our household.
        I will have to try the meatballs next. My daughter has been requesting the zucchini muffins. The yellow curry is fabulous too.
        I hope you are well Linda. 😃

  4. Pingback: Cruelty Free Shop & Vegie Bar takeaway | The Lentil Institution

  5. Pingback: Mad Cowgirls: vegan goodies close to home | The Lentil Institution

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