Monday, April 20, 2015

The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

As you may know, a new documentary called The PlantPure Nation has is now touring the country and will be showing in Washington, DC on Saturday, May 9. The movie was produced by Nelson Campbell, Colin Campbell's son. In conjunction with this documentary is a new recipe book called, you guessed it, The PlantPure Nation Cookbook, written by Kim Campbell who is Colin Campbell's daughter-in-law and Nelson Campbell's wife.

The book has a very short introduction that details how to build a veg pantry and how to keep plant pure eating simple. The rest of the book includes simple recipes anyone could make. The only problem is that it appears that many of them are too simple -- sort of like what you'd throw together as a new vegan without much thought to making the dishes tasty. Sure, they are plant-based, but vegan cooking is so much more than throwing a bunch of veggies and beans together -- one must add the right spices to give it pizzazz!

As I glanced through the pictures to try to decide which recipes to make, I was underwhelmed by the low-quality pictures. So, instead of using the pictures to choose, I chose dishes based on the ingredients. The first one I tried making was the Black Bean Enchilada Bake. It was a very simple dish made by layering a corn and bean mixture, salsa, corn tortillas, vegan cheese, and spinach. And that is exactly what it tasted like -- not much other flavor. Cooking the onions, jalapenos, and garlic in water didn't help. Olive oil would have given it more flavor. I hate to say it, but loading it with Daiya vegan cheese did help, but I try not to use processed cheese on a regular basis. So, I wasn't very impressed with this dish.

Next, I tried the Mushroom Stroganoff. Now I've had amazing vegan stroganoffs in the past. This was not one of them. I was lured in by the introduction that stated this was a family favorite only to find out it wouldn't be one of my favorites. The sauce was made with wine, onions, garlic mushrooms, soy sauce, mustard, vegan Worcestershire sauce, whole wheat flour, almond milk, and black olives. The black olives were just weird. In fact, the sauce just tasted odd in general. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't that great either. And it certainly didn't taste like stroganoff.

Lastly, I tried the Thai Tofu Wraps. Now these were pretty good -- again, in a simple way. There was no cooking required. You just mix together a bunch of ingredients and you get a great tofu filling with savory peanut butter and spicy Sriracha sauce. The crunch comes from the bell pepper, onion, and sprouts. And to top it off -- a little fresh cilantro.

So out of three recipes, only one caught my fancy. Overall, I am disappointed because I like to promote vegan cookbooks, but this one just didn't meet my expectations. It's probably a good book for a college vegan looking for super simple recipes and not too concerned about flavor, but, in general, I think there are better cookbooks out there on the market.

Full Disclosure: Although the book was provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

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