Good morning everyone and happy Monday.
As I mentioned on Friday, I have a special treat for you today. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a marketing associate from BenBella Books wondering if I would like to review one of their more recently published cookbooks. I’ve worked with them in the past on reviewing a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad last December and that was such a great experience that I didn’t even hesitate to agree again.
Now, some of you may question why I am reviewing a vegan cookbook when some of my blog’s recipes contain animals products. Really it is quite simple. First and foremost my reasoning is that I just plain love cookbooks. I’ve said this before, but I actually read them like novels in bed as I go to sleep, and this one was no exception. Second, I really appreciate the focus on vegetables and fruits that vegan books tend to have, unlike many of my (while still thoroughly enjoyed) dessert cookbooks. Finally, as someone with a dairy and egg allergy, vegan cookbooks offer a host of wonderful recipes and techniques that benefit me and others with allergies greatly.
With that explained, let me give you a run down of what all you are going to see in this review post of The China Study Cookbook. First I am going to start off with a summary of the book and a little background information of the author. Then we will dive right into the recipes that I have made from the cookbook so far, one being an excerpt that you can try out for yourself. After discussing the recipes I will sum up my final thoughts on the cookbook and give you all of the details on the best part – the giveaway!
Let’s get started.
Here is the book summary taken right from the publisher’s website:
The China Study, with 850,000 copies sold, has been hailed as one of the most important health and nutrition books ever published. It revealed that the traditional Western diet has led to our modern health crisis and the widespread growth of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Based on the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted, the book reveals that a plant-based diet leads to optimal health with the power to halt or reverse many diseases.
The China Study Cookbook takes these scientific findings and puts them to action. Written by LeAnne Campbell, daughter of The China Study author T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and mother of two hungry teenagers, The China Study Cookbook features delicious, easily prepared plant-based recipes with no added fat and minimal sugar and salt that promote optimal health.
From her Breakfast Home-Fry Hash and Fabulous Sweet Potato Enchiladas to No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars and Cheese(less) Cake, all of LeAnne’s recipes follow three important principles:
1. Optimal nutrition is based on eating food rather than nutrient supplements
2. The closer that foods are to their native states—prepared with minimal cooking, salting, and processing—the greater the long-term health benefits of eating them
3. It is best to choose locally and organically grown produce whenever possible
Filled with helpful tips on substitutions, keeping foods nutrient-rich, and transitioning to a plant-based diet, The China Study Cookbook shows how to transform individual health and the health of the entire family.
From inside the back cover here is a little more information about the author:
Leanne Campbell, PhD, lives in Durham, North Carolina. She has been preparing meals based on a whole food, plant-based diet for almost twenty years. LeAnne has raised two sons—Steven and Nelson, now nineteen and eighteen years of age—on this diet. As a working mother, LeAnne has found ways to prepare quick and easy meals without using animals products or added oils.
These are the recipes that I have tried so far and a further explanation of what the book includes:
The book starts with a nice summary of the author’s personal transition to a plant-based diet and goes on to explain in great detail how to transition to a plant-based diet if you choose, and what essentials you will need to know on that journey. This section was one of my favorite parts of the book. Whether or not you agree with a vegan, plant-based lifestyle, you can’t help but be inspired by LeAnne’s dedication to health for both herself and her family. Also, the Q&A where the author was asked about her sons’ experiences with a plant-based diet really resonated with me since I too have to follow a diet that is out of the norm among my college classmates.
Still, while I very much enjoyed reading this introduction to the cookbook, the recipes were obviously the main focus for me. They were divided into several sections based on what type of recipe they were (Breakfast Dishes, Soups, Sandwiches, Desserts, etc.) and in each section the recipes were listed in alphabetical order for ease of use which I appreciated.
A few of the recipes that stood out to me were the Sesame Noodle Salad, Tasty Tostados, Veggie Fajita Wraps, African Vegetables, Dominican Beans, Mama’s Kitchen Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Cranberry Applesauce, Vegan Chocolate Cake, Garlic Green Beans and Mushrooms, Quick Butternut Squash, Date Fruit Pie, and Nutty Noodles with Vegetables. Alright, so maybe these were more than a few. There were just so many to pick from!
Ultimately I settled on making two recipes to share in this review.
The first one was the Vegan Chocolate Cake which I made for my brother in cupcake form. I had to substitute in a few ingredients (pumpkin puree for the applesauce and whole wheat pastry flour for the spelt) but it still came out wonderful. There was also a frosting recipe given that was supposed to be paired along with the vegan cake, however I’ll admit that I didn’t want to push my luck with a tofu frosting on my brother. Instead I just made a basic chocolate glaze. I would encourage you to try out the frosting recipe though because it sounds delicious and probably would fool most (excluding my brother who has had one too many healthy dessert terrors thanks to yours truly).
The second recipe that I made was the Domincan Beans from the Entrees section of the cookbook. This recipe was so incredibly easy to make. I came home at about 12:00pm from church and by 1:00pm I was plating up the meal for my parents to devour. Once again I had to make some substitutions based on what we had in house, but it turned out fabulous and we will be making the bean portion of the recipe again and again for a quick side to round out future meals.
Lucky for you all, I have been given permission to share the recipe for the beans with you today straight from the pages of The China Study Cookbook.
Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 35 minutes
Makes 6–8 servings
What really makes this dish is the salad served on top. The crunchy freshness of the vegetables and the tanginess of the dressing make for a perfect combination.
For the beans
- ¼ cup vegetable broth, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup diced butternut squash
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cans pinto beans
- ½ tablespoon Mexican oregano leaves, dried
- ½ teaspoon thyme, dried
- Sea salt to taste
- 4 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
For the salad
- 2 cups sliced lettuce
- 2 cups cabbage, sliced into strips
- ¾ cup sliced cucumber
- ¾ cup sliced cooked beets
- 1 tomato, sliced
- Balsamic rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- For the beans, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable broth in a large stock pot and sauté the onion and garlic over medium-high heat until soft. Add green pepper, squash, cilantro, and two more tablespoons vegetable broth. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Add water, tomato paste, beans, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. If needed, add an additional 1/2 cup water. Season with salt.
- While the beans are cooking, make the salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
- Serve beans over rice and top with salad.
Tip - Black or red beans can be substituted for the pinto beans.
Recipe notes from me: Like I said above, I had to make a few substitutions when making this recipe, so I will include them here. Instead of the fresh garlic and herbs which were not available at my grocery store, I used organic dried replacements. Instead of the pinto beans and tomato paste I used the organic navy beans and tomato puree that we had on hand (increasing the tomato puree to about 1/3 cup). Also, in place of the sliced lettuce and cabbage I just bought a bag of pre-washed organic lettuce mix that included red cabbage. We don’t usually eat rice at home so I just made some cauliflower rice instead. (Oh, and I also forgot to add the tomatoes… Whoops!).
This is my review of the cookbook from GoodReads.com:
The China Study Cookbook will appeal to both herbivores and carnivores alike. What’s important is its focus on whole foods and the emphasis that it places on including a lot of fresh produce in one’s diet. I really enjoyed the introduction from the author and her personal story of going plant-based as it did a great job of setting the stage and putting me in the right mindset for looking at the vegan recipes. Also, the two recipes that I have tried so far were great. The Vegan Chocolate Cake and Dominican Beans are a must if you buy this cookbook. In the future I hope to also make the Nutty Noodles with Vegetables! (Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book to review but all thoughts and opinions are my own).
I hope that after this post you are now even more excited to get your own copy of The China Study Cookbook!
Here is how you can participate in this great giveaway…
There are five ways that you can win a free copy of The China Study Cookbook (for international citizens residing outside of the U.S. or Canada you will receive an e-book version of the cookbook):
1. Follow Eating 4 Balance via Bloglovin.
2. Follow me on my (very new) Instagram account.
3. Follow me on Pinterest.
4. Share your favorite vegan cookbook/author/blogger.
5. Follow BenBella Books on Twitter to see their latest releases.
Leave a separate comment below for each entry. Make sure to include a valid e-mail address so that I can get a hold of you if (when) you win. This giveaway will last a total of 7 days. It starts on October 14, and ends on October 21 at midnight EST. No entries will be counted after that time.
I will pick the winner randomly, and announce who won here on Monday, October 22 as long as all goes according to plan. The winner will also receive an e-mail from me. If the winner does not respond back with their full name and a viable shipping address (if from the U.S. or Canada) within one week, then I will randomly pick another winner, of which the same rules apply.