Awhile back I caught an episode of the Jazzy Vegetarian on TV and before I knew it… I was sucked in.
Something about Laura’s smile and the excitement she has in the kitchen had me sitting down and watching her show when I really wasn’t planning on it.
And now, here I am reviewing her new Jazzy Vegetarian Classics cookbook and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
The first thing that caught my attention was that this cookbook is that it’s a hardback cookbook with no spiral. My thought..It’s going to be hard to keep open right? Well, not really. Bound in such a way that it basically lies open by itself, this cookbook is easy to handle and use.
Now I know that may seem a weird thing to start out with, but really.. who wants to full with pages that flip back and forth or a book that falls over while you’re in the middle of cooking.. right??
But let’s get on to the actual cookbook and recipes.
I was excited to find out right off the bat, that the The Jazzy Vegetarian IS actually Vegan..
According to Laura, what vegan means to her is
“ A vegan is someone who does not use or consume any meat, fish, poultry, dairy or eggs. A vegan strives to eat a purely plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, and grains. That’s what my recipes are all about: plant-based, easy to prepare, and delicious!”
So the Jazzy Vegetarian Classics are more vegan than not. That’s a plus for this lactose intolerant housewife.
As I started reading through the cookbook, I realized that this would be a GREAT cookbook to give to someone who was just starting out with the vegan lifestyle because the first two chapters basically walk you through the vegan/vegetarian basics.
Chapter 1 is PACKED with tons of great information – The Jazzy Basics – as she calls them. Glossary of Ingredients, Herbs and Spices, Helpful tips for Low-Fat Cooking, Improvisation, and a Table of Equivalent Measures. This chapter sets you up and gets you ready to start cooking.
Chapter 2 is the Menus Made Easy chapter. Here Laura has put together 10 jazzy menus that are perfect for any occasion. From four-course to no-course, holiday to weekday, all the recipes are delicious and plant based. And not only does she share recipes and menus in this chapter, but Laura shares her love for music by giving you a recommended “Jazzy Music Pick” to go along with each meal. How fun is that?!
The rest of the book is packed with recipes upon recipes that are easy to follow and fun to make. From Sauces, Dressings, and Accompaniments to Pudding, Pies, and Frozen Desserts, The Jazzy Vegetarian covers all your favorite meals and more.
Now I’ve already tried a few of Laura’s recipes, but the one I’d like to share with you is the one that surprised my family the most, in that it was something very different than what they are used to… and they REALLY liked it.
We did a little adjusting to make this Gluten Free friendly – using gluten free pasta and gluten free bread crumbs, but it turned out just as great I think.
Spaghetti and Wheatballs
Makes 3 to 4 servings (12 to 14 Wheatballs)
1 1/3 cups lightly packed, fresh soft whole-grain bread crumbs (see note)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 pound whole-grain spaghetti (see note)
3 cups prepared vegan marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a medium baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender or food processor, and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate.
Put the mushrooms and onion in a blender or food processor, and process to a chunky purée. Add the mushroom mixture to the walnut/bread crumb mixture and stir to incorporate. Spoon out about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture and roll it into a ball. Continue in this way with the remaining mushroom mixture. Arrange the wheatballs on the lined baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Gently rotate each wheatball and bake for 12 to 16 minutes more, or until they are crisp and golden.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm. Drain the spaghetti well.
Meanwhile, pour the marinara sauce in a medium saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Gently add the wheatballs to the sauce, one at a time, cover, and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes.
To serve, put one-quarter of the spaghetti into each of four pasta bowls, and top with three or four wheatballs. Ladle marinara sauce over the top and serve immediately.
NOTE: To make fresh bread crumbs: Put 3 to 4 slices of whole-grain bread in a blender or food processor and process into coarse crumbs.
You may use your favorite gluten-free pasta in this recipe.
Want to win a copy of The Jazzy Vegetarian Classics?
Well here’s your chance! Thanks to the great people at BenBella Books, we have 1 copy to share with one of my readers!
Just follow the easy instructions below!