Friday, March 28, 2014

The Oh She Glows Cookbook (review and recipe)

Photos above by Angela Liddon.

In the unlikely event that you haven't yet heard of The Oh She Glows Cookbook and its author, Angela Liddon, here is a bit of info for you. Angela is the creator of the very popular Oh She Glows blog, a recipe blog with an abundance of lovely vegan recipes. Angela switched to a whole foods, vegan diet five years ago and says she has since witnessed a powerful change in herself.

"After a decade of struggling with an eating disorder and subsisting on low-calorie, processed, 'diet' foods, I knew I needed to change my life—and my health—for the better," she writes in the introduction to the book. Angela shifted her focus to wholesome, plant-based foods and was amazed by how much her health and vitality improved. She started the Oh She Glows blog in 2008 and her honest and friendly approach, along with her incredible recipes, have since earned her legions of fans worldwide. Plus, she lives right here in the Greater Toronto Area!

This is Angela's first cookbook and, as a certified vegan cookbook addict, I can tell you that it's a great one! I'm happy to have had the opportunity to review The Oh She Glows Cookbook. I made five of the recipes within the first week of getting the book, so that tells you something. I'm usually much quicker to read cookbooks than I am to actually cook from them. There are gorgeous, full-colour photos for every recipe. The food looks so mouthwatering that I couldn't wait to get started.

The first recipe I decided to review was Angela's Protein Power Goddess Bowl. This plant-based bowl is made with lentils, kale and spelt berries (although I substituted quinoa when hubby couldn't find spelt berries at the grocery store). It has a lovely tahini-based dressing too. The remarkable thing about the recipes in The Oh She Glows Cookbook is that they are full of healthy, whole foods ingredients and yet they feel amazingly decadent too.

Usually I go straight for the desserts, so the next recipe I tried from The Oh She Glows Cookbook was the Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. We didn't have any almond butter, so I used peanut butter. These turned out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, as promised in the intro. My whole family agreed that these are incredibly delicious cookies - a new favourite!

I also made Creamy Avocado-Potato Salad, which calls for a luscious avocado dressing.

Filled with asparagus and roasted potatoes, this hearty salad could easily act as a main dish.

This was a good night. I made not one, but two Oh She Glows recipes - the Walnut, Avocado & Pear Salad With Marinated Portobello Caps & Red Onion and Cream of Tomato Soup With Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons.

The portobello mushroom slices on the salad were a scrumptious touch and the roasted chickpea croutons were just the thing to make this creamy vegan tomato soup inspiring! Be sure to try making this simple soup yourself. You'll find the recipe below.

There are many more recipes I want to try from The Oh She Glows Cookbook and I feel sure it will become a family favourite. This would also make the perfect starter cookbook for anyone adapting to a vegetarian or vegan diet, or just anyone who wants to improve their eating habits.

Find The Oh She Glows Cookbook in the U.S. (where it has a different cover) or in Canada.

Cream of Tomato Soup With Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons

by Angela Liddon, The Oh She Glows Cookbook

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew gluten-free vegan sugar-free

Ingredients (makes 8 cups (2L)
    • 1 (15-ounce/425-g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried oregano
    • 1⁄8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic powder
    • 1⁄4 teaspoon (1 mL) onion powder
    • 3⁄4 teaspoon (4 mL) fine-grain sea salt or Herbamare
    • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 small to medium yellow onion, diced (1 1⁄2 to 2 cups/375 to 500 mL)
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) raw cashews, soaked
    • 2 cups (500 mL) vegetable broth
    • 1 (28-ounce/796-mL) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
    • 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 mL) tomato paste
    • 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 mL) dried oregano
    • 3⁄4 to 1 teaspoon (4 to 5 mL) fine-grain sea salt
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
    • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL) dried thyme
    • Fresh basil leaves
    • Olive oil
    • Freshly ground black pepper

    1. Make the Chickpea Croutons: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Place the chickpeas on the paper towels and place a couple paper towels on top. Roll them around until any liquid on them has been absorbed. Discard paper towels.

    2. Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl. Stir in the grapeseed oil, oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and then spread the chickpeas in an even layer on the baking sheet.

    3. Bake for 15 minutes. Give the pan a shake from side to side and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, watching closely, until the chickpeas are lightly charred and golden.

    4. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool.

    5. Make the Tomato Soup: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

    6. In a blender, combine the soaked cashews and the broth and blend on high speed until creamy and smooth. Add the garlic-onion mixture, the tomatoes and their juices, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste and blend on high until smooth.

    7. Pour the tomato mixture into the saucepan in which you cooked the onions and set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the oregano, salt, pepper to taste, and thyme.

    8. Gently simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors have developed.

    9. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with 1⁄3 to ½ cup (75 to 125 mL) of the Chickpea Croutons. Garnish with minced fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper.

    Tip: The chickpeas will lose their crispness in the soup, so be sure to add them just before you sit down to eat—or you can even add the chickpeas as you eat the soup. If you have leftover chickpeas, make sure they’re cool, then pop them into a baggie or container and throw them in the freezer. Freezing the chickpeas seems to retain their crispness better than leaving them at room temperature. To reheat, simply pop them into the oven at 425°F (220ºC) for 5 minutes or so, until thawed. Voilà—instant roasted chickpeas!

    From The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon. Copyright © Angela Liddon, 2014. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada Books Inc.


    1. I absolutely love this book! I've got a blog post in the works about the recipes I've tried but I haven't made the same as you :) Though as we speak the brownies are cooling in the kitchen and even though Angela says not to try and cut or remove them before they're completely cool, I couldn't resist fishing a bit out. She's right, they will crumble! I can't believe how much I've eaten before I've even taken them out of the baking dish...

      1. It's a great book. Can't wait to see the recipes you've made! I can never wait until treats have cooled. I always fish some the name of "testing" you see. ;) Have a great weekend! Jo

    2. Joann, thank you so much for your kind words about the cookbook! I'm so happy to hear how well all the recipes are going for you! Your photos are so pretty by the way. If it's ok with you I will add your review link to my book page. Thanks again!

      1. You are most welcome! It is truly a lovely cookbook. Thanks for your kind compliment too. And it would be great if you add the review link to your page. Have a wonderful weekend! :) Jo

    3. Hi Jo, just wondering if your going to print the recipe for the creamy avocado potato salad.
      It looks delicious.


      1. I'm not posting that recipe, but I can make it for you some time. :) Jo

    4. I need that avocado potato salad in my life. That looks beyond delicious! Pinning the soup & shopping for the cookbook post haste!

      1. You will not be disappointed! There's plenty of gluten-free recipes here for you! :)

    5. I'd love to hear what your other cookbook obsessions are!

      1. I always go back to How it all Vegan and Garden of Vegan! :)

    6. Thank you so much for the review and support of the amazing Angela, love her :-) And thanks for sharing the recipe ;-)

      Love from Germany,

      1. You are most welcome! And, yes, she is amazing. :)

    7. Love your review! The Oh She Glows Cookbook is my favorite and I'm working on cooking my way through the whole book! I'm thinking about making the Almond Butter Cookies today so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed them :)

      1. Thank you Karissa! The cookies are truly incredible. Enjoy! :)

    8. I've been following her blog for quite some time so I'm thrilled that she was able to make this book happen. I'll definitely be picking it up.