Friday, February 5, 2021

Simply Delicious Vegan Book Review (Corn Chowder Recipe & Book Giveaway)

Simply Delicious Vegan Book Review

A review of Simply Delicious Vegan, a vegan cookbook by From My Bowl creator Caitlin Shoemaker

I love a new vegan cookbook (and I've got the jam-packed bookshelves to prove it)! Although I adore food and creating my own vegan recipes, I prefer my meals to come together rather quickly. The best vegan cookbooks, in my opinion, boast easy recipes that don't take more than an hour to prepare. (Under 30 minutes of hands-on work is even better!)

The recipes should also be nourishing and call for simple, whole foods ingredients most of the time. Caitlin Shoemaker's Simply Delicious Vegan: 100 Plant-Based Recipes by the creator of From My Bowl* fits the bill, with healthy, unprocessed, plant-based recipes that aren't complicated but aren't boring either. The recipes in Simply Delicious Vegan are also gluten-free, oil-free and free of refined sugars, and suitable for a healthy lifestyle. 

You might know Caitlin Shoemaker as the recipe developer and photographer behind the food and lifestyle brand From My Bowl. If not, be sure to visit Caitlin on YouTube to check out her delicious vegan recipes!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after following the link, Woman in Real Life may get a small commission. Your price is not affected.

Simply Delicious Vegan Book Review - Crispy Chickpea Salad

I started my review of vegan cookbook Simply Delicious Vegan by making a salad. Believe me, I'm not one to equate veganism with eating salads. I like a filling, warm dinner most of the time. But this Crispy Chickpea Salad With Creamy Avocado Dressing makes for a lovely dinner side salad or a lunch entree all on its own. 

This easy, plant-based recipe starts with a simple base of mixed greens with shredded carrots and cucumber slices. Healthy to be sure. But the real stars of this salad are the crispy seasoned chickpeas, quick-pickled red onions and creamy avocado dressing. You'll want to pickle the red onions ahead of time because they soften in the fridge as the days go on. Preparing the red onions in advance will also make the salad assembly easier. You could also make the avocado dressing ahead of time. 

The crispy seasoned chickpeas were the best part - my teen daughter loved them. The recipe calls for simple seasonings, such as nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder and pink Himalayan salt (I didn't have it so I used regular salt). Cook the chickpeas in the air fryer as we did or use Caitlin's additional instructions for oven baking. We will definitely be making this salad recipe again!

In Simply Delicious Vegan, Caitlin updates other everyday favourites (besides salad) too - try avocado toast with her Kale Pesto and Everything Bagel Spice Blend, for example.

- Chunky Portobello Stew

When I was little, I used to love my mom's chicken soup with dumplings. The dumplings were the best part, so you need not worry if you are vegan or leaning towards a plant-based lifestyle! You can definitely make vegan dumplings. You can even make gluten-free dumplings, as Caitlin proves in her recipe, Chunky Portobello Stew With Chickpea Dumplings.

I first have to note that my husband cooked up this recipe for us. He was reluctant because he prefers to make his usual dinners - pasta, burritos, pizza - rather than trying new recipes. He is a fan of portobello mushrooms though, so I was able to persuade him to make the recipe. Picture it without the kale - we sautéed some on the side and I found the stew a bit "brothy" so I stirred the kale right in. Turned out the kale was a nice touch and the whole thing tasted even better as leftovers the next day. I also think some fried tempeh would make a nice "beefy" addition to the recipe. White beans would make the stew more filling too.

Back to dumplings. The dumplings in this recipe are made with chickpea flour and oats blended into flour, plus seasonings, nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar, among other things. They turned out a bit grainy, so not like my mom's traditional fluffy, white dumplings. We liked them (in their own way) anyway. If you are gluten-free they are a viable option. (Also our dumplings don't look like the ones in the cookbook photo, so there could be a difference in the preparation - I don't want to point any fingers though, ahem.)

- Golden Cauliflower Wings

I got a new air fryer for Christmas. (Check out this collection of 40 vegan air fryer recipes.) So, I was excited to experiment with the air fryer chapter in Simply Delicious Vegan. (Not to worry if you don't have an air fryer - the recipes can also be made in the oven.)

I was most eager to try Caitlin's recipe for Golden Cauliflower Wings, with a crispy golden coating that comes from being air-fried rather than deep-fried. The recipe calls for making one of two sauces, a Healthy Orange Sauce or a Date-Sweetened Teriyaki Sauce. I went with the teriyaki sauce. After dipping cauliflower in a wet mix and a dry mix (gluten-free of course), you place the cauliflower in your air fryer basket and cook it part way before adding some of the sauce to coat and returning the cauliflower to the air fryer for more cooking. As you can see from the photo above, my cauliflower ended up a little burnt looking on the edges. It wasn't really burnt tasting; it was just where the teriyaki sauce kind of gathered on the edges. But I did find that part of the teriyaki sauce bitter tasting. Maybe I overcooked the cauliflower wings. (Watch the air fryer cauliflower carefully, pausing your air fryer now and then to toss it around and check it.) 

In the end, I preferred to air fry the cauliflower without the sauce and dip it in the teriyaki sauce after cooking. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe with the orange sauce to compare.

- Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This simple Broccoli Cheddar Soup was a winner for me. It's dairy-free so there's no actual cheddar, but it has an incredible, cheesy taste and feel. The cheesy element of this soup recipe is a combination of carrots, potatoes and cashews, cooked and blended together with nutritional yeast and seasonings to make a thick sauce. Shredded carrots and chunks of cooked fresh broccoli provide a pleasing texture alongside the creamy cheddar base. I'll be putting this yummy plant-based recipe into regular rotation. 

Simply Delicious Vegan Book Review - Crispy Chickpea Salad

Other recipes from Simply Delicious Vegan that we tried

From the air fryer chapter, I also made Cheesy Battered Zucchini Fries. I had high hopes for this recipe to provide a tasty, healthy appetizer, but I didn't do well with it. The zucchini fries coating came out a little dry and I didn't have enough of the chickpea flour batter to cover the zucchini well. 

I also tried and very much enjoyed Caitlin's One-Pot Mushroom Stroganoff. How much do you love a one-pot meal? Less dishes, more ease. The recipes calls for a short list of just 10 ingredients (including salt, pepper and parsley). It's easy to prepare and creates a satisfying, filling dinner in about 30 minutes. (Note: I used tahini in place of cashew butter, because that's what I had on hand.) This One-Pot Mushroom Stroganoff is also one of the most popular recipes on the From My Bowl blog.

I also loved the Zucchini Bread Pancakes (don't be deterred by zucchini in your pancakes - think zucchini bread!) and the Herby Tofu Scramble. We had these two recipes together on a "breakfast for dinner" night and it was a fun meal. I know that there are a million versions of tofu scramble and one doesn't seem much different from the next, but this one is different, thanks to a softer, "eggy" consistency as a result of homemade cashew cream and water. 

Be sure to read on for Caitlin's Corn Chowder recipe, and let me know how you like it if you make it!

More from Simply Delicious Vegan

Recipes I'm looking forward to reviewing include Sheet Pan Teriyaki Bowls, Taco Mac And Cheese, Mediterranean Rice Bake and Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. Follow along on Instagram Stories (@womaninreallife), where I frequently share my plant-based meals. 

Questions for you

Do you have a lot of cookbooks? Which one is the best so far? Would you like to see more vegan cookbook reviews? What kind of plant-based foods do you enjoy cooking?

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Simply Delicious Vegan

Residents of the US and Canada may enter for a chance to win a copy of Simply Delicious Vegan, using the rafflecopter widget below, until February 25, 2021.

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Simply Delicious Vegan Book Review & Corn Chowder Recipe

Simply Delicious Vegan Creamy Corn Chowder recipe

  • For the Cashew Cream:
    1 cup (145 g) raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours and drained
    1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
    1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)

    For the Creamy Corn Chowder:
    4 cups (565 g) sweet corn kernels (from about 5 ears)
    4 cups (960 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
    1/2 yellow onion, diced
    1 rib celery, diced
    1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
    1 pound (455 g) gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 medium)
    1/2 cup (120 ml) Cashew Cream
    Chopped Fresh Chives


Make the Cashew Cream:

Put the cashews, salt and nutritional yeast (if using) in a high-speed blender with 3/4 cup/180 ml water. Process until smooth and creamy, 45 to 60 seconds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Note: This cashew cream has a thick, drizzle-able consistency straight out of the blender, but will thicken to more of a spread in the fridge. If you are planning to use it at a later date, blend the cashews with 1 cup/240 ml of water instead.

Make the Creamy Corn Chowder:

Heat a large nonstick pot over medium heat; when it's warm, add the corn kernels and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds. The corn will become translucent and parts of it will brown and stick to the bottom of the pot.

Deglaze the pot by pouring in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the broth; use a spoon to remove any pieces of corn that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, celery, paprika, thyme, and pepper, then sauté until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the gold potatoes to the pot with the remaining broth and 2 cups (480 ml) water. Raise the heat to high; when the mixture starts to simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Transfer 2 cups (480 ml) of the soup to a high-speed blender. Add the cashew cream to the blender and blend on high speed for 30 to 40 seconds, with the blender vent open. Pour the smooth liquid back into the pot and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

Transfer the soup to serving bowls and top with chives. Serve warm; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 2 months.


  1. I like making cauliflower soup at home.

  2. Soups are my favorites to make.

  3. I love making cauliflower wings!

  4. baked goods w/ whole grain flours

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  5. Lentils are versatile and a favourite!

  6. Cauliflower has been my favorite lately.

  7. I like making anything with chickpeas..especially chickpea sandwich

  8. I love making buddha bowls filled with grilled and roasted veggies, protein and grains.

  9. I love trying new plant based recipes and slowly making the switch to healthier eating. I make lots of soups and salads. And I must say that Brocolli Cheddar Soup sounds amazing!!

  10. I enjoy cooking tofu and roasted vegetables!

  11. Love love cooking with beans and tofu.

  12. Ive been experimenting a lot lately with new ways to cook tofu!

  13. Chickpeas Lentils, and all veggies

  14. I love making stir-fry's and veggie burgers

  15. Soups and Salads.
    I use kale, quinoa, tofu and chickpeas in a lot of different recipes.

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