DIY Vegan Book Review: Your Kitchen’s New BFF

  • Published on November 17th, 2015

DIY Vegan cover finalReleased just last month, DIY Vegan is already my new favorite cookbook for so many reasons– and it’s probably going to be your new favorite too.

This is the newest release from Nicole Axworthy of A Dash of Compassion and Lisa Pitman of Vegan Culinary Crusade.

Check out my review of their first e-book, Tiny Treats.

DIY Vegan is a gorgeous book full of great ideas (and incredible photography by Axworthy), and offers a solution to one of the biggest problems I see in the food industry: the overabundance on processed foods.

Frustrated with offerings at their local stores, Axworthy and Pitman decided to take it into their own hands and make it easy for anyone to enjoy their favorite snack foods without all the terrible ingredients that are usually associated with snack foods and prepared options.

With this book, these ladies make it abundantly clear that one can still enjoy nachos, salad dressing, macaroni and cheese, sauces, popcorn, and desserts without the garbage ingredients.

The other thing I just love so much about this book is that everything is so simple: recipes are well designed, stay away from wild ingredients, and make the pantry staples that will make every home cook happy. It’s a perfect solution for easy weeknight meals and everyday staples to make every single meal more appealing. They have covered all the basics: breakfast, snacks, desserts, meal-time prep, and so much more.

One of the other highlights is their selection of homemade nut-based cultured cheeses. This is one of my favorite kitchen tricks, one I learned from Lisa herself when she was visiting Honolulu years ago. Culturing my own cheese was a revelation, and their options are amazing and make it easy for vegans to enjoy cheddar cheeze, Date & Fig Cashew Cheese and even a vegan Buffalo mozzarella, which was reviewed by Dreena Burton.

Axworthy and Pitman have generously shared one of their recipes with us so that we can share it with you. This Sweet Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce was one of the highlights of the book for me: not only does it taste amazing, it can help everyone eat more veggies. As they write in the recipe intro, “One of the easiest ways to increase your vegetable consumption is to add a stir-fry to your weekly meal plan. But pass up the shelf-stable bottles with the ingredient lists you’d rather ignore, and create your own ready-to-go, saucy-sweet ginger goodness. This recipe makes enough sauce for three batches of stir-fry.”

Check out Eat Drink Better next week for my review of their Coconut Bacon. Yes, it’s as amazing as you imagine!

Made quickly with ingredients you probably have on hand, this sauce will surely save dinner for you at least a few times in the future.

DIY vegan
Sweet Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce; image from Nicole Axworthy

Sweet Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce

1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1½ tablespoons arrowroot powder

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the arrowroot powder, with 1/2 cup water in a small airtight container. Shake it to mix well. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  2. When you’re ready to make a stir-fry, in a small saucepan, just before you turn on the heat, mix sauce and arrowroot, using 1/2 tablespoon of arrowroot powder for each 1/2 cup of sauce.
  3. Stir until all the lumps are dissolved. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat and cook until it
  4. Sauté your favorite VIPs—very important plants (e.g., mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, cashews, mung bean sprouts). Once everything is heated through, pour the sauce over your veggies and stir until everything is coated and glistening in all that goodness. Enjoy warm.

Makes 1½ cups (enough for 3 stir-frys)

Reprinted from DIY Vegan. Copyright © 2015 Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, who furnished a review copy of the book.
Order the book from the following retailers: AMAZON (US), AMAZON (CANADA), BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS-A-MILLION, IBOOKS, INDIEBOUND, and POWELL’S BOOKS


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About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram