Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway! Robin Robertson's One-Dish Vegan

I'm always excited when I get a new cookbook in the mail. The arrival of Robin Robertson's One-Dish Vegan was no exception. When I was asked to participate in the BLOG TOUR I was more than happy to say yes. One-dish is like Fred's dream come true for me in the kitchen. I have a serious kitchen hurricane issue when it comes to dishes. Any option to minimize mess is highly desirable in my kitchen.

I have several of Robin's books. I have always enjoyed her no-nonsense, fairly simple recipes. I do find that many of her books contain recipes where similar versions can be found in her other cookbooks. Sometimes there is a slight variation: lower fat content, variations for more common food allergies, etc. If you have a lot of her books, you may want to peruse the index before you decide to add this one to your collection.  There are still enough new recipes to make a long-time fan happy.

Speaking of the index, this one is well organized. It makes it very easy to find what you desire by recipe name or main ingredient. Simple cooking charts for grains and beans are included. Even though I have many cookbooks that include these charts, I love having it available in the book I am using. Some I know by heart, but I don't always remember all of them. There are also recipes for basic veggie broth and seitan for those who don't already have their own favorite.

Early in the book, Robin explains what One-Dish means to her. I originally thought it to meant you would only be using one dish to cook and prep the entire recipe. This will indeed happen for many of the recipes, but the One-Dish designation actually means the meal will be served in one dish. The beauty of many of the recipes is that they can be made ahead of time and quickly reheated. We are ridiculously busy so much of the time, this is a great option for us.

The recipes I tried were all very hearty and filling. She successfully combines proteins, grains and veggies into just about every recipe. I like the fact that a lot of the recipes can also be frozen for future use as well. I tried four recipes, three successfully.

Jamaican Jerk Tempeh with Vegetables (page 74). This was truly made in one skillet, which I loved. The ingredients were all simple and easy to find. Most I had in my pantry. It came together in about 45 minutes total. I served it over some cooked quinoa I had on hand. The Jamaican spices with the hint of rum were very nice, although I will probably up the amounts of spices a touch next time. I do wish I would have had the suggested mango chutney on hand. I think the dish needed that little extra brightness. Fred liked it which is saying something as he is not a lover of tempeh.

Quinoa and Lentils with Butternut Squash and Rapini (page 75). This was another one pot deal (yay!). This homey dish was really quite easy to assemble. The most time consuming part was peeling and dicing the butternut squash. I usually buy mine whole, but if you really want to save some prep time, some stores sell the fresh stuff already peeled and diced. I substituted broccoli for the rapini. That is another great thing about Robin. She often provides suggestions for substitutions to suit your tastes or what you might have in the pantry. Now this one is very subtle and yummy, but not POW flavorful. To me this is the kind of stick to your ribs dish you would eat after a long day playing in the snow (or in our case here in AZ, playing in the desert).

Recipe © 2013 by Robin Robertson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press
Gluten-free | Soy-free | Serves 4
Hearty, healthful, and delicious, this simmer of lentils, quinoa, and squash also includes rapini (aka broccoli rabe) and walnuts for a wide variety of textures and flavors. If rapini is unavailable, substitute 8 ounces of your favorite green vegetable.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium-size red onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup dried brown or green lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces rapini, thick stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1. Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
2. Add the squash, quinoa, thyme, red pepper flakes (if using), and salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and cook for 15 minutes longer.
3. Stir in the rapini and cook on low heat until the ingredients are tender and the flavors are well blended, about 15 minutes longer.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Sprinkle with the walnuts and serve hot.

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice (page 68). The other day I asked Fred to pick a recipe he wanted to try (eating not cooking this time). Fred loves Cajun food. Honestly, he likes anything that makes any reference to being at being spicy. He was on the fence deciding between this recipe and the Jambalaya. I didn't have time to make the sausages, so this one won. Another truly one pot meal, this one left little to clean up after prepping. I used canned beans for convenience (as I often do). A quick chopping of the veggies and this was another snap to prepare. We like a lot of spice and heat, so I think the next time I make this one, I will add some fresh chopped jalapeno and a touch more of the smoked paprika and cayenne. Slathered with the Louisiana hot sauce, Fred at three, yes that's right, three bowls!!! We have plenty left over for the week as well. 

I attempted the Butternut and Cremini Lasagne (page 172). I had high hopes as the ingredient list contained a lot of things I adore: butternut squash, cremini mushrooms pecans, greens and white beans. Sadly, I found it pretty bland and flavorless. I served it to a group of starving 20 year-olds who concurred. It just seemed to need more seasonings. It looked pretty though!

There is a whole chapter dedicated to chilis. I am looking forward to trying some of them out as it is perfect chili weather. The Bahn Mizza recipe (page 186) is on my radar as it looks so yummy and unusual. I haven't even delved into the salads or soups yet. 

Hearty, filling recipes
Easy to find ingredients
Healthy meal options
Food allergy friendly

No pictures except for front and back covers
Similar recipes to some of her other book
Uses spices sparingly, may need to adjust to your tastes

As you can see, the pro's far out weigh the con's. If you are looking for a great cookbook for a busy lifestyle, this is one you will want in your collection. If you want minimally processed healthy meals for you and your loved ones, this one is a keeper.

The fine folks at Harvard Common Press have generously offered to send a free copy of One-dish Vegan to one of you lucky readers (US only this time please). Leave a comment on this post about your favorite one-dish meal or how one-dish meals will make your life better or easier by midnight MST on Wednesday, November 20th, 2013. Winner will be announced on Thursday, November 21st. Good luck and good eating!!!

Side Note: Robin's 30 Days of Vegan Cooking campaign is currently live on her blog ( and Facebook page ( She's sharing one recipe from the revised edition of her Vegan Planet cookbook each day in November to promote World Vegan Month, and to help people incorporate more vegan recipes into their lives-- whether they've embraced an entire vegan lifestyle, or are just trying to work more vegan meals into their routine, even if it's just once a week 

Thanks to all of the commenters who dropped by to play. The winner of the giveaway is...drumroll....#7 - NICOLE!! Congrats Nicole, please contact me at vegintraining at g mail dot com and we'll get that yummy book on its way to you!


  1. My favorite one dish meal is chili, because it's super easy to throw together without a recipe or much prep time.

  2. I love baked the baked mac and cheese from Let Them Eat Vegan!

  3. I'm a messy cook and always seem to end up with many bowls,pots and pans to clean when I'm done cooking! This would definately make life easier

  4. Our favorite one dish meal is Tortellini Salad with lots of fresh veggies! I'd love to have a copy of Robin's latest cookbook. I'm a big fan of hers! Thanks!

  5. Chili is my favorite one dish meal - so easy and filling.

  6. My favorite is chili because it is so delicious and reheats really well!

  7. I love a good vegan one pot chili!

    Thanks for the giveaway
    janel dot myers at yahoo dot com

  8. Anything that makes less dishes is good with me!

  9. I make a veganized version of an Eating Well recipe with gnocchi, greens, white beans and tomatoes. It's so good!

    gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

  10. I hate washing dishes so a whole cookbook that helps me avoid them sounds great! Plus I love Robin's recipes.

  11. Lentil lasagna casserole is my current favorite. Thanks for the helpful review!

  12. Hi, I too would really enjoy this cookbook. One-dish cooking is the way to go! No doubt about it, and the more sources of good recipes, the better.
    Pat Meadows

  13. We do one dish/bowl type meals a lot. Beans 'n quinoa is a current favorite (used to be beans 'n rice, but this is faster and healthier).

  14. I love the skillet lasagna from Betty Goes Vegan. Messy but delicious!

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  16. I have to go with stir fry - so simple, quick, and tasty!

  17. One dish meals would help decrease the time used to set up and clean up, giving me more time to play with my kiddo. It also would help prevent me from forgetting to put something in the dish or combining something at the wrong time!

  18. I love making soups, and also lasagna!

  19. My favorite one dish meal is white bean hash with potatoes and cabbage. so filling and quick to make.

    ellenpanetto (at) gmail (dot) com

  20. Wow..
    Great giveaway / contest.
    I hope I can have similar giveaway like this too.
    Hope everyone enjoy it. Good luck.