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A few months ago, I won a digital copy of The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester. (Yay me!) My husband and I have been working through the recipes in the book, and I think I finally have enough experience with it to write a review.

I was initially attracted to the cookbook because we eat a lot of beans in our house. They are an excellent source of carbohydrates and protein. They keep you feeling satiated long after a meal. And, most importantly, they’re tasty!

Kathy’s book is a great resource for cooking with beans. All of the recipes are vegan and she gives options for eliminating oil and salt for those who are trying to cut down or eliminate these unhealthy ingredients.

The book is organized into nine chapters:

  1. Beautiful Beans (introductory chapter with basics on how to cook beans and make some staples that complement the rest of the dishes)
  2. Morning Beans (breakfast and brunch recipes)
  3. Noshy Beans (appetizer-type recipes)
  4. Nutritious Soups
  5. Cool Beans (aka bean salads)
  6. Portable Beans (sandwiches, wraps, and the like)
  7. Sultry Stews and Hearty Chilis
  8. Casseroles, Pastas and More
  9. Bean-a-licious Sweet Treats

Here’s some thoughts on the recipes we’ve tried and enjoyed:

Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Pancakes – These are an outstanding gluten-free pancake with staying power. My husband asks for these on mornings before cyclocross races. He eats a few for breakfast and packs more for a snack later in the day. The recipe calls for mixing the blueberries into the batter before cooking. We’ve had better results topping the pancakes with the berries instead. YMMV!

Get Well Fast Chickpea and Rice Soup – I made this with my nephew after he had his tonsils out and needed “soft foods.” He dutifully pressed the garlic while I quickly chopped the carrots and celery. He was in charge of adding the ingredients to the pot and measuring the spices. It got rave reviews from the family – even those who had never tried nutritional yeast before.

Hutterite Bean Soup – This is a good, basic bean soup to make in the fall.

Moroccan Chickpea Soup – It’s so easy to over spice a soup like this. Kathy’s recipe is perfect!

Hawaiian Sliders – We served these at a family BBQ after harvesting the plums from our trees. Everyone loved them and the special sweet-spicy sauce that goes with them. Cooking them all at once in the oven was a brilliant way to have everyone eating at the same time without waiting for space on the grill to open up.

Butternut Squash Frijoles – This makes a mushy filling for tortillas. We liked it best when paired with something with a bite like chopped cabbage and fresh tomatoes. It also made a great filling for frozen burritos for quick meals later. Once they were assembled, we wrapped them in foil and chucked them into a plastic bag in the freezer. To cook them, we placed them directly in a 450 degree oven for 40 minutes. We then unwrapped them and put them on a baking sheet to crisp up for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Indian Cauliflower Lentil Stew – In a word, this was FABULOUS! It had great flavor without being hot. We deemed it “company worthy.”

Creamy Chickpea and Rice Casserole – We had this last night for the first time. It’s simple comfort food. The flavors are not overwhelming and would appeal to people who do not like heavily spiced foods.

Roasted Fall Veggies and Beans – Brussels, cauliflower, and white beans kissed with maple and Dijon. What’s not to like about this dish? We ate as a main, but it would be good as a side dish to a special meal.

Tomatillo, Tomato, Black Beans and Rice – The flavors of the tomatillos and spices really stood out to me. It was a bit soupier than I expected – more like stew, less like pilaf.

Lentil Bolognese Quinoa Sauce – We’re on a constant quest to recreate the silky richness of a true Bolognese sauce, but without the meat and dairy. This one has come the closest in terms of texture and taste. To set your expectations, it’s not a rich tomatoey sauce, more brown-colored and meat-like in texture/flavor.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! All of the recipes we’ve tried were easy to follow and produced great results. The ingredients are simple. And, best of all, little to no modification is required to make truly healthy foods without oil, dairy, sugar, and salt.

If you’re interested, you can get your own copy here: