I first heard of Kristy Turner‘s blog, Keepin’ It Kind, after seeing her Sweet and Salty Ice Cream Layer Cake win the PPK’s Vegan Chopped in 2012. After that, I became a regular blog reader, and looked forward to seeing what Kristy would create week and after week. In 2013, I met Kristy at Vida Vegan Con and she exuded the same amount of warmth, ease and approachability in person that comes though each and every blog post she writes. Her unique style of creativity in the kitchen is rounded out by her honest writing and infectious enthusiasm, so it’s no surprise that she has graduated to writing a cookbook that embraces and reflects all of that and more.
But I Could Never Go Vegan! is packed with 125 of her trademark recipes accompanied by gorgeous photos, all shot by her husband, Chris. The book is divided into chapters with common excuses about why someone could never go vegan, like It’s All Rabbit Food, I Could Never Give Up Cheese and Where Would I Get My Protein? followed by recipes within each of those chapters that turn that “I could never” into “well, maybe I could!”
Recipes like Fire-Roasted Chile & Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Parmesan-Crusted Avocado & Kale Florentine with Smoked Paprika Hollandaise, Beer-Battered Faux Fish & Chips, Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese and Seitan Reuben Pizza with Caraway Seed Crust show that it’s not only easy to go vegan—but also delicious, doable and sometimes decadent.
I made Kristy’s BBQ Bacon Burger first and it was honestly the best vegan burger I’ve ever tasted. Earthy beets mingle with lentils and farro before they are mixed with a perfect balance of spices, then formed into patties and baked to perfection. They look and smell absolutely fantastic! I topped them with Kristy’s pickled cabbage, which provided a great zip and crunch, and finished with Sweet Earth seitan bacon between a few leaves of fresh kale—but Kristy provides lots of options for toppings that can also be found throughout the book.
I loved Kristy’s burger so much and can’t wait to try more, so I’m excited that the kind folks over at The Experiment are not only allowing me to share Kristy’s recipe here (see below), but also are offering a free copy to one lucky reader through this post!
To enter, just leave a comment below that includes a common misconception you’ve heard or read about vegan food. (For example: It’s only vegetables, I’ll always be hungry, it’s too hard, etc.) I’ll randomly choose a winner from the comments on December 15. Shipping is limited to US/Canada only. Please leave your email in your comment or some way to reach you in case your comment is drawn as the winner … good luck!
The winner of this giveaway is Jennifer, congrats! Thanks to all who entered!
If you are in Los Angeles this weekend, Kristy will be doing a book signing in West Hollywood! Here are the details:
WHAT: Book Signing/Vegan Wine & Cheese Event
WHERE: Kitson Melrose, 8590 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
WHEN: Saturday, December 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.
BBQ Bacon Burgers
Makes 8 burgers
Nut-Free | Can Be Made To-Go | Plan-Ahead
I think we can all agree there is a type of hunger that only a burger can satisfy. When that hunger arises, all you can think of is a meaty patty with all the fixin’s. Nothing else will do.
That’s when this burger comes to the rescue. It’s a hearty, BBQ-flavored patty made of beets, farro, and red lentils. Naturally, it’s topped with Tempeh Bacon (page 25), homemade pickled red cabbage, and even more Barbecue Sauce (page 31). Plant-based cheese is a great addition, and I strongly recommend Cashew Blue Cheese (page 46). This is one succulently messy burger, so you may want to change out of your new white shirt.
Prep Time: 50 minutes (not including time to cook lentils and farro)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Down Time: 24 hours (while red cabbage pickles)
PICKLED RED CABBAGE
1 head red cabbage
1 cup (250 ml) sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
½ cup (125 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or vegan brown sugar
3 to 4 allspice berries
3 to 4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cup (150 g) peeled, chopped beets
2½ cups (365 g) cooked farro
1½ cups (240 g) cooked red lentils
¼ cup (30 g) quinoa flour
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup (60 ml) Barbecue Sauce (page 31) or store-bought
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, optional
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 vegan burger buns
Barbecue Sauce (page 31)
½ batch Tempeh Bacon (found on page 25 of But I Could Never Go Vegan!)
½ batch Cashew Blue Cheese (found on page 46 of But I Could Never Go Vegan!) or other vegan cheese of choice, optional
Mixed greens or lettuce
Make the pickled red cabbage a day in advance. Chop the cabbage into quarters and cut out the core of each. Shred using a large box grater, or use a knife to make very thin slices. Place the shredded cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle salt over it. Toss to combine; leave the colander in the sink for 10 minutes to drain excess water.
After 10 minutes, quickly rinse off the salt and use a clean kitchen towel to pat the cabbage dry. In a large airtight container, mix the sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, allspice, cloves, and bay leaves. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover the container and chill 24 hours. Take out the allspice berries, cloves, and bay leaves before using. Leftovers can be kept chilled up to 1 month.
TO MAKE THE BURGERS
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Fit a steamer basket onto a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Place the beets in the steamer, cover, and steam until easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove from the steamer and cool for about 5 minutes.
While the beets are steaming, combine the farro, lentils, and quinoa flour in a large bowl. Use your hands to mash them together until they start holding together in clumps when squeezed. Set aside.
Combine the beets, garlic, barbecue sauce, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, cumin, thyme, chile powder, paprika, liquid smoke (if using), Worcestershire sauce (if using), salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until mostly smooth (tiny pieces of beet are okay). Pour into the bowl with the farro mixture. Stir until fully combined.
Divide the mixture into 8 equal parts, shape into patties, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until firm, flipping once halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Before turning off the oven, place the burger buns on the oven rack for 2 minutes to heat them up. Remove and spread a layer of Barbecue Sauce on both halves of each bun. Place a few pieces of lettuce on the bottom bun and add the burger patty. Top with 2 to 3 bacon strips, some cashew blue cheese crumbles, and some pickled red cabbage. Top with the other half of the bun. Serve warm. Leftover patties can be chilled in an airtight container 4 to 5 days or frozen 1 month.
- Buckwheat, oat, and brown rice flour work in place of quinoa flour.
- For perfectly round burgers, spray a biscuit cutter with olive oil and use it to shape your patty on the baking sheet.
- If you want to brown the outside of the burgers, spray a frying pan with olive oil and cook the baked patties over medium heat for a few minutes on each side.
- To make the burger prep much quicker, plan on cooking the farro and lentils and steaming the beets earlier that day or up to 3 days in advance.
- Try using a different cheese, like Sunflower Cheddar (page 42), Tofu Chèvre (page 36), or a store-bought vegan cheese.
- To make gluten-free burgers, replace the farro with brown rice and use gluten-free buns.