For Christmas, my husband got me a vegan cookbook called Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week. As someone who is not a big fan of cooking, this large cookbook was a bit intimidating, but when I opened it, I wasn’t disappointed by what I would discover.
The first recipe we tried was the butternut squash alfredo. Since most alfredo is not even vegetarian, as alfredo often contains calf rennet, I hadn’t enjoyed alfredo in years, which is what really drew me to this recipe. This recipe does not tell you how to make pasta from scratch, so unfortunately, we had to purchase pre-made pasta, but it does teach you how to make one delicious alfredo sauce. A majority of this receive is composed of cashews and squash, as implied by the name, and we were able to purchase most of the ingredients at our local Walmart, but certain ingredients, such as the squash, required a trip to Whole Foods. Overall, the cost of ingredients alone was a bit higher than we were accustomed to spending (we often enjoy a very simple diet to keep costs at a minimum), but we were able to make multiple meals with the ingredients we bought. In addition, we were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make, especially because my husband and I wouldn’t consider ourselves the greatest cooks.
We were lucky, or perhaps Isa set it up this way, that the ingredients from our first attempt at cooking vegan from scratch carried over to another recipe for queso! While Isa provides directions on how to make an entire nacho special, which includes how to make your own pico de gallo, for example, we opted only to make the queso because we conveniently had the ingredients for it–and because I have dearly missed queso since going vegan. We only had to purchase two extra ingredients, which were cumin and nutritional yeast, but unfortunately, we were unable to find the called-for nutritional yeast at our local grocery store (We didn’t have the time that night to run down to Whole Foods, which is a 30 minute drive from our house). Surprisingly, despite missing the nutritional yeast, which allegedly helps make the queso thicken, the queso came out a decent consistency and still tasted great! Perhaps if we had the yeast, however, it would have had more of a cheddar flavor, but we were still satisfied.
Have you tried cooking by scratch as a vegan? Is there a go-to website or cookbook for vegan recipes that you refer to? I’d love to learn more from you in the comments below.
The featured photo was taken by Maarten van den Heuvel. Find more of his work at unsplash.com.