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The China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, Del Sroufe (BenBella Books, 2015)

The China Study Quick and Easy Cookbook - review by

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The China Study series of cookbooks continues a winning streak with its latest addition to this family of  cookbooks!  I love these books for several reasons.  The books themselves are visually beautiful and have photographs of most recipes.  The recipes create wonderful dishes.  The recipes in this particular book are really as fast and easy to prepare as promised.  And the China Study books do not use added oils, fully supporting the findings of medical doctors and researchers which show that added oils do not benefit our health.   In fact, the addition of oils in our food preparation can harm us in various ways.

The structure of this book is very efficient.  The early part of the cookbook offers 3 different sample menu plans for different approaches to eating for a week at a time.  The author also lists the page numbers of the recipes as well as the additional ingredients needed for the week.   This makes grocery shopping for these meal plans really easy!  A pantry list is included as well.  The index is well done and user friendly.  You can look up an ingredient that you remember (or want to use) and find all the recipes in the book that use it.  I love that kind of index.  When a book only lists recipes by the actual name such as “Super Dooper Black Eyed Peas,” it is frustrating.  Who would look under “S” for a black eyed pea dish?

Many cookbook recipes that purport to be quick and easy (and some that do not) will include one or more recipes from other sections of the books.  By the time you finish, that “under ½ hour” recipe has turned into a 3 hour recipe!  That approach always annoys me.  This cookbook includes recipes where another recipe in the book must first be made.  This isn’t annoying, however, because the recipes involved are still quick and easy to make.  The book lives up to its advertising.  Its subtitle, “Cook Once, Eat all Week with Whole Food, Plant-based Recipes” is true!  Although you can cook more often, Del Sroufe shows the reader how to do exactly what is promised.  This is a special boon for those wanting to eat well and healthy and yet have little time to cook during the week.

We tried several recipes form this book including Fruit and Vegetable Curry (see below), Summer Penne Pasta Sauté, Potato Salad with Pine Nuts, Olives, and Dill, and Basic Mayonnaise with the cauliflower version.  Although I might not call it “Mayonnaise”, Sroufe’s unbelievably simple recipe for the Basic Mayonnaise made with the cauliflower option is worth the price of the book.  It is clearly a multi-use type of sauce and/or dressing to be used ‘as is’ or to be used as the basis for another sauce.  With no added oil or even added ingredients high in fat, it is a winner – and you slip very healthy cauliflower into a yummy sauce and no one’s the wiser!

Justina Walls (5/28/15)

Fruit and Vegetable Curry  – The China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, p. 185 (Makes 4 servings)

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple juice or vegetable stock
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon sea salt and black pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in a large saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the sweet potato and water and cook for 5 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just tender.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes.  Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste and cook for 5 minutes more.

Tip:  Ripe pears work well in place of the apples and feel free to use your favorite dried fruit in place of the raisins (chop larger fruits like apricots).

Make it easier by using frozen chopped onions and peppers (about a cup of each).

Serve over cooked brown rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain.