Nut Butter Universe: Review & Giveaway

Spicy Peanut NoodlesI’m taking a quick break from my Back in Thyme series to take part in the Nut Butter Universe Blog Tour.  Don’t miss the bottom of this post for a recipe to try from the book and a chance to win your own copy!

Robin Robertson, who wrote Nut Butter Universe, is well known in the vegan cookbook community.  She has a column at VegNews Magazine, where her recipes are regularly featured, and she has several bestselling cookbooks under her belt.  So when Dianne Wenz,  who I met at Vida Vegan Con this past spring, contacted me about taking part in the second NBU blog tour, I was more than happy to join in.

As I flipped through the copy I received, I knew it was going to be tough to choose where to start.  Nuts and seeds are often the highlight of a dish for me, whether it’s cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, or that legume disguised as a nut, peanuts.  So having over 100 options that include soups, appetizers, salads, side dishes, sandwiches, breakfast options, desserts, and main dishes wasn’t going to be easy!

Spicy Peanut NoodlesThe first recipe that I made from Nut Butter Universe was the Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce.  My husband and I were going to an outdoor music show, where everyone brings picnic fare, blankets, and lawn chairs.  The cool, creamy noodles seemed like a nice change of pace from standard picnic staples.  The recipe calls for linguine noodles because of their sturdiness, but rice noodles can be used instead to make them gluten free.

Spicy Peanut NoodlesIt’s called spicy peanut sauce, because of the cayenne in the recipe.  However, I found it to be mild and pleasant.  With the nutty peanut butter and toasted sesame oil, pungent rice vinegar, and salty tamari, the sauce was satisfying and well balanced.  Added to the noodles were crunchy carrots, bell peppers, and more peanuts for extra texture.  I added baked tofu to make it a bit heartier, using my standard baked tofu recipe with lime juice instead of lemon juice.  I packed it in layers with the peanut noodles at the bottom, then the tofu, and then the peanuts, so that they would retain their crunch.

I’ll definitely be making this one again for a packed lunch option that doesn’t require reheating.

Vegetable Cashew KormaThe next recipe I tried was the Vegetable-Cashew Korma (pictured above with veggie pakora).  This Indian stew is made with a wide cornucopia of vegetables:  potatoes, cauliflower, onions, garlic, jalapenos, spinach, green peas, and cilantro.  (The recipe calls for two jalapenos, but I used one instead, and it was plenty hot.)  It’s in a creamy sauce made from cashews and coconut milk.

Since stews usually do well in leftover form, I made the full batch, which serves six.  (Although, after making it I think it would serve at least 8.)  The recipe was fairly labor intensive, and unfortunately, not one of my favorites.  It calls for a tablespoon of garam masala, which is a spice mix with cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon (amongst other things).  I typically see garam masala used in smaller amounts and put in at the end as a finishing spice.  Because cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon are such strong warming spices, a little goes a long way.  The other elements of the dish were good, but the heavy flavor of the garam masala overpowered.  If I were to make it again, I’d use considerably less and/or use curry powder instead.

(Update:  Robin contacted me after I published this post to let me know that there was a typo in the garam masala amounts.  It should be listed as one teaspoon instead of one tablespoon.  If you have a copy of this book, make sure to note the discrepancy.  Robin let me know that when it’s reprinted in the future, the amount will be corrected.)

Curried Almond Sweet Potato SoupThe final dish that I made was the Curried Almond Sweet Potato Soup.  This velvety and satisfying soup was just perfect for the cooler fall temperatures we’ve been experiencing.  I used my favorite curry powder in this soup chockfull of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.  The almond butter flavor didn’t stand out, but it did add extra creaminess.

My husband, who is a huge lover of sweet potatoes, curry, and almond butter, said this soup was the best one he has ever had.  In addition to being a wonderful soup, it would also be a great sauce for a curry dish with chickpeas or cauliflower.

Fortuitously, you can try it for yourself, because the folks at Vegan Heritage Press have given permission for this recipe to be shared with Cadry’s Kitchen readers.  (You can see the excerpted recipe below.)

The contest has closed!  Congrats to Shari!  And that’s not all!  Vegan Heritage Press is also offering a copy of Nut Butter Universe to be given away (for readers in the United States only).  All you have to do is leave a note in the comments telling me about your favorite vegan recipe with nuts. Remember to include your email address, so that I have a way of contacting you!  The contest closes at 12 am CST on September 30th.  The winner will be chosen at random.

Nut Butter Universe CoverCurried Almond Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4 to 6

This soup has it all: great taste, vibrant color, and the creamy goodness of almond butter. For this recipe, I use Frontier brand organic curry powder, a heady blend of coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, and cloves, but most any curry spice blend should perform well. For a thinner soup, stir in a small amount of nondairy milk during the final heating.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds

Preparation:

Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, broth, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the almond butter, curry powder, cayenne, and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth, or use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Heat the soup over low heat until hot. Serve sprinkled with the chopped almonds.

From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

Disclaimer: I was given this book to review, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.  I am an Amazon affiliate, and this post contains an Amazon link.

101 thoughts on “Nut Butter Universe: Review & Giveaway

  1. Oh my goodness, this book sounds like a dream come true for me. The noodle dish with peanut sauce looks especially up my alley, but I wouldn’t turn away a bowl of the warming soup. :) We use nuts all the time in our kitchen, but one of my favorite recipes is black olive bruschetta with cashew cream and pine nuts (it’s either from The Vegan Table or Color Me Vegan). Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Would LOVE to win this book! RR is a true vegan guru to me. My favorite recipe with nuts is one I found on the Internet to mimic a fabulous dish I ate at Phoenicia in Houston–Tabbouleh with Apples, Walnuts and Pomegranates. Google it. You won’t be disappointed!

  3. This book sounds Ah-maaaazing! So far my favorite nut recipe is the Cheater Pad Thai from the Happy Herbivore (Lindsay Nixon), but all of the ones you’ve mentioned so far sound absolutely delicious! I’d love to try them all!!!

  4. I’ve been eying this book since Robin said it was on Amazon. My daughter isn’t a big fan of nuts but doesn’t realize that I use a cashew cream when I make our favorite mac-n-cheese from Roberto Martin.

  5. I LOVE Robin’s books! I also love using nuts in recipes — cashew creams to almond butters! Thanks for the opportunity to win the NBU book!

  6. boy, i would love to add the cookbook to my collection! hmmm what is my favorite recipe using nuts? I try to incorporate nuts
    In everything from cashew gravy to layered raw cashew cream w/ vegan lemon curd and blueberries. mmm my fave? my fave? hmmmmmmmm well TODAY that would be the vegan tarragon chicken salad from the gentle cookbook- yesterday it would have been the cashew-based mexican flavored “cheese” used in Chef Chloe’s blackbean sliders.

  7. Oh, I would love to win this!! I am always looking for new nuts and nut butter recipes. Usually I lean toward savory recipes, but lately I’ve been really stoked about peanut butter/chocolate desserts, so I’m probably going to make peanut butter chocolate cupcakes this weekend.

  8. Softened dates, mixed with a little cocoa powder, rolled in crushed raw almonds and unsweetened coconut — a delicious and healthy treat!

  9. I love making homemade “nutella” I’m was a sucker for it and was glad when I made a recipe that actually worked and could have it once again, after I went vegan 16 years ago.

  10. I don’t really have a favorite nut recipe….I am starting to cook with more though and this book sounds like a great place to start. Thanks for the chance!

  11. I was just trying to figure out what to make for supper, and that top photo has me inspired to make some kind of noodle-tofu-kale dish with peanut sauce. Thank you!

  12. Robin Robertson is one of my favorite cookbook authors. I love the huge variety in her recipes, and the way she writes. I particularly love to use cashew to add creaminess and depth to so many “cheezey” recipes!

  13. Pingback: Follow the Nut Butter Universe Blog Tour — Robin Robertson

  14. My favorite way to eat nuts is anything with peanut butter. While I love all types of nuts and nut butters, peanut is my favorite because that is all I ate as a child, and it makes me feel like a little girl again :) Peanut butter cookies, peanut pasta sauce, peanut butter bars, etc.

  15. I can’t wait to make that soup! And the peanut sauce! And everything else from this book. That’s so funny/awful that the one thing you had a problem with was actually a typo. Should have realized that Robin wouldn’t make something that wasn’t awesome!
    My favorite dish that uses nuts has to be Isa’s cashew vegetable korma, with liberal amounts of cashew cream. I can’t wait to see how Robin’s compares.

  16. I LOVE nuts! I eat them everyday without even thinking about it. I have to say, as much as I enjoy all savory and sweet recipes that include nuts, my easy go-to favorite is the pb-j or ab-j sandwich. The other day my combo was almond butter, apricot preserves, maca powder, cinnamon, and dates on brown rice bread. YUM! :-)

  17. How can you pick a favorite recipe with nuts? They’re all my favorites! From garnishing salads with toasted almonds, or pasta with a ground almond “parmesan”, to the chopped cashews in my favorite farro salad, to ANYTHING with tahini in it, to my go-to dessert–a microwaved “baked” apple made with chopped pecans and chopped dates in the core and a little diet ginger ale poured over to keep it moist–I love them all! I even enjoy a good nut roast at the holidays–a cliche nowadays, but still very good. I would LOVE to win this book!

  18. I make peanut sauce at least once a week. My kids love it with veggies and I love a cold noodle salad with cucumber, shredded carrots, and tofu. This book looks fantastic!

  19. I actually had the great fortune to attend a cooking demonstration given by Robin a few years ago. I love her recipes! I have never tried making almond butter or cashew cream, but look forward to doing so soon. Just last night, I made a vegan peanut soup with potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic and lots of peanut butter! Yum!

  20. I love nuts and nut butters! My favorite recipe is no bake chocolate oatmeal peanut butter cookies! a weakness. I try not to make them too often, but I love Vegan pad thai as well. And do coconuts count as a nut? I love just about everything with coconut milk and I bake with coconut oil.

  21. I would LOVE to have this cookbook. My favorite nut butter recipe is Cheater Pad Thai from Happy Herbivore, but after seeing the recipes in your post, I may have some new favorites!!
    ~Lolly

  22. This looks like another great Robin Robertson cookbook I’d love to have in my collection. Favorite recipe with nuts is a really tough choice, but I’m going with Pad Thai. Ask me in another ten minutes, and my answer may be different. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, cashew cream sauce, cashew ricotta, chocolate peanut butter cups–the choices are endless!

  23. My favorite recipe with nuts is the granola recipe from Practically Raw…delicious and has lots of nuts. I also love the parm style toppings that use cashews. This book looks wonderful. I would love to win a copy.

    • My favorite is homemade nut milks – I make them in my Vitamix at least twice a week, just water and nuts in a 4:1 ratio. I make almond and cashew milks all the time, but I’m thinking hazelnut might be next…

  24. Mmm, I’m definitely a peanut/almond butter sauce fanatic. But, I also love nut butter in my oatmeal or on top of sweet potatoes! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  25. Wow this is so cool! It is very hard for me to pick…but my current favorite happened by fluke. I was trying to make oatmeal peanut butter cookies (with my homemade peanut butter), but for whatever reason they quickly flattened out in the oven. So I made desert sandwiches! Use two cookies. Layer vegan chocolate syrup and homemade cashew cream (cashews, water, lemon juice, and dates) on one cookie, put the other one on top and top with another layer of syrup and cream. Mmmm…..resisting to urge to make another one…..

  26. Nuts and seeds are a part of every meal in my vegan diet; I don’t know how I’d get by without them.

    I love making a good stir fry or roasting some vegetables and adding a nut sauce over top. My favorite nut/seed sauces are pistachio, peanut, sesame, and sun flower seeds.

    Oh, and my personal favorite nut butter of all the nut butters is pecan butter. It is… one of the greatest discoveries of my entire life. I’ve only made it once because since then I’ve broken my food processor but for two and a half weeks I had it on toast, in oatmeal, in green smoothies, and I was content with life.

    Although I usually make up my own recipes, this cookbook sounds amazing. So happy for the opportunity to enter the giveaway!

  27. Hi–I am a vegetarian about to turn vegan. One of my dearest friends is vegan, one of my 5 sons is vegan, and my husband is a Type 2 diabetic. I am ready (!!!) and, as I am the cook in the house, maybe my guys will benefit from this marvelous book, as well! thank you for this chance to enter such a great giveaway!
    jean yates

  28. My wife made raw carrot cake, which is quite simple, but the best part of it was the frosting that can be used on anything. Dates + Cashews. Delicious

  29. One of my favorite quick meals is to cook thin rice noodles, saute some veggies (like broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, onions) and then combine it and top it with a sauce – almond butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha. Sometimes I’ll add some toasted sliced almonds on top too! I would love to win a copy of this book!

  30. my favorite recipe is kindof similar to the spicy peanut cold noodle salad except that it’s a stir-fry so it’s warm and mine appears to use more greens. Anyway Robin’s looks delicious too. Everything is better when covered in peanut sauce
    ;-)

  31. My favorite is macadamia-crusted baked tofu. It was one of the first vegan recipes I made for a special occasion and it turned out so deliciously, it has a soft spot in my nut-lovin’ heart.

  32. My favorite nutty vegan dish is probably anything covered in peanut curry sauce – so this book sounds right up my alley! I can’t wait to try that soup :)

  33. Cashew creams are probably my favorite and always go over well with the non-vegans I know. Peanut butter pancakes come in a close second! I’d love to branch out and try the recipes in Robin’s cookbook!

  34. Yummy Yummy!!!! <3
    My favorite nut dish is spicy cashew rice noodles (made with cashew butter instead of peanut butter) ..I can eat them every single day, no problem! :):):)

  35. mmm, my mouth is watering reading everyone’s comments! One of my favorite’s is cashew “cheese” nachos! I can never get enough nachos. Seriously! This sounds like an awesome book. I love all nuts and they are so good for you too!

  36. I love your pictures and this sounds like an amazing cookbook. I love Pad Thai and spicy peanut sauces over noodles. I really need the recipe for Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce — looks and sounds awesome!!!!

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