Sustenance Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook

Sustenance Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook

Have you ever looked inside a cookbook and been so in awe of it's beauty and recipes that you couldn't put it down? That is truly, honestly how I felt when I received Tess Master's, AKA The Blender Girl, latest cookbook, The Perfect Blend. I was so honored that she asked if I would review it and share a recipe with you all. I have a lot of cookbooks and enjoy them, but I must say, this is one of the most stunning books I've ever seen. Like, ever. Everything from the colors of the pages, to the design, layout, personal photos and most of all, the versatility of photos on the pages, totally captivated my attention. Each dish is photographed beautifully and so different than the next, yet it all flows. I was turning the pages with complete excitement. I honestly can't put it down.

That stew on the cover is the recipe I'm sharing today!

If you are not familiar with the amazingly, popular Tess Masters from The Blender Girl blog, well today is your lucky day. She is a powerhouse with this being her 4th cookbook, and is also the spokesperson for KitchenAid. She is allowing me to give away a cookbook to one lucky reader.

This is so easy for me to write about this book because of how much I love it so far. I love how many of the pages are different colors....some dark, some light. Most of the photos have a very gorgeous, dark and rustic natural feel to them, which is my favorite style. Not everything is on white! I love the realistic look and how all the colors of each dish pop so beautifully because of this. I also love how an entire photograph takes up both pages for the recipe and so artistically, the recipe is so perfectly placed. In other words, the photography style and setup was thought out very strategically. I know many may perhaps not notice or care about those things, but to me, I can feel the love that was put into this book by Tess. This makes me appreciate it so much.

See what I mean here in the recipe I'm sharing today, Sustenance Stew...the whole photograph was styled in a way to allow for a perfect placement of the recipe later on....brilliant.

So much thought went into this book and the design by Tess and it definitely did not go unnoticed by me! I really love photography and design so much, that every detail I picked up on. Can you tell I love it??

Now, what's in this book, The Perfect Blend? I've gone on and on about it's beauty and design, so what are the recipes?? Well, I was totally wrong in what I was expecting. I was thinking just a bunch of smoothies or soups based on the title. Oh boy, was I wrong! Tess has created 100 vegan and gluten-free recipes focusing on fresh ingredients. Every single recipe caught my attention...she uses the blender for a part of each recipe, but not for the entire recipe. The chapters are very interesting too..they are titled differently than most books. They range from "Energy", "Detox", "Protein", "Weight loss", to "Alkaline forming", "Low carb", etc. Some of the recipe titles will have you drooling. She has "Greedy Green Curry" pg. 82, "BBQ Mushroom & Bean Burgers" pg. 62, "Satay Skewers" pg. 56, "Cheezy Broccoli" pg. 45, "Tricked-up Tabouli" pg. 176, "Mind-blowing Moroccan Pizza" pg. 197. There are even some desserts, "Choc-mint Mania" pg. 202, "Apple, Cinnamon & Raisin Bread Pudding" pg. 206, "Caramel Cravings" pg. 188. See...not just all smoothies!

She also has a wealth of knowledge about many plants, nuts, vegetables, fruits and their human body health benefits. I loved reading about it. I have only made 2 recipes so far, but all I an say is WOW. Everything was beautifully balanced and delicious.

This stew was sooo good, I was in near tears...happy tears. The flavor from a good dose of fresh ginger, creamy roasted almond butter, tomatoes and red pepper flakes really packed a punch.

This sprinkle of chia seeds was a brilliant choice. I cannot stand chia seeds when they are soaked, but fresh as a topping, gave an awesome crunch. I never would have thought of that on a stew, but I loved it. As if that wasn't fantastic enough on it's own, it is also topped with chopped fresh avocado and sliced almonds. Then you place it on a bed of cauliflower rice. Simply dang delicious! Fresh, homemade, amazing stew. I omitted the 1 tablespoon of oil called for and sauteed the veggies in a little broth instead. Since my blog is an oil-free blog, I do need to let you all know that many of the recipes do call for oil. I know many of you are oil-free as well, so I do need to point that out. However, I am very good at subbing out oil and feel I can achieve this with most of the recipes. Some of them, probably not, but I feel the recipes are so top notch that the few I can't, makes the book still so worth it. That is my personal opinion.

Today I'm sharing with you this incredible Sustenance Stew!

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart

You can purchase the book here!

Yields 6-8 servings

Sustenance Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook

This amazing vegan Sustenance Stew comes from Tess Master's cookbook, The Perfect Blend. It is hearty, filling, full of amazing flavor that will keep you coming back for more. Sweet potatoes, roasted almond butter, fresh ginger, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper flakes really give amazing flavor!

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    Cauliflower Rice
  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil (NOTE: I did not use any oil in the recipe, See NOTES at the bottom)
  • 1 teaspoon natural salt (see page 139, plus more to taste)
  • Stew
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil (NOTE: I did not use the oil, I just used a little bit of broth)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • Natural salt (see page 139) I just used sea salt
  • 3 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5 ounce/411g) cans whole tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups (570g) peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups (210g) chopped broccoli florets
  • 4 cups (120g) Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
  • 1/3 cup (43g) roasted almond butter
  • 1/2 cup (14g) loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (80g) sliced raw almonds
  • Optional boosters
  • 1/4 cup (35g) shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (black or white)
  • 1/4 cup (10g) pea greens


  1. To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
  2. Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined. (SEE NOTES at the bottom for oil-free)
  3. Transfer the "rice" to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the "rice" begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.
  4. To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil (I just used a little broth instead) and saute the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  5. Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended. Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sauteed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender. Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.
  6. To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the "rice". Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.


I omitted the oil in this recipe. For the cauliflower, I just roasted the cauliflower on parchment paper and stirred it a couple of times during to prevent too harsh of browning. For the stew, I just used a little broth instead of the oil. Nutrition per serving (based on 6 servings): 126 calories, 9.6 g fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 324.8 mg sodium, 8.8 g carbs, 2.8 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 3.6 g protein, 68.6 mg calcium, 1.8 mg iron

To enter the giveaway to win a copy of Tess's book, The Perfect Blend, just enter the giveaway below and you MUST be subscribed to my blog to qualify. You can subscribe by entering your email in the red box below or on the right sidebar of this page. All entries will be verified.
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  1. My favorite thing to make in a blender...smoothies.....that's so BORING....see, I NEED THIS COOKBOOK!!! Thanks for the chance to win a copy
  2. My favorite thing to make in the blender is smoothies, but I also appreciate the ease in which I can make spreads/dips with silken tofu.
  3. I love making smoothies in my blender. That and nut milks :)
  4. My favorite thing to make in blender are sauces---to get it all nice and creamy and taste test as I go and can add more through the top without taking it all the way off. Love blender!
  5. I haven't used my blender in a bit ... i think the last thing I made was homemade laundry detergent! lol (and previous to that/SMOOTHIES!)
  6. I make a smoothie every morning!
  7. My favorite thing to make is green smoothies but nut milks and nut butters are a close seconds!
  8. Smoothies - we use our blender to make smoothies almost every single day. I also make pesto in the blender. I have wanted to try and do soups but just haven't ventured that way yet.
  9. OMG! I am seriously ready to break my 7 day juice fast and make this stew NOW :) thanks for reviewing and sharing this book!!!
  10. Raj
    Looks yum!
  11. i make a lime pineapple jalapeno smoothie!
  12. LS
    My favorite thing so far is a vegan "cheese" sauce - but would be excited to win the cookbook and find a new favorite!!
  13. Another "smoothie" answer here. I need more inspiration!
  14. My favorite thing to make it my blender is probably my daily green smoothie! I don't know how my mornings would work without it.
  15. Oh my goodness my family lives on smoothies!!!!
  16. Some of my favorite things to make in a blender is fresh ground flours (from oats, millet, buckwheat, etc.) and salad dressing/sauces.
  17. This looks and sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing. I would love to win the cookbook!
  18. I love making green smoothies in my blender.
  19. Smoothies for sure! Thanks so much for the giveaway!
  20. I love to make smoothies and coconut yogurt.
  21. Perfect book for us vegans who want something simple but delicious! I would love to try these recipes!!
  22. I love to make soups in a blender.
  23. I love to make cheese sauce in the blender. I do on occasion make smoothies also.
  24. I like to make soup in the blender. Easy to do but I need new recipes!
  25. My favorite thing to make in a blender is salad dressings and nut milks. I also love to blend bean and veggie soups!
  26. Smoothies. Salad dressings too!
  27. I must confess to a bit of a blender phobia..... Not sure why, but they scare me!! That said, I always look at blender recipes and think about trying them, this book like it might tempt me enough to make the leap to blender land. :)
  28. Soups and smoothies!
  29. I love to make sauces in the blender (and smoothies, of course!).
  30. I love to purée soups!
  31. I love to make sauces in my blender (and smoothies, of course!).
  32. Raspberry sorbet in the vitamix is my favorite recipe.
  33. I have two favorite blender items which couldn't be more different! Fat-free cheese sauce and a Chocolate Decadent Smoothie.
  34. I love making smoothies!
  35. Soup is my favorite thing to make using a blender!
  36. Jia
    I am curious why you are alot of your followers are oil free? Health reasons or ? Just wondering :) cant wait to buy this one looks great
      Yes, I prefer to get my fats from whole foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, etc. The calorie count is less and it's also containing all the nutrients since it's a whole food. Whereas oil is just 100% liquid fat and nearly twice the fat of nut butter, for example. I learned a lot about the health benefits and just feel better overall, from Forks Over Knives, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. McDougall. If you google them, you can read a lot about it more in depth :) I will use a small amount of nonstick spray for certain recipes, but that's about it. I also do not stress over oil if I happen to eat out, but when cooking at home, I try not to use it at all.
  37. My favorite thing to blend is oil free salad dressing!
  38. What is roasted almond butter? I have seen jars of almond butter but what is "roasted almond butter?"
      Roasted almond butter is made from roasted almonds. Raw almond butter is not. Just look at the ingredient label of your jar and it will say "roasted almonds" if it is in fact from roasted almonds. Every brand is different but the one I buy says "roasted creamy" on the front label. Roasted almonds are creamier, slightly sweet and have a better/deeper flavor, compared to raw almond butter.
      • Thanks. I will look for the roasted almond butter. I think I have only seen raw. But now I know to look for it on ingredients list.
  39. does the title 'the perfect blend' imply that all the recipes in the book require a blender? or does it mean that the flavors and ingredients balance well?
      Hi Marti, I talk about specifically what it means and many examples of the recipes in the book above in the post. But yes, each recipe does use a blender for a part or all of the recipe, even if it's just a small part of the recipe :)
      • thanks for such a prompt replay
  40. Just got a high speed blender. Amazing recipe.
      Oh awesome! Did you already make it??
  41. Pia
    Personally my favorite things to make in a blender are plant-based milks :)
  42. This looks like a MUST have book! Thanks for the review, Brandi!
  43. I love making smoothies
  44. Pam
    I love smoothies from the blender!
  45. Amazing review and I love reading your excitement about the book and the recipes. Seems like a brilliant book with stunning pictures and so many fantastic recipes to try. Your pictures are beautiful as always, Brandi!
  46. Traditional, but my favorite thing to make in the blender is a smoothie--bean, veggie, fruit. Doesn't matter.
  47. I love making smoothies!
  48. I mostly make smoothies in my blender, I really need to expand my repertoire. :)
  49. Love to make smoothies and raw ice cream base.
  50. EMC
    Many things!!! Cashew cream is up there, as is grinding flours and my favorite waffle batter! Yum! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!
  51. green smoothies!
  52. Gazpacho!
  53. You did such a great job reviewing this book!! And your remake of the recipe is amazing!! Sounds like such a wide range of flavors here, YUM! Looking forward to getting it! Great job mama!
  54. I like making smoothies and soups in the blender.
  55. I love to make smoothies, sauces & purees in my blender! :)
  56. Tia
    Cashew cream is my favorite thing to make in my blender.
  57. PCS
    I make a delicious chocolate cashew ice cream in the blender.
  58. My favourite thing to make in a blender is nice cream!! <3
  59. I love making sauces in my blender!
  60. My favorite way to use my blender is peanut butter....
  61. My favorite is smoothies, but I've started making almond milk and soups too!
  62. The only thing I ever make in my blender is smoothies, and the recipe is always varied depending what I have on hand and how much.
  63. smoothies!
  64. Wow girl what a stunning remake of this recipe. I don't venture out to other recipe bloggers or recipe creators in general because I am very happy with your recipes. I know I can trust your recipes because they always come out delicious and perfect. But perhaps I should venture out a little because I am sure there are plenty of other worthwhile recipes out there and I kind of like the idea that her recipes center around a blender because I don't have a food processor which limits me on things I can make. Thank you very much for the opportunity to win. My favorite thing to make in my blender is your fat free vegan cheese sauce recipe and my morning smoothies. You did such a beautiful job with this post and with the recipe I have no doubt you did Tess very proud with this and I would imagine it would be a honor to have you make and feature her recipe on your blog.
  65. I like to make sauces and soups.
  66. Recently my favorite thing to make in the blender has been curds - lemon, vanilla, orange, lime. Great for cake fillings!
  67. My favourite thing to make in a blender is smoothies!
  68. I make smoothies, soups, nut butters, salad dressings and ice creams. Love blended foods and would love to win the book.
  69. Didn't even have to think of an answer: YOUR Easy Vegan Mexican Cheese Sauce! Probably just as equally tied is YOUR Lazy Day Tomato Bisque! Both are SO good and easy! Outside of those, probably smoothies, but I put way more fruit in than I should!
      Aww, thank you Julie! So glad to hear you love those recipes!
  70. I use my blender to make nut butters.
  71. Although I have a smoothie for breakfast every day, what really gets me excited about using my blender are creamy cashew-based dressings and the sauce for vegan mac a cheese :)
  72. I love making smoothies and sauces/dips. Blending cashews with tomato sauce for a creamy effect -- so good!
  73. My favorite thing to make in a blender is almond milk and sauces :)
  74. My vitamix only gets used for smoothies. I'd love to win so I can learn to utilize it.
  75. Every day I make fabulous smoothies in my blender.
  76. I love to make salad dressing in my blender. My favorite is a honey- lemon balsamic with garlic and miso. Yum!
  77. Sustenance Stew looks amazing, all my favorite things in it!
  78. I love making strawberry smoothies with almond milk. We get so many strawberries here in Florida in the Spring and they smell amazing, I love capturing the scent of strawberries and making a dreamy smoothie.
  79. I love to use my blender for sauces and dressings! This book looks and sounds amazing! :)
  80. My favorite thing is smoothies and salsa
  81. My favourite thing to make in a blender is mushroom soup :)
  82. Wow! What a beautiful and hearty stew! I could feel the genuine excitement over this book through your review and seeing the little peeks of her photography makes me want to go out and buy a copy. I don't own any of her books, but I'm thinking that I need to change that. Your remake of her stew here is just gorgeous and as always, the photography is stunning. What a great idea to add chia seeds on top for a little crunch and added nutrients - we're always throwing them in smoothies and salads, but I never thought to sprinkle them on soups. Wonderful review, my friend! xoxo
  83. That's easy: smoothies and (oil-free) salad dressings!
  84. I have a Vitamix, and I make so many good things in it. Oil-free salad dressings may be my favorite though.
  85. The only thing I have made using a blender has been smoothies and some sweet potato soup. Would love to learn some new recipes. This soup sounds divine.
  86. I like making sauces, especially with cashews!
  87. I suppose it's the obvious answer but smoothies are what I make most. =)
  88. We love the blende for hummus
  89. My fave in a blender is vegan cheese sauce!!
  90. I love to make smoothies!
  91. Plant milks are my favorite thing to blend- it's great to be able to make my own fresh, healthy, additive-free milks and to try out different combinations of ingredients! Thanks for hosting this giveaway!
  92. What a beautiful stew!! This is so weird to say, because stews usually just look messy, but not this one! Topping it with avocado and chia seeds is such a good idea. The book looks like a keeper for sure :)
      Thank you so much Bianca! It doesn't look nearly as pretty as hers, but I sure tried my best!
  93. Kat
    Thank you so much for reviewing and sharing the recipe for Sustenance Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook. I made this for dinner tonight and am in heaven! You picked a winner for sure!
      Yay! Isn't it so delicious?! So glad you loved it. I'm making it again this week!
  94. You gave me great idea what to prepare for tomorrow's lunch. It looks colorful and superdelicious.
      Enjoy Agness! It's so delicious!
  95. I love this recipe!! So many vegan recipes use the southwestern flavors. This is such a treat for my tastebuds. Yum!!
      I agree Janet, this stew is unbelievably delicious!!! I could eat it everyday!

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