This amazing Vegan Curried Jamaican Stew is full of intense flavor, hearty texture and healthy plants. This stew features traditional Jamaican seasonings, including red pepper flakes, allspice and cloves, as well as a generous swirl of coconut milk.
Sometimes a cookbook comes along that completely knocks my socks off. A book that you want to cuddle with, hold, sleep with, never let go. This is one of those times. I have been sent many cookbooks to review over the years and I'm not kidding when I say this is already one of my favorites. This cookbook, Power Plates, 100 nutritionally balanced, one-dish vegan meals, by Gena Hamshaw is incredible. Gena is the author of The Full Helping blog.
I have never made one of Gena's recipes before, so flipping through her book I was thrilled at all the amazing, mouth-watering recipes she has. Honestly, her creativity is so refreshing and so unique. Truly some of the most creative plant-based recipes I've come across since becoming vegan years ago. Not your typical run-of-the-mill recipes.
Her use of ingredients and flavor combos are for those who LOVE true flavor. That is me. I'm not one for bland or light flavors. Bring on food to make my eyes roll in the back of my head please. Her book definitely delivers.
Her book has 6 main chapters and they are packed full.
Skillets and Stovetop
There is not a dessert chapter in this book, it's all savory pretty much, although she does have a muffin recipe and some granola and a couple of sweeter things in the breakfast chapter. Just not a dedicated dessert chapter. But the amazing savory recipes are fantastic enough that I didn't care. That is saying a lot coming from a baker fanatic.
About the Book
The pictures are stunning, colorful, inviting and make your tummy start growling. A couple of things to note. There is a lot of tofu and tempeh used in the book, so if you are allergic to soy, there are still a lot of recipes without it, but I do think it's important to mention since there is a decent amount. But she has used them all in such imaginative ways and they are all so different. It is truly amazing.
Her brilliance comes through in this book big time. Recipes like Masala Lentil Salad with Cumin-Roasted Carrots, Spiced Lentil Tamale Pie, Vegetable Harvest Pie, Moroccan Sweet Potatoes, Stuffed Peppers with Farro, Herbs, and Tempeh Sausage, Roasted Zucchini Tacos (what!), White Chili with Butternut Squash. My goodness my mouth is watering.
The recipes are called 1-dish, but it should be noted that several of the recipes come in parts, like making 2-4 parts to combine into the "1 dish". This is more apparent in her Bowls chapter. For example, a recipe can call for cooking the veggies, then cooking a grain, then tofu or tempeh and then a sauce. They aren't all like that and are not hard, but they are more involved than I typically cook so they do require some time. This will not prevent me from making them by any means, I'm just going to make them in parts on different days since I'm such a busy mom with a young child. The flavors are so incredible that I'm so excited to try them all. Her Soups and Breakfast chapters all look really easy though and not too many ingredients, so I started there first.
She does use oil in some of the recipes. This is important to mention since I'm an oil-free cook and this is an oil-free blog and many of you readers are. However, the ones that simply call for oil for cooking on the stove (like this stew) is easy to just swap with water or broth. The sauces and dressings that call for oil will be a bit more challenging, but I plan to test those out with some of my oil-free tricks. Nothing will hold me back from trying all of these amazing recipes! Please do not let that deter you, there are plenty of recipes that don't use oil and many ways to just omit it when it is in the smaller amounts.
Now, can we please talk about this amazing Curried Jamaican Stew?? O.M.G. I mean, seriously, soooo good that I didn't want it to end. The flavors were so balanced and so epic and the texture was spot on. I had a little chuckle too, because when I was writing my Soups and Stews chapter for my own book last year, I had jotted down a Jamaican Stew recipe. It has allspice and red pepper flakes in it, but used gold potatoes and was an entirely different recipe. I never got around to perfecting it and I don't really see the point now since this one is so incredible, haha. Maybe I'll get back to it one day.
I love that she added collard greens, it was just phenomenal. I don't buy collard greens much and now I will.
I loved this stew so much that I had it for breakfast the next day with my hashbrowns, haha. Total true story. Mighty delicious combo if I do say so myself. The stew was of course fantastic the first day but was even more amazing the next day after the flavors soaked and got even more spicy and intense.
Aside from the Jamaican Stew, I also tried her Curried Tomato Stew with Dumplings (above, recipe on page 107) and yet again, another amazing recipe. Can you tell I like curry, haha. Two curry stews but entirely different flavors. Incredible. So much delicious flavor and texture. I can't wait to eat leftovers for lunch today! Sorry for the iphone pic of this stew, but it was last night when I made it and just wanted to snap a quick pic to share with y'all.
I vow to make a recipe or two weekly from her book until I make every. single. one. That is how excited I am. Did I already mention how creative she is?? Both of these stews were so delicious that I can't wait to zip through the whole chapter and all of her recipes. It should be no surprise since I started with this chapter since you all know (besides dessert) that stews/soups are my favorite recipes to create and eat. I have a mighty hearty and incredibly delicious Comforting Soups and Stews chapter in my own book coming out this year that I can't wait to reveal!
So, please give this amazing stew a try. You will absolutely love it. And again, I can't recommend her book enough. It is so amazing. Especially if you really like deep flavors from different types of cuisines and appreciate creativity.
You can order her book here! And enter the GIVEAWAY below!
Reprinted with permission from Power Plates, copyright © 2018 by Gena Hamshaw. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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