Monday, September 01, 2014

salad samurai by terry hope romero :: review and giveaway

press sample
disclosure :: I know Terry in real life
Fresh Fig and Tempeh Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing from Salad Samurai.

Salads. The ultimate vegan cliche, right?

Fact is, cliches exist for a reason. I, for one, gobble up a humongous salad for dinner on average about 3 nights a week. I don't eat my greens out of obligation or discipline: I truly enjoy hearty dinner salads and they're easy and fun to make. None of this side-salad-with-storebought-Italian-vinaigrette sadness for me, thank you very much. I know how to transform a salad into a meal by adding protein, crunchies, a killer dressing, and layers of complexity. Or so I thought...

Then I received a review copy of Terry Hope Romero's Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love  All I can say is, Holy Guacamole. I'm an amateur. A young grasshoppa'. Terry is an old salad soul. Listen to her. Learn from her and you, too, can become a Salad Samurai.

Maple-Orange Tempeh Nibbles, my new favorite thing.
Excuse my rant, but these days, the marketplace is grossly oversaturated with cookbooks, plant-based and otherwise. [Yeah, I know, I've written a few] It's great to appreciate well-prepared, flavorful food but this foodie thing has gotten way out of balance. It seems everyone has a cookbook. But as I've learned firsthand, just because it's published, online or in print, does not necessarily mean a recipe or technique is new, innovative and/or palatable. Cookbooks have become undercurated [less quality control] and overmarketed [more about cha-ching]. Just like Instagram and Tumblr feeds tend to produce live streams of [mostly] visual noise, the blogosphere and bookstores have become a cacophony of culinary noise. There, I said it.

Back at the Ranch dressing...so easy, customiazble and groundbreaking
My current measure of an excellent cookbook or blog is when the recipes taste great, the author has a unique style, and I can actually learn something new. Check, check and check, Terry. I thought I was a salad expert but I have already learned oodles from Salad Samurai As the full, adorable title suggests, everyone loves salad – vegans, omnivores and every species in-between. And this pivotal work includes something for everyone. It's useful for both new cooks and experienced culinary curmudgeons like me. If you're a newbie, you can make the recipes exactly as Terry prescribes. Those who are already facile in the kitchen can mix and match with abandon. Tempeh Bacon Bites? That 70's Tofu? Pickled Red Grapes? Maple Orange Tempeh Nibbles? Yes, please.

Some of my favorite recipes from Terri's previous books have been salad dressings. This book is worth it just for the dressing chapter alone. My favorites so far are the Back at the Ranch Dressing, made creamy with cashews, and the Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing which is surprisingly sassy, thanks to a roasted jalapeño pepper [which you can skip if spicy is not your thing.]

While the salad recipes themselves are mouthwatering, well-orchestrated and full of color, I really prefer deconstructing the recipes and leaning on their building blocks – Terri's dressings, proteins, crunchies, etc.  I can tell you that Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan, Sriracha and Smoke Pecans, and Herbed Pea Ricotta have made their way into my weekly meal rotation – and not just for use in salads. The mix-and-match nature of this cookbook rocks and will keep inspiring you to take your salads to the next level.

The nice folks at Da Capo Lifelong Books are giving away a copy of Salad Samurai to one lucky US reader. Good luck, kids. And eat your greens!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

92 comments:

Patty Henhoeffer said...

This sounds awesome, Dynise! Putting on my amazon short list now!

Marlene @ Jade and Fern said...

YAY! This book has been on my wishlist for a while now. I am definitely a salad amateur and have been unable to rock this vegan essential. That said, I do make a potato salad with avocado, arugula, and pine nuts that I really like...

Julie said...

I have definitely had this book on my wishlist for a while now!

Julie said...

As for my favorite vegan salad, I agree with Marlene, lately I have been loving potato salad made with guac. I can't get enough!

sara said...

This book sounds amazing! I like a big salad with romaine, spinach, grated carrots, and vegan goddess dressing.

Anonymous said...

My favorite salad is more of a kitchen sink kind, whatever is in the fridge. I love to add warm roasted veggies, like onions, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and squash with baked tofu, spring greens and vegan ranch.

Jocelyn said...

I love taco salad, this book sounds great.

Anonymous said...

I love Isa's black bean, quinoa, mango salad!

Mina

Tina. said...

It's difficult to pick one, but if I had to choose, it would be baby spinach, red kidney beans, red onion, and a dressing made with pumpkin-seed oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Also, my life completely changed when I started adding cooked and chilled brown rice to my salads.

Ali K said...

This summer it's just been good, green veggie salads on my menu.

Bonnie said...

i make a mean deconstructed guac salad with a lime jalapeño dressing. so good!

KathyD said...

My favorite is romaine with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and a tofu based dressing with liquid smoke and nutritional yeast.

Spécialiste de l'éphémère said...

What an awesome dish!

sarahhhhhh said...

i love raw spinach salads!

MonsterAteMy said...

A greens-and-grain salad that has both crunchy and sweet components, combined with a nut-based dressing. Mmmm..

Jan Scholl said...

A salad that is cold and crisp with something crunchy is what I like.

Andrea said...

I love Terry's cookbooks and I want this one, too. At the moment my favorite salad contains arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and toasted sunflower seeds. Plus, whatever veggie or protein I might have in the fridge.

Shannon Hickman said...

I think I love just about any salad! The more color and different flavors the better. I've always loved a good vegan caesar salad but the ones I make at home with romaine, tomatoes from the garden, cucumber, carrots, beets, chickpeas, seeds/nuts, cracked pepper and vinaigrette or italian dressing also hit the spot!

Elizabeth said...

I tend to freestyle my salads, but have been really curious about this book; I love everything else Terry has written!

Rebecca said...

I love the black bean mango quinoa salad from Veganomicon.

Chris said...

My favorite salad is kale, green onions, carrots, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, raw garlic, italian dressing, and some fresh cracked pepper.

Heather B said...

Mmm, I love salads and just learned about this book, can't wait to see it! I think my current fave is a taco salad - extra extra extra guac.

rlparisi@msn.com said...

My favorite vegan salad is Red Quinoa and Black Bean Vegetable Salad.

Christine said...

I don't have a specific favorite vegan salad (yet) but I do like salads with a little fruit mixed in -- like thin slices of strawberries or orange slices.

g.a. said...

My favorite salad is any salad made with non-wilting greens and no green bell peppers! My fallback dinner which I never get tired of is composed of greens and additional veggies depending on the season, and a very nutritional yeast and garlic heavy dressing.

jennifer said...

My favorite vegan salad is a cold tofu "egg" salad!

Rita Dominic said...

How did I miss hearing about this book before now?! Favorite salad... that's a tough one. I'd have to say my go to is usually a taco salad with lentil taco "meat," all the usual taco salad fixin's and topped with the avocado salad dressing from the Urban Vegan cookbook! :) I usually add a chunk of cilantro in there if there's any left after making the lentils.

Annabella said...

I love kale salad with cranberries!

Ruby Qiu said...

As for my favorite vegan salad. more

Mary said...

I can't pick one? Don't make me think too hard!

HilLesha O'Nan said...

I love creamy pasta salad with artichoke hearts.

Jennifer K said...

I love a good vegan caesar salad

A&SMc said...

I love massaged kale salads, preferably with chickpeas or black beans, and something crunchy. The bigger, the better!

jenn said...

yum. I need more vegan cookbooks in my life! thx

Rebecca said...

I love making potato salad with vegan mayo, dill, and chopped pickles!

Lauren said...

This book looks so exciting and I rarely get TOO excited for salad books/recipes. However, I know that Terry will not disappoint! This is for sure on my wish list.

Lauren said...

And BTW - my favorite salads are Asian inspired salads, buffalo tofu salads, or vegan Caesar salads! :)

charj said...

One of my favorite salads is lettuce, avocado, pear and banana

Joey said...

I've heard a few good things about the book already. I'm become a bit of a salad dodger of late, but I can see now I shouldn't have let me salad lapse love. Can't join in the giveaway, so I'll just have to go get my own copy - no bad thing!

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