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Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson

When I first went vegan, one of my go-to cookbooks was Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. Actually, I still refer to it quite often as someone who lives on a budget. I love beautiful, gourmet, impressive recipes just as much as the next vegan foodie, but on a daily basis I need recipes that are uncomplicated, quick, and use everyday ingredients. For the sake of helping more people go vegan, I think cookbooks such as these are all the more valuable. With Robin’s latest cookbook, Cook the Pantry, that’s exactly what you’ll find — easy, nutritious vegan meals in 20 minutes or less using ingredients you most likely have on hand. 🙂

Robin Robertson is a tour-de-force when it comes to vegan cooking. She’s authored more than twenty cookbooks, many of which have been best sellers. With Cook the Pantry you’ll find easy instructions for vegan cooking, a pantry list of items to keep on-hand, information on plant proteins and essential kitchen equipment, time-saving tips, and of course, a wide variety of recipes for every course including:

  • soups, stews, and chilis
  • salads
  • pizza, burgers, and sandwiches
  • stovetop suppers
  • pasta
  • sweet treats

As I read through this cookbook I was so happy to discover Cook the Pantry really does live up to all that it promises. The ingredients list for each recipe aren’t unendingly lengthy, the cooking instructions are simple, and the recipes are pretty wholesome. There’s a decent amount of photos, too. (I need photos in a cookbook, people.) I think it’s a perfect cookbook for anyone who’s pressed for time in the kitchen or even someone who is new to vegan cooking as the recipes are vegan-newbie friendly. In fact, the recipe I am sharing with you today (with permission from Vegan Heritage Press) will demonstrate just how easy and delicious the recipes in this new cookbook are.

Cheesy Grits with Greens and Smoky Shiitakes

Cheesy Grits with Greens and Smoky Shiitakes*
Makes 4 servings

The addition of nutritional yeast and a little vegan butter give grits a cheesy flavor without the cheese. If you like, you may add 1/2 cup of shredded vegan cheddar for more cheesy goodness. The amount of time needed to cook the greens will depend on the type of greens you use and whether they’re fresh or frozen.

1 cup quick-cooking grits
2 teaspoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 scallions, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces mushrooms (any kind), sliced or chopped
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen greens (thawed and squeezed, if frozen)
1/2 cup vegetable broth

  1. Cook the grits according to package directions. (It should take about 5 minutes for quick-cooking grits.) Stir in the butter, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
  2. While the grits are cooking, heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes to soften. Sprinkle on the liquid smoke and smoked paprika, tossing to coat. Add the greens and broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the greens are tender, 4 to 8 minutes, depending on the greens. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. To serve, top the grits with the mushroom mixture.

Also, be sure to check out more recipes from and reviews on Cook the Pantry from around the vegan blogosphere 😉

*(Recipe from Cook the Pantry © 2015 by Robin Robertson. Photo by Annie Oliverio. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press LLC.)