Book Review and Recipe: The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook

Are you ready for 2016? 2015 was an up and down year for me. I run my own business now so the inherent unpredictability of THAT is enou...

Are you ready for 2016?

2015 was an up and down year for me. I run my own business now so the inherent unpredictability of THAT is enough to knock anyone on their ass. I also experienced numerous family health scares, turned 30, and faced a few big fears. To me life is never clear cut -- there is nothing you can do to ensure a particular and "safe" outcome. All you can do is learn to accept chaos, work on making yourself a better person, and use the limited time that you have on this planet the way that YOU want to. No one will make your dreams come true (that's on you) and the only person that will regret it if you don't live your life to the fullest is you. So what do you do when your dreams aren't clear cut? I personally struggled with this all year. It seems that I don't have the burning desire to do anything. There are things that I love to do but that doesn't make them viable careers or endeavors even. So, after coming face to face with me, I have decided that in 2016 I will give myself a break, accept that by nature I am interested in many things and that no one dream will fit the bill...oh and cook more delicious healthy food. 

2015 had its upsides. Baking Backwards started to get more attention and as a result I have had some pretty awesome opportunities this year. Today's post is the result of one. I should start by saying I am a blogger who reads more blogs than books. I love the 'blogging revolution'. It has really changed the world and given voices to those who may otherwise have never been heard. I am now regularly asked to review products, develop recipes and review new and exciting cookbooks and food related books. This I find totally awesome because I ADORE cookbooks. Today's post is a review of the latest cookbook from one of my favourite food bloggers -- Emily Von Euw. This fellow Canadian has been a blogger to watch on the vegan food scene for years now with her blog This Rawsome Vegan Life. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, make that one of your 2016 resolutions. Emily's raw and cooked vegan recipes are inspiring and vibrant, and her lovely personality is infectious. 

I received The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook earlier this month and immediately dived right into it. While Emily is possibly most well known for her higher fat raw food recipes (especially her desserts), she has incorporated a ton of cooked and raw food recipes into this book and left dessert entirely off the menu. This intrigued me right off the bat because I have been undergoing a similar transition. I have been far more interested in earthy, hearty, cooked plant based meals than desserts or raw recipes (which is problematic since this blog is a gluten free baking blog). You may have noticed I have been sharing more and more dinner recipes (this is unlikely to change in 2016). I am far more interested in nourishing savoury food at the moment than I am in healthy desserts. It seems Emily feels the same way. We have both begun to follow more of a plant based vegan diet. This vegetable, grain and starch rich diet is taking the world by storm at the moment thanks to its many health benefits. I was delighted to notice while reading Emily's book that she also doesn't shun fat altogether. Many plant based vegans follow a high carbohydrate, very low to no fat diet. While it seems Emily and myself have thoroughly embraced carbs and mostly cut out oil (and switched to whole food fat sources like avocado, nuts and seeds) we both still incorporate good fats regularly into our meals. I was not sure what to expect when I received the book but was pleasantly surprised to discover that Emily and I eat very similarly. We both thrive on simple weeknight meals with more elaborate occasional indulgences. We both enjoy roots and starches, grains, greens, creamy sauces and bold flavours. Its perhaps the simplicity and wholesomeness of the book's recipes that appeals to me most. While I love to drool over fancy recipes online that call for a million expensive ingredients, its totally unlikely that I'll ever make them at home (I know a lot of you can relate). But I can honestly imagine making almost all of these recipes at some point. It also doesn't hurt that Emily's food is vibrantly colourful, wholesome and mouthwatering to look at. 

There are a couple of things I should mention about this book. If you don't like tahini (who are you?) you may feel limited as many recipes involve it. It should go without saying but if you don't like vegetables this book is also not for you. If you feel that all meals require a protein source and two vegetables, this book may not be for you either. Most of Emily's meals are starch or vegetable focused. However, if you're looking for beautiful, healthy, plant based gluten free recipes that are simple to prepare, involve a handful of accessible ingredients, and are full of vibrant flavours, this book is right up your alley. Buy it in 2016 to start the new year on the right foot. 

To give you a sense of the fabulous recipes this book contains, check out this awesome Pumpkin Soup recipe. An easy to make, elegant and delicious soup that is just perfect for frosty January nights. 

PUMPKIN SOUP with Potatoes, Pumpkin Seeds, Leeks + Coconut Milk
*Recipe from:

  • 2 cups (360 g) russet potatoes, chopped into ½-inch (13-mm) cubes
  • 3 cups (539 g), pumpkin chopped into ½-inch (13-mm) cubes
  • 14 ½ oz (400 ml) coconut milk (about 1 can)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  • 2 tbsp (10 g) pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup (12 g) leeks, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake the potatoes and pumpkin for 30 minutes or until tender all the way through. Throw it in a blender with the coconut milk, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. You can add more coconut milk or water if it’s too thick, and add more salt if you want to.

Top with the pumpkin seeds and thinly sliced leeks.

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