We appreciated and enjoyed the concept of Ella Leché’s plant-based cookbook Cut The Sugar: You’re Sweet Enough because we often find that the foods we eat have a surprising amount of naturally occurring sugars in them. Reducing the need (or desire) for added sugar is a great way to improve your diet and lifestyle. Author Ella Leché points out that “It’s human nature to enjoy sweets!” But she also stresses that “The key is to make better choices and eat healthier sweets in moderation.”
This cookbook features a number of tips for making better decisions in the kitchen while also providing great, family-friendly recipes. We found the recipes to be easy to follow and prepare and they generally had mild flavors that one could easily build upon if they so choose. The editing of the book could have been slightly better because we encountered a few small mistakes, but nothing that kept us from fully enjoying the recipes we tried. Bright, vivid photographs, fairly quick recipes and accurate serving sizes help make this a fun and practical cookbook. Honey is listed as an optional sweetener, but for those of us who do not use honey there are alternatives listed. A number of recipes include the option for stevia, but also provide measurements for natural sugars if you prefer not to use stevia.
Parsley & Green Pea Savory Pancakes
Pg 22-3 Chapter 1: Breakfast
We absolutely loved these chickpea pancakes. We made a slight change based on our flavor preferences and used cilantro in place of parsley. The pancakes are incredibly easy to prepare and the flavorful combination of ingredients was vaguely Indian. They make a great meal or snack and one recipe makes 6 small pancakes – perfect for 2-3 people. Serve with your favorite creamy sauce, some avocado and a garnish of fresh herbs. The cookbook suggests a tahini sauce but we served ours with a quick french onion aioli. To make the prep and cleanup time a bit quicker we used an immersion blender instead of a food processor to combine the wet ingredients.
Caramelized Onion, Leek & Potato Chickpea Frittata
Pg 24-5 Chapter 1: Breakfast
A simple recipe that uses the classic combination of leek and potato for a fine foundation of flavor and texture. This frittata is similar to the equally savory and delicious Parsley & Green Pea Savory Pancakes (page 22-23, see above). While the recipe doesn’t have a sauce to go with it, we served ours with a quick aioli and found it complemented the frittata perfectly. This dish is equally satisfying hot or cold. Eating it cold reminded us of a Spanish tortilla. The ¼ teaspoon of cayenne provides a surprising bit of heat. We would consider adding capsicum or peas next time for even more flavor, color and texture. To make the prep and cleanup time a bit quicker we used an immersion blender instead of a food processor to combine the wet ingredients.
Raw Veggie Pâté & Superseed Flax Crackers
Pg 44-5 Chapter 2: Salads & Appetizers & Pg 168-69 Chapter 6: Snacks
These two recipes were easy to prepare using ingredients we generally consider pantry staples. While we enjoyed the Superseed Flax Crackers, the raw onion in the Raw Veggie Pâté was just too overpowering. We would consider remaking it using chives in place of raw onion. The crisp, seed packed crackers are a quick alternative to a dehydrated cracker and make a nice snack with avocado, raw veggie pâté, hummus or other soft, creamy spreads.
Butter Bean, Kale & Tomato Soup
Pg 63 Chapter 3: Soups
This thin, brothy tomato soup started out great but like many soups it got even better the next day. The addition of root vegetables and butter beans made it more substantial. We used 50% more beans than the recipe called for and thought that was the perfect amount of butter beans for this dish. If you like your soup a little thicker, simply subtract one cup of water from the recipe. We would also recommend adding an extra teaspoon of salt, or finishing each serving with salt to taste. For a Latin flavor, top with crushed tortilla chips and avocado.
Raw Chocolate Sauce
Pg 154-55 Chapter 5: Desserts
We halved this recipe and added a little more raw cacao powder to make the sauce slightly thicker. The coconut oil provides a lovely richness and this chocolate sauce paired perfectly with the fresh berries on our Chia Waffles (page 10-11, see below).
One note, the recipe calls for 3-4 Tablespoons of liquid stevia. Understanding stevia, we knew this was way too much and should have read 3-4 drops of liquid stevia. This amounts to about 1 teaspoon. Since droppers and the measurement of a ‘drop’ may vary; we recommend adding the stevia gradually until you’ve reached the desired sweetness.
Pg 10-11 Chapter 1: Breakfast
These gluten-free waffles were delightful. The Chia thickens the mixture and serves as the egg-replacer. The batter is thick but easy to work with and the little flecks of chia give the waffles a unique appearance. Ours weren’t as golden as the photos in the cookbook, but perhaps that’s due to using the optional all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of oat flour, sorghum flour and potato starch. The recipe made two waffles, which is perfect for us! We especially appreciated that these waffles weren’t very sweet, since we usually like to top our waffles with sweet toppings like we did here with fresh berries and a Raw Chocolate Sauce (page 154-55, see above) from the cookbook.
Chia Waffles from Cut The Sugar: You’re Sweet Enough
Yield: 2 or 3 servings
Waffles are my favorite! It’s such a treat to serve these on Sunday mornings, fresh off the waffle iron with assorted toppings in bowls set on the table for easy custom-topped deliciousness. But dessert for breakfast is no longer my thing. And it shouldn’t be yours, either. That’s why I love reinventing recipes to make them healthier and better. These are not only gluten-free and vegan but also high in protein and chia goodness. I never thought waffles could be nourishing, but these pass the test. They’re wholesome, delicious, and filling—no longer just empty carbs! Top with fresh fruit, puréed strawberry sauce, and whipped coconut.
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds, whole or ground
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 cup oat flour*
- ½ cup sorghum flour*
- ¼ cup potato starch*
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, or grapeseed oil, plus more for coating waffle iron
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar or 2 drops liquid stevia
Whipped Coconut Milk:
- 1 (14 ounces) can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated
- Stewed Strawberries (page 142), for serving
- Fresh berries, for serving
In a small bowl, mix the chia with the water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the flours, potato starch, and baking powder. Add the almond milk, oil, sweetener and the chia mixture and mix to combine well. Let rest for 10 to 20 minutes.
Heat a waffle iron and brush with oil. Scoop a ladleful of batter onto the waffle iron and bake per the manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown.
To make the Whipped Coconut Milk, drain the coconut milk can of liquid and scoop the cream to a bowl. (The coconut water can be drunk or added to smoothies.) Whip with a mixer to make fluffy (or just scoop and serve).
Top the waffles with the Stewed Strawberries, Whipped Coconut Milk, and fresh berries.
* Substitute 1¾ cup all-purpose gluten-free flour for these 3.
Recipe from Cut The Sugar: You’re Sweet Enough © 2016 Ella Leché, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, reprinted by permission.
US/Canada Giveaway (2 Winners)
Thanks to Ella Leché and her publisher Andrew McMeel Publishing, we are giving away a copy of Cut The Sugar: You’re Sweet Enough to Two (2) US or Canada based Vegan Miam readers.
Use the Gleam widget below to enter for a chance to win. You can come back everyday for a bonus entry and re-share a tweet.