Book Review and Contest: The Saucy Vegetarian

Grilled Tofu Salad featuring Peppercorn Ranch Dressing

It’s time for another book contest! The wonderful people at the Book Publishing Company are giving me the opportunity to give away a copy of The Saucy Vegetarian by Joanne Stepaniak. Most vegans are familiar with Stepaniak’s innovative recipes from previous books such as Vegan Vittles and The Uncheese Cookbook. This book continues along the same lines, offering “Quick and Healthful, No-Cook Sauces and Dressings” to please any palate, mood or dinner theme.

The book has nearly 100 pages of recipes broken into categories such as Vinaigrette Sauces and Dressings, Nut and Seed Based , Tomato, Bean and Vegetable Based, and Creamy Tofu Based. The huge array of recipes and flavors represented in the book is very diverse and imaginative.

In addition to the recipe chapters, the opening of the book is a guidebook to learning how to understand the basic flavors of food (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, sweet, astringent,and pungent) and how balance those to create a flavorful dressing or sauce of your own design. If viewing foods in this way is new to you, the book offers some ‘tasting charts’ to help jumpstart your thinking in this way. There is an indepth (and very valuable) section discussing specific ingredients and their roles. For example, the oil section not only explains why a small amount of oil sometimes enhances a dressing, but details taste profiles and storage of half a dozen oils as well as nut and seed butters. The other elements of a dressing or sauce are given the same examination. All of this leads into an explanation of how to use your cooking intuition to tailor a recipe to suit yourself or multiple ways to adjust consistency to acheive exactly what you wish. One last tool is included to encourage your own creativity by offering a chart for improvising. The chart uses the basic flavors as headers with columns of suggested foods to help bring about the desired result. I’ve always felt that a delectable sauce is the perfect finish to a great meal and with this book and the tools it gives you, the options are endless.

When I first saw got this book in the mail, I couldn’t imagine many people wanting a whole book of no-cook sauces and dressings. How many variables could there be? Happily, I was very wrong and am so impressed with this book that I’m going to pick up a copy for myself. It’s one of those building block books that encourages happy experiments in the kitchen.

Would you like to win a copy of this book? All you have to do is tell me something about a sauce or dressing in your comment. It could be your favorite additions to make a dressing pop or your favorite way to use a sauce, or whatever else you’d like say. Remember, the more people who enter increase the chances of these contests continuing. Thank you again to the Book Publishing Company for making them happen.

Good luck!
Update: Yes, book contests are open to International residents. Sorry, I should have mentioned that. Thanks for all the enthusiastic posts so far!
Thanks to all who entered. The contest is now closed.
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45 Comments

  1. chellie_d
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, exciting! Dressing wise, my go-to hands down favourite is mixing equal parts tamari and tahini. You can thin it a little with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice if it’s too thick. I like it cos it’s tangy, salty and quite creamy! Thanks for the opportunity.

  2. Posted January 28, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Ooohh,oooh,oooh,sign me up please! Dressings….I like to add a few chopped up capers to add a little salty,pickled taste. Thanks for the contests!

  3. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Tami! Loving the new layout.

    Yes, keep your fingers crossed for us! We’re so excited :)

  4. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I LOVE Jo and her books! That woman makes magic happen with ingredients like miso, ume plums, nutritional yeast…etc. Her fondues from uncheese (particularly the “pub fondue” with beer) are off the hook.

  5. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    throwing my name in the hat…my favorite salad dressing is so simple, but so perfect! Mix equal parts apricot jam (all-fruit) and mustard. Dijon if you want your sinuses to scream, but plain old yellow works for me.

  6. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I’ll have to read the comments for suggestions for sauces and dresses. One dip my husband and I love for fresh bread is olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and hot pepper. MMmmm…

  7. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Oooh this book sounds fantastic! I tend to turn to a family recipe for salad dressing that includes: olive oil, fresh pressed garlic, pickle juice, mustard, and lemon juice. ! Thanks for sharing the book!

  8. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    I love substituting full fat yogurt for any oil or cream in a dressing. It not only decreases the calories, but adds a lovely creamy tanginess!

  9. Erica Rose
    Posted January 29, 2010 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    I was just thinking about how much I miss my favorite nutritional yeast based “cheeze” sauce! I love using nooch in sauces!

  10. Lauren Christine.
    Posted January 29, 2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    i’m just now learning how to use nutritional yeast and tahini to make sauces creamy and nutritious!

  11. Posted January 29, 2010 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    I have to admit, my favorite dressing is the (only) one I can make by taste, as taught by my Nana. Salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and olive oil. Somehow these simple ingredients combine into the most luxurious dressing, although maybe that’s my nostalgia talking. We never have a special occasion dinner without it!

  12. Posted January 29, 2010 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    I like to use ginger in dressings – and I’d second the other commenters who mentioned nooch!

  13. Posted January 29, 2010 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Sauces…since going vegan this is what I am missing as I am not good at trial and error!!

    Dressings I can mix up in a breeze with a little but the best is when you add a little spice for the hint of the unexpected like cardamon or even lavendar…

    I will be checking this book out one way or another! and thanks again for the opportunity :-)

  14. Posted January 29, 2010 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    I love making my own cheezy sauce from Teese and nutritional yeast and look forward to trying out many of these new recipes!

  15. Lilli
    Posted January 29, 2010 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    My latest discovery is a salad dressing based on orange juice. Blended with maple syrup, mustard, salt and olive oil it becomes so much more than the sum of its ingredients.

    This book looks really interesting, too!

  16. Posted January 29, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    That book sounds really good! Is the contest open for international entries? I’m in Australia.

    I’m trying to eat more salads at the moment but I’m really lacking inspiration for nice dressings. My hubby will happily eat it plain, but I really hate naked salad! :)

  17. Posted January 29, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Sauces can make or break a meal. They the reason why I love to go to fancy restaurants (there is someone back there who’s sole job is to make sauces!).
    I love sauces!

    I am also very sad at the moment since I’ve moved to the Netherlands and they have a limited amount of ready made sauces (and most of the ones they have are actually rather terrible).
    Hope I get the chance to peek at this book, I’m sure it’s full of great recipes! :)

  18. Posted January 29, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’ve had this book on my wishlist for ages and ages! My favourite salad dressing is balsamic and maple syrup, there are a few versions that I use but the combination of the really tart balsamic mixed with the sweetness of the maple syrup is divine! I can’t stand any dressings that use oranges in them though, lemon or lime juice I can deal with but orange seems odd to my tastebuds for some unknown reason!

    I don’t where you’re based or if you’re willing to post overseas so I thought I’d put here that I’m in England so you can disregard my entry if need be! Thanks!

  19. Posted January 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Tami. I didn’t even know this book existed. I would really love to learn how to make decent dressings and sauces, I always get stuck with tomao sauce and vinaigrette.

  20. Posted January 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    My go to sauce is usually a peanut sauce (pb, coconut milk, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, basil, lime juice, hot pepper flakes). I’m quite boring when it comes to salad dressing: olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

  21. Posted January 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve started to make dressings using avocado as the fat rather than oil and the result is so crazy good! A little lemon or lime and the dressing stays green in the fridge for several days! I love sauces and dressing! Yumms!

  22. Posted January 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I love tahini dressing on salads. It always seems so unexpected to me :)

  23. Posted January 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    My new craze is homemade salad dressings, usually centered around the most amazing bottle of balsamic I got for Christmas.

    This books looks so intersting… Thanks!

  24. Posted January 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    The thought of french fries covered in melty cheeze and bakin bits with a side of ranch makes me drool!

  25. Posted January 29, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    OMG…I *NEED* that book, lol! I am the sauce queen and seriously eat most sauces straight up with a spoon (did I just admit that?!?). I love Vegan Vittles and didn’t realize she had a sauce book as well. Yum!

    Courtney

  26. Posted January 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    my favorite ingredient for sauces is cashews but my roommates severely allergic to them so i’d like to try out some other non-nut based ones in the kitchen.

  27. Posted January 30, 2010 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    A vegetarian, plant-based diet is the best way to go for health, and research bares that out. Mimi Kirk, the 71 year old woman who won PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Woman Over 50 contest in 2009, owes her excellent health to being a vegetarian for over 40 years. Here’s a great interview with her: http://www.lowdensitylifestyle.com/an-interview-with-mimi-kirk-part-1/

  28. Posted January 30, 2010 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I love adding whatever fresh herbs I have around to sauces – it always makes them so fresh and good.

  29. Sandy Kemp
    Posted January 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I really want to find a recipe for a good vegan ranch dressing. I hope there’s one in the book!

  30. Jennifer M
    Posted January 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    This would be a great source considering I don’t make many of my own sauces and dressings. I usually buy ones from the store (Marzetti’s has several) that are vegan. Homemade would be more economical and fresher.

  31. Posted January 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Hey, just found your blog and would love to enter the contest! A new favorite dressing for me would be the Thousand Island variation in VwaV :) Great for Reubens!

  32. Posted January 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I also just found your blog, and I’d love to enter. Looking forward to having a wonderful local Cleveland vegan blog to follow!!

  33. Laura
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    I am just starting to get into sauce-making, but I love to throw a pinch of liquid smoke or chipotle seasoning in, well, over 60% of the sauces and dressings I make!

    Also I LOVE peanut sauce because it is amazing and easy, I use crunchy PB where recipes want ground roasted peanuts. mmm.

  34. Posted February 1, 2010 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    I loveee agave nectar or maple syrup and brown mustard mixed together for a sweet and tangy dressing!!

  35. Posted February 1, 2010 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    I recently made brownies with applesauce and was amazed by the results!

  36. Posted February 1, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    i LOVE sauce! my fridge is almost all sauces, homemade and store bought. I am super thrilled that becoming Vegan allowed me to discover my 2 newest favorite sauces, one for mac and “cheese” and the other for caesar salad. And I hope this is ok, Sandy, here is a great recipe for ranch:
    By Spiral Diner
    What You Need:
    1/2 cup Nayonaise
    1/2 cup Veganaise
    1/4 cup soymilk
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    2 rounded teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
    1-1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon dill

    What You Do:
    Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Toss with a
    salad, serve with crudités, or use as a dip for pizza.

  37. Posted February 1, 2010 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I love sauces to dip all manners of things, especially french fries.

  38. Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Ahh i love salad dressing! I have been making a great one lately with tahini, apple cider vinegar, water, cilantro and paprika. Yum!

  39. Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Sign me up please please. I need all the help I can get with great vegan sauces. I saw a video on utube and can’t find it again!!

  40. Posted February 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    I must have tahini in my sauce! Must, must, must!

  41. Posted February 4, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    For me I was love at first taste with chimichurri sauce. It keeps well, even at room temp, and it’s good with tortilla chips as well as a sauce for tacos or grilled tofu.

  42. Karen D
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy saute-ing chopped mushrooms to a basic tamari gravy…add a pinch of thyme…perfect!

  43. Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Fun, thanks for hosting this contest!

    I love using lemon juice in sauces – it adds a bright punch of flavor that is often just what I’m after.

  44. Posted February 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    How’d I miss this? I may be too late, but sauces are the cozy blanket of flavor for delicious dishes. I love making up sauces on the fly. Done well, they make you look like a gourmet.

  45. Posted April 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for recommending this cook book. Seems like a great addition to the kitchen.

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