It’s only the beginning of August and I have eaten my weight (x3) in peaches, figs, cherries, berries & now, melon. I cannot get over eating fruit at every meal during the summer. Whether it be for a quick snack, grilled for a dessert, or tossed in a salad or wrap for some more depth, fruit is the best way to freshen up any meal. I love foods that are refreshing, and watermelon, is definitely one of the tops. As someone who lived in Spain, I have had my fair amount of gazpacho. And lemme tell ya. This one may be different than the traditional blend of stale bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and olive oil, but it packs an amazing combination of sweet & savory for a light snack or meal accompaniment.
But first, let’s take a look at the newest addition to my cookbook shelf. Frugal Vegan Cookbook is authored by 2 friends, Katie & Kate, who co-created the blog, Well Vegan, which you should also check out btw! Below are my thoughts on why you should snag yourself a copy.
As I was flipping through my new copy of Frugal Vegan Cookbook with my sister, we immediately began marking the pages of the recipes that we wanted to try. Butternut squash & Spinach Quiche, Cuban Black Bean Bowl, Beer Battered Avocado & Black Bean Tacos + Chipotle Slaw, & Watermelon Gazpacho. The full page photography captures the essence of each dish with beautiful light & airy images focusing on the fresh ingredients.
As the title & tagline, Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Vegan Cooking, states, the recipes are simple ones that focus on using ingredients that are easily accessible. The focus on vegetables, legumes, and grains make this cookbook approachable to all confidence levels in the kitchen. My sister wants a copy for her dorm room so she can get creative with her rice cooker!
Along with the recipes you’ll find a blurb describing the dish and tips on how to make the dish just right, how to adjust the dish for your budget, where to splurge, and if it is free from any common allergens.
At the back of the book is a guide called Smart Shopping that shows you how & when to swap ingredients to help suit your budget needs and includes the difference in price per pound. There is also a guide on how to build a budget pantry & how to go organic.
Along with guides on how to purchase to stay within your budget, the authors, Katie & Kate, provide a preventative measure to lessen food waste, called a Fridge Triage Box. This Triage Box advises that you store all of your perishables that are close to expiring with a large sign indicating to eat first so they won’t end up as a brown soup at the bottom of your crisper drawer. This a bit of an “outside of the box” approach (pun totally intended) to save yourself some money.
So whatchya waiting for? Whether you’re a seasoned plant-based chef or gradually adding more recipes to your meatless Monday repertoire, grab yourself a copy of Frugal Vegan. Your wallet & your tummy will thank you!
Now let’s get back to this watermelon gazpacho recipe. We are in the heat of the summer and I don’t have AC, so that means that the oven rarely gets turned on. This recipe was the perfect appetizer to my summer evening dinner on the grill.
4 c. watermelon
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. tomatoes, diced,
1/2 c. cucumber, diced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
S & P to taste
Fresh mint or basil leaves, for serving, optional
Slice the watermelon into 1/2 inch thick pieces and remove the rind. Blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Heat a pan coated with olive oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes.
Place the slices of watermelon in the pan and sear for 2 minutes on each side or until they begin to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Once the watermelon is cool, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately at room temperature, or chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving. Garnish with fresh basil or mint, if desired.
Note: The authors note that searing the watermelon is optional, but does provide a hint of extra flavor.