Thug Kitchen, while not a cookbook I would have selected for myself (it was a Christmas gift to my husband), has ended up being one of the most useful books in our collection. It provides a strong introduction to Vegan cooking, though note the “Thug” theme of the book: there’s a lot of fcking cursing in this book. Like, an effing lot. If you’re likely to be offended by that, this might not be the book for you — or you might like to make good use of a black marker. (Note: they do not leave the “u” or other vowels out in the text 🙂 ).
Thug Kitchen makes Vegan cooking easy, accessible, and delicious. The book was written for newbies interested in learning to cook for a plant-based lifestyle. This is clear in the colorful introduction, and I highly recommend reading those introductory pages. There’s a lot of good information there.
Much of the food here is great, regardless of your food preferences. One of the first things we tried, and an enduring favorite, is the Coconut-Lime Rice with Red Beans and Mango. It’s so satisfying and very addictive (isn’t it awesome when healthy food is addictive?!).
Equally tasty – and easy to make – are the Pumpkin Chili and Corn and Basil Chowder. The soups in the book are all great selections that are also fairly quick to cook up as well as providing healthy comfort food options on a cold night.
The book includes a full menu from breakfasts to beverages, appetizers, salads, snacks, mains and desserts (such as Chocolate Fudge Pops, Chocolate Dipped Tangerines, and Coconut Cornmeal Cake).
Although several of the selections are on rotation in our kitchen, my favorite recipe is the Mixed Veggie and Tofu Chilaquiles. They are a bit of work, but they are also better than any Chilaquiles I’ve ever had (make your own Salsa Verde – it’s easy and it’s worth it).
An unexpected and delicious combination is found in the Lentil Tacos with Jicama Slaw and Herb Salsa. I had my doubts. The Lentils are flavored with Asian flavors, the slaw is solidly Southwest, and the Herb Salsa is similar to a pesto – but put them together and WOW. All I can say is: try it.
On the other hand, we didn’t care for the Creamy Peanut Slaw, which sounded good, but wasn’t a favorite. The Thai-inspired spin on Cole Slaw sounded appealing, but we didn’t enjoy the peanut dressing on crunchy vegetables, but your taste buds may differ.
The breakfast recipes, in my opinion, are the weakest in the book. Several of the dishes are heavy and not very appealing. I tried the Pancakes and the Waffles, and found them heavy and flavorless compared to other recipes I use (note: the Chilaquiles are listed as a breakfast, but for us, they are more of a dinner dish, unless you are making them non-vegan, with eggs). The photo of the Biscuits with Lentil Gravy is frankly so unappetizing, I’ve never been tempted to try it. Other recipes for granolas, oatmeal, and so on, are fine, but you probably don’t need a recipe to make them.
My only other criticism is that the book doesn’t contain nutritional information, and it’s a well-worn adage that just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many of the recipes, in my opinion, use too much salt or sugar, for instance. You can, as I do, make common sense adjustments as you go.
Overall, I recommend this cookbook (especially if you swear a lot while cooking). The recipes are doable for a home cook, and it provides a great introduction to Vegan food that tastes like, well, real food. This is a great fcking cookbook to have on your shelf.