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In The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude, YouTube cooking sensation Brian Patton shares 100 vegan recipes that are failure-proof, flavor-filled, and most of all, fun: “My book is the ‘fun uncle’ of vegan cookbooks. Other books are like your parents—they want to make sure you’re doing the right thing, which is great. But isn’t it fun when whacky Uncle Glenn stops by and gives us something our parents don’t want us to have?”
Brian’s unlikely career path to chef stardom started when he was unemployed, overweight, depressed, directionless, and living at his parents’ house in Pennsylvania. He started watching a local access cooking show in his ample free time and thought, “I can do that!” And so he did.
Still a meat-eater, Brian moved to Los Angeles and was eventually hired by food delivery service Vegin’ Out. At 260 pounds, he decided to take a 30-day vegan pledge (see the 7-Day VegWeek VegPledge) to explore how vegetarian foods could benefit his health. “After this animal-free month I had more energy, so I thought I’d give it another month, and then another,” he said. “My energy continued to skyrocket. I was becoming healthy on the inside, which was showing on the outside: my complexion improved, the whites of my eyes got whiter, and after 10 months, I’d lost 60 pounds!”
Brian was ultimately promoted to Vegin’ Out’s Executive Chef, and with the success of his YouTube videos, was approached to make this cookbook. “I realized that consuming vegan food and preparing it for others served the world in countless positive ways. Once I discovered that I could not only survive, but thrive, without taking the life of another being, I was sold. I was vegan. For good.”
*Many recipes contain QR codes linking to Brian’s cooking videos. He’ll update the links periodically, so the book will actually have new recipes added to it over time!
Bourbon Tempeh Sliders (serves 6)
- 4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 18-ounce package tempeh, cut into six 2x2x4” squares
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups bourbon
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp arrowroot dissolved in 1-tsp water
- 3 Tbsp Smoked Cheddar Sauce (recipe below)
- 6 mini buns, halved
- 4 packed cups baby spinach
- 1 Roma tomato, cut into 6 slices
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a pan, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned on one side, then flip to brown the other side. Remove the tempeh from the pan; set aside.
- Add the onion to the same pan and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until slightly browned and soft. Turn off the flame, and add the bourbon to the pan. Let the bourbon simmer over medium heat for 1 minute, or until reduced by half.
- Stir in the brown sugar, and simmer until it dissolves, about 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock, and simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in the arrowroot slurry; simmer for 1 more minute.
- When the sauce thickens, add the tempeh to the pan and coat it. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, or until the sauce reduces to a glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread the cheddar sauce (recipe below) on the inside of the buns. Assemble the sandwiches from the bottom up in this order: 1 bun half, 1 piece of tempeh, bourbon sauce and onions, spinach leaves, 1 tomato slice, a pinch of salt, and the other bun half.
Smoked Cheddar Sauce (makes 3½ cups)
- 1 cup whole raw cashews
- 1 12-ounce package silken tofu
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp liquid smoke
- ½ tsp yellow miso
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2/3 cup water
- In a small pot, cover the cashews with water, boil for 8 minutes, drain, and cool.
- In a food processor/blender, process cashews until finely ground. Add tofu, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, liquid smoke, miso, paprika, salt, mustard powder, oil, nutritional yeast, water.
- Puree until sauce is this smooth: “Excuse me, Miss, do you have a map? Because I keep getting lost in your eyes.” Okay, well, maybe smoother than that!
*Photos provided by Hilary McHone.