Vegan Planet (and Library Love)

If you know me, you know I like to shop (for myself). And being that it’s the holiday season (9 days left, to be exact!), then you also know that you need to shop for others, not yourself.

One amazing thing about the library, any library, is that you get to shop for free! Amazing concept. I mean, you walk in, load up on books, books on CD, DVD’s, magazines, and, um, other library stuff, present your official library card, and walk out. End of story. No paying, no hassle. Granted you do have to come back 20-odd days later to give it all back, but initially it’s free.

This is a great place to “shop” if you’re like me and trying NOT to shop for yourself during the holiday season. Just make sure you don’t like the book, since I use the library as a buyer’s guide. I get to browse before I buy. ‘Cause I usually end up buying the book anyway…

In keeping up with the title of this post, Vegan Planet, (and I swear this completely random tangent of how much I love the library is related) brings me to my actual library find this week.

Without having to pay a single dime (um, except for the 25 cents in overdue book fees a few months ago), I got a shit load lot of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks that surged this chili creation, that also got tons of compliments when it was eaten. I swear. Vegan and all. No one even knew… mwahahahaha!

Taken directly out of the cookbook, Vegan Planet, with permission from author, chef, consultant, food and blog writer, and restaurant owner, Robin. If there is one cookbook you should buy, it is this one. All 400 (meat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free) recipes look incredibly delicious.

Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Pesto


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 6 oz can tomato paste
  • one 14.5 oz can plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups cooked or two 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro Pesto (recipe follows)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, tomatoes (I included the juice too), chili powder, cumin, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Add the lemon juice and beans and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Just before serving, swirl in the pesto.

Cilantro Pesto


  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Combine cilantro, almonds, garlic, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. With machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

I, and the family of taste testers (the boyfriend and his parents), gave this recipe a 100% rating. And my boyfriend said, and I quote, “This is one of the top 3 dishes you have ever made.” I’ll go ahead and take that as a compliment… even though this time I actually followed the recipe without deviation. He couldn’t possibly be alluding to my creative recipes not being as tasty, right?

This chili looks simple enough, and to make, it is. But don’t let the easy list of steps and ingredients fool you, it’s delicious and is awesome as a leftover. Not to mention, it’s vegan, and no one would ever know. 😉

Thanks, Robin, for allowing me to share this incredible recipe! Now everyone click over to Amazon and buy the book or shop at the library (and then buy the book since I know I can’t live without this one)!

Are you a library shopper?

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