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Trusting a new recipe can be intimidating. You shell out money on ingredients and spend extra time mastering an unfamiliar skill, and the dish can still turn out to be a flop. That won’t happen when you cook from Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget ($25). The new cookbook by Olivia Biermann, best known as Liv B from her vegan YouTube channel, stands out from other plant-based cookbooks in that won’t ask you to buy expensive foods or toil over tricky techniques. With 112 money-saving recipes for vegan lemon-asparagus risotto, half-baked cookie dough pancakes, and BBQ tofu-stuffed pita pockets (recipe below), it’s the latest and greatest addition to our very crammed cookbook shelf.

Biermann’s appetizers and mains will make your kitchen the tastiest and most cost-effective vegan spot in town. When you’re tempted to go out to eat, invite friends over for Biermann’s avocado fried toast, gooey vegan nachos, or takeout-style Thai curry soup instead. Even her most veggie-heavy recipes make staying in exciting. Summery quinoa salad, sweet Sriracha roasted cauliflower, and pad Thai in a spaghetti-squash bowl will kick you right out of your vegetable rut.

Biermann starts the book with budget-friendly tips, like buying nuts and grains in bulk, meal planning, and freezing leftovers. By the time you cook through the book, you’ll even be making resourceful overnight oats in your jar of nearly-empty almond butter (really, that’s one of the recipes).

On the sweeter side, chocolate chip banana bread in a mug, no-rise cinnamon rolls, and deep-dish apple pie with caramel sauce will make you wonder why all desserts aren’t vegan. Before we go to town on Biermann’s cheesy and sugary delights, we’ll get our veggies in with her BBQ tofu-stuffed pita pockets, which you can make with the recipe below.

Bbq tofu-stuffed pita pockets

(Serves 4)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Not to sound… well, basic, but as a vegan, I almost always have leftover tofu and a few veggies lingering in my fridge, and it can be a challenge figuring out creative ways to use them up. This recipe came about in a clean-out-the-fridge moment. To say I was pleasantly surprised with the result is an understatement, since it’s now in this book!

The tofu in its sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the microwave just before serving. Store the other ingredients separately and assemble the pitas just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) chopped white onion
  • 12 ounces (375 grams) firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) vegan BBQ sauce
  • 2 medium pita pockets, halved
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 cups (500 milliliters) shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) alfalfa sprouts or microgreens

Directions:

1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the oil and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the tofu cubes 
and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the vegan BBQ sauce and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tofu is coated and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat.

3. Evenly divide the vegan mayonnaise, lettuce, carrot, sprouts, and tofu among the 
4 pita halves. Serve immediately.

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(Recipe: Courtesy of Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget by Olivia Biermann © 2019 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold. Photos: Brilynn Ferguson)