Quinoa and Black Eyed Peas with Cashew Queso. Nut Butter Universe Review !



I usually shy away from reviewing a cookbook because I easily get put off by each recipe calling for processed stuff, fake meats and too much tofu:). I almost never have those things at home, and I wont buy them just to try out a recipe. I hardly ever have vegan butter at home these days too. 

When Dianne Wenz(aka Veggie Girl), from Vegan Heritage Press asked me if I’d review Robin Robertson’s Nut Butter Universe, I thought I should give it a try because of the amazing reviews by fellow bloggers!
Robin Robertson needs no introduction really. Her culinary experience spans over 25 years and she is an award winning vegan cookbook author of some amazing and diverse cookbooks.

If I went shopping for a cookbook, most likely I will pick up one with a lot of detailed large and beautiful pictures. But then I already have a few of those and I haven’t cooked as much from them as much as I did from this book.:) There are limited pictures in the book. The recipes though are simple, creative, cover many cuisines, and still very intuitive that you can imagine how the final product will look and taste. And also so many vegetable based options, very whole-foods friendly and easily editable to taste. 

I tried the Roasted Tahini Cauliflower first because, a- it calls for cauliflower, b- it is roasted, c- theres Sriracha and Za’atar in the sauce. yum! Of course, I added more Sriracha than called for 😉

Roasted Tahini Cauliflower from Nut Butter Universe

In my small kitchen, some times the things move round during re-organization and can never be found. Such was the case when I decided to make muffins. I couldn’t find my regular muffin pan, so I made these mini ones instead. And I tell ya, these mini muffins are much funner than the large ones. Hubbs isnt a fan of too much sweet, but he loved these minis. I used Spelt flour instead of all purpose and almond-walnut butter instead of pecan butter and made a smaller batch and they came out delicious. These made a perfect breakfast!

The other great part about the book is the Soy-free and Gluten-free Index. You can pick out the recipes per your diet preference very easily. 

I had been postponing trying a queso and when I saw it in the book I decided to make some. Quinoa with Black eyed peas and some Cashew Queso sauce. Because I have cooked Black eyed peas easily in the kitchen :)

Quinoa and Black Beans/Black eyed Peas with Cashew Queso Sauce
Hearty quinoa and black beans are topped with a zesty queso sauce in this satisfying dish. Serve with a salad, or sautéed or roasted green vegetable, or add some cooked vegetables such as broccoli florets, on top of the quinoa mixture. When ready to serve, top with the sauce. You might want to make a double batch of the flavorful sauce to use as a dip for chips or to top roasted vegetables.
Gluten-free, Soy-free,  Serves 4

1 1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed 
2 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water 
2 cups cooked or 1 (16-ounce) can 
black beans, rinsed and drained (I used cooked Black Eyed Peas)
3 scallions, minced 
2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeños
(14.5-ounce) can petite diced 
tomatoes, well drained 
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro 
2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked 3 hours or overnight

3/4 cup hot vegetable broth


3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine the quinoa and broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add salt to taste, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Stir in the beans and scallions, and cook until the quinoa is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Stir in the jalapeños, tomatoes, and cilantro and remove from the heat. Set aside covered to keep warm.
While the quinoa is cooking, make the sauce. Drain the cashews and transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the hot broth and process until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
To serve, divide the quinoa mixture among shallow bowls and top each serving with some of the sauce.
From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

For more recipes, pictures and review posts.

Check out The Summer Berry Cheesecake, Romesco sauce, Nutty Buddy Burgers and more at Somer’s review. 
The Fantasy Brownies and Black Bottom Peanut Butter Freezer pie at Kristy’s review.
And more at Nut Butter Universe Blog Tour.

More cauliflower pictured below.

Mini Muffins.

Cranberry Almond-Walnut butter Muffins from Nut butter Universe

What attracts you to a cookbook initially and what makes the cookbook the most used, splattered, post-it-ed one? Leave me a comment

For a chance to win a Copy of the book, Please enter the Giveaway below. This contest is open to entrants in the USA onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You can follow the blog by email here.

If you already are a fan or follower, click the Thanks button in the widget below, so the entry is counted.

**Giveaway is now Over !**


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  1. says

    The reviews I’ve read for this cookbook really make me want it. All those recipes sound delicious, that cauliflower especially looks to die for!
    To answer your q: I’m initially attracted to cookbooks by appearances- a cookbook has got to be good to look at and user-friendly- i.e. not too much or too small text, recipes organized sensibly in chapters, pictures!
    And to make it a most-used book it needs to have interesting, healthy recipes and both those I can make fairly quickly and those for more special occasions when I have more time to put into a meal.
    I sound pretty demanding!

  2. Natalie Bowman says

    Stunning photography is always a huge draw for me but I also tend to like cookbooks that focus on healthy, whole, everyday ingredients. Nutritional information is always a bonus and a nice balance of desserts to other types of dishes. The ones I use most focus on recipes that are free of refined sugar, faux meats and cheeses, oil and other ingredients that should only be eaten in moderation. This recipe looks great and hope to try it soon. Love your blog, by the way!I am an email subscriber and would love a chance to win! :)

  3. says

    what attracts me to a cookbook is the authors philosophy: simple food, delicious food, whole and unprocessed ingredients. pictures attract too but not on their own.

    what keeps me using it is recipes that are not a lot of work that turn out beautifully, and that are inspirational where i would not come up with the ideas on my own.

    i subscribe via Feedly! I am entering the contest on behalf of my vegan sister who lives in the USA, I live in Canada, we can share the book :)

  4. says

    I am having Cauliflower tonight so this makes it easy :) I subscribe at work christy@liquidimageco.com I think I need to add my other email too as I do not want to miss a single thing, I am learning so much,also helps that my room mate owns the Savory and Spice Shop in Santa Rosa, CA ***** Christy

  5. Cheryl says

    I am more likely to grab a cookbook with instructions and ingredients that are simple! Too many complicated steps or processed/hard-to-find ingredients can be intimidating for a newbie vegan wannabe chef :)

  6. Anonymous says

    I grab all sorts of cookbooks; so whatever the library has! Recipes that have clear instructions and no gross preservatives in the ingredients have me coming back. scg00387 at yahoo dot com

  7. says

    I love GFV cookbooks these days, ones with pictures, simple recipes without too many steps. Tho I’ve cooked veg , now veegan most of my life I love having cookbooks for inspiration and creativity

  8. says

    The first thing I’m drawn to is the photography because I’m one of those visually directed, eye-candy-loving people. Then I go straight to the index to see if the majority of recipes appeal to me. I find though that the most dog-eared, post-it-noted cookbooks I have are the ones with recipes that recapture the tastes of my youth. Lots of Sicilian yumfulness with splashes of all the Mediterranean cuisines too. :)

  9. says

    I think initially I am attracted to the topic (breads, vegan, Indian, etc.) and the pictures, but what brings me back is the personality and anecdotes of the writer along with recipes that include ingredients I use or can easily substitute.

  10. says

    I’m attracted to cookbooks by what type of ingredients they have. I prefer recipes with whole, unprocessed ingredients. I never make food with analogs or fake cheese. I like to check out the reviews to see what the strengths and perceived weaknesses might be. I also pay attention to who wrote it, feeling confident buying a book from certain authors such as Dreena Burton and of course, Robin Robertson. I haven’t bought Nut Butters yet. It would be certainly nice to win a copy!

  11. Jennifer Arent says

    I agree with most people on here…I don’t like all the analog meats and cheeses. I’m a subscriber and would love to win this cookbook!

  12. says

    I have to say I look at the ingredients, and the recipe itself. If I make a recipe from the book and it’s a hit — it soon falls into my most used book! :)

  13. Yvette says

    I definitely read the ingredients first and all but skip the pictures! (I must be unusual, that way!) I am new to Robin Robertson, though – out of all of her books, which would you recommend as a must-have? Thanks!

  14. Anonymous says

    I think that one thing that attracts me to begin with would be the philosophy. I don’t want a cookbook that uses ingredients that I try to stay away from. I keep using the ones that have the most recipes we love, pure and simple! heart4him11@verizon.net Becky :-)

  15. says

    It’s the pictures that make me pick the book up. But it’s the glossary that makes me use it. I want to search by recipe, by ingredient, by category. That makes it so user friendly to me!

  16. Shellie says

    There’s an error in the amount of quinoa to water/broth in the Quinoa and Black Beans Queso recipe. It’s 1 1/2 cups quinoa to 2 1/4 cups water or broth. There is no way you can cook 1/2 cup quinoa and 1/4 cup liquid for 25 minutes, and it wouldn’t be enough for the recipe. Cooking it now. It does sound delicious.

    • says

      Thanks for letting me me know Shellie. yes it is 1 1/2 cups quinoa and 2 1/4 cup water. i think they disappeared in the editing or something trying numbered ingredients and then removing them or something.

  17. says

    I’m initially attracts me is a ‘theme’ compatible with what I like to eat…what makes for ‘battle scars’ is that the food/recipes taste good!

  18. says

    If it’s a blogger I’ve followed and loved then I will most likely buy their cookbook. What keeps me using the cookbook is the accessibility of ingredients and the ease of recipes. Plus, if my family approves!

  19. says

    Simple ingredient lists and instructions usually draw me to a cookbook. And the most used books in my kitchen are those that are easy to put together but pack a tasteful (and healthy) punch!

  20. Anonymous says

    Definitely pictures. But like you, I find those can be deceiving. Also like you, I do not care for the fake meat & cheese products, and I don’t even really consider it a true “recipe” if the majority of the ingredients are the processed ones. Finally, I am now mostly gluten and soy free so I look for cookbooks that take into consideration these allergens or can be easily adapted. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. says

    I’ve never seen a more perfectly roasted floret of cauliflower! Talk about drool worthy… It should come as no surprise, then, that what usually attracts me to a new cookbook are the photos. 😉

  22. says

    I usually buy a cookbook after trying recipes posted online. I like cookbooks that are easy to read with a short introduction before the recipe and any notes in bullets at the bottom, neat and easy to scan.

  23. says

    I’ve had my eye on this cookbook for a while – and it sounds like one I need to add to my shelf! I didn’t win Somer’s giveaway (harumph!) so I’m glad to have another chance to win a copy. Beautiful photos as always, Richa!

  24. Corrin Radd says

    Made this quinoa dish for dinner tonight (used fresh tomatoes instead of canned and left out the jalapenos) and my family and one year old loved it. Beans, quinoa, and cashews–that’s super protein for baby!

  25. says

    Pictures and subject attracts me first. I’m a nut butter ADDICT so this book is right up my alley. What makes it the most used? Tried and true recipes. If they work and I love them then they’ll get made over and over and over until I memorize the recipe!

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  27. says

    I like when cookbooks look good and have amazzzing recipes. The ones I use the most are the the ones with staple recipes…one’s I’ll make again and again.

  28. says

    I am attracted to cookbooks that have a binding that allows them to stay open easily while I’m cooking. I pay close attention to design, such as typography and illustrations. I like cookbooks that have a lot of sidebars and a more magazine-style layout. (Cookbooks published by Workman Press are a good example of cookbooks I find appealing, design-wise.) And I always turn to the index to get a sense of which ingredients are used often. If they’re ingredients I like having in my diet, I am far more likely to purchase the book.

  29. says

    I love photos and spiral-bound (or easy to stay open bindings). I also look for cookbooks with ingredients I have around or are easy to find in a normal grocery store.

  30. says

    i REALLY want to try this cookbook! i think what attracts me to a cookbook is one with lots of vegetable heavy recipes, ones without mockmeats, lots of gluten-free options, and ones with recipes both dayv and i will enjoy 😉

  31. says

    I’m usually drawn to cookbooks with a lot of nice, glossy pictures inside, and I try to go for ones with a wide variety- not just desserts or main dishes

  32. says

    My cherished cookbooks have plenty of bookmarks and post-it notes in them. A lot of them are honestly from when I first was interested in the vegan diet and lifestyle 10 years ago and others are full of creative healthy recipes, great photographs and meals that vary in difficulty from easy to hard.

  33. EMC says

    I’m a big fan of creative dishes that focus on whole foods, with minimal use of processed items or questionable items (i.e. xanthan gum, mock meats, etc.) Nice pics are a bonus too. :-)

  34. Anonymous says

    What attracks me initialy in cookbooks are the photos and the healthy ingredients of the recipe… and the ones I used most are ones with easy recipes.

    Didie (e.c…..@aliceadsl.fr)

  35. says

    I love vegan cookbooks because I don’t want to cook or bake with eggs or milk. I’m looking for great tasty vegan recipes that aren’t too expensive but are creative and healthy! and I love gluten free recipes! i’m not big on tofu or soy or too many nuts!

  36. says

    My favorite cookbooks are ones that have short, healthy ingredients lists and mouthwatering photos! I also love cookbooks that are organized by season.

  37. says

    My favorite cookbooks have pictures of beautiful dishes and don’t require exotic or hard to get ingredients or cooking utensils. They are basic, yet yummy!

  38. says

    The photos are beautiful! Don’t you just love Za’atar! The Cauli looks amazing and the queso sounds so yummy. PICTURES, beautiful pictures and original layouts that read like a story first attract me to a cookbook. However these are used mainly for inspiration versus cooking out of. My most used and “go to” cookbook is the Veganmonican- its has so many basic recipes that I always reference it if cooking up something unknown- it is my vegan cookbook bible!

  39. Terri Cole says

    When I look at cookbooks I will oooh and ahhh over pretty pix. But when it comes to actually buying a cookbook, I want recipes that I will prepare more than once. There shouldn’t be too many obscure ingredients, the recipes HAVE to be vegan & healthy and simplicity is a bonus! As a fairly new vegan, I tend to gravitate towards the basics.

    gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

  40. says

    A healthy vegan cookbook to start with but pictures are really important. I want to know what the finished product should look like plus the pictures are inspiring.

  41. says

    The photography is what catches my eye. And the fact that it has lots and lots of pictures. I love being able to have some imagination as to what the dish should look like, it makes me feel better in the long run.

  42. says

    The gorgeous pictures I see of food made from recipes in a cookbook first catch my attention, but the ease of use is the thing that keeps me going back to a particular cookbook.


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