Pumpkin Seed and Chickpea Burgers, Blueberry Muffins, Hummus Dressing, and Other Delights from LET THEM EAT VEGAN. A Rave Vegan Cookbook Review (Recipe Included)!


One of the first vegan cookbooks I ever bought was Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. I purchased it because a quick perusal online suggested that I’d love Dreena Burton’s accessible, hearty, and healthy food. I had been vegan for a while already, but my rotation of meals was growing repetitive and dull: rice, tofu, salad, fruit smoothies (I hadn’t discovered raw food yet). Thankfully, I was about to discover the work of a vegan pioneer.

Soon after I purchased the book, I realized that I was actually late to the party. Bloggers everywhere were tweeting, posting, and writing Facebook messages about “ED & BV,” as it’s lovingly called, along with Dreena’s previous books, Vive Le Vegan (2004) and The Everyday Vegan (2001). That’s right: Dreena has been publishing vegan cookbooks for over ten years now, taking breaks in between to have, and raise, three young girls. She was whipping up hummus, green smoothies, and quinoa long before I—and many of my blogging friends—knew it was cool. Throughout this sustained and successful career as a vegan chef and writer, she has stayed true to both her cooking style (which I’ll get to in a moment), and to the reasons she has chosen to be vegan and raise a vegan family: health and compassion.

As I dove into the pages of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, it seemed as though someone had taken all of my favorite kinds of foods, prepared them much more skillfully than I ever could, and published them. Here was an entire section devoted to hummus. Not one variety, not two, but pages upon pages of them. Here, too, was the first green smoothie recipe I ever made, the first raw, nut based dressing (Dreena’s raw Caesar), and my first nut-based pate/dip. There were simple sandwiches and stews aplenty, along with a couple of scrumptious desserts (I’ll never forget my delight the first time I made Dreena’s “supercharge me” cookies, which are still a favorite).

It was also from Dreena that I learned about the ways in which vegan cuisine can be inclusive to many different eating styles. Until then, I’d found the vegan food world to be divided into factions: raw, cooked, low-fat/no-oil, gluten free, and so on. Dreena’s book contained raw recipes alongside cooked ones, and though she is not a gluten or wheat free eater, she was the first person to teach me about spelt flour as an alternative to traditional wheat flour, and about gluten free flours for people with celiac. From her, in other words, I learned how to cook for friends with food intolerances, which has come in handy for me as a blogger for a long time.

Dreena’s new book is called Let Them Eat Vegan!, and the celebratory title is apt. I hate to call the book a “culmination” of Dreena’s work, because she’ll write many more cookbooks yet, but I do think that it’s her most comprehensive book thus far, and I see it as an encyclopedic resource for vegan home cooks. The book features 200 recipes, an ingredient guide, countless kitchen tips and tricks of the trade, hearty salads, an entire green smoothie guide, and whole chapter devoted to veggie burgers. Dreena’s chapter titles alone—“Proud to be Saucy and Dippy,” “Side Stars,” and “Your Main Squeeze: Casseroles, One-Pot Wonders, and Tarts”—are ingenious.


One of Dreena’s biggest strengths is to create food that is health-minded, but also satisfying and focused on flavor. For salad lovers, she offers salads that are nutrient dense enough to stand on their own. For those who like to grill, veggie burgers with perfect texture. Thirty dips, spreads, and sauces (finally, a cookbook writer who gets that a lot vegans are obsessed with mushy food–like hummus!). Gooey, delicious vegan and raw desserts (Dreena’s frosted “b-rawnies” are not to be missed). I often find that vegan cookbooks are either full of recipes intended to mimic omnivorous cuisine (lots of seitan and TVP), or they’re full of delicious vegetable preparations, but not always helpful for heartier, “main course” fare. Dreena knows how to make food that sticks to your ribs with legumes, grains, and veggies. Let Them Eat Vegan! is therefore a perfect resource for vegans who are feeding families, cooking for friends or partners who are transitioning into veganism, and for crowds of omnis who need to be impressed.

I’ve had such joy making my way through Dreena’s excellent food. Favorites include her “lemon-infused Mediterranean lentils,” her “raw yellow tomato sauce,” her “raw orange chocolate pudding,” and her “raw chai bars.” Here at my Mom’s, I’ve made some of her non-raw recipes, and Mom and I have both been impressed! This week alone, I made Dreena’s “BF Blueberry Muffins” (the title is because one of her children doesn’t care for blueberries, so the recipes can either include or omit them). We both adored them!



I also made Dreena’s ingenious “DJ’s hummus dressing”—a spin on the Trader Joe’s Hummus dressing, but far tastier (I think) than the bottled version on which it’s based! You can see it peeking out in this picture of my curried quinoa and aduki bean patties!


And finally, I made Dreena’s wonderful chickpea and pumpkin seed burgers. Dreena has such a knack for veggie burgers, and this recipe is no exception. Only she would think to work subtle hints of basil and green onion into the recipe! And can you tell from the photo how dense they are (in a good way)?


Even my mom, who is not predisposed to veggie burgers in general, commented upon how great these smell (and taste). What impressed me most is the texture, which is really spot on. I was such a fan that I asked Dreena if she might share the recipe with the CR audience; it seemed only appropriate, given that it’s still summer, we’re all still grilling, and we’ve been on a burger kick lately! Much to my delight, she obliged! Trust me when I say that you’ll love the herbs and crunch in these satisfying, plant-based, healthy burgers.

Chickpea Pumpkin Seed Burgers (optionally wheat/gluten-free)

This is another burger recipe that can be made in a jiff, and is firm enough to serve up on a bun. There’s no sautéing of onions, garlic, or other seasonings; just a few simple whizzes in the food processor will do the trick! These are also kid-friendly, especially if yours enjoy Goddess Dressing (though substitutions can be made if you don’t have this product).

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (see note if cooking from dried)
1 medium clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp Annie’s Goddess Dressing (see note for substitutions: wheat/gluten-free)
1 tbsp ground white chia seed (or 1 ½ tbsp flax meal)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 – 1/2 cup green onions, sliced (using mostly green portion, and less white)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves (see note)
1 cup cooked brown rice (preferably cooled/chilled) (see note)
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (see note)
1 cup rolled oats
smidgen oil for panfrying (oven-baking also option)

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, Goddess Dressing (or mixture for gluten-free substitution in note below), chia seeds, vinegar, and mustard. Pulse until pureed. Add the green onions and basil, and pulse to break up and incorporate. Then add the rice, pumpkin seeds, and oats and pulse to incorporate and to break up seeds somewhat. Remove blade and shape the mixture into patties (you can refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes before frying, to make it firmer and easier to shape, but it’s not essential). To cook, wipe a smidgen of oil around a nonstick skillet over medium or medium-high heat (see note for oven-baking). Cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, working in batches, if necessary. Serve up! Makes 5-6 patties.

Adult-Minded: For grown-ups, you can kick up the seasonings with another clove of garlic or even a dash of hot sauce, if you like.

Allergy-Free or Bust! Annie’s Goddess Dressing makes a quick fix, but contains wheat. To adapt for a wheat-free or gluten-free version, replace the dressing with 2 teaspoons of tahini, 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (in addition to the 1 tablespoon), 1 teaspoon of tamari, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of dried oregano. Voilà—gluten-free!

If This Apron Could Talk:

1) To make these patties quick to prepare, cook the rice a day or so in advance. I typically cook larger batches of rice on any given night, so that leftovers can be refrigerated for another meal, or to use in burgers, burritos, and so on.

2) If you want to double the burger batch, you can do so. Just be sure to stop the food processor several more times to work the mixture up from the bottom of the processor bowl, as it can get heavier on the bottom and need some coaxing to incorporate the ingredients on the top and sides.

3) You can make a dinner loaf out of this recipe. Lightly oil a loaf dish (I use an ovenproof glass one), and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 25 minutes covered, and then for another 5 to 10 uncovered, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let sit in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

4) If you prefer to oven-bake, place patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes on each side. To brown a little more on the outside, set oven to broil for just a minute.

Ingredients 411: If using chickpeas you have cooked yourself from dried, use about 13⁄4 cups. You may need a tablespoon of water to moisten the mixture, as home-cooked chickpeas are sometimes are drier than canned.

Savvy Subs and Adds:

1) If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute a small amount of dried basil. About 1 teaspoon works well; add along with chickpeas and condiments.

2) If you don’t have cooked rice handy, you can substitute with another 1⁄2 cup of chickpeas (or white beans) and another 1⁄2 cup of oats.

3) No pumpkin seeds? Try sunflower!

Serving Suggestions: Try pairing with Roasted O&V Potatoes, a salad drizzled generously with Citrus Tahini Dressing or as a loaf (see note above) drizzled with Rosemary Gravy.

From the book Let Them Eat Vegan! by Dreena Burton. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

I wish I’d have had time to showcase all of Dreena’s wonderful desserts here, but I hope this little round up shows you how versatile and delicious is her food.

It’s worth noting that Dreena’s recipes are constructed to taste both authentic and delicious. She doesn’t cut corners with herbs or spices, and she is incredibly precise with her instructions. Her recipes work, and they work well. That said, if you’re a cook like me (who often wants to use shortcuts), you’ll find that the recipes are strong enough to stand up to a little modification, if need be. I’ve swapped and traded various ingredients within reason, with no diminishment of taste.

If I had to say a final word about the virtues of this book, it would be that it is a resource both for healthy vegans and for vegan foodies. Lately, I find that these two communities seem a little divided—plant-based, health oriented vegans, and compassion-driven vegans who are focused primarily on creating taste and flavor. Dreena’s work showcases the best of both worlds. Her recipes are all whole foods based and mindful of added fat and refined sugar, but they’re also created for the discerning home cook. I can assure you that Dreena never sacrifices taste to be healthy; indeed, her work is proof that healthy is tasty. If you’re a new vegan looking for food that is both health-minded and satisfying, a vegan parent raising vegan kids, or an omni who simply wants to taste the best of plant powered cuisine, I really recommend it. If you are interested, you can also follow Dreena on twitter (@dreenaburton) or her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/dreena.burton). And don’t forget to check out her recipe-filled website, https://www.plantpoweredkitchen.com/!

On that note, it’s good I had a cookbook review for today, because I’ve been out of commission for most of the day with what has either been mild food poisoning or a very vengeful stomach bug. No food to share as of yet—it’s liquid and rice cakes for me right now—but by tomorrow, I hope to have at least some photos of food that has gotten me better! And later this week/weekend, you’ll be getting dispatches from New Orleans. Have a good night, friends.


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  1. I’vevery excitedly bought Dreena’s past books but find that her recipes (like this one) have so many ingredients that they take me ages to prepare (especially not being very familiar with raw/vegan cooking or ingredients just yet) – does anyone else find this? Is it just an initial hurdle to overcome?

  2. Hey!

    So I couldn’t help but think our stomach bugs are related… I ate at Pure Food and Wine the Thursday before last so Aug 16th. All last week I was very very sick and in and out of the ER. Turns out I had salmonella. I think I remember you eating there as well that week. Possibily we ended up with the same thing. If your still sick go to the Dr. the put me on antibbotics and I’m doing much better.


  3. I just reviewed her book today on my blog and gave a shout out to your review here because it is so very well written (completely putting my review to shame).

    If I didn’t already own the book I would be going out right now and picking it up because you have said everything I feel about the book and how Dreena really embodies all things vegans in this. While also providing copious amounts of information, yet not leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

    As a side note EDBV was my first vegan cookbook as well. I had heard Dreena was a bit of a vegan authority and it did not disappoint.

  4. Interesting timing. My EDBV copy just arrived in the mail this week – even if i am a little late to the Dreena Burton cookbook fanclub, I have been hearing her praises for years – why did it take me so long. Thanks for reinforcing my decision to purchase it and maybe I’ll just get the others too 😉

  5. Great review of a GREAT book! I haven’t made a single recipe from Dreena’s LTEV book that I haven’t just LOVED!! Fueling my body with such delicious, healthful and compassionate foods makes me HAPPY!!

  6. Reminds me of one of my favorites, which is raw vegan falafels. So much better and more vibrant than the “real” thing!

  7. Dreena = a genius. I love all her cookbooks, and as you know I’m not even vegan. 🙂


  8. Sorry to hear you got another visit from food poisoning–good call not to get on that plane!
    But thanks so much for this review–I was just ordering school books on Amazon and needed a couple more bucks for free shipping, and remembered I wanted a gf-vegan baking book…and couldn’t find one that looked good to me. What you’re describing sounds very much like the kind of cookbook I should probably own, in this new era of my eating relatively ‘normalized’ foods…
    Feel better soon!

  9. You know how much I adore Dreena and her books–I am thrilled to read this review and I agree with every word! (even what you said about the two vegan factions developing these days. . . ). Fabulous review!

  10. All those things look really good! I might try the burgers. Just have to remember to get some chickpeas tomorrow!!!

  11. Words can not adequately express how much I love and admire Dreena and her cookbooks. I had the incredible fortune and honor to test recipes for LTEV and each recipe was worth repeating. I’ve long expressed the same view that you shared here; that Dreena’s whole-foods, nutrient-rich recipes are delicious, healthful, and accessible to omnis and vegans alike. I have a vegan cookbook collection of around 100 titles and hers are the ones I reach for most often. I also recommend them to everyone who is open to vegan cooking. Thank you for the stellar review!

  12. I’m in the process of changing my eating habits for the better — about 60% raw now. I just found your website this week and LOVE it!! I’ve found some great recipes to try and I am really excited. I love the ideas for the nutrient dense salads, mine certainly need boosting. The white bean & spinach dip featured on one of those salads looks divine. Is there a recipe?

  13. Hey Gena,

    Thanks for the great review, those muffins look amazing. You should check out Reyn Studios if you are looking to do some yoga/pilates in Nola. I was just there and it was such a wonderful experience. Gorgeous space and wonderful instruction. I think it would be right up your alley, we we seem to have similar exercise tastes. That is, if your illness has subsided.

    Safe travels,


  14. Thank you for such a thoughtful review. I’m adding this book to the top of my wish list. 🙂

    Also, feel better soon!

  15. Lovely review Gena. I love Dreena’s older cookbooks as well and Let Them Eat Vegan is another winner. The Mediterranean bean burgers are already a fav at our house. I think I’ve made them 4 times since getting the book!

  16. You have sold me! I have been wanting this book for ages so now I just HAVE to buy it 🙂
    Great review !

  17. oh my gosh those burgers look incredible! it sounds like a great cookbook!!

  18. Dreena’s books have kept me going vegan-strong for many, many years. I love all four of them and cook many of our meals from them. At first it was just me and the hubby eating everything but now my 20 month old son has joined the feast!
    Sauces and Dips are his favorite and he’ll eat practically anything we put in front of him, if it’s got one of Dreena’s sauces on it. Here’s to vibrant, whole foods turned into scrumptious, satisfying recipes from breakfast all the way through to desserts. Thanks Dreena, and thanks Gena for writing such a glowing and well deserved review of this awesome lady’s work.

  19. I love Dreena’s cookbooks! Any time I feel like my diet is getting off base…a little too rich, too unwholesome, I know I need to crack open one of her cookbooks and get back to whole foods. (I have all 4, and got to be a recipe tester for LTEV!). I love her creative use of different grains and flours made from those grains…if it weren’t for her recipes, I would never have learned how delicious baked goods can be with some oat flour mixed in!

  20. I love Dreena’s book! I, too, love that it’s packed with recipes that are based on whole foods, embracing all that is good and awesome in a vegan diet.

    I do have one question for you, my dear friend…can you clarify what you mean by “healthy vegan”? You know I’m a bit sensitive because there are some loud voices out there saying if you eat oil, salt or sugar you are not such a “good” vegan (therefore, I am an unhealthy vegan), so I’m curious about your thoughts on the phrase and how it pertains to Dreena’s recipes?

    • JL,

      Thanks for this good comment.

      I’m glad you pointed out that I used that phrase, which I see often lately within vegan circles, and find a little divisive. I’m going to edit that part to say what I really MEANT, which was kind of twofold: a) she appeals to people who are motivated to be vegan for health reasons, and b) she gives recipes that are both healthful and satisfying, like salads that are meal-sized, stews stuffed with legumes, and so on. “Healthy vegans” was not the right way of expressing these two things: the idea is that she caters to people who REALLY like veggies and beans (and all of the healthy things they give us), but that she’s also really focused on satiety.

      With regard to her work, one of the things I do hope to convey in this post is that, if you are someone who is exploring veganism for health reasons (as I was before I found my way towards a veganism that is animated by compassion), Dreena is a good resource because she is a REALLY good cook, and she’s health-conscious without being a health alarmist. I personally find many health-oriented vegan resources to be a little dismissive of the importance of flavor and taste! Dreena is passionate about health (her father in law experienced huge health improvement through plant based eating), but she also uses some oil, some sweetener, some flours, some soy, etc.: she’s inclusive, in other words, and she makes her food taste really good, even as she points out that it’s healthy. And she does not define “healthy” ingredients too narrowly. I think she’s a really great example of someone who can appeal to people who are looking to veganism for health answers, but also want to avoid getting overly stringent and strict with their diets–which, we know from Ginny’s work, is a real and unnecessary risk for those who are new to this way of eating.

      I’m usually super careful with wording, so I’m happy that you pointed out that I used a word that, in the context of some of the debates over what constitutes “healthy” food within the plant-based community, has complex implications. I didn’t think hard enough, and I’m grateful that you care enough about what I write to ask questions.


      • I have to say that lately it feels like the vegan community is starting to split and almost turn against itself, as defining “healthy” and one’s motivation for a “plant-based” lifestyle takes on different meanings for different people.

        I could be off base, but in the end I would think we can all agree that being vegan/vegetarian is about choosing what best suits our own needs for health–physical and emotional–and not some narrow definition with disdain for those who can’t check every box off that list. I kind of wish their was less judgment at times, simply because there’s enough of that out there from people who don’t subscribe to a plant-based lifestyle.

        With that said, you, JL and Dreena are shining examples of healthy, compassionate and educated individuals that are open to dialogue, sharing and growth, which is why I find you so welcoming and enjoyable to read. Thanks again!

        • I agree, Abby. It’s funny: when I went vegan, the definition of what was “healthy” was just a LOT simpler. Yes, there was a strong low-fat contingent, focused on disease reversal (which is fine), but it just seemed as though, in a broad way, veganism itself was considered to be a healthy choice (less cholesterol, more veggies). I realize that one can be a vegan without eating many veggies at all, and I guess I’m glad that attention has been called to the fact that veganism is not a health guarantee. In some ways, the enormous focus on veganism as THE healthiest and THE best diet sort of distracts us from thinking about the animals!

          But I do also think that there’s now a sort of vengeance directed toward vegans who aren’t eating a 100% whole foods, oil free, no refined sugar diets–almost as if to say, “See! some vegans are just as unhealthy as SAD eaters. Don’t let that be you.” As passionate as I am about healthy food, I a) don’t think this level of fastidiousness is necessary to promote sensible eating, and b) don’t think we need to make an example of anyone else’s eating habits. The truth of the matter is that a lot of vegans are vegan purely because they think it’s the ethical thing to do, and in the meantime, they want to enjoy their food. That’s OK. My own vegan diet may be motivated by a combination of appreciating the healthfulness of my food and also wanting to do good, but I would never castigate someone else for choosing veganism exclusively for compassion. Indeed, I admire people who have been directed by compassion all along. So I agree that “being vegan/vegetarian is about choosing what best suits our own needs for health–physical and emotional.” And the needs of others.


  21. What a touching review. I was already wanting to acquire a copy of this for myself, but this review really sold it for me. Dreena is one of the best out there. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever made of hers. I really love how she will give multiple substitutions and serving suggestions in recipes. Any needed adaptations are so much easier that way. She has such a friendly, down-to-earth voice in her writing, too. It makes me feel like I’m cooking with one of my girlfriends!

  22. Not only are Dreena’s recipes superb, but she herself is just a warm and wonderful woman (with seemingly boatloads of energy). I only know her as a Facebook friend, but feel sometimes as if she’s one of my closest friends – she is so generous with her time. My only complaint with her cookbooks is that I never get very far in them, because I always find a recipe I like and then make it over and over again! Ah, so much food, so little time! One of my current favorites is the mushroom pecan burgers from LTEV. My go-to salad dressing is her Back to Basics Vinaigrette from ED&BV. And I think I’ve made the Thick ‘n’ Rich Gravy from ED&BV more than any other recipe since I became a vegan! I can’t wait to try more of the LTEV recipes, but I’ll have to wait – because I stupidly loaned out my copy. :-/

  23. Wonderful review!
    I love that she includes a loaf option for the burger recipe. Never thought of that:)
    Feel better!

  24. Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan was the first vegan cookbook I ever bought, and it really taught me how to cook! I love every single recipe in it, and practically have the Cashew Ginger Tofu recipe memorized. I can’t wait to check out this book, as it sounds just as fantastic as her others.

  25. Thanks for this review. This book has been on the list for awhile, I was hoping this might be a giveaway…oh well, maybe there will be others (hint hint to Dreena’s publishing company). I’ve tried a few of Dreena’s recipes and LOVE the chocolate chip cookies especially.

    The burger recipe looks great, although sadly I am reminded that at one point the Goddess Dressing was gluten-free (yes it was over a decade ago and I am getting old I guess). Can someone please make a recipe for that? I miss it!

    Not sure about the mushy food statement as far as obsessed but I think vegans like a good sauce because we do eat our veggies, well most vegans anyhow.

    Feel better!

    • Thanks B!

      Why, in this age of GF awareness, they’d make the dressing NOT GF is totally beyond me! For what it’s worth, I substituted my Mom’s homemade balsamic Vegannaise dressing for the Annie’s in the recipe, and it was great. So it’s easy to modify.

  26. I have waited FAR too long to get Dreena’s cookbook! This weekend I’m hunting it down for sure… thank you for such a well-thought out, informative post, I had wondered about how much of it would be gluten free, now there’s no stopping me 🙂

    • The whole book is VERY easy to render GF, if you need to! There are substitutions galore for celiac folks!

  27. I do not own one single cookbook, but seeing as I basically eat 95 percent vegan in a rotation of certain foods and could use some meals out of my comfort zone, I might actually splurge and buy this one. While online resources are great, there’s something about a book in my hands to study and read and explore–especially if pumpkin seeds and your recommendation are involved. (Plus, I already stalk Dreena on Twitter.) Yay!

    Thanks for the great review and I hope you’re feeling up to par soon.

  28. I am a huge fan of Dreena’s recipes. I love the innovation, creativity–and everything you so beautifully put into works here–of her work. She really is passionate and talented and I am so grateful that she continues to share that with us through her marvelous cookbooks.

  29. Gena. I have goosebumps reading your review. Your writing is always so passionate, so meaningful… and this time it is all surrounding my work and my books. I feel very blessed for your glowing, thorough review – and am actually weepy reading it (did I just admit that?). Well, it’s true, and it’s because it is like you stepped into my heart and mind and communicated what I often *want* to say about my recipes and healthy vegan eating in general. What I find awkward to say, you have shared in spades. I am humbled that you found early inspiration in ed&bv, and honored that LTEV impresses you. Thank you sincerely, I am truly grateful. -Dreena xo (now going for some tissues) 😉

  30. Great job on those burgers and so happy to hear the glowing review. In a sea of cookbooks, it’s always nice to hear about some that really are a head above the rest!

    • Right? I agree: there are so many cookbooks out there, it’s always nice when one proves to be outstanding.

  31. I just reviewed a few recipes from LTEV on my blog recently! Dreena is awesome. ED&BV is a great cookbook and I’m already loving LTEV. The Breakfast Cookies, Monsta Cookies, Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette, Moroccan Bean Stew, and Caribbean Fusion Stew are just a few of my faves. Everything I’ve made has been so delicious!