I hate to brag, but my brother got me the best Christmas present this year: Thug Kitchen’s 101 Cookbook. All of the recipes are vegetarian and can be made in 50 minutes or less. It’s their 101 cookbook because it teaches cooking basics and is inspired by the route 101 in California.

The creators of Thug Kitchen are all about creating healthy meals that Millennials want to eat instead of wasting money on take out. We (Americans) have a tendency choose faster take out options because it saves us time. But when you eat out you never truly know what is going into the food you’re eating, which is not bad every now and then, but not great on the daily.

This is why Thug Kitchen is on a mission to get us Millennials to think cooking and eating healthy is cool and fun. Also, you spent a lot less money when you cook for yourself.

This cookbook was made for people who have very little time to cook and want to eat healthy. I swear this must have been made for dancers and dance teachers with our crazy schedules in mind. The recipes are designed for 4-6 people and/or so you have leftovers for future meals.  The book has a great guide for recipes that are good for leftovers, freezing for later, one pot meals, gluten free, and longer recipes that are dinner parties.

I really appreciate this book for recipe ideas, because I’m always in search of the next recipe to add to my staple or go-to recipes. My brother went vegetarian this past summer, so it helps that my mom and I have now tons of recipes we can make together as a family when he’s home from college.

My brother will be the first to point out that I am not the best at cooking. No joke about 4 years ago he told me I was the most clueless woman he had ever seen in a kitchen. I think I’ve gotten at least a little bit better since then. So for me the WTF page (their words, not mine – they explain what some of their more unique ingredients are and where to find it in a grocery store) and veggie cutting guide have been super helpful.

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So far I’ve tried one recipe from each section of the cookbook: Chipotle Caesar Salad, Chickpea Noodle Soup, Cheesy Squash Mac and Cheese, and Fideo.

For the Chipotle Caesar Salad, I made the dressing from scratch. Actually all of their salads have you make the dressing from scratch, which is easy to do if you have a blender or food processor. I added avocado and corn to the top of the salad from the list of optional toppings.

I’m not a soup person. I usually only eat it if I don’t have to make it myself. But this is a soup I know I can and will gladly make for myself again. It’s chickpeas with veggies in veggie broth. I used rice noodles instead of regular noodles and it was amazing. Definitely hits the spot when it’s freezing outside.

The Cheesy Squash Mac and Cheese doesn’t actually have any cheese in it. You make the “cheesey” sauce yourself blending together cooked carrots and potatoes, veggie broth, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and olive oil.

The breadcrumbs you make with it are fantastic- you sauté them in a skillet with hot sauce. I definitely want to use the breadcrumbs for other recipes. You throw all of that in with peas, squash, and some shell pasta. It’s a good veggie pasta, it doesn’t quite beat a good cheesy mac and cheese but it easily beats the boxed stuff.

What is Fideo you ask? It’s crumbled up pasta that is cooked in veggie broth, tomato sauce, with spinach, onions and various spices that were sautéed in before adding the pasta. It’s pretty simple to do, I would definitely recommend prepping everything beforehand because the recipe moves fast.

I do have to warn potential readers of Thug Kitchen’s books, they use fowl language throughout the book. They drop F-bombs and s**t left and right. The subtitle for the book is “Fast as F**k”.

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They write like two California surfer dudes are talking in the kitchen while making food, oh wait because they are. If you are ok with the language you’ll appreciate the humor, if not, this cookbook might not be for you.

I would recommend this cookbook for any dancer who is looking for new, quick vegetarian recipes that are great for meal planning during busy weeks.

The Whole Dancer Intern Bio

Thug Kitchen 101 Cookbook

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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