Blissful Basil Cookbook Review + Book Giveaway + Ashley's Vegan Chili Recipe

*photo credit: Ashley Melillo
One of my favorite bloggers is Ashley from Blissful Basil. Not only does she churn out gorgeous blogposts, but she is one of the sweetest people ever and I am so happy to have gotten to know her via the virtual blogging community.

And today I am celebrating Ashley by raving about her new cookbook, Blissful Basil, Over 100 Plant-Powered Recipes to Unearth Vibrancy, Health and Happiness.

Today I am offering up my review, a giveaway opportunity and an entree recipe from Ashley's book!..

*photo credit: Victoria Sprung of Sprung Photo

*photo credit: Ashley Melillo

Book Review. I love this book so much! Here are some of my favorite things about it..

* The Photos. I love that Ashley did all the photography herself for her book. I did that for both my books and know how challenging and stressful it can be, but in the end it is pretty satisfying to have that "photography by" credit. Ans Ashley's photos are unique because they are so darn pretty! Instagram perfect and oh so colorful. Yet even though her food is beyond beautiful, it still looks accessible. That is so important for a cookbook, especially a vegan cookbook.

* The Stories. I love Ashley's writing so much! Her voice is so playful and kind and wise. I adore her opening Introduction section "Rooted Habits" where she candidly talks about her personal journey with anxiety. It is a beautiful extension of her diet and plant-based journey.

* The Food!! The recipes are of course the best part of any good cookbook and Ashley does not fail to impress. Everything from her decadent yet healthy desserts and amazing entree ideas, appetizer, sandwiches, soups and more - delicious! I can't wait to try her Sloppy Shiitakes, Pile 'Em High Epic Nachos, Simple Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze, the Fava Bean Salad with Lemony Parmesan Vinaigrette, the Mushroom-Lentil Sliders with herbed hemp aioli, the Enlivening Lemon Bars and the gorgeous stack of "And Ode to Ohio" Peanut Butter Cookie Dough + Caramel Buckeye Bars! Oh my.

* Labeling. I love that Ashley's book labels each recipe with things like gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined-sugar-free, raw and even options for all of those. This is so helpful to someone with an extra special diet.

Snag a copy of Ashley's book on Amazon!

*photo credit: Ashley Melillo

*photo credit: Ashley Melillo

*photo credit: Ashley Melillo

And lastly, I was so happy to be included in the "Praise for Blissful Basil" section of the book, here is what I said about Ashley's book and work..

"Ashley's Blissful Basil cookbook is beyond beautiful! Ashley is one of my all-time favorite bloggers and now authors because her recipes are always colorful, nourishing and inspiring. I love that Ashley's cookbook contains loads of comfort food favorites like nachos and creamy soups, as well as creative plant-based classics like morning smoothies and chia bowls, beet balls, dairy-free cheese, and more! Along with her delicious recipes, she adds a beautiful piece of her soul to each project." - Me

Cookbook Giveaway. So with that, I am offering a cookbook giveaway! All you have to do to enter:

1. (mandatory) Leave a comment below on this post -> share one way you #honoryourbliss. That is Ashley's hashtag for this book and I love it! You can share anything from things or experiences that make you feel happy, or ways you embrace BLISS in your everyday life (yoga, cooking, long walks, family, friends..), or even share who inspires you and how! Whatever BLISS means to you, share that.

2. (optional) Share this post. If you share this post anywhere online (twitter, facebook, instagram..) put a #shared note in your comment and your entry will count for two entries.

Winner: One person will be randomly chosen on January 20th, 2017. USA and Canada only please.

*photo credit: Victoria Sprung of Sprung Photo

And finally... a taste from Ashley's book... a recipe! This Easy Does It Sunday Evening Chili looks so cozy and satisfying, plus it is perfect for winter weather and jam packed with nutrients!

Easy Does It Sunday Evening Chili

Ashley Melillo

Published 01/09/2017

Easy Does It Sunday Evening Chili

This vegan chili can be enjoyed any day of the week!


  • 2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil or veggie broth
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces*
  • 3 ounces, no-salt-added, dry-packed sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 (28oz cans) unsalted whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 2 (15oz cans) kidney beans, drain and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz can) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp reduced sodium tamari
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • Toppings:
  • sliced avocado
  • halved grape tomatoes
  • thinly sliced scallions
  • fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • cashew sour cream (below)
  • *to keep the dish nut-free, use raw shelled sunflower seeds instead of walnuts and omit cashew sour cream
  • Cashew Sour Cream:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, red peppers, and poblano pepper, and sauté for 6 minutes, or until the peppers are just beginning to soften and the onions are generously flecked with golden-brown edges, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, add the walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor and pulse 30 times, or until roughly minced and crumbly. Transfer to the stockpot along with the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and coriander. Decrease the heat to medium-low and sauté for 4 minutes, or until the spices are wafting a rich, toasted scent, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the whole peeled tomatoes with juice and bring to a simmer, using a spoon to thoroughly crush them to the desired size as they heat. Add the kidney beans, black beans, and water, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Then, stir in the balsamic vinegar, tamari, and maple syrup, and decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover, leaving the lid askew, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Cover completely and continue to simmer for at least another 45 minutes but preferably 1 hour or longer, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Taste and season with more sea salt, if desired.
  5. Ladle into bowls, layer on the toppings, and get cozy. Refrigerate leftovers up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
  6. Cashew Sour Cream: Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 2–3 minutes, or until completely smooth. Transfer to an airtight jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Yield: 6+

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.

Cook time: 01 hrs. 15 mins.

Total time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.

Tags: chili,vegan,vegetarian,

* This recipe reprinted from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo.

Buy Blissful Basil on Amazon.

All photos above from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo.
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