Ok guys and gals this is it. I am throwing my hat into the plant-powered ring and fully embracing the vegan life. You’ll know if you’ve been following my blog that I’ve been on and off with eating a vegan diet but there has been so much in the news over the past month around animal cruelty and the damage people are doing to the environment that I just have to commit to it.
About the same time that I made this decision, the Book People got in touch and asked if I’d like to try out some of the vegetarian recipe books that they offer and so I obviously jumped at the chance to gobble up new recipes and share my finds with you lovely lot.
So let’s get stuck in shall we?
My favourite book – Women’s Weekly Vegan Kitchen
130+ wholefood recipes for a plant-based diet. Bright and appealing pictures, simple and delicious recipes and a simple no-fuss explanation about what it means to be vegan and why you should give it a go – I loved this book. It is just so appealing in every sense and the sunny Australian vibe makes me feel really good about continuing to make positive and empowered food choices.
The book is split into six sections;
- Plant Food Love (the why’s and wherefore’s of veganism)
- Vegan Pantry staples
- Food to go
You could open this book on any page and really see yourself concocting any given recipe. From the Berry Muesli Clusters to the Cauliflower rig ‘n’ Cheese and the Banoffee Pie, this book has just nailed that positive Aussie vibe and laid back, easy to create vegan food. Flicking through the pages not only makes you a bit hungry but also makes you realise that eating a vegan diet is anything but restrictive. Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to get stuck into some of the recipes.
I also loved…
Deliciously Ella. The Plant-Based Cookbook
My favourite thing about this book is not just the recipes, which are of course very appealing, but that there is a story and a journey of how the book came to print in the first place. Ella shares the motivation, which stemmed from an illness that attacked her autonomic nervous system and spurred her on to live a healthier way of life. If you are still new to Veganism or just thinking about eating less meat and dairy, then book provides plenty of inspiration as well as some useful notes, hints, tips and tricks that she and her team have picked up along the way and I think this is what gives the book that something extra.
I also loved that at the end of each recipe there is an explanation for the use of any unusual ingredients or a look at the recipe creation process. Such a nice touch I thought.
Recipes are split into six main sections covering;
- salads, falafel, burgers and dips,
- soups, stews and curries,
- sweet recipes and
- supper clubs.
Although I wouldn’t make use of all of the recipes, there were some that stood out and I’m sure there would be something for everyone in this book. I also think this book is a lovely and gentle introduction into a way of healthier more mindful eating as well as the vegan plant powered goodness. A more holistic look at food than just a list of recipes if you will.
The Deliciously Ella cookbook would make a really gorgeous and thoughtful gift for any foodie, wannabe chef or new vegan, so perhaps this is one to consider for Christmas gifts.
The Meat Free Monday CookBook
Have you ever eaten a Linda McCartney sausage? Well if you have then you will know how seriously good they are and how hopeful that would make you to read a recipe book written by her husband and daughter. The Meat Free Monday book doesn’t disappoint although it is worth noting it is a vegetarian and not a vegan cookbook.
That said, the less meat consumed the better. Meat free Monday is, thankfully, a trend that is picking up pace quickly and this book aims to encourage everyone to do their bit to help protect the planet by getting involved. There is a strong environmental ethos in the writing and plenty of encouragement to eat less meat, which is thought provoking and useful. However, I don’t know if its just me, but the text is so tiny it’s almost impossible to read. I cannot understand why the publishers would have ever allowed it into print like that. That said, if you do pop your reading glasses on and can decipher the tiny text then it’s got some really practical notes on how to go one step further and give up dairy and eggs, which I loved (obvs).
Unlike traditional cookbooks, The Meat Free Monday book is not split into recipe type. Instead there are seasonal menu plans to take you from breakfast right through to dinner for each meat free Monday.
If you really had no idea where to start, I think this would be helpful as it takes a lot of the decision making out of your hands, you can write a quick shopping list and crack on with the day.
I wasn’t sure about…
Cook Share Eat Vegan and The Modern Vegetarian
I think overall, although this is not particularly constructive, I didn’t enjoy these two books. At least not as much as the previous three.
Really, what puts me off is the heavy use of unusual ingredients (not particularly represented in the image below!)
Cook Share Eat Vegan has a really inviting front cover and I genuinely thought it would be full of delicious recipes that I could imagine cooking up for my family and friends. Recipes such as Hawaiian Mango Poke Boats (??) quickly dispelled those assumptions. Handling the book and flicking through it, you can feel the lovely quality and appreciate the high definition imagery but honestly no amount of lovely pictures is ever going to persuade me to try and serve up Homemade Cashew Yoghurt (who has the time??) or a Cajun Kidney Bean & Brown Rice Broth to my tribe of hungry people. Perhaps if you have a fancier palate than my family, you might enjoy this book but it definitely wasn’t for me.
I actually did enjoy the Modern Vegetarian cookbook so putting it down here is a little unfair. The reason I have though, is that whilst I personally might attempt some of these recipes, which are mostly quite simple, there is no way they would work for my family. For one thing, there is an odd emphasis on watermelon throughout almost every section (there is even a watermelon curry…) and also it’s just the wrong side of pretentious for us. Recipes such as Watermelon Panzanella and Rosemary infused popcorn (why?!) are just not something I want to dish up. We like honest, easy, home cooked, family food and this book is just not quite going to work under that category.
If you are someone who loves to try new things and has a slightly more contemporary palate then this book might be for you.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review of these 5 vegan cookbooks and if you have tried any of them I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.