Tag Archives: cookbook

Choosing a cookbook

A cookbook can make the perfect gift for someone who is moving toward a plant-based diet. With an abundance to choose from these days, we thought we’d give you some tips and suggestions to guide your selection, whether it’s for you, a family member, or a friend who just needs a little nudge to get started!

We recommend you choose a good vegan cookbook, avoiding all animal products. Some people will appreciate the extra creativity and adventure of a cookbook that uses only plant foods for ingredients. Others will appreciate recipes that are healthy, save the animals and protect the environment.

Untitled-1For a good all-round cookbook that includes lots of variety, from simple to gourmet, as well as many ethnic dishes from all over the world, we highly recommend our own Veg-Feasting Cookbook!  This is a restaurant cookbook, with recipes from veg-friendly restaurants all over the Pacific Northwest, plus some special recipes from Vegfest chefs, so it has plenty to captivate the reader while covering all the bases. Most ingredients are familiar, and recipes are often adaptations of old favorites, so it’s a valuable cookbook for all levels of experience.

Eat Vegan on $4 a day

Cookbooks designed for students can vary from those using from scratch ingredients to those which include some ready to nuke and eat ingredients. Note for students: cooking from scratch can save you a lot of money and the food might just taste a bit better. For those on a tight budget, Eat Vegan on $4 a day by Ellen Jaffe Jones, is an excellent cookbook with lots of money saving hints and tips. It shows how to get the best flavor out of simple, affordable, but high quality ingredients, using whole foods such as grains, beans, fruits and vegetables to create delicious meals.

Extraordinary Vegan_COVER_lo-resAt the other end of the spectrum, for those chefs who want to produce gourmet vegan dishes, Extraordinary Vegan by Allan Roettinger is an excellent introduction to unique ingredients that make a dish really special. With dishes such as Piña Quemada Ice Cream and Edamame Salad with Penang Curry, this is a book to entice the chef to take the time to perfect the flavors and textures of vegan cooking.

Bravo Express_COVERFor the health focused cook, a whole-foods plant-based cookbook, which doesn’t overdo the salt, oil and sugar, is a great choice. Ramses Bravo, the chef from the True North Health Kitchen, provides delicious recipes that are at the core of a food-based treatment strategy to help regulate weight and safeguard against disease.  His cookbooks combine simple, fresh wholesome ingredients that are converted into gourmet meals filled with color and nutrition.  Choose either his original cookbook, Bravo, or for those pressed for time, his more recent Bravo Express.

Artisan Vegan CheeseNew meat and dairy substitutes are readily available and increasingly popular these days.  For those cooks who want to experiment with making their own, Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese provides an insight into how she creates those delicious cheesy flavors from plant-based ingredients. For readers who want to whip up something quick, Miyoko provides recipes for almost-instant ricotta and sliceable cheeses, in addition to a variety of tangy dairy substitutes, such as vegan sour cream, creme fraiche, and yogurt.

This is just a brief introduction to the range of available vegan cookbooks.  Look carefully at the style of cuisine, the types of ingredients used, the complexity of the recipes, and any other features, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect cookbook for your needs.

Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik is a vegan cookbook author

Mayim Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience, but is much better known as an actress who played Blossom in the early 90s, and more recently as Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler from “The Big Bang Theory.”

However, offscreen, she focuses on her passions  one of which veganism. She explained how she’d always been an animal lover, and became vegetarian at age 19.  As she gradually cut out most dairy in college, she found that her health improved. But it wasn’t until she read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer that she became fully vegan, embracing all the environmental reasons, nutritional and health reasons, and the ethical reasons for staying clear of animal products.

As a busy working mom, raising two boys, she tries not to spend too much time in the kitchen, so she cooks food that can be frozen and reheated, or simple foods that can be assembled easily, such as burritos with beans and rice, with a little vegan cheese and sliced avocado on top.  She’s even found time to write her own cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours, in which she shares many ideas on how to eat as a vegan family.

Tofu Cutlets with Tapenade Sauce

vegfeastckbk_small_borderWe complied The Veg-Feasting Cookbook by inviting many of our favorite vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants in the Pacific Northwest to share their best recipes with us. We added a selection of recipes from some of the most popular chefs at Vegfest, and the result was a wonderful cookbook that covers the full spectrum of the vegetarian cuisine. From classic American to Mexican, European, African and Asian, you are introduced to every major cuisine.  With helpful resources such as how to stock a vegetarian kitchen, you will quickly become an expert at vegetarian cooking. Note that all recipes work well for vegans too.

Here’s one of our favorite Spanish style recipes:

Tofu Cutlets with Tapenade Sauce

The neutral flavor of tofu provides the perfect vehicle for the piquant flavors of the tapenade sauce.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons capers

6 oil-cured olives, pitted

3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into pieces

¼ cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 package firm tofu (14–16 ounces), cut into eight ½-inch slices

In a food processor, pulse the capers, olives, tomatoes, parsley and lemon juice until the mixture is chopped fine. With the motor running, add ¼ cup of the olive oil in a stream and blend the tapenade sauce until emulsified. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the tofu until golden brown, about 2 minutes for each side. Serve the tofu topped with the tapenade sauce.

Grills Gone Vegan – Portobello Burger recipe

Grills Gone Vegan_low resIt’s summertime.  Time to light up the grill.  Yes, there are endless possibilities for grilling without using meat or fish. This wonderful cookbook from the Book Publishing Company captures a wide variety of possibilities in one easy-to-use book.

Grills Gone Vegan is the latest cookbook from Tamasin Noyes. Tamasin has been vegetarian for over thirty years, and vegan for much of that time. She and her husband, Jim, live in northeastern Ohio with their two cats. Along the way, Tamasin has baked for a vegan café, worked in restaurants, created a nonprofit group that sent handmade cards to children with life-threatening illnesses, and had a vegan soap company for ten years.

Passionate about cooking, Tamasin spent several years as a cookbook tester for some of the leading vegan authors. She is also the author of American Vegan Kitchen and the coauthor of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.

Here’s a sample recipe:

Portobello Burgers with Mango Chutney Marinade

Yield: 4 sandwiches • Advance prep: Marinate the mushrooms for 1 hour.

Chutney Sauce

¼ cup mango chutney

2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

2 teaspoons hot sauce


1 cup salt-free vegetable broth

¼ cup mango chutney

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes

4 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed


4 burger buns, split and grilled if desired

Sliced red onions

Sliced dill pickles


To make the sauce, put all the ingredients in a small blender and process until smooth. The sauce can be used immediately or may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To prepare the mushrooms, put the broth, chutney, onion, tamari, vinegar, garlic, coriander, oil, white pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Put the mushrooms in a 13 x 9-inch nonreactive baking pan stem-side up. Pour the chutney mixture evenly over the mushrooms and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat a grill, grill pan, or electric grill to medium-high heat.

Lightly oil the grill with canola oil. Put the mushrooms on the grill stem-side up, reserving the marinade. Cook until marked, about 5 minutes, occasionally basting with the marinade. Turn over and cook in the same fashion until the other side is marked and the flesh is soft and tender in the center, about 5 minutes. (If using an electric grill, keep it open and cook a few minutes longer if necessary.)

To assemble the burgers, spread the sauce evenly on the cut sides of the buns. Put the mushrooms on the bottom halves of the buns. Cover with the onions, pickles, and top halves of the buns.