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Cookbook review: Food52 Vegan

Unbiased reviews of new healthy cookbooks + preview recipes.

Lately, I've received several special diet cookbooks in the office, so it's fitting that a growing-in-popularity style of eating (vegan) is the topic of this review. I've always been intrigued by veganism because the values of the eating style are extensive, from health reasons and affordability to sustainability and animal welfare. Take a look inside one of the newest vegan cookbooks to hit the market.

The cookbook: Food52 Vegan

The author: Gena Hamshaw has written the New Veganism column on Food52 (an online community for cooks) since 2012, is a certified nutritionist and author of the book Choosing Raw. Her recipes aim to inspire eaters of all types to embrace veganism instead of viewing vegan dishes as a separate caste. Reading through her cookbook, you get the impression that you're seated in one of Gena's cooking workshops, where there's a lot to appreciate and discuss about the creativity, satisfaction and color in plant-based cooking.

Initial impressions: If you've followed Gena's column on Food52, you'll find this cookbook is an extension of her work there, where she presents good, plain and simple food. In the cookbook, Gena expands on vegan flavor techniques, such as making cashew cream for rich, dairy-free soups and pasta sauces; using nutritional yeast to add umami-like quality to fresh pesto; or adding avocado to smoothies for a rich, creamy texture. You'll learn the basics of how to make vegan dishes irresistible, and, just as Gena hopes, you'll soon discover that vegan is not a difficult or "out-there" way of eating. Rather, it presents a beautiful and refreshing look at food, even if you don't eat that way every day.

What’s cool: The photography by James Ransom. It's smoky, luxurious and elegant. Almost every recipe image is photographed from above, as if you are about to descend upon a bowl of amazing Gingered Carrot Bisque or dive right into a casserole of Mushroom, Chard and Quinoa Enchiladas. I'm also loving the simplicity of the recipe instructions - most are complete and on the table in just three or four easy-to-follow steps. Gena hasn't skipped any food category. You'll find vegan options for breakfast, appetizers and snacks, soups, salads, main dishes and desserts. Perhaps most helpful, she has included a Basics section that includes staple recipes, such as a homemade Egg Replacer, Oat Milk and Tofu Feta (all of them are surprisingly simple—and, I imagine, satisfying to make).

Perfect for: People who view vegan food as just food / Friends who are making efforts to eat a more plant-based diet / Healthy cooking experimenters / Clean eaters / Foodies who want to add more veggie dishes to their repertoire / Those new to vegetarian or vegan eating / Home cooks who love high-end simplicity

When/Where to get it: Gena's book is brand new and available now for a steal at $13.

Sneak-peek recipe: Check out Gena’s recipe for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (pictured below, and reprinted with permission from the publisher).

Discuss this Blog Entry 13

on Oct 9, 2015

Wow! This looks so good! As a vegan, I always want to find easy and delicious vegan recipes. The pictures look wonderful too!

on Oct 15, 2015

I'm not a vegan, but am definitely not opposed to meatless meals and I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate veggies into my meal. This looks like a great resource!

on Feb 1, 2016

I've been vegan for a while now and I absolutely love the lifestyle. I especially love that my body screams "THANK YOU" all the time. I currently have 0 issues with allergies, my pre-menstrual disorder isnth nearly as bad as it used to be, my skin looks amazing, plus I'm leaner and more energetic. I'd love to have this book!!! I enjoy cooking and experimenting with plant based ingredients, but once in a while I hit a brain fart or few while trying to come up with new/creative recipes for my family.

on Feb 1, 2016

I am drooling over this sophisticated presentation. It's exciting to see vegan food get more and more attention. The more options and styles of preparation there are the more people will integrate it into their lives.

on Feb 6, 2016

I am vegetarian but I so enjoy pure vegan cooking! Both my son and daughter are strict vegans and I always need ideas for them beyond the 'usual', lol! I can't wait to find this book!

on Feb 11, 2016

I am a big fan of Food52 and am moving toward a more plant-based diet — this cookbook sounds like a gem! Thanks for the review.

on Feb 12, 2016

This cookbook looks like a great resource! I am always looking for crowd pleasing vegan recipes.

on Feb 16, 2016

Putting it on my "must buy" list - the Jamaican Jerk chili sounds tasty.

on Feb 23, 2016

OMG, that mac and cheese, tho. I've tried different vegan versions before, but I'm definitely giving a try to this one asap!
As a vegetarian who's into vegan cooking and baking, I love when you can use plant-based ingredients to re-create familiar flavors. Cashews and nooch (nutritional yeast) are a vegan's best friend!

on Feb 24, 2016

I am vegan and I would love this book! It looks so inspirational.

on Mar 18, 2016

These recipes look so wholesome and artful, from the potluck table to the picnic blanket. Thanks for alerting us to this book!

on Mar 26, 2016

I am a vegetarian, but aspire to be vegan. It's hard to give up the comfort foods of your childhood, but I always enjoy the challenge of veganizing old favorites.

on Nov 2, 2016

I would surely make items from this! I need to find recipes that not only look appealing but have the taste I need.

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