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 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).