If you had any doubts about the growth of veganism, pick up this book...if you can. Gorgeous, inviting, and amazingly well thought out, Big Vegan is a resource you'll be cooking from for years to come. It will also come in handy as a step stool when you need to fetch that rarely needed ingredient from the top shelf.
--Ten Must-Have Vegan Cookbooks of 2011, Joseph Connelly, VegNews
"Big Vegan is the book I want to give to those asking questions about vegan nutrition and what to cook! It answers all the most asked questions in such a clear way and then escorts the reader right into exciting and easy recipes. This is a truly valuable addition to the book shelf."
--Linda Long, author and photographer, Great Chefs Cook Vegan.
"In Big Vegan, Robin Asbell offers an exciting collection of healthy plant-based recipes, from simple to sophisticated, for everyone who loves high flavor food made with real ingredients. Big Vegan will keep new, merely curious, and longtime vegans supremely satisfied from breakfast to dessert."
--Fran Costigan, culinary instructor and author of More Great Good Dairy-free Desserts Naturally
"This cookbook isn't about narrow labels (vegan) or even intimidating expertise (cuisine) - it's about delicious, flavorful meals you make in your kitchen and eat with your family. In an age of ceaseless foodie hype, Robin delivers food you want to eat - Monday or any day!"
--Chris Elam, Program Director, Meatless Monday
This paperback has the counter appeal and substance of a hardcover book. The chef-author's emphasis is on balancing sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.
-- Bonnie S. Benwick, The Washington Post
From the Author
Big Vegan is the "big tent" under which all stripes of plant-based eaters can meet and enjoy great tasting food. Whether you call yourself vegan or just want to eat great tasting, healthy food, Big Vegan welcomes you. This is food that nourishes you and respects the planet, all with tons of flavor, texture, color and aroma. Even if you love meat, you will find recipes here that will satisfy you and make you feel great.
As the author, I really wanted to put every trick, every technique, and every bit of knowledge I have gleaned over the years into crafting recipes with maximum flavor. In my work in restaurants and as a Private Chef, I have created many dishes to meet my clients needs and desires. Along the way I have learned about the chemistry of food, and how to coax the most from plants in their natural state. That knowledge is what I share in this big, big book, laying out how to harness techniques like reduction and caramelization, and the chemistry of umami.
If you are not familiar with umami, it's often called the fifth taste- a sensation of meatiness and satisfying mouthfeel. It's sparked on the tongue by certain chemicals, which are easily found in both meat and plants. It's my belief that omnivores and vegans alike will get more satisfaction from vegan foods if they use foods high in umami, and cook them in ways that amplify it.
I believe that the best way to convince people to eat their veggies is to seduce, to tempt with an alluring plate that delights the senses. I hope you will agree that Big Vegan does that and more.
Big Vegan is my third book, a follow-up to The New Vegetarian. New Vegetarian has all vegan desserts and half of the food is vegan, in part because even ovo-lacto vegetarians would do well to eat plant based meals often.
I've made these dishes for dedicated omnivores and vegans alike, and been delighted by their enjoyment of the food. When serving them, I may not even mention the word "vegan," at least until after my friends and family have tried the food with an open mind. You may find that letting go of labels and just calling it good, real food will help bring people together over your plant-based cuisine.