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The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals Paperback – October 24, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Sound like an oxymoron? Myra Kornfeld argues that choosing to be a vegan does not mean you have to deprive yourself--rather, you can pamper your palate with luscious, healthy food. There are those who advocate salt-free, fat-free, flavor-free food, but Kornfeld sets the record straight right from the beginning. She uses salt for seasoning, and reminds us, thank goodness, that you need fat in a healthy diet. Clear instructions, a chapter on ingredients (including sections on grains, greens, and beans--how to buy them, cook them, and use them), and a short primer on equipment make this a good book for beginners. More accomplished cooks will appreciate Kornfeld's innovation. She isn't afraid to use herbs and spices, and she knows the capabilities of her ingredients. In a simple Rich Stock recipe, for instance, she calls for celery root, and explains in a note that you can substitute celery, but that the root gives a much deeper flavor. Kornfeld's food is voluptuous in presentation, too: Smoky Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup calls for a dash of rum, and it's served with toasted, chopped hazelnuts and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg; Hominy, Tomatillo, and Squash Stew is topped with Ginger and Lime Cream made from tofu; and a Fennel, Orange, and Pomegranate Salad is so beautiful and the flavor so complex, you'll swear you're eating four-star cuisine.

The book is a little difficult to navigate, as it's divided into "meals." So if all you're looking for is a side dish, you'll need to set some time aside to peruse the whole book. Every recipe starts with a few words of wisdom, usually information on the ingredients or a description of the final product. The final chapter is on desserts, and here Kornfeld really gets voluptuous. The recipes include Cranberry Orange Tart, Chocolate Pudding Tart, and Lemon Pudding Cake with Blueberry Glaze--there's no depriving anyone of anything here! Vegans will appreciate the creative and inventive approach, but this cookbook is also useful for nonvegans. Everyone knows someone who's trying to avoid meat, dairy, or eggs, and with loads of ideas for light meals and interesting side dishes, we can entertain our friends and eat healthy at the same time. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Formerly in charge of daily specials and desserts at New York's vegetarian Angelica Kitchen, Kornfeld manages to bring new life to the vegan palate in this better-than-average collection of animal-product-free food. The book starts off with the usual general instructions, but the level of detail is a pleasant surprise: not only do the authors (Minot is a New York City-based writer) explain cooking equipment and appliances, they also provide instructions for cutting vegetables into half-moons, quarter-moons, matchsticks and so forth. This tendency to go the extra mile pops up in the recipes, too, almost all of which are accompanied by tips, things to watch out for, and ingredient definitions. More important, the recipes are tasty. Plenty of vegetarian cookbooks contain recipes for squash soup, but few of those are made with coconut milk, lime juice, basil, leeks and shallots like Kornfeld's Butternut-Lemongrass Soup. The book contains only three chapters: one on soups, one on desserts, and one with the recipes organized into menus (for example: Warm Chickpea Salad with Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes followed by Fresh Corn, Millet, and Rice Croquettes, Jalape?o-Potato-Tofu "Cream" and Olive Tapenade). The authors explore the usual ethnic vegetarian territory but turn up new ideas, like Arepas and a complex Moussaka. Many of these items use soy products as substitutes, like Shepherd's Pie with a tempeh filling, Seitan Bourguignonne, and Herbed Ravioli with Porcini Pesto and Tofu "Ricotta." As definitive proof that vegans don't have to give up rich desserts, the final chapter includes a Chocolate Pudding Tart and Chocolate Coconut Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting. This volume should delight vegans looking to satisfy their gourmet tastes. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (October 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609804898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609804896
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Good food, good company, and a great conversation-and especially the three in combination-are among the greatest of life's pleasures. I like to help others create space for such joyful experiences in their lives.

I originally came to cooking from a background in fashion design. Nowadays, I like to encourage my students to trust their instincts and be their own designers. Creative inspiration can come from anywhere: from a trip to the Southwest, from an encounter with a green zebra tomato at a local greenmarket, from that great falafel that you picked up on the corner, from reading an exotic memoir, from a "mistake" in the kitchen.

Cooking is a lifelong journey, and the path is fascinating in its unpredictability. My students range from vegans to omnivores. While the particular foods they eat may vary, they all want to eat well. I have observed that at some point or another in the course of life, one's eating habits will alter. What worked at one point may no longer serve. What one chooses to eat is an individual decision based on a myriad of factors. It is best to be honest, and if one way of eating no longer serves, perhaps you need a dietary reassessment.

I spent years cooking vegan meals at Angelica kitchen, in New York City. My first book, The Voluptuous Vegan, reflects that experience. While I have never been vegan, or even vegetarian, I have come close at times. I did not find that it worked for me to be so strict. I do appreciate good vegetarian or vegan meals, and I cook them often. My subsequent two books are flexitarian and include some dairy, eggs, fish and poultry. My writing and editing address a wide variety of foods.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind. It's worth using the highest quality "real food" ingredients, locally grown or produced if possible. Try not to surf on the latest fad-based dietary wave. Savor ingredients that have been favored by long cultural traditions. For the best-tasting results, use healthy traditional fats (yes, fat makes flavor!), and remember- salt is your friend. High quality sea salt draws the flavors of a dish together; and furthermore, it's good for you. Seek out animal food - whether it's dairy, eggs, or flesh - from an animal that was raised humanely and traditionally, and consumes what it was designed to eat. Products from traditionally raised animals are now becoming increasingly available from local farmers. It is, in fact, getting much easier to find pastured eggs with bright orange yolks from hens that have been foraging outside.

What is healthiest for you is also what is healthiest for the planet. Local food is fresher, picked riper, and often grown without excessive pesticides. It also requires a minimum amount of fossil fuel to get to market. Furthermore, it just tastes better. Compare a peach so ripe and juicy that it falls apart as you eat it to the mealy versions so common in most supermarkets.

Nourishment is not only a matter of what we eat, but how we eat. Slow down, pay attention, and really taste your food. Keep in mind the pleasure, or "hedonist" factor. Also keep in mind that a meal should make you feel satisfied and lively after eating it. Splash love into your food, call down blessings on your kitchen, your family and friends, even as you wash and chop and slice. Nourish yourself and others as deeply as you can.

Myra Kornfeld is the author of The Healthy Hedonist Holidays; A Year of Multi-Cultural Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Feasts (October 16, 2007, Simon and Schuster Publishers), The Healthy Hedonist; More than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Daily Feasts. (Simon and Schuster, 2005), and The Voluptuous Vegan: More than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Eggless, Meatless, and Dairy Free Meals (now in its seventh printing from Clarkson Potter, October, 2000).

Myra is the Head Chef & Content Manager of, a food and healing website. Myra teaches classes in ethnic, classic, and vegetarian cooking at The Natural Gourmet School of Health and Culinary Arts and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has been a guest instructor at numerous schools including the New York Jewish Community Center, Classic Thyme in New Jersey and at Sur la Tables around the country. She frequently teaches individual and group private classes and coordinates cooking parties. Myra specializes in corporate team- building events, with clients including Jurlique, The Gap, Credit-Suisse, Colgate-Palmalive, Alliance Bernstein, and American Express. She is a frequent contributor to Vegetarian Times and has contributed articles to Natural Health magazine and Organic Style. A veteran restaurant chef, recipe developer and editor, private chef and menu consultant, Myra worked for six years creating innovative vegan cuisine at New York's Angelica Kitchen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By jumpy1 on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am writing this because of the person who said the recipes were bland -- i couldn't believe it! So far I am not only impressed with this book, but genuinely thrilled to have found a really gourmet cookbook for balanced, healthy vegan meals. If I'm having people over they don't even notice there's no meat. It's so elegant, and the ingredients come from across the globe (you do have to carry a lot of groceries for some of them!). The issue I think someone would have is, one must have access to good health food and specialty stores and special produce. You have to have a food processor, blender, spice grinder etc. and the recipes have many elements so it takes a while to complete. But the results for me, so far, are wonderful. I wonder if the person who found it bland was using old spices and substituting ingredients? I am a trained chef, and I think the recipes are somewhat complicated, so can imagine that the average cook might find some of them time-consuming to reproduce adequately. If that is the case, my advice is, make sure you've got the necessary equipment, get fresh organic produce, grind your own spices (or use brand-new ones) and leave yourself an entire afternoon to do it right.
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115 of 120 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anyone, vegetarian or carnivore, who is looking for a useful and delicious collection of recipes should own a copy of this book. I eat a broad range of foods and didn't think I'd be that interested in exclusively vegan dishes, but I've been pleasantly surprised. Every dish I've tried from this book has been incredibly rich-tasting and delicious. Last night I served the Caribbean Black Bean soup at a gathering and it was the hit of the party; it had amazing depth of flavor. Despite the complexity of tastes in these dishes, the recipes are all very easy to follow, and every step is explained clearly, so even if you're a novice cook, you shouldn't have any problem creating incredible meals. There are lots of cool cooking tips, and the book is actually quite fun to read. It's also beautifully laid-out and designed, and the cover is a knock-out! The Voluptous Vegan would make a great gift for anyone who wants to avoid animal products, who is allergic to dairy, who is trying to eat healthier, or who just wants to learn how to prepare scrumptious, delicious meals and desserts. I HIGHLY recommend it!
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By P. Kunkel on November 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like many Americans, my early culinary history included prodigious quantities of meat. If it walked, crawled, could fly or swim, and could be subdued long enough to be thrown onto a grill or tossed in a pot, we ate it. I never realized how unhealthy and boring my diet was until I experienced a meal at a vegetarian restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the amazing fat-free combinations of grains, vegetables, beans, sprouts, fruits, nuts and seeds that made me feel more healthy and alive than I ever had before.
After moving to New York, my taste for vegetarian food soon led me to Angelica's, where I indulged on the exotic yet simple cuisine of Myra Kornfeld and the other chefs who have made the corner of 2nd Avenue and 13th Street a mecca for all vegetarians.
After feeding us so well for so many years, Myra has finally shared her secrets in this wonderful book. More than a collection of recipes, the book tells us a philosophy of food and its preparation that is so enjoyable, you almost forget how healthy it is. Myra lays out the ground rules of vegan cooking in a simpler, less intimidating and more elegant way than I have ever seen before.
Myra divides her recipes into three logical sections that make using the book a pleasure. Soups and desserts are treated as separate chapters (which is smart). Everything else (entrees, side dishes, salads and accompaniments) is arranged in a series of meals that are perfectly combined (from a nutritional standpoint), complimentary (taste-wise), balanced in terms of difficulty (each menu contains one challenging and two easy-to-prepare dishes) and regional in flavor (with menus that evoke the tastes of Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa).
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a longtime vegan and cooking enthusiast, I was drawn to this book because it claimed to offer mouthwatering and "voluptuous" vegan recipes. It is indeed a very well organized cookbook and many of recipes are very creative. Unfortunately, the recipes did not meet my standards in terms of taste. Many of the main dishes are needlessly complex and take hours to make. I made the Moussaka tonight and, after hours of preparation, was disappointed with the result, which was only mediocre. This was also the case with the Mushroom, French Lentil, and Chesnut Ragu, the Shepherd's Pie, and the Mushroom Filo Triangles with Delicata-Porcini Sauce. I've found the simpler dishes, such as the African Groundnut Stew, the Succotash, and the Broccoli Rabe Polenta, to be more satisfying. I have avoided making most of the Latin-themed recipes (and there are quite a few) because they call for too many types of chilis. The Chili and Corn-biscuit Casserole, for example, requires three types of chilis; this seems unreasonable.
This is not a book for a half-hearted cook who is not prepared to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This book may be useful for dinner parties, if one is planning to make the entire suggested menu, but individual dishes didn't seem strong enough on their own. For simpler, more time-efficient, and tasty dishes, I recommend The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.
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