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Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine Hardcover – October 6, 2015

4.9 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A new kind of flavor-first vegan cooking. . . . Stunning.”
Food & Wine

“Redefines vegan cooking.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Flavorful Mediterranean-inspired recipes that take vegetables to creative new heights.”
Houston Chronicle

“Sophisticated vegan recipes . . . that even carnivores will love.”
—Eater LA

“Teach[es] even non-chefs how to make vegan culinary magic in their own kitchen.”
—Well + Good

“If you’re eating from the new Crossroads cookbook by acclaimed chef Tal Ronnen, you’re eating some of the best, most inventive, freshest and satisfying vegan food on the planet.”
—Food Republic

“Tal Ronnen’s food philosophy isn’t unusual for a chef of his caliber. It also isn’t complicated. Simply put: taste above all. And then you realize he’s vegan, an approach to eating that too often has been defined by foods so virtuous they taste worse than the packaging they come in. Except that’s not Ronnen’s game. For him, it doesn’t matter if the food is raw, organic, vegetarian, vegan, local, gluten-free, animal-free, free range or free spirit. If it doesn’t taste great, he isn’t interested. . . . His main courses center around vegetables that aren’t disguised as burgers or steaks or other meaty dishes. Rather, they deliver savory, meaty flavors on their own power, things like roasted shiitake mushrooms that pack in crispy bacon-esque flavor in a salad or pureeing yellow tomatoes into a creamy bearnaise sauce.”
—Associated Press

“This beautifully photographed collection of 100 Mediterranean-inspired recipes captures the spirit of [Ronnen's] restaurant, and shows how sophisticated vegan cuisine can be in the hands of someone who is trained in classical French cooking. But these aren't overly complicated chef recipes with long lists of unfamiliar ingredients. And these aren't dishes centered on faux meats or tofu. Instead, these are dishes that put vegetables front and center, showing how glorious vegetables can be."
Portland Oregonian

“Carnivores and vegans and everyone in between will find Crossroads to be an irreplaceable resource for healthful eating. . . . We’ve never seen vegan dishes as universally flavorful.”
Natural Solutions

“This beautifully illustrated book, dense with recipes that combine flavors in unexpected ways, is destined to be one of the most splattered in my carnivorous kitchen.”
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

“Tal Ronnen proves that cooking lower on the food chain can be more exciting than grilling a T-bone. Skeptical? Try his linguine with balsamic-roasted mushrooms and tomato-basil butter.”
Modern Farmer

“Vegan food, reinvented.”
Western Living

“At Crossroads restaurant in Los Angeles, chefs Ronnen (The Conscious Cook), Scot Jones, and Serafina Magnussen craft refined Mediterranean cuisine from plant-based ingredients. Their new cookbook bursts with artful photographs of rich vegan dishes (e.g., oven-roasted romanesco with onion agrodolce and grappa-soaked raisins, acorn squash ravioli with kale and black garlic butter sauce, oat florentine cookies with mocha sipping chocolate) and surpasses the elegance of titles such as Joy Pierson and Angel Ramos’s The Candle 79 Cookbook. Knowledgable vegan cooks will recognize techniques such as turning soaked cashews into “cream,” but they’ll also learn new skills, such as how to mimic Parmesan cheese with thinly shaved walnuts and nutritional yeast. Expect to see plenty of healthy pantry staples (e.g., agave nectar, agar-agar, arrowroot powder, almond milk) within these recipes. ­VERDICT Vegan cooking taken to a new level of refinement. Epicures and professionals should take note.”
Library Journal, starred review

“In his second vegan cookbook (after The Conscious Cook), Crossroads founder and chef Ronnen tackles such issues as sustainabilty, health, and taste. With so many ways to approach plant-based food, the theme of Mediterranean flavor is employed to tie together all of the recipes packed into these pages. This book wonderfully includes all types of recipes, from quick snacks to full meals. The varieties of preparations and flavors include pistachio-kalamata tapenade in the spreads section, charred okra flatbread with sweet corn puree and cherry tomatoes, a small-plate dish consisting of fig caponata with polenta fries, and oat Florentine cookies with mocha chocolate. There is also a small section on pantry staples, such as almond-based Greek yogurt and demi-glace, that go well with nearly any vegetable.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Though at least one vegan cookbook arrives at my door every week, I’ve never been intrigued enough to review any of them. Then Crossroads arrived, and my vegan-avoidance vanished. Chef and author Tal Ronnen is a classically trained pro who cooks Mediterranean food that’s all plant-based and all wonderful—robust, textured and flavorful enough to satisfy the cravings of carnivores and omnivores. His cooking is not about finding substitutes for meat, but about creating exciting vegetable-centric dishes that will never elicit an exasperated “Where’s the beef?” Ronnen’s recipes are not quick fixes, but they are truly worth the extra time and thought. Some are right for casual weeknights, some for weekend dinner parties. No-hassle Pickled Vegetables are great anytime, while Leek Pâté with Lentil Skillet Bread is a grand starter for a grand dinner. I could eat fabulous Fig Caponata with Polenta Fries every day, not to mention meaty Fried Oyster Mushrooms and herb ricotta (made from almonds) stuffed Cappellacci with vibrant Spinach Cream Sauce. Finish up with a divinely Decadent Dark Chocolate Cake.”
—BookPage

“Tal Ronnen's food is terrific. Delicious, nourishing, and plant-based, it can change your whole approach to eating healthy.”
—President Bill Clinton

“Tal Ronnen is a magician—every time I eat his food, I find myself wanting more and more, and I never miss the butter or bacon fat.”
—Michael Voltaggio, chef and owner, ink.

“Tal Ronnen understands the value of great-tasting, nutritious plant-based dishes in today’s world.”
—Sir Paul McCartney

“Tal Ronnen is a plant-based food whisperer, and now with this book, he and Scot Jones allow us to understand the message. In a world where it’s becoming more and more unrealistic to raise animals for food, it’s time to listen to what the plants are telling us and cook some of these awesome creations.”
—Roy Choi, chef and author of L.A. Son

“Chefs Tal Ronnen and Scot Jones are artists of the highest order. The details that separate us. Whether a dish is vegan or not, disappears in the hands of a true artist. It's just great.”
—Jay-Z

 

About the Author

Tal Ronnen, founder and chef of Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles and author of the New York Times bestseller The Conscious Cook, became known nationwide as the chef who prepared the meals for Oprah Winfrey’s 21-day vegan cleanse. He has made his culinary mark at a number of high-profile events, having catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding, Arianna Huffington’s party at the Democratic National Convention, and U.S. Senate dinners. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, Ronnen is the co-creator of Kite Hill Cheese, the first nondairy cheese sold at the high-end cheese counter at Whole Foods, and is a collaborating chef at the Wynn and Encore hotels in Las Vegas.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (October 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579656366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579656362
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a pretty good vegan cookbook if you're looking for inspiration for more dinner-party appropriate fare, which is why I bought it. This is not "vegan food," just delicious food that happens to be vegan. As a pretty experienced chef though, I found some of the recipes to be a bit overwrought and I found myself wanting to make subtractions from a lot of them. The risotto, for example, includes a cashew cream and a tomato sauce that are mixed in at the end, I suppose with an eye to adding depth and flavor, but the result is just a kind of muddled flavor, when all you really need to do to veganize risotto is leave out the cheese or replace it with a vegan option. Still, I found these recipes useful as a jumping-off point -- the flatbread as-is is FANTASTIC and the topping options are endless-- but if you're not super confident in the kitchen, I wouldn't recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Received this in last week. Made and love Scoty's Marinara sauce. Have been on a tomato recipe binge as availability of fresh tomatoes wanes here. Have ingredients for the Spicy pepper jam, Minestrone, Grilled veggie lasagne with Puttanesca Sauce. Love that can use canned tomatoes too! Vegan 2 years, cook for self and friends so not a chef! Beautiful pictures, detailed instructions. Look forward to tackling the more advanced offerings! Have many wonderful vegan cookbooks. This one I will grab and use every week! Thank you, Chef!
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Format: Hardcover
I wanted to loooove this cookbook! It sounded so good. I loved the concept. The photography was beautiful! The recipes look like what I'd love to eat in a restaurant. The trouble is I don't want to cook them at home. There are too many ingredients, too many tools, too many steps. I just don't have the patience for this kind of cooking. That's why I eat out! I would recommend this to people who don't mind putting some real effort into dinner!
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Format: Hardcover
Crossroads exceeded my expectations. You did it again, Tal - congratulations. Serafina Magnussen's recipe for Banana Bread (page 236) is the best banana bread ever. Please write a Vegan Baking Cookbook, Serafina.
I have several hundred cookbooks in my library. The Conscious Cook and Crossroads are both favorites. Every holiday my family requests the menu to include anything/everthing Tal Ronnen for dinner. Thank you Tal, Scott and Serafina for writing Crossroads.
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Format: Hardcover
Noted chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Tal Ronnen states that his focus is to not take vegan foods and recreate them into copycats of non-vegan fare, but to let them have their own moment in the spotlight by making the most of their inherent goodness. I very much agree with his food philosophy. I am not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I am blessed with beloved friends who are vegetarians and vegans, and I am also a curious cook. Great food is great food, no matter how it is categorized. Making the most of what's readily available, seasonal, locally grown, and supports local markets is a sensible, sustainable, and satisfying way to shop and eat. "Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine" by Tal Ronnen and Scot Jones features vegan cooking with a Mediterranean flair. The Crossroads restaurant, located in Los Angeles, serves the same fare. Here's just a sampler of the imaginative, inviting plant-based dishes you will find: "Harissa Potato Chips with Smoked White Bean Hummus"; "Pickled Vegetables"; "Spicy Tomato-Pepper Jam"; "Spring Chopped Salad with Whole-Grain Mustard Vinaigrette"; "Flatbread Dough" with a number of topping combinations; "Summer Minestrone with Basil Pesto"; "Sweet Potato Latkes with Spiked Applesauce"; "Cauliflower with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes"; "Sweet Corn Risotto with Buttered Leeks, Cherry Tomatoes, and Tomato-Sherry Cream Sauce"; "Pasta Dough" with numerous sauces; "Dark Chocolate Rice Pudding with Sugared Pine Nuts and Raspberries"; "Pumpkin Parfaits"; and "Decadent Dark Chocolate with Figs and Hazelnuts".Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Holy Cannoli, I’ve just gone through this gorgeous book and I cannot wait to start cooking. My mouth is watering as I write this. I’ve finished the book, but I want to try a few recipes before I submit an official review.

Be back soon!!! (After I gain a few pounds)

Weeks later…

I’ve had a difficult time with this review, not because I didn’t like the book but because every time I return to it I start making ingredient lists and envisioning what I can include for Thanksgiving dinner, and deciding if I should plan an earlier dinner party because I cannot wait to get started with these amazing dishes!! And then the review is forgotten and I’m lost in cooking dreamland.

This is a gourmet book, make no mistake. Even for long time vegans there are some new ingredients and possibly some difficult to find ones (black garlic??). Many of the recipes do not look like they can be whipped up in five minutes, or even 30 minutes, but then again most of these dishes do not look like something you’d throw on the table for the family on a Tuesday night. This is food to impress.

In the early edition I was shown, there was a gorgeous photo for every single dish – and again, that’s what makes it so difficult to get through, you just get stuck on the beauty of the pictures and wondering what these magical dishes will taste like.

Early in the book Ronnen talks of his Crossroads restaurant, and he makes a big deal about not using meat substitutes, just pure whole foods. When I told a vegan friend of mine about this book she says she went to Crossroads for her birthday last year and the menu was heavy on the Gardein dishes.
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