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Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Enter this America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and a new resolve to do better for the planet and my personal health. America’s Test Kitchen material is always top notch in my opinion so I’m a little biased. I decided I wanted to make a commitment to a meat and dairy free life a few weeks ago and this book has really been invaluable in helping make that transition.
In terms of the complexity or “weirdness” of ingredients they call for I’d rate them a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, meaning you’re going to be able to make most of the stuff in here with items you can find at your local grocery store. The weirdest it gets is miso paste (find it on Amazon) and nutritional yeast but that stuff is everywhere nowadays (Bob’s Red Mill sells it in bags or your local co-op will have it in the bulk section).
So the book gets points for not using a bunch of weird stuff that’s hard to track down and you’ll use once and then pitch the rest of. Note that if you have a nut allergy you won’t be able to fully take advantage of the recipes here as many of them call for cashew-based sauces and nut milk.
Second thing is the quality of the recipes. They’re good, and again, not WEIRD. A lot of vegan cooking approaches of old seemed to focus a lot on creating faux meat substitutes like “facon” or a non-beef ground beef. That is not the focus of this book at all. They have created meat and dairy free recipes that are incredibly tasty and satisfying where you don’t miss the meat and you’re not trying to work around a weird meat substitute on your plate either.
They emphasize getting comfortable with and liberally using a variety of beans, grains and vegetables instead of trying to find ways to replicate meat. The book gets major points from me for focusing on enhancing the flavors and textures of the products vegans DO eat rather than trying to imitate the products they DON’T eat. That’s the best way to feel fulfilled on this kind of diet rather than frustrated and they nailed it.
The book itself is beautiful. I think there’s a picture for every recipe and in my opinion that’s a MUST for a cookbook, and especially a VEGAN cookbook. When someone like me is trying a new way of eating it really helps to be able to see what the finished product can/will look like for inspiration and motivation. They also have a helpful and brief section at the beginning in typical ATK fashion schooling you on the basics of beans, grains, and nut milks. For a beginner this is a very helpful reference - it is succinct and clear.
Lastly, you DO need some equipment to get the best results with this cookbook and with any vegan cooking really. If you’ve been trying to eat vegan but it takes you hours to prepare a meal or the sauce just never turns out quite right you just need to invest in a Cuisinart and a Vitamix. Don’t skimp on that stuff as it will make a WORLD of difference in your ability to cook efficiently and get the right flavors and textures. To fully take advantage of the recipes in this book it also helps to have an ice cream maker.
I haven’t been disappointed yet with the results. We’ve made:
- Black bean burgers with cumin and pub sauce (actually, we’ve made this twice and the second time we doubled the batch to freeze half of the patties for later)
- Red lentil soup
- Fettuccine Alfredo (pictured) - it gets its rich and creamy sauce from miso, cauliflower, cashews and almond milk! You won’t mistake it for a parm-based dish but you also won’t miss the parmesan cheese at all. This is flavorful and light but filling, the complete opposite of the heavy cream and cheese based alfredo I used to eat. All 25 feet of my intestines thanked me for hours after eating this meal.
- Macaroni and Cheese - similar to the fettuccine, this recipe uses a nut and cauliflower base for its cheese sauce plus some "nooch" (nutritional yeast). It was light and satisfying. It came together in about 20 minutes from ingredients we had on-hand, making it an obvious choice for rotation on the week night meal schedule.
- Baja coconut cauliflower tacos (pictured) - this was surprisingly good...the cauliflower florets are dipped in coconut milk then dredged with coconut flakes and panko and roasted. They get incredibly creamy and actually are reminiscent of coconut shrimp but BETTER.
- Crispy Orange Seitan (pictured) - The crisp cornmeal/cornstarch crust and sweet orange sauce are the stars here and as such we did not miss the chicken. Bonus: 1 ounce of seitan has 21 grams of protein while 1 ounce of chicken only has 8 grams protein!
- Pesto Pizza with Fennel and Cauliflower (pictured) - A proliferation of basil in my garden had me thumbing through the book looking for something to use it in. Enter this pizza. If your hangup about eating vegan is giving up cheese-smothered pizza (hey, we all have our foods we're scared to live without!) then you really must try this recipe and you will be a believer. As with every other vegan meal I've assembled the absence of meat and cheese means other ingredients have room to shine. I did slightly modify this to add a cashew cream "mozzarella" drizzle on top for some additional creaminess. You could also use their cashew ricotta (recipe on p. 27) to add a little extra cheesy flavor to this.
- Coconut ice cream - we did this one as instructed first, then did a second batch and added a quarter cup of unsweetened baking cocoa and it was AMAZING (pictured). As a bonafide ice cream junkie (an evening wasn’t complete without a big bowl of rich, creamy dairy ice cream!) I can confidently say I’d eat this the rest of my life and never feel compelled to touch another bowl of “real” ice cream. I had tried a couple of other vegan ice cream recipes from other sources prior to this and I can confidently tell you nothing else I tried came close to the lightness of the texture here. Other ice creams come out flatter in flavor and much denser. While the coconut flavor comes through, I’d say this has a texture comparable to Breyers and that’s difficult to achieve with a non-dairy base.
All in all I would highly recommend this book for a prominent place in your collection if you’re a seasoned vegan looking for some quality recipes that you don’t need to “tinker” with and especially if you’re a newbie vegan looking to get a solid and positive start to help you make the transition.
Intro - has some great ideas on how to boost flavor in vegan recipes.
Soups Stew and Cilis - see comments above
Burgers Sandwiches and Pizza - the pizzas look amazing.
Main Dish Salads and Bowls
Stir fries Curries and Noodles
Snacks and Apps
One thing to note. The recipes are not marked for gluten free.
I will update my review as I dig in further.
My brother and I decided to enthusiastically cook every dish in this book Julie & Julia style. So far a few standouts are the chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, chickpea salad, creamless creamy tomato soup, pinto bean beet burger, and I could just drink the ginger miso sauce! The brownies were by far the best vegan recipe I have ever made.
Kudos to ATK for NOT using crazy, exotic, hard to find ingredients. All the dishes call for straight forward ingredients. I was also impressed not to find one recipe that included vegan "butter".
I am looking forward to a long and fulfilling relationship with this cookbook. I feel I could serve any dish in this book to my omnivore friends with confidence.
Thank you Americas Test Kitchen for dipping your toe in the vegan cookbook pool, this book lives up to your stellar reputation.