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Veg out with new vegan cookbooks

Vegan cooking is made easy with new books from acclaimed chefs and experts

November 24, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST

The vegan lifestyle has been popularized among celebrities, blogs, restaurants and grocery stores in the past decade, but adopting healthy eating habits is not a new idea. In a letter written one year before his death in 1954, scientist and innovator Albert Einstein said: “So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but I am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.”

Whether or not we think about our carnivorous roots, there’s proof that a vegan diet helps sustain health. A 2009 study by the American Dietetic Association says vegan and vegetarian diets can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, colon and lung cancer, diabetes and preventing obesity. Veganism is a type of a vegetarian diet that eliminates all meat and seafood products from meals. Veganism requires stricter diet regulations and excludes meat, eggs, dairy and all other animal-derived products.

But taste buds needn’t be sacrificed when switching to a plant-based and alternative-protein diet. Five new vegan cookbooks will help veteran vegans sustain their diets or aid newbies in their diet transition.

Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant
Authors: Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos and Jorge Pineda
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Price: $17

Candle 79, a vegan restaurant in New York City, celebrates its ability to appeal to vegans, vegetarians, omnivores and carnivores alike with the Candle 79 Cookbook. It’s a response to mass requests for recipes from restaurant-goers after ingesting the seasonal and sustainable meals made with locally grown and organic ingredients. Co-owner Joy Pierson, Executive Chef Angel Ramos and Pastry Chef Jorge Pineda compile a guide with recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, brunches, desserts, cocktails and wine pairings, such as their Chocolate Mousse Tower and Cucumber-Basil Martini.

Vegan Holiday Kitchen: More than 200 Delicious, Festive Recipes for Special Occasions
Authors: Nava Atlas, Susan Voisin
Publisher: Sterling
Price: $14.78

Creator of, author Nava Atlas is a veteran vegan writer. She has written and published nine previous cookbooks and focuses on healthy meals for children, shopping for seasonal and organic produce and creating delicious holiday meals for Thanksgiving, Passover, Hanukkah and Christmas. In Vegan Holiday Kitchen, Atlas provides more than 200 recipes for healthy celebrations, including ravioli, green chili corn bread and cashew and chocolate mousse pie.

The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour
Author: Kathy Hester
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Price: $13.59

The title says it all. Kathy Hester includes vegan recipes fit for a slow-cooking method and a fast-paced lifestyle. The recipes are presented so the chef prepares ingredients at night and compiles the recipe in the morning before heading off to work, school or daily errands. Hester, creator of the blog “Healthy Slow Cooking,” includes recipes for hot chocolate, dumplings, lasagna, curry and pudding in the book.

Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone
Author: Ann Gentry
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Price: $15.83

Ann Gentry created this cookbook based on her experiences as the owner of Real Food Daily, one of the only restaurants in Los Angeles that serves an entirely vegan menu. The menu items are compilations of foods grown exclusively with organic farming methods. Gentry also uses her insight as a mother to provide more than 100 recipes for finicky eaters and families on a budget.

Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites: Lip-Smacking, Belly-Filling, Home-Style Recipes Guaranteed to Keep Everyone —Even the Meat Eaters — Fantastically Full
Authors: Celine Steen, Joni Marie Newman
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Price: $13.45

This collaboration between Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, the two authors of the 2009 cookbook 500 Vegan Recipes, aims to prove to non-vegans that eating plant-based meals is delightfully delicious. Their new cookbook includes recipes for indulgences such as truffle fries, banana split waffles, five-cheese baked macaroni and cheese, burritos, white chocolate almond bars and peanut butter rocky-road pound cakes.

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