It’s always good to know if your dinner guests have any dietary restrictions. I think we have become quite comfortable dealing with the gluten free and vegetarian diets, whether those are health related choices or medical restrictions. But the word “vegan” still strikes fear in my heart, and maybe yours too, wondering what on earth I could cook with a no-animal-products-whatsoever consideration!
Blogger, self-trained chef, and food photographer Angela Liddon comes to the rescue with a creative and lovely cookbook brimming with great ideas and recipes using wholesome plant-based foods. Click on her name to see her blog. In addition to being meat and dairy free, Liddon’s recipes are also mostly free of gluten, soy, and processed foods. What’s left you might ask? Well, how do these recipe names grab you:
Spa Day Bircher Muesli
Out-the-Door Chia Power Doughnuts
Cheerful Chocolate Smoothie
Mushroom-Walnut Pesto Tart
Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole
Festive Kale Salad with Sweet Apple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette & Pecan Parmesan
Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Easy Mushroom Gravy
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites
Raw Pumpkin-Maple Pie with Baked Oat Crust
Chilled Chocolate-Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust
This cookbook begins with a helpful introduction and discussion about non-dairy milk, sweeteners, fats/oils, salt, herbs and spices, nuts/seeds, beans/legumes, vegetable broth, soy products, acids, and chocolate. I think this section is important to take the mystery out of whole foods and encourage the cook to shop well and take advice on how to stock the pantry in order to tackle vegan dishes without much fuss. I think we have been bamboozled by the fast food industry into thinking that only unhealthy foods are quick and easy. There is also a helpful section on tools and equipment.
There is nothing fancy or unpronounceable in the things Liddon mentions for use. The ingredients are simple and available, especially in whole food stores. And if you are not actually vegan yourself, you could use non-vegan ingredients to make the same recipes. You can substitute cheese for nutritional yeast (an inactive, dead form of yeast not to be confused with brewer’s yeast which lends a cheesy, nutty flavour to vegan recipes), or throw in some meat if you want.
What I love about this book is the creative food combinations and gorgeous photographs. My daughter gave the book to me (Thanks Kristin!) and she says the recipes that she tried were simple, wholesome, and accessible. I am excited to road-test and experiment with them myself!