Vegan Cookbooks | Tasty Variety

From sweets to Vietnamese cooking to exploring veganism, these three books offer a wide range of recipes and approaches.

Avril, Romain & Richelle Tablang. The Vegan Bridge: Adding Plant-Based Flair to the Carnivore’s Kitchen. Whitecap. Jun. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9781770503595. pap. $34.95. COOKING

Written with a focus on making meals inclusive to the widest possible range of eaters, this first cookbook from Avril and Tablang differs from many flexitarian or plant-based approaches because the authors do not identify as vegan and instead see themselves as developing recipes that are accessible to all, regardless of dietary preferences or allergies. The authors focus on building celebratory, restaurant-quality meals from vegan ingredients. Their recipes are creative and, at times, elaborate in ways that reflect their backgrounds as French-trained chefs. From appetizers and breads (including baguettes) to side dishes, showstopping centerpiece meals, and vegan staples such as smoothies and salads, even the most mundane of their recipes have a stylish elegance. VERDICT With an extensive overview of vegan ingredients, a discussion of tools and techniques, and helpful illustrations throughout, this cookbook makes plant-based eating sophisticated yet approachable and will be a useful companion for cooks interested in exploring more vegan dishes or creating special-event meals for individuals with multiple dietary restrictions, and for long-time vegetarians seeking out carnivore-friendly feasts to share.

Le, Helen. Vegan Vietnamese: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes To Enjoy Every Day. Rock Point. Sept. 2023. 184p. ISBN 9781631069307. $24.99. COOKING

From the founder of the popular video cooking channel on YouTube Helen’s Recipes, this cookbook is big on flavor—along with foundational knowledge about the ingredients and techniques indigenous to Vietnamese cooking. With a copious cupboard of pantry staples defined (as well as tips for how to veganize ubiquitous ingredients requisite for the Vietnamese flavor profiles that tend to rely on fish), the book gives even the most hesitant cook the tools to take on everything from pickled vegetables and bánh to soups and stir-fry recipes. The cookbook is beautifully illustrated, with visual sumptuousness that delivers the flair and flavor of the recipes. Le (Simply Pho) incorporates some of her own story in the introduction and recipe headnotes, thereby giving readers insight into the why behind her veganism and her return to Vietnamese cooking, lending it the personal appeal of good food writing as well. VERDICT A welcome contribution to the increasing number of global vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, with options that won’t leave meat-eaters longing for that fish sauce flavor.

Roberts, Charlotte. Decadent Vegan Cakes: Outstanding Plant-Based Recipes for Layer Cakes, Sheet Cakes, Cupcakes and More. Page Street. Jun. 2023. 168p. ISBN 9781645679752. pap. $23.99. COOKING

London-based Roberts is the recipe developer and photographer behind the popular vegan dessert blog Charley’s Health. Her elegant aesthetic is evident on every page of her first cookbook. The recipes showcase her love of vibrant pastels, fruit-forward flavors, and beautifully swirled vegan buttercreams in ways sure to inspire bakers to experiment in innovative ways with alternative flours, egg and dairy substitutions, and vegan sweeteners. She’s transformed classic recipes that might appear on The Great British Bake Off (Black Forest gateau and a veganized Victoria sandwich cake), along with chai-infused cupcakes, passion fruit loaf cake, and cakes for seasonal celebrations. Her flavors lean toward traditional British combinations, with some nods to U.S. palettes, including a red velvet cake that is naturally colored and sweetened with beetroot. Each recipe is flawless, and the instructions are straightforward, although some techniques could be too advanced for new bakers or those unfamiliar with vegan substitutions’ properties. VERDICT Highly recommended for skilled bakers and plant-based or vegan home cooks in search of showstopper desserts. 

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