Book Review: The Voluptuous Vegan

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More than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals by Myra Kornfeld and George Minot

Reviewed by Sarah Harwood

Those who have waited so patiently over the past couple of months for me to relinquish all fifty-or-so veg cookbooks back to the public library system know that I’m a bit of a hopeless cookbook hoarder. Usually I’m pretty conscientious about due dates, but I’ve been known to rack up late fines buying time to try “just one more” recipe. Almost always, I end up buying these books. The Voluptuous Vegan was added to my collection in this way several years ago, and it’s still one of my favourites.

Myra Kornfeld and George Minot deserve many high-fives for writing a gourmet, easy-to-follow cookbook for people who are looking for more than the redundant lasagna, guacamole or hummus formulas that fill too many vegan cookbooks. “We all need to feed our souls,” Kornfeld writes in the book’s introduction. “A person who thinks about satisfying his or her soul is likely to feel more nourished and healthy than someone who treats nourishment as a mere technical problem. … The Voluptuous Vegan is about pampering yourself with luscious, healthy food.”

Adventurous recipes are organized by menus that include appetizers, balanced main courses, side dishes and desserts. One of the drool-inducing menus I (and many a dinner-party guest) have fallen in love with is mesclun with raspberry vinaigrette, seitan bourguignonne, and mashed potatoes with parsnips (p. 166). Accompanying each menu is a particularly practical “cook’s notes” summary that provides a game plan for simultaneously preparing the menu items so that everything is completed together, just in time for supper. As well, the book’s glossary of terms, ingredients and techniques is valuable and fascinating. Did you know orecchiette means “ear-shaped pasta”? When should you use a roll cut versus a chiffonade?

For cooks who like a little challenge, a clean design and a lot of flavour in the kitchen, this book is a must have. Order it from the library at your own risk!

Sarah hails from a ridiculously small logging and mining town in central British Columbia that fills her with nostalgia and an affinity for the unusual. In May 2010, she and her good friend Shelyn Somani created GP Vegan Cooking Classes, and they’ve been teaching the joys of botanical-based cooking ever since. Visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/gpvegan.

Crimson Cabbage Borscht recipe : http://guidedsynergy.ca/archives/1137

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