The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Book

the ultimate vegan breakfast cookbook.pngThe Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Book: 80 Mouthwatering Plant-Based Recipes You’ll Want to Wake Up For

by Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer

Each morning, I eat and enjoy breakfast, but I have a limited stable of alternatives–cereal, toast, maybe pancakes on a special day. To expand my repertoire, I was excited to read The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Book, although I was a little skeptical. How could breakfasts fill an entire book? Wouldn’t there be a lot of repetition? I was delightfully surprised to have my expectations falsified.

Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer, authors of The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Book write Eat This!, the leading vegan food blog in Germany. Overall, the book is beautifully designed with lovely photographs, many of them taken from above the dishes which is something I don’t remember seeing in many cookbooks but which offered an enticing view of the dishes. The recipes themselves are easy to follow with clear instructions, and it’s surprising that this is a translation from German, the English is so seamless. Most of the ingredients are straightforward and easily accessible, though I was also introduced to maca powder and kala namak (black salt). Interestingly, the authors have opted not to include nutritional information due to problems in the methodology of calculating calories. Instead, the recipes are labeled as “light,” “balanced,” or “comfort food.” If relevant, the dishes are tagged as sugar, oil, and/or soy free, and tips provide helpful alternative ingredients or serving options.

Like most cookbooks, this one has introductory pages with pantry staples and equipment suggestions. Personally, I don’t drink tea or coffee, so those sections weren’t relevant to me, but the authors also had information on nuts, berries, and seeds, focusing on those with high nutritional value. I learned that raspberries are one of the oldest cultivated fruits in Europe. The authors explain that their recipes utilize quinoa, spelt and rye, oats, millet, and black rice. In the Tips and Tricks section, they include interesting information about breakfast traditions around the world.

I found so many recipes in this book I wanted to try! The smoothies look so colorful and delicious, they are all appealing. The “Buttermilk” Shake with Orange and Almonds look especially good to me and uses only three ingredients! In the Breakfast to Go section, I want to make nearly every dish. I am eager to try the “Egg Salad” Sandwich and the Stuffed Parthas, a traditional breakfast in North India. One-Bowl-Wonders includes porridges, yes, even a chocolate-based one! There are also smoothie bowls which are interesting if not to my taste. Of course the Sweeter Side of Mornings appeals to me, with the Glazed Donuts taking center stage. The Weekend Brunch section offers the intriguing dishes Breakfast Frittata, Hash Brown BLTs, and Pesto Bread. A final section on Pantry staples provides instructions for rolls and bread, both sweet (e.g. hazelnut) and savory (e.g. Cashew Cheese) spreads, and “meat.”

With The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Book, I can rescue myself from my breakfast doldrums! I think it’s a great addition to any kitchen cookbook shelf but definitely something vegans should check out, especially if you are like me an in a rut with breakfast food.

Thank you to Netgally and The Experiment, LLC for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Vegan 8

The Vegan 8With 100 delicious recipes, The Vegan 8 by Brandi Doming offers simple, healthy dishes made from eight ingredients or less (not including salt, pepper, or water).Beautiful photographs accompany the scrumptious recipes making the book a feast for the eyes, not just the palate.

Right away, the cookbook demonstrates its uniqueness. The “My Pantry” section is different than other cookbooks providing comprehensive information on spices, non-dairy milk and yogurt, liquid flavorings, flours, nut butter, and starches. Here, Doming indicates which are available commercially and recommended brands and which ones best made from scratch. Many of the descriptions included insight that was new and fascinating to me!

Every chapter is filled with enticing recipes written in a conversational style and labeled nut-free, gluten-free, or oil free as relevant along with the expected prep and cook time. The dishes utilize ingredients in interesting and unconventional ways I had never imagined before such as Pizza Quesadillas using mashed potatoes. Doming emphasizes non-commercial food for the most part but when an ingredient needs to be purchased, she recommends brands and where to purchase them.

Notes for recipes provide very clear information about what substitutions are possible or not advisable and give insight into what gives the dish its signature characteristics such as creaminess. Tips offer ways to enhance recipes, rework them based on allergies (or lack thereof), or to make them more kid-friendly.

I am a disaster in the kitchen, and some of the recipes intimidated me a little because of the preparations involved (or the need for a Vitamix), but I was still very interested in trying them. While I found dishes in every chapter that I wanted to attempt (the soups look particularly creamy and the sides delicious, particularly Almond-Coated Asparagus with Dijon-Tahini Sauce), I thought the Easy Entrees and Staples chapters were most relevant to me. The chickpea dishes–Protein-Packed Curry Chickpeas and Sweet Potato Rounds and Spicy and Smoky Chickpeas in Creamy Tomato Sauce–immediately caught my attention. The Ultimate BBQ Bean Ball Sub looks like a tasty sandwich from one of my favorite vegan restaurants. From Staples, I wanted to make the Emergency BBQ Sauce and the Sesame Teriyaki Sauce posthaste. The Desserts chapter offers options for every taste–chocolate lovers, peanut butter fanatics, fruit fans, or gingerbread enthusiasts.

This cookbook will delight vegans and non-vegans alike and provide strategies for making tastier, healthier dishes.

Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Book Group for providing an electronic advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

Vegan Yack Attack on the Go

Vegan Yack Attack on the Go: Plant-Based Recipes for Your Fast-Paced Vegan Lifestyle

Jackie Sobon


Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am a disaster in the kitchen. I don’t enjoy cooking or baking, and I often screw up recipes. When I saw this book, with a mission to provide “a wide variety of meals that are fun, tasty, and quick to put together,” I thought, “This book gets me!”

Like many vegan cookbooks, the introduction begins with a list of essential pantry staples and necessary kitchen equipment (nothing a normally stocked kitchen is likely to be without).

Vegan Yack Attack on the Go includes a number of delicious-sounding recipes paired with stunning food photography. I haven’t had quiche since I became vegan over ten years ago, and the Crustless Quiche Bites caught my attention.

I would like to eat some of the White Bean Rosemary Hummus this minute! For me, the thirty minute or less chapter is perfect…One Pot Pasta, Summer Stew, and Butternut Mac and Trees are on my menu. The Baked Balsamic Tofu over Mixed Greens makes my mouth water.

The cookbook includes food I would never image but want to make: Campfire Banana Splits, Pastry-Wrapped Carrot Dogs, and Peanut Butter S’mores Dip are treats to take to barbeques or pot luck dinners. Few cookbooks devote a chapter to these dishes that can be taken to foodcentric social events, and it’s nice to have a wide selection here.

The instructions for the dishes are clear and simple. I think even I could be successful following these recipes! None of the ingredients seem obscure or difficult to find in a grocery store. What makes the cookbook unique, though, is the emphasis on simplicity, meal planning and making in advance, and portability.

Sobon provides guides that appear with each recipe: less than ten ingredients (definitely up my alley), one-pan (all right!), portable, make-ahead, and sugar/soy/nut/oil/gluten free.

I definitely think this will be a much-used cookbook in our house!

National Donut Day

Often, these national recognition days are established by industry groups promoting a product category. When I looked up the origin of National Donut Day, I was surprised to find that the day was first recognized in 1938 by the Salvation Army to commemorate the volunteers (“doughgirls”) who distributed donuts to soldiers on the front lines (Fagan, 2009), although another source (Shanoon, 2014) refers to the volunteers as “donut lassies.” One blog recounts a story in which a POW in Hanoi during the Vietnam War convinced his captors that the Marine Corps birthday was known as National Donut Day (Dolbow, 2009). The guards were moved to serve sticky buns to the prisoners during November 1968.

Big Honking Donut at VooDoo DoughnutsNational Donut Day or not, I love donuts. I remember them from quick stops at the E-Z Shop convenience store before school and as a treat on Saturday mornings after sleepovers with my best friend from sixth grade, Betsy R. When I lived in Oklahoma and had a long commute to work, I occasionally stoped for locally made treats.

Since I became vegan, though, I haven’t eaten donuts so much (which is perhaps a blessing). If I have the opportunity, though, I don’t pass it by. I had a delicious vegan glazed donut at Rise Above in St. Catheriene’s Ontario a few years ago. When a particular strong and unyielding craving struck about two years ago, I ordered a dozen through Vegan Essentials.

Last summer, visiting Portland, Oregon, I nearly cried with joy to learn that the famous Voodoo Doughnut offered a wide variety of vegan pastries. (Why no bakery in Ithaca offers vegan donuts is a mystery to me. Another instance of ITH being overrated, though I digress.) Apparently, the bakery has been featured on a number of foodie shows and publications. Consequently, during the day, the line extended down the block and doubled back amounting to an hour or so wait. The line did not deter me. I ate nearly 300 it seems, so it’s probably good that I was only there a week. The flavors I tried were as good if not better than non-vegan donuts. I can still smell the shop and taste the frosting! If I could teleport there right this minute, I would. They’re right, the donuts are magic. Nom nom nom.

Variety of Vegan Donuts at Voodoo Doughnuts
Store front Voodoo Doughnuts
Store front Voodoo Doughnuts


Bring it on Down to Veganville

Justin Timberlake – Bring It On Down 2… by IdolxMuzic

I watched SNL last night, and I must admit that during the “Bring it on Down to Veganville” sketch, I was waiting for Justin Timberlake, wearing a tofu costume, to succumb to the pressures to eat sausage and then abandon his veg ways. With stories on NPR like, “Why Bacon is a Gateway Meat for Vegetarians” and vegans and vegetarians often the butt of jokes in popular culture, is is any surprise of my skepticism? Or any wonder that when I told George this morning that SNL had a vegan skit last night, he responded by saying, “how did they make fun of you?” To my delight and amazement, it was the Sausage Depot shill who had a change of heart, saying, “Oh god, what have I done. I’ve been eating Babe’s grandchildren for years. I’m a monster” after Timberlake, with complete sincerity, said, “If you knew how meat was raised, you wouldn’t eat it.” Today, my Facebook newsfeed is dominated by shares of the skit among vegans who are beyond the moon to see a positive representation of vegans that is funny and without sanctimony. The skit also highlights the charisma of Timberlake, who makes even a tofu costume seem sexy.

NYC Vegetarian Fest Swag

Many well-known vegan vendors had booths at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. The only thing I wanted but didn’t find was a vegan donut. Otherwise, as you can see, I came home with many goodies (some of which I ate on the bus home). The festival was packed with speakers on three stages, but the people I was most interested in seeing were scheduled for Sunday. Because of a work commitment, I had to leave NYC early enough to be in Ithaca Sunday evening. I did hear Zoe Weil, of the Institute for Humane Education. I’ve done a few classes through the institute, and Zoe’s presence is palpable, so it was nice to see her in person.

I was lucky to have purchased a VIP ticket in advance, which allowed me faster entry into the festival. I heard that some people in the general admission line waited up to two hours for admittance. It was nice to see so many people interested in being vegan!