If you would prefer a printed softbound version of When Vegans (Almost) Rule the World, you can pick one up for just $11.99 at Amazon. Kindle eBook coming soon!

Meet America's First Vegan Superhero - The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero
Available in either softbound or Kindle/Nook/etc. eBook at Amazon

Vegan Street: The Community Web Portal of Marla Rose and John Beske

Book Reviews

One-Dish Vegan
Book Review:
The Best of Vegan Cooking and Dining with Friends
I think that one of the little known perks about becoming a vegan is the awakening of the palate. So many people have told me over the years that they didn’t really know how much they loved food, as well as the staggering variety of flavors and textures available, until they went vegan. Isn’t that ironic? While on surface, vegan diets restrict, in reality, we find ourselves eating an incredible diversity of foods that we never knew existed just a year or two before. I’ve often thought that I would love to compare the food diaries of the average omnivore and the average vegan as I am certain that the herbivore would eat way more variety that his or her omnivorous counterpart who can, by definition, eat anything edible to humans.

Recently, I was reminded of the amazing abundance available to us when I received two cookbooks to review, both titles published by the distinguished animal advocacy non-profit organization, Friends of Animals. The Best of Vegan Cooking and Dining with Friends: The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine, written and compiled by Priscilla Feral, the President of FoA, and the second co-authored with Lee Hall. These are books that revel in luscious, seasonal natural foods, prepared just enough to bring out the best of their flavors. The recipes in both compilations span the globe, with what seems to be a particular love for Mediterranean cuisines, especially Italian. (Dining with Friends even includes a helpful section called “The Art of Preparing a Perfect Pasta,” a great primer for those of us who never had an Italian grandparent.)

I found both books to be excellent for either the experienced or the novice home cook, with simple instructions, vivid descriptions, abundant photography and very helpful glossaries. The recipes do seem to favor simpler preparations with shopping lists that are not extensive, expensive or reliant on rare ingredients, which makes them ideal also for those just beginning to dabble in plant-based cuisine, but there are also some beautiful show-stoppers here, too, like the impressive Vegetable Carousel Torte with Pommes Soufflés Filled with Peas in The Best of Vegan Cooking. With everything from salads and soup to entrées, desserts and baked goods - even including a section on risotto in The Best of Vegan Cooking, perfect for the gluten-free among us - you really cannot go wrong with either (or both) of these treasures.

Please consider supporting the fiercely independent Friends of Animals and their tireless work on behalf of animals by ordering these impressive cookbooks. With the holidays coming up, these are also the perfect gift for yourself or someone else who enjoys delicious, healthful but still tantalizing dishes.

Butternut Squash, White Bean and Kale Ragout

Serves 4-6

Adapted from The New York Times recipe. This stew is hearty, healthy and simply wonderful — a one pot meal.

1 large (3 pounds) butternut squash
2 tablespoons coconut oil 
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large leeks (white and light green parts only)
4 large garlic cloves minced (or use a garlic press)
2 teaspoons rosemary (fresh or dried)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth (or use vegan bouillon cubes and prepare according to instructions)
¾ pound kale, chopped (approximately 6 cups)
⅓ cup dried cranberries chopped (plus additional berries for garnish)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Dissolve vegan bouillon in hot water according to package instructions.
Peel squash, then halve squash and scoop out seeds. Cut flesh into 1-inch cubes.
Spread cubes out on a large rimmed baking sheet. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, syrup, 1 teaspoon vinegar, salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat; pour mixture over squash and toss to coat evenly. Roast, tossing occasionally, until pumpkin or squash is very tender and caramelized at edges, about 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, rosemary and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft and not at all browned, about 15 minutes. Add beans and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in kale. Simmer until kale is cooked down and very tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin or squash and chopped cranberries; season with remaining 1½  teaspoons vinegar and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with additional cranberries and a small pinch of sea salt. Serve.

© 2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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