Veganissimo: Beautiful Vegan Food

vegan cookbook

Veganissimo is a comprehensive new vegan cookery book by Sydney-based vegan advocate Leigh Drew.

I’m liking

One of my good friends is a vegan and she comes to stay often. I love having her with us but I always have a bit of a panic a couple of days before she arrives because we are a bit of a meat and three vege household. Armed with Veganissimo, I’m looking forward to wowing her on her next visit. Drew has succeeded in her aspiration to showcase the variety found in vegan cuisine. The book covers all aspects of vegan cooking, including sauces and dressings, breakfast and lunch ideas, main meals, desserts and baking. The recipes are flavourful and filling. In our household the tomato and mushroom risotto was a particular hit and there was not a crumb of the Hazelnut Chocolate Torte left over.

The book also has several useful introductory chapters which explain the nutritional aspects of a vegan diet and provide information about key ingredients, including pulses, whole grains and soy products. Never heard of tempeh? Don’t worry, there’s an explanation and a picture.

Things that made me go hmmmm

To tackle many of the recipes in this book, you’ll need to have time on your side. Some of the recipes have alarmingly large lists of ingredients, some of which you may have to visit a specialty store to locate. The combined preparation and cooking times of the “main course” recipes are generally over an hour with many requiring closer to two hours. And while there are recipes in the book marked as taking 30 minutes or less, none of these are main meals.

Historically vegan cuisine has had a bit of a PR problem with many in the mainstream viewing it as alarmingly alternative. As a result, some vegans feel a strong need to convince us their food really is delicious. It’s possible there was a little of that going on when the chapters of this book were named: There’s “Beguiling Breakfasts”, “Splendid Salads”, “Pleasing Pasta” and “Ravishing Rice”. All that alliteration just isn’t necessary. The recipes stand on their own.

The conclusion

Veganissimo is a good resource for anyone who wants to observe a full time vegan diet in a nutritionally balanced way. It would also be useful for anyone who wants to cut back on their consumption of animal products on an occasional basis without compromising on flavor.

Veganissimo is published by New Holland and retails for around $49.99.

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