I love it when cookbooks present vegan food as accessible — not weird hippie stuff (though that stuff has a special place in my heart, too), not recipes made with a long list of only-available-at-Whole-Foods ingredients, not dishes made with a bunch of fake meat. Don't get me wrong. I also love fake meat and hard-to-find ingredients (black salt is my JAM!). But when it comes to pushing veganism to the masses (and as an ethical vegan, that is my ultimate goal), we need cookbooks that won't scare away meat-eaters.
Real Food For Everyone: Vegan-Friendly Meals for Meat-Lovers, Vegetarians, and Vegans is one of those books. It's by Ann Gentry, owner of the world-famous Real Food Daily restaurant in L.A. This is a book that is truly designed for EVERYONE! (Bonus: Ann grew up in Memphis!!)
Here's what I mean by that: The focal point of Ann's recipes is fresh veggies. Yet this isn't a raw food cookbook. It's not even a uber-health book. It's just simple recipes made with veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, tempeh. There are very few processed ingredients, maybe some vegan mayo here or vegan cheese there. But those things are kept to a minimum.
Recipes like Black-Eyed Pea & Pepper Soup, Maple-Dijon Tempeh & Vegetable Stew, or One-Pot Vegetables with Tofu and Sesame Rice grace the pages, and they're accompanied by gorgeous full-color photos.
So many recipes called to me, but I kept coming back to the recipe for Hemp-Crusted Tofu Wrap with Grilled Vegetables and Walnut-Basil Pesto Mayonnaise.
Man, I'd really forgotten how awesome wraps are! It's like a burrito with sandwich fillings! These were stuffed with tofu that was coated in hemp seeds and lightly fried in a skillet. I prepared the grilled veggies on my indoor grill. And the walnut-basil pesto mayo was made with fresh basil, walnuts, miso, and vegan mayo. Together, these ingredients made for the perfect wrap filling.
I can't wait to try a few recipes from the breakfast chapter — Tofu Scramble with Avocado, Bacon, & Cheese (that's tempeh bacon and vegan cheese, of course!), Blueberry Corn Pancakes, and Sesame-Shiitake Tofu Frittata.
There are chapters on sandwiches (like the wrap above) and family-style salads (think Southwestern Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing and Agave-Chili Tortilla Strips). And there are lots of soups and stews (Tomato-Lemon Rice Soup, California-Style Gazpacho). And the entrees are truly impressive! The Pecan- and Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh with Coconut-Sweet Potato Puree would be perfect for any vegan/omni dinner party.
As for dessert, there are Double Chocolate Brownies, Almond-Jam Thumbprint Cookies, and the drool-worthy Vanilla and Chocolate Swirl Bundt Cake with Chocolate Fudge Glaze. Yum!
If you're looking to make the vegan switch yourself, or if you're looking for a book that offers recipes to please your mixed vegan/omni family, this is it. But even if, like me, you're already vegan and you're just feeding yourself everyday, you will still love this beautiful book!!