If someone gave me Happy Healthy Vegan Kitchen when I was a fresh faced nineteen year-old, off to university and bursting with idealism I would’ve become vegan much sooner. This cookbook is great for someone who is looking for simple recipes with a home-cooked, American feel (aka: your health conscious, college bound offspring). In her introduction, Kathy Patalsky focuses heavily on the benefits of becoming vegan. I found her anecdotes and quick asides a bit too “glowing-hippie-from-California” at times but most people who pick up a cookbook aren’t looking for a Pulitzer Prize winning narrative. It’s the food that counts.
There are over two-hundred and twenty recipes in Happy Healthy Vegan Kitchen. This leaves little room for photos. Personally, I prefer a cookbook with far fewer recipes and high-quality images. Pictures inspire me to go the extra mile in the kitchen. The photos that are featured in the cookbook are basic with minimal food-styling. This actually suits the recipes as they’re all pretty straightforward. Also, every recipe comes with nutritional information at the bottom of the page.
The recipes I tried included; coconut oil blueberry muffins (76), turmeric hemp white bean burgers (117), smokey paprika green bean salad with candied walnuts (170), creamy cashew pot-pie (218) and rainy day tomato soup (258). My two favourite recipes were the green bean salad and cashew pot-pie. Unfortunately, the blueberry muffin recipe could not cure me of my ineptitude when it comes to baking. I found it hard to follow and my muffins came out tasting really bitter. The cashew pot-pie was also an involved recipe but unlike the muffins it turned out beautifully. The cream sauce was amazing! As for the green bean salad, I plan on making it for my next Thanksgiving dinner.
Happy Healthy Vegan Kitchen is great for people interested in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle or at the very least keen to experiment with plant-based cooking. There are lots of helpful how-to’s and familiar classics, such as mac and cheese, that have been veganized. With so many recipes you’re bound to find something you like!
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