By Emily Mainquist

Emily Mainquist has been baking delicious vegan desserts in Baltimore, Maryland, for several years. Her creations are sold in numerous stores, as well as on a cart in a local shopping mall. Recipes for her vegan treats are now published in a new cookbook called Sweet Vegan

The first chapter includes Breakfast Sweets, such as Cinnamon Cranberry Muffins, Gluten- Free Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Bread Squares, and Peach Biscuits. The next chapter features Sweets in Crusts, including Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, Fruit Pizza, and Pumpkin Pie.

Chapter 3 puts Cakes of All Kinds in the spotlight. Tempting choices include Red Velvet Cake, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes, and PB&J Cupcakes. Chapter 4 concentrates on Cookies, Brownies, and Bars, such as Almond Snickerdoodles, Raw Cinnamon Raisin Cookies, Peanut Butter Brownies, and Raspberry Chocolate Bars.

Finally, Chapter 5 features Everything Sweet In Between, including Raw Melon Soup, Peppermint Bark, Toffee Squares, Pretzel Rods, and Tiramisu.

Readers will appreciate the beautiful color photos throughout this book. Nutritional analyses are not provided.

Sweet Vegan(ISBN 978-1-906868-35- 2) is published by Kyle Books and retails for $18.95. Look for this book in your favorite bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Betsy DiJulio

The Blooming Platter Cookbookcaught my eye due to its unique offerings and focus on fresh produce. The 175 vegan recipes are divided by course and by season.

The Starters chapter includes Red Lentil-Pistachio Spread, Knock-Off-Amole (guacamole made with fresh peas instead of avocado), and Seitan Pâté with Sautéed Pears. The Salads section shines with Blackberry and Corn Salad, Grilled Romaine Hearts with Five-Spice and Lime-Roasted Cashews, and Red Beans and Rice Salad with Cajun Vinaigrette.

Either the Parsnip-Cardamom Soup with Hazelnuts or the Spanakopita Soup with Phyllo Croutons would make a terrific meal by itself. However, you could easily add Chinese Tempeh Lettuce Wraps, Apricot-Studded Date-Walnut Spread Sandwiches, Spicy Baja Tacos, or Roasted Butternut Pizza with Caramelized Onions and truly have a feast.

Of course, you’ll want to finish off your meal with some desserts. Enjoy the Macadamia Shortbread Tart with Lemon Mousse and Fresh Berries, the Chocolate-Plum Clafouti Cake, the Cranberry Crumble with Rosemary-Pecan Streusel, the Baked Apple Baklava with Cider Sauce, and much more.

The Blooming Platter Cookbook (ISBN 978-0-9800131-3-9) is published by Vegan Heritage Press. It is 210 pages and retails for $18.95. Look for this book in your favorite bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Lindsay S. Nixon

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have a cookbook other than a vegan dessert book arrive in our office for review. Believe me, I have nothing against an occasional treat, but the fact is that vegans should also eat a variety of healthful foods. The Happy Herbivore helps to achieve this.

This cookbook features more than 175 fat-free and lowfat vegan recipes. You can start off your day with a Breakfast Burrito, Eggnog French Toast, Brown Rice Pancakes, and Cajun Home Fries.

If you’re looking for some dishes to warm you up, try Aztec Corn Soup, African Kale and Yam Soup, Tortilla Soup, Red Lentil Dal, and Chili Sans Carne.

For lunch, you might want to prepare the Mushroom Burgers or the Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas. And if you’re searching for quick one-pot dinner ideas, you can try Seitan Pot Roast, Chickpeas and Dumplings, or Mexican Cabbage.

Other fantastic recipes include Corn Pudding, Maple-Glazed Vegetables, Baked Onion Rings, Low-Country Cucumber Salad, and Charleston Red Rice.

Readers will find many gorgeous color photos throughout this cookbook. Nutritional analyses are provided, as well as symbols indicating whether each recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, quick to prepare, and/or kid-friendly.

The Happy Herbivore(ISBN 978-1- 935618-12-6) is published by BenBella Books and retails for $19.95. Look for it at your favorite bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Jack Norris, RD, and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD

This book’s subtitle says it all— “Everything You Need to Know to be Healthy and Fit on a Plant- Based Diet.” From details about vegan protein, vitamin B12, and calcium needs, to chapters on vegan diets through the life cycle, to an inspiring explanation about why vegan diets are the way to go, Jack Norris and Ginny Messina have produced a highly readable, information-packed book about vegan nutrition. Vegan for Life features a conversational style and lots of practical information. I was particularly fascinated by the favorite dinners that 20 of Ginny and Jack’s vegan friends described. (Full disclosure: One of my favorite dinners is included.)

The beauty of this book is that it can be read (and reread) on different levels. Vegans who want to make sure they’re covering all their nutrient needs will appreciate the tables of good protein sources, essential fats, and many vitamins and minerals. Summaries of key scientific research and explanations of different types of research are helpful for those interested in knowing the ‘why’ behind recommendations. And if you’re mainly interested in what to make for your next meal, you’ve come to the right place—menus, cooking tips, and meal ideas are plentiful. I highly recommend Vegan for Life—for new vegans, established vegans, people curious about vegan diets ... It’s essential reading!

Vegan for Life(ISBN 978-0-7382- 1493-1) is published by Da Capo Press. This book has 304 pages and retails for $17. Look for it in your local bookstore. Reviewed by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.


By Ani Phyo

Ani’s Raw Food Asiaserves up a creative array of raw vegan dishes. You can start off with a refreshing beverage, such as a Mango Lassi or Pomegranate Cocktail. Follow up your drink with a Rainbow Salad with Tahini Dressing, a Green Papaya Salad, or an Arame and Nori Salad with Micro Greens and Cabbage.

In this book, you’ll find some recipes for kimchi (pickled Korean vegetables) and namuls (seasoned vegetable sides traditionally served with rice in Korea). Additional options for side dishes are the Indian-inspired Kreamed Curry Saag Spinach or Japanese Vegetable Tempura with Orange Lemongrass Dipping Sauce.

Several chilled soups, including Coconut Tomato Soup from Thailand and Miso Soup with Spinach and Bean Sprouts, are featured. Also, sauces are prevalent in this book, so it was not surprising to find dishes such as Corn Fritters with Hot and Sour Cucumber Dipping Sauce and Spring Rolls with Mango Dipping Sauce.

Instead of traditional rice, Ani uses kelp noodles, as well as ‘noodles’ made by using a spiral slicer on various vegetables and coconut noodles made by slicing Thai baby coconuts into long strands. When a dish calls for rice, Ani uses mainly light colored vegetables, such as turnips, daikon, or jicama, chopped into small pieces.

The book ends with creative raw desserts like Coconut Balls in Sweet Rose Kream with Pistachios, Five-Spiced Poached Pears Parfait with Candied Walnuts, and Sweet Sesame Halvah.

Ani’s Raw Food Asia (ISBN 978-0- 7382-1457-3) is published by Da Capo Lifelong Books and retails for $22.50. Look for this hardcover book with beautiful color photographs in your local library, at your favorite bookstore, or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Steve Watkins

This young adult novel centers on Iris Wight, a 16-year-old vegetarian who has deep empathy towards animals. Iris’ mother is not in the picture, and when her father dies, Iris is uprooted from her home in Maine and sent to live in North Carolina with her Aunt Sue and Cousin Book. Sue raises goats on her farm, and Iris quickly becomes irritated with the way her aunt and cousin mistreat their animals.

The fact that Iris is vegetarian is woven throughout the narrative. Readers will follow Iris’ struggles as she lives among meat-eaters, and they will root her on as the story progresses.

What Comes After (ISBN 978-0-7636- 4250-1) is published by Candlewick Press and retails for $16.99. Look for this hardcover book in your local library, at your favorite bookstore, or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.