By Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda

Candle 79 is an upscale vegan restaurant in New York City, and its owners have always supported vegetarian and animal rights causes. Now, readers can prepare the establishment's delicious food in their own homes. The recipes and gorgeous photos in Candle 79 will certainly make you hungry!

Start with Arancini (small rice croquettes) with Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce or Ginger-Seitan Dumplings as appetizers. Then, an outstanding soup option is the Butternut Squash-Chestnut Soup with Caramelized Pears. Follow that up with Beet, Fennel, and Fig Salad with Cranberry-Sage Dressing, and you'll be in heaven.

As for main dishes, sample Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Cakes, Chile-Grilled Tofu with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce, Panko-Crusted Seitan Milanese, or Live Lasagna. Some side dishes include Polenta Fries and Granny Smith Coleslaw.

For brunch, try the Wild Mushroom, Asparagus, and Spring Vegetable Crêpes (made from chickpea flour) or perhaps the Sourdough French Toast. For dessert, prepare the Mexican Chocolate Cake, Apple-Apricot Strudel, or Doughnuts. Finally, you'll also find a wide range of beverage recipes in this cookbook.

Candle 79 (ISBN 978-1-60774-012-4) is 194 pages and published by Ten Speed Press. This hardcover book retails for $30 and can be purchased from your favorite bookstore or online.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Kathy Hester

Do you feel your life is rushing by too fast? Then slow down for a while and enjoy a recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker. All you need is a Crock-Pot® slow cooker or similar appliance. With some planning ahead of time, you can have a hot meal waiting for you when you return home from a busy day at the office or after you've taken your children to all of their afterschool activities.

Start your morning off with Citrus Rosemary Breakfast Bread or the Weekend Tofu and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole. If you are searching for heart-warming soups, you might want to prepare the Cauliflower and Celery Root Borscht, the Tofu Bouillabaisse, or the Sweet Potato and Chard Dahl.

Some heartier dishes include Chick'n Seitan, Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto, Smoky Mac and Cheese, and Tempeh and Veggies in Spicy Peanut Sauce. And at your next party, you might want to serve Pimento Cheese Fondue or Mango Coconut Rice Pudding.

The Vegan Slow Cooker is beautifully designed and has lovely color photographs. Nutritional analyses are not provided; how-ever, most recipes are not high in fat. Also, many of them are soy- and/or gluten-free.

The Vegan Slow Cooker (ISBN 978-1-59233-464-3) is published by Fair Winds Press. This 224-page book retails for $19.99 and can be purchased online or in your favorite bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Jennifer Katzinger

It's not uncommon to meet individuals who are on a gluten-free, soy-free, and/or vegan diet these days. This new cookbook features more than 70 holiday recipes that meet their needs. (Note that honey is used in a few recipes, but a vegan alternative is also provided.)

For Thanksgiving, you can serve Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Pie, and for Halloween, some Witch's Pumpkin Brew Stew would liven up any party. For Chanukah, try the Horseradish Beet Salad, and for Christmas, delight your guests with Holiday White Bean Spinach Tarts.

No holiday meal would be complete without some baked goods. Bring out the Irish Soda Bread on St. Patrick's Day, and be sure to try the Coconut Cream Cake around Easter. For other holidays, you might want to bake the Pear Spice Cake or Cookie-Cutter Vanilla Cookies.

The author lets readers know which recipes can be made ahead of time. Gorgeous color photos are found throughout this cookbook. Nutritional analyses are not provided; however, most recipes do not appear to be high in fat.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays (ISBN 978-1-57061-696-9) is published by Sasquatch Books and costs $24.95. Look for this 166-page book online or in your favorite bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Robin Robertson

Quick-Fix Vegan serves up 150 homestyle recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or fewer. Many of the recipes are quite unique, and although nutritional analyses are not provided, most do not seem to be high in fat.

As an appetizer, try serving Moroccan Pumpkin Hummus, Easy Artichoke Puffs, or Jerk-Spiced Kale Chips. Tempting dinner options include Tofu “Scampi” with Spinach, Spicy Smoked Portobello Tacos, and Farfelle with Sesame Cabbage.

On a cool evening, you can serve Roasted Asparagus Soup or Chard and Red Lentil Soup. Heartier dishes include Seitan Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce and Indian Shephard's Pie.

And the chapter on "(Almost) Effortless Desserts" will teach you to prepare Coconut Pistachio Cookies, Maple-Pecan Baked Pears, and Catalan-Style Crème Brûlée.

Quick-Fix Vegan (ISBN 978-1-4494-0785-8) is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing and retails for $16.99. Look for this 224-page book online or in your favorite bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Vincent J. Guihan

The author of New American Vegan spent some of his childhood in a small Midwestern town and at age 11 moved to the southwest side of Chicago. The more than 120 recipes in his new book focus on the American table, and some are very easy to prepare.

Here are some creative dishes that you can prepare with New American Vegan: Tangy Pumpkin, Tomato, and Jalapeño Soup; Arugula, Artichoke, and Fig Salad; Spicy, Smoky Quinoa with Collard Greens; and Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Pears and Onions. Other intriguing choices include a Chickpea and Coconut Burger, Horchata Risotto Rice Pudding, Citrus Macadamia Gelato, and Amaranth Cheeze Grits with Roasted Collard Greens.

Nutritional analyses are not provided; however, most recipes are not high in fat. Some recipes call for alcohol. Also, many recipes require using other recipes provided in this book, which will add to your preparation time.

New American Vegan (ISBN 978-1-60486-079-5) is 240 pages and is published by PM Press. The book retails for $17.95. Purchase this book in your favorite bookstore or online.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Caryn Ginsberg

Animal Impact is a terrific book for activists or those who are trying to figure out the best way to help animals. The author interviewed over 80 leaders from animal rights/welfare and vegetarian organizations (including The Vegetarian Resource Group's Co-Directors) for this book. Both strategies and success stories are shared.

According to the author, the best way to learn is through conversation and sharing ideas. Caryn promotes the use of social marketing and business principles and stresses that activists need to become less confrontational and more strategic. However, that does not mean that protests and pressure tactics are not valuable tools at times.

The contributors share many examples of what works and does not work in activism. The book emphasizes, “Developing tactics in isolation from a strategy is one of the most common mistakes activists make, and it spells death for a campaign.” The book also states, “If you aren't talking to the people you are trying to reach, how do you get to know what motivates them?”

Animal Impact would be a terrific high school or college textbook. Targeting college students is strongly encouraged since young adults are more likely to be socially conscious and willing to work for change. Again, the book states, “To persuade them to adopt new behaviors, one must not only convey what we want them to do but also help them to believe it's in their interest.”

Finally, “One way to free up time and to get better results is to do less.” This is often a challenge for activists, but an important point for groups and individual activists to consider.

Animal Impact (ISBN 978-0-9847660-7-9) is 207 pages and is published by Priority Ventures Group. The book retails for $24.95. Purchase this book online at or look for it in your favorite bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.