Book Reviews

Vegan For Her

By Virginia Messina, MPH, RD with JL Fields

In the introduction to Vegan for Her, author Virginia (Ginny) Messina says, “I wrote this book for vegan women because women’s nutrient requirements and health concerns are unique.” From a chapter on enhancing fertility on a plant-based diet to one on nutritional needs for vegan pregnancy to discussions of PMS and cramps, it’s clear that issues specific to women are at the heart of this book. Subsequent chapters focus on lifelong health, and examine issues including preventing breast cancer, promoting strong bones, and managing stress and depression. Throughout Vegan for Her, the emphasis is positive – what you can do and how a vegan diet can help to promote health.

One of the book’s strengths is that it is based on the latest scientific research, which Ginny has ably translated to provide practical recommendations. While nutrition is the main subject, I also found helpful information on plant-based skincare products and building a vegan wardrobe. A selection of vegan recipes caps off the book.

Vegan for Her is a highly useful resource for vegan women of all ages, but it’s also a great starting point for any woman who is considering a vegan diet. I highly recommend it and will be giving copies to my daughters.

Vegan for Her (ISBN: 978-0-7382-671-3) is published by Da Capo Press. It has 384 pages and retails for $16.99. Look for this book in your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.

Wild Edibles

By Sergei Boutenko

I enjoy hiking in the woods and always wish I had more knowledge of which wild plants are edible.Wild Ediblesis a useful guide to foraging and includes information on identifying 60 edible plants. Many colorful photographs and line drawings are provided as well.

The author also presents clear details on which wild plants are poisonous and not edible. Vegan recipes using these foods are included. For example, you can whip up a Wild Amaranth Smoothie or prepare Wild Daisy Salad, Sow Thistle Pesto, Sheep Sorrel Soup, Marinated Fiddleheads, or Roasted Veggies with Burdock.

Wild Edibles (ISBN: 9978-1-58394-602-2) is a 280-page book. It is published by North Atlantic Books and retails for $19.95. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Pies and Tarts with Heart

By Dynise Balcavage

I love pie, so this book was appealing to me from the get-go. There are more than 60 vegan recipes in this book for all different types of pies and tarts. Nutritional analyses are not provided, but then again, one shouldn’t expect dessert recipes to be low in fat. The gorgeous photos in this cookbook will get you cooking in no time.

The book starts off with creative crust recipes, including a gluten-free crust, a cookie crust, Mashed Potato Pie Crust, and Hash Brown Pie Crust. Next, you will find traditional pie recipes, such as Cherry or Blueberry Pie, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, and Pumpkin Pie. Some of the more decadent and creamy pies are Banana Cream Pie, No-Bake Coconut Cream Pie, and Butterscotch Pudding Pie.

This cookbook also serves up citrus pies and tarts such as Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Orange Curd Tart. Raw pies such as Clementine-Pistachio Tart and Baklava-Crusted Apple Pie are included. Also, you’ll find Nutty Pies, including Classic Pecan Pie and Choco-Coco Macadamia Pie.

For readers who enjoy savory pies and tarts, you’ll find plenty of choices, such as Classic Seitan Pot Pie, Greek Spinach Pie, Red Pepper Onion Tarte Tatin, and North African-Inspired Kale Pie. And pie wouldn’t be complete without offering some toppings, such as Coconut Whipped Topping and Chocolate Sauce.

Pies and Tarts with Heart (ISBN: 978-1-59253-846-1) is a 159-page book. It is published by Quarry Books and retails for $24.99. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Bake and Destroy

By Natalie Slater

First off, this book is uniquely designed and the color photographs will make your mouth water. Natalie Slater is creator of and served as a judge on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. This is by no means a health food cookbook, and nutritional analyses are not provided (which is probably a good thing with some recipes). Nevertheless, you’ll find some very creative recipes in this book, as well as cooking tips.

Chapter 1 includes sweets such as Peach Cobbler Cupcakes, Frozen Lemonade Pie, and Fruit Punch Winkies (yes, a vegan twinkie). Chapter 2 covers breakfast ideas, including Banana Carrot Cake Donuts, Double Soy Latte Granita, and Yeah, It’s a Green Smoothie.

Chapter 3 is entrées, including various creative pizzas, Taco Lasagna, Thai Dagwood Sandwich, Quinoa Potpie, and Pretzel Dogs of the Dead. In Chapter 4 you’ll find amazing snacks such as Nacho Cupcakes and Chicago Mix Popcorn. Chapter 5’s side dish offerings include Kale Chips 5 Ways and Stuffin’ Muffins.

Bake and Destroy (ISBN: 978-1-62414-002-0) is a 192-page book. It is published by Page Street Publishing Company and retails for $19.99. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Isa Does It

By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Isa Moskowitz has written several vegan cookbooks and has come out with a creative new one. The book is beautifully designed with gorgeous photos included.

Chapter 1 consists of soups such as Sweet Potato & Red Curry Soup and Pesto Soup with Gnocchi, Beans & Greens. Chapter 2 features salads including Quinoa Caesar Salad and Sesame Slaw.

In Chapter 3 you’ll find handheld dishes. This includes Baked Garlic-Curry Fries, Ancho-Lentil Tacos, and Korean BBQ Portobello Burgers. Pasta & Risotto are featured in Chapter 4. Enjoy Roasted Butternut Alfredo, Tofu-Mushroom Stroganoff, and White Wine Risotto. The next chapter features stews, chilis, and curries such as Coconut Chana Saag, Smoky Incan Stew, and Okra Gumbo.

Delicious stir-fries and sautés are included in Chapter 6. Dine on Everyday Pad Thai, Mango Fried Rice, and Seitan & Broccoli. Chapter 7 features bowl dishes such as Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl and Warm Potato Salad.

Chapter 8 highlights Sunday Night Suppers such as Phyllo Pot Pie, Tamale Shepherd’s Pie, and Nacho Night. Chapter 9 is A Few Basic Proteins, and here you’ll find Steamy Beany Sausages and Sesame Tofu.

In Chapter 10 you’ll find many breakfast/brunch ideas, including Chipotle Sausage Hash, Puffy Pillow Pancakes, and Coconut French Toast. The book ends with Chapter 11 featuring dessert. Enjoy Chai Spice Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.

Isa Does It (ISBN: 978-0-316-22190-0) is a 311-page hardcover book. It is published by Little Brown and retails for $30. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Vegan Desserts in Jars

By Kris Holechek Peters

This small book demonstrates the versatility of canning jars. Now you can learn how to prepare a wide range of desserts in these reusable vessels.

Sample recipes include Raw Pecan Pie, Salty Crunchy Almond Cheesecake, Cream-Filled Carrot Cakes, Lemon Pudding Cakes, Peach Melba Cobbler, and Raspberry Brownie Bombs. A section on toppings and fillings is also provided. Recipes included here are Custard Sauce, Chocolate Ganache, Coconut Whipped Cream, Hot Fudge Sauce, and Meringue Topping.

Gorgeous color photos are provided. Also, since this is a dessert book, please note not all recipes are lowfat.

Vegan Desserts in Jars (ISBN: 978-1-61243-225-0) is a 124-page book. It is published by Ulysses Press and retails for $15.95. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.