Food & Drink

Cookbook Corner | ‘Vegan Everyday’ offers delicious alternatives for everyone

“Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes,” by Douglas McNish.
“Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes,” by Douglas McNish. Courtesy image

Looking to serve plant-based meals a few times a week for the health of your body and budget? Then you might want to take a look at “Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes” by Douglas McNish, although I have to admit, the term “vegan” is not one toward which I gravitate when it comes to food.

Vegan means completely plant based – no eggs, no cheese and no dairy of any kind. Vegan cooking often uses things like whipped nondairy butter, vegetable stocks and curry pastes – all carefully explained in the basics of this very thorough introduction to the subject. McNish’s list of items in the section on the vegan pantry is invaluable for anyone thinking of making this their choice of mealtime lifestyle. There are so many recipes here, organized in categories such as juices, smoothies and nondairy milk, snacks and sides, beans and grains, and, of course, desserts and baked goods. His aim is to provide vegan choices that are easy to make, tasty and appealing to a wide variety of tastes, through every occasion and every meal. While there are options for entertaining, even those are easy to prepare and good for you.

McNish is a vegan executive chef, instructor and consultant who lives in Toronto. He has been cooking since age 15. After studying at the George Brown Culinary Chef Program, he began to work in professional kitchens. At one point, he realized he was overweight and saw a PETA film that convinced him to stop eating animal products. He began to “relearn food,” working to prepare food in a healthier way. He is deeply concerned for the health of individuals and of the planet as a whole. However, he is equally concerned that what is on the plate tastes good, whether it is a breakfast starter like the Acai Superfood Bowl or a dessert like Chocolate Mousse.

“In most (vegan) recipes I see, there is a lack of depth of flavor … ,” McNish said. “My recipes contain both the techniques and the ingredients necessary to ensure that you will keep coming back for more each time.”

He said another problem is that many vegan recipes do not have enough protein content to keep the average person full.

“My recipes contain enough protein to leave the consumer feeling satiated and happy,” he said. “You will find the recipes in my book are … big and bold in flavor and texture. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.”

He also notes that “eating vegan” is not more expensive since vegetables, fruits and beans are on average less expensive than meat and dairy products.

However, if you are not committed to going all vegan, McNish still has a lot to offer. Open to the index and search for the item you want. I have a particular fondness for lentils and found many that offer a delicious alternative to meat and do not require dairy products, although my Italian self wants to sprinkle cheese at the end for many of them.

For anyone who keeps kosher and wants to expand their repertoire of nondairy sides and desserts to go with a meat meal, this book also would be useful. It has more desserts in it than I have ever found in a vegan cookbook. There are also many cauliflower options – using the now-popular roasted cauliflower in ways that are truly interesting and tasty. I am fond of the recipe for roasted cauliflower and chickpea tacos.

At a glance

Title | “Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes”

Author | Douglas McNish

Publisher | Robert Rose Publishers

Length | 576 pages

Cost | $24.95

Acai Superfood Bowl

Ingredients

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 tablespoons freeze-dried acai powder

1/4 teaspoon alcohol-free, organic vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped mango

1/4 cup each chopped apple, raspberries and hulled strawberries

2 tablespoons raw shelled hemp seeds

2 tablespoons raw cashews

In a blender, at high speed, blend juice, berries, chia, acai powder and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Note: This recipe is made in a blender. McNish’s tip is to use frozen berries to make the mixture thicker, and acai powder is available in many supermarkets and health food stores. Hemp seeds are also widely available.

Reprinted from “Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes” by Douglas McNish with permission from Robert Rose Press

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