As veganism grows in popularity, the amount of literature on vegan cooking grows exponentially. With this sort of landscape, it can be difficult for a vegan cookbook to stand out. Luckily, The Everything Easy Vegan Cookbook by Diane K. Smith proves to be a solid resource for those aspiring to incorporate animal product-free recipes into their repertoire. The Everything Easy Vegan Cookbook is an accessible introduction to vegan cooking; “introduction” being the key word.
The cookbook opens with a chapter on the benefits of eating vegan. Smith ensures these benefits are explained in a simple, approachable manner. Many of these benefits are not new to those who have done even a little bit of research on the vegan diet. My only complaint is with the brief discussion of weight loss as a benefit of the vegan diet. Smith likens weight loss to looking like a celebrity; this feels a little flippant. After all, there is no body type associated with veganism and insinuating that there is will be a red flag to some considering a vegan diet. Similarly, a directive to visit PETA.org for more information, without further instruction, feels a little lazy. However, these are relatively minor issues. After all, readers have assumedly picked up this book because they want to cook vegan. So, onto the recipes!
Though some purists will not like the copious inclusions of ingredients like “vegan beef” and “vegan cheddar cheese”, I’ve found that meat and dairy substitutes are a great way to ease into a plant-based diet. In this way, The Everything Easy Vegan Cookbook does live up to its name. Purchasing meat and dairy alternatives is simply easier than creating one’s own homemade plant-based beef or cheese. Additionally, Smith’s entire section dedicated to tofu is excellent. Even as someone relatively well-versed in cooking tofu I found quite a bit of inspiration in these recipes.
Ultimately, The Everything Easy Vegan Cookbook may fall a bit flat for experienced vegans. However, the book’s offerings for new vegans and the vegan-curious are deserving of some credit. The recipes are easy to follow, most including pretty common household ingredients, and helpful tips line the recipe pages. Personally, the Scallion Pancakes and Pizza Bagels were winners in my household. The Everything Easy Vegan Cookbook will not be groundbreaking for most, but will be ideal for some.