The first recipe I made from Leigh Drew’s Veganissimo! was the Arugula [Rocket] Salad with Cranberries, Butternut Squash and Orange (take a look at how ours turned out here) and get the recipe here. We were heading to a Christmas pot luck and not only did the picture of the salad look mouthwateringly good, it also seemed suitably festive. Peppery rocket studded with cranberries and toasted hazelnuts, generously drizzled with a zingy pomegranate molasses dressing. Everybody loved it; it was great on its own but also as an accompaniment and even a burger filler (along with veggie pattie).
We made the Baingan Bharta next, a South Indian curry with a puréed eggplant base as well as big juicy cubes of eggplant. A cook’s note at the bottom of the page recommends creating an Indian feast by pairing it with Lemon and Garlic Dal, Cilantro and Garlic Naan and Yellow Garlic Rice. There’s a solid range of recipes from different cuisines but also plenty of Western style recipes.
As well as notes from Drew, recipes also include a key that indicates low fat, soy free, gluten free, or can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. The chapters are focused on types of food, for example: waffles, pancakes and crepes; or salads, soups and sides.
Some people trying to decide if this cookbook is for them might be interested to know that Drew comes from a hospitality and culinary background that, according to her bio, spans 30 years – well before she switched to veganism in 2003. As a result, the recipes have an authenticity and quality that can sometimes be absent from similar cookbooks. However, she regularly uses vegan substitutes to veganise familiar ‘omnivore’ classics: seitan, tofu, vegan mayo, and non-dairy margarine crops up throughout the cookbook and she also provides recipes for making things such as Cheese Sauce, Béchamel Sauce and Tartar Sauce from scratch.
Veganissimo! is full of great full-page colour photographs on matt stock; not all the recipes have photos, but plenty of them do, which is always a pleasant surprise in a vegan cookbook.
There are approximately 115 recipes in this cookbook, so we’ve scarcely made a dent in the ones we want to try. Here’s what’s going on the list: Cucumber and Apple Raita; Scallion Pancakes; Lentil Burgers with Peanut Sauce, Pickled Carrot and Daikon; Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary Infused Salt; Sizzling Polenta Gnocchi with Sage; and Soft Molasses Gingerbread Cake.
Not only would this cookbook make a great starting point for new vegans, but plenty of vegan veterans and non-vegans will want to try some of the recipes, too.