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Vegan Cookbook Recommendations

My 10 year old son has expressed interest in going vegan.
I have some vegetarian cookbooks of 1970s vintage (Moosewood and the like.) Can anyone recommend a good vegan cookbook?
Many thanks.

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  1. I am not vegan, but very fond of The Angelica Home Kitchen: Recipes and Rabble Rousings from an Organic Vegan Restaurant. It has a nice amount of background info about their suppliers, farmers and tofu makers that might be of interest to your son. I love the sea ceasar salad, and the lemon tart . . .


    There's lots of good online info of course . . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: pitu

      Is the Angelica cookbook that wonderful book with all the color photos? A friend lent it to me and I liked several of the things I tried.

    2. Real Food Daily cookbook is a good choice. Most of the recipes from their menu are in it, and the dishes are great everyday meals - not fancy stuff. I really enjoyed a couple lunches at their restaurant in LA recently and bought the cookbook upon returning home.


      1. The Mediterranean Vegan Cookbook. Or perhaps it is Vegan Mdediterranean? I am not sure because I loaned my copy to someone. I have been cooking vegie for a couple of decades and rarely find a cookbook that can add much to my technique or knowledge base. This one did. It is made up of mediterranean recipes that are already vegan. Try the white bean ratatouille.

        1. When I was vegan (this was 10 years ago) I used Laurel's Kitchen, by Laurel Robertson, a lot. I no longer own it, but I think it is not exclusively vegan. It has nutritional info that might be helpful to a new vegan. It is definitely and old-school vegetarian cookbook, perhaps from the 70's.

          There's a vegetarian dog food recipe in it. I always thought that was funny.

          1. Deborah Madison has several vegetarian cookbooks in which many, if not most, of the recipes can be made vegan. Her recipes are simple, flavorful & satisfying - I recommend them highly.


            1 Reply
            1. re: liegey

              I second the Deborah madison. Veg Cooking for Everybody and vegetarian suppers both have exclusively vegetarian recipes and in many of the recipes where she uses non-vegan items, she gives advice on how to modify the recipe so that it's vegan. (Of course, she can't always (e.g. the chapter on eggs), but it's pretty good in that regard.)

            2. There are lots of good vegan recipes in Indian vegetarian cookbooks, for example those by Madhur Jaffrey. But I would caution you strongly against encouraging or allowing this course in your 10 year old. First, it is very difficult and requires a lot of discipline to healthily maintain a vegan diet and with a young and growing child, his health could be compromised. Kids who are hungry also arent going to eat the right things - plenty of junk sweets, bread etc. are vegan (or accepted by non-label reading vegans).

              My daughter decided to become a vegan when she was around 17, and was very conscientious (ate lots of soy products, took iron pills etc) but after 3+ years backed off to add milk products, and then in the last year, egg dishes to her diet. She stopped the strict vegan diet when she was in Calcutta with, obviously, many vegetarian options, but she found she simply couldnt keep up her level of activity (dancing) without adding more protein and she added milk products at that time. We also noticed that her skin improved when she amended her diet. It is rational to honor sensitivity about animals, etc, but with a young and active child whose bones and muscles are in rapid growth a vegan diet is really not a good idea, and could encourage bad eating habits. It is for good reason that true veganism isnt practiced widely by any world culture I am aware of (other than some monks practicing austerity). Fortunately your son is still young enough that you can honor his feelings and work with him to amend his diet to address his sensitivities, but still insist on healthy eating.

              4 Replies
              1. re: jen kalb

                Thanks. I definitely hear what you are saying: we are still in the exploration phase and, yes, health concerns obviously come first.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  It does take a lot of work to be a good vegan, but getting enough protein is very easy. The bigger concern is vitamin B12 - it is primarily available in animal products, but vegans can get it through nutritional yeast. Another problem is fitting in socially. Food is the center of lots and lots of social events and to have to constantly query, "Is there butter in that cake? Are there eggs in the pasta?" can be alienating and tiring.

                  That said, I did stop being a vegan for health reasons. However, most people can be very healthy and happy vegans if they work at it. Google "vegan" and you get lots of great vegan sites w/ recipes and cookbook recs, etc.

                  1. re: MollyGee

                    Interesting comment. A good friend of ours was very nearly a vegan and quite vehement about not understanding why everyone wasn't a vegan. Well, two years ago, he was diagnosed with Crone's (Crane's?) disease; a lifelong disorder that has caused violent and/or painful allergic reactions to many foods.

                    Since then, I have wondered if perhaps some vegans might be listening to their bodies. I.e. perhaps some piece of wanting to avoid animal products is related to a physical disorder or allergy. Worth checking out with your son too, I suppose.

                    1. re: MollyGee

                      yes, be careful about the b12. A close friend has permanent neurological damage, accompanied by pain, from an undetected long term B12 deficiency. Such a shocker in a seemingly healthy eater.

                  2. The Peaceful Palette

                    1. I'd echo the recomendation of Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It's a great primer on what to do with all those vegetables and soy products your son will need to eat. Also, Vegan with a Vengance is a great, FUN cookbook your son would probably enjoy looking through too.

                      A few things about going vegan (or vegetarian)... I went vegetarian first when I was 12, and went vegan several years later. My parents weren't all that supportive at first, mostly because they were worried about my nutitrition, but they came around eventually, and I think that a) even if they tried to stop me this is a transition I was going to make anyway, and b) that it was made MUCH, MUCH easier for me because I did it at an early age.
                      The vegan eating pattern is not the same as the omnivorous one. IMHO, this is mostly because of the radically lower fat content a healty vegan diet has. I need to eat every 3 hours or so usually. This isn't a problem, I just eat a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack in addition to my meals if I'm hungry. For kids, this is easy; most schools serve snack or it's easily accessible to keep kids' blood sugar levels up. For adults who are used to 3 (or less) meals a day, it's a much bigger change.
                      Anyway, good luck! Here's a website you might find of interest as well: http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/

                      1. Steve Brill's cookbook is great, and it's Vegan.
                        It's great if you are into foraging (which a young kid might think is the living end), but he gives purchasable substitutions for most of the items that he recommends finding in the woods. I love this cookbook.

                        1. "Professional Vegetarian Cooking" is great if you're looking for complex, sophisticated recipes.

                          1. I just raved about this cookbook on another board so I'll do it here too:

                            I strongly recommend the New Farm Cookbook for family oriented, inexpensive, tastly-but-not-too-fancy vegan recipes. I go to this cookbook a few times a week. I take it with me when I travel far away. The brownies are to die for. The recipes are all forgiving, flexible and reliable. I've never made something from this cookbook that didn't come out good.

                            I also recently picked up a copy of Better than Peanut Butter & Jelly (Mattare & Muldawer) that's got some nice, kid-friendly and packable ideas, but it might be aimed at a younger age group. What do 10 year olds like?

                            You might also have him think through his philosophy and figure out if certain kinds of eggs meet his criteria. Though I'm vegan, I'm perfectly happy to eat eggs that come from "pet" chickens, when I can find them. Is there someone in your area who has very humanely treated chickens who would sell you some eggs? This might make things easier. Milk is easy to replace (soy, etc), but eggs can be tricky. You could even arrange for your son help out with the chickens on occation. That could be a really cool learning opportunity! A farmer in my area let's me clean coops in exchange for eggs. It makes you really appreciate those eggs!

                            Here's my big recommendation, though: Teach him how to cook! Being vegan if you don't know how to cook is a serious pain in the butt and can slide into french-fries and potato chip territory really quickly. If he has a few go-to snack things that he can make himself he'll be healthier and really owning this vegan thing. That's what my mom made me do a million years ago and now I can cook! Thanks mom! (My mom's other strategy: veggie burgers. Lots of veggie burgers).

                            1. I'm partial to The Voluptuous Vegan


                              Be sure to try the tamale pie recipe.

                              Also, your son might be interested in reading this New York Times article about these firefighters in Austin, Texas: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/nat...

                              The firefighters' website has a number of yummy vegan recipes; we love the wraps and the enchiladas. http://www.engine2.org/Home/tabid/36/...

                              As to the many comments about whether a growing boy can eat vegan without any ill effects, yes - everyone is right that it takes a bit of extra care to make sure you get enough B12 - but in the end the rewards of being vegan far outweigh the effort it takes to keep yourself properly nourished.

                              Bravo to your son for understanding that what you eat is important to think about.
                              And bravo to you for supporting his principled decision.

                              1. I like The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley. Mostly, but not exclusively, vegan. Occasionally gets a bit chef-y, which may not be practical for your needs, but there are plenty of everyday dishes. I'm the furthest thing from a vegan, but I'm delighted by his recipes which use a combination of ingredients that I wouldn't normally use. The book makes me a more versatile cook, helping me to step outside the 'meat & two veg' mode.