At least for me, Ann Gentry’s Vegan Family Meals, real food for everyone is not just another vegan cookbook, it’s another great cookbook if you’re looking to take your cooking skills to the next level, without going ultra-gourmet. Quick-cook recipe books are great for busy week nights, but since I love dishes with complex flavors this book has really won my heart. It’s currently one of my favorites in my personal library.
I haven’t been to Ann’s restaurant, Real Food Daily, and had never tried any of her recipes before, so I had no biases when I picked up the book other than liking the way it looks (important factor for me from a designer standpoint) and liking the size and feel of the book (if a book is too heavy or too floppy it just doesn’t feel right).
My first impressions: to be truthful, the book actually started with one strike against it, the title. I probably would not have picked it up at the book store, it sounds as if it would have many kid-friendly recipes that don’t appeal to me because I don’t have children. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Ann’s recipes are elegant and have the complex flavors I so love. The recipes are definitely suited for families that are accustomed to eating home cooked meals, not fast food.
Additionally, I really like how the recipes are structured and explained step-by-step. I like her description of the dishes and why she and/or her family likes it, and love the final resulting dishes. Some of the dishes require a little more prep time, so keep that in mind and read the entire recipe before selecting it for a quick dinner.
I’ve prepared several recipes from the book, but only have pictures of three above.
The roasted tomato soup was the best we’ve had. Neither Mauro nor I like regular tomato soup or tomato-based soups, but the roasted tomatoes took it up several notches and made it filling. While I was roasting the tomatoes I toasted some whole wheat croutons to top it off. Such a surprising treat.
The frittata was toasted on the outside and creamy on the inside, packed with veggies and shiitake mushrooms. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We had ours for dinner with a side of collard greens, sauteed with garlic and vegan sausages.
And lastly, the maple syrup, walnuts and currants in the oatmeal recipe changed the way I prepare oatmeal for my breakfasts, they’re packed with flavor now.
What’s your favorite cookbook and why? Share your favorites with us in the comments section below.
Disclosure: The post author received a free copy of Vegan Family Meals to review.