Help me find more evidence-based, deliciousness-focused vegan recipes
March 10, 2015 4:50 AM   Subscribe

Kenji Lopez Alt's Vegan Experience is the highlight of my culinary year, and I literally dine out on his recipes all year long. I've made basically every recipe in The Vegan Experience, and I'm after more Kenji-style food inspiration. Further details below.

What I like about The Vegan Experience:
- I feel like I learn something about building flavour with every recipe,
- dishes are crowd-pleasing and delicious,
- recipes basically never involve pre-made ingredients that are only available in the US,
- he dreams up plenty of big, dinner party worthy 'showstopper' dishes,
- the focus is on great food, full stop.

What I find frustrating about many vegan recipe blogs:
- there seems to be a pervasive My New Roots-ism across many recipe blogs - ie, the focus is all on health and wellness and 'healing with food', not making rip-roaring great vegan food,
- dishes are often a bit, well, weeknight dinner grade,
- often call for US specific, pre-made ingredients (eg '1 package Trader Joes soy chorizo') that are tough to find in the Netherlands.

I'm open to vegetarian recipe books/blogs (eg Ottolenghi's 'Plenty'), but would prefer recommendations for full-on vegan recipe books/blogs, just to save myself some mental math and substitution.

posted by nerdfish to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
I had an astonishingly delicious meal (as a meat-eating foodie) at the restaurant Vedge in Philadelphia, and they have a highly rated cookbook. I confess that I haven't read it yet, but given their philosophy about fresh foods, I would doubt they use too many pre-made ingredients.
posted by synapse at 6:02 AM on March 10, 2015

Vegan dad?
posted by notyou at 6:16 AM on March 10, 2015

We've also enjoyed the Native Foods Cookbook.
posted by notyou at 6:17 AM on March 10, 2015

Thug Kitchen has some good recipes, if a little basic. It has a theme, but it's not wellness/healing based.
posted by Fig at 6:23 AM on March 10, 2015

I like Michael Natkin at Herbivoracious. He tests, experiments and explains what he's doing and everything I've made of his is good. His book is particularly good at discussing aspects of cooking, such as acid balance, types of salt, heat. Although the focus is vegetarian food, he has a lot of vegan or veganisable items.

I have the Vedge book referenced above, and it introduced me to kimchi mayo. AMAZING.
posted by sizeable beetle at 6:23 AM on March 10, 2015

You might like Bryant Terry or Isa Moskowitz (minus the low-fat cookbook).
posted by clavicle at 6:27 AM on March 10, 2015

One more - Bryant Terry does amazing African and African-American vegan recipes.
posted by Fig at 6:27 AM on March 10, 2015

Dirt Candy: A Cookbook isn't all vegan but I think most recipes have a vegan variation, if I'm remembering it. (It's also one part a comic-book-style story about starting a restaurant -- and that's fun -- but it's not all recipes.) Amanda Cohen does some really inventive, complicated things with vegetables and flavors. I think it's worth checking out.

As far as Isa Moskowitz's books go, Isa Does It probably has the most complicated recipes of her books (especially in the Sunday Night Suppers section).

Vegan Yum Yum had some interesting recipes that were a bit more unusual/time-consuming than a lot of other recipes I've come across.
posted by darksong at 6:35 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Myra Kornfield's The Voluptuous Vegan has many long, complicated, dinner-party worthy recipes and basically no pre-made ingredients.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:48 AM on March 10, 2015

Which languages do you read?
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:49 AM on March 10, 2015

I'm a big fan of Bryanna Clark Grogan. Be sure to check out her cookbooks.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:56 AM on March 10, 2015

Seconding the rec of the Vedge cookbook, especially for dinner party showstopper dishes with reasonable ingredient lists written by a chef who is laid-back about substitutions.

Also, the salt roasted beets with dill, avocado, and red onion is worth the price of admission alone.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:16 AM on March 10, 2015

The people behind Vedge also have an incredible hit with the cook book from their previous joint, Horizons (the hearts of palm moqueca from this book is possibly my favorite recipe that has a complex ingredient list). The book tries to craft a bit of narrative about finding the flavor complements in traditional cuisines.

I'll also say that it's frustrating to hear all the hate that gets directed at health consciousness in the vegan world. It's a trend that began outside of veganism, but has slowly and steadily crept into is as vegans have proliferated. Yeah, I get it, greasy food is delicious! And from time to time I freaking love an Isa recipe that calls for like a cup of olive oil or whatever. But I sincerely hope people at least try a more reasonable, sustainable dietary approach (and I'm saying this as a public health researcher; health consciousness =/= HEAL YOURSELF WITH PARSLEY AND CHIA!). Isa's Appetite for Reduction got unfairly dissed in a comment above, but I absolutely love it and share it far and wide because it's so accessible (and the green goddess dressing from it is my absolute favorite salad dressing--recipe reprinted below). Likewise, check out some of the recipes in the wonderful and extensive Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (I make this asparagus soup every time asparagus hits the market near me, it's so good).

I'd also recommend Miyoko Schinner's websites/books (especially Artisan Vegan Cheese). Super fatty, usually, but small portions and very good with lots of interesting narrative about flavor profiles and so on.

Green Goddess Dresing from Isa

2 to 3 average-size cloves garlic
½ cup fresh chives
½ cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon miso
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Puree, modify, enjoy (works great on a sandwich)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:56 AM on March 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

You may want to look at 101 Cookbooks if you aren't already familiar with it. (note: I am not a vegan.)
posted by maryr at 10:47 AM on March 10, 2015

Isa Does It is exactly what you are looking for! It is one of my favorite cookbooks. Nearly every dish focuses on deliciousness first, with convenience and healthfulness as lower priorities. It's definitely vegan comfort food with plenty of show-stoppers that are worthy of serving at a dinner party.
posted by slogger at 12:33 PM on March 10, 2015

Do you speak Dutch? If so, then you should check out Lisette Kreischer and her cookbooks. She's the chef behind The Dutch Weed Burger, which you may have heard of (winners of the Vegan Award apparently).
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 12:38 PM on March 10, 2015

Although this is not particularly responsive to your question (because it isn't vegan/vegetarian), I thought I'd mention Kenji is making his own book, due out in October.
posted by saeculorum at 2:33 PM on March 10, 2015

Another vote for Isa Does It. I used it for my own version of Kenji's Vegan Experience and found the recipes delicious and fairly foolproof, with a few fancy dinners and great desserts. I think the only time she calls for a specific US ingredient is when she uses Frank's RedHot hot sauce, but that's fairly easy to substitute out.

You might try her mostly-dormant blog The Post-Punk Kitchen and look around at the recipes there, see what strikes your eye. There is also an active vegan cooking forum associated with the site where you can get a lot more information.
posted by mishaps at 3:01 PM on March 10, 2015

The Vedge cookbook is great, my favorite cookbook so far, and I'm not even vegetarian. I think it's much easier to use than Plenty.
posted by sepviva at 1:18 PM on March 11, 2015

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