The beginning of a journey is often the hardest. When my family and I switched to a completely plant based diet, I’ll be honest, my first thought was “What in the world am I going to feed them?!” My husband dislikes veggies and my 5 and 6 year olds weren’t suddenly going to start eating salads. It was important for me to find family friendly recipes so I googled around for some cookbooks that would fit the bill. One of the cookbooks I purchased was Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton. I was impressed by the great reviews it got on Amazon and decided to give it a try.
- For someone that is thinking about starting a plant based diet or wants to ease into it this book is a good place to start. For the most part the recipes are relatively easy and the instructions are well written.
- This book is definitely family friendly. The Banana Bliss Pancakes and Fantastic French Toast were well received by my family and we all enjoy the Hummus Tortilla Pizzas.
- While my family isn’t gluten free I liked the fact that each recipe that had a wheat free option was clearly marked at the top of each page. A good portion of the recipes can easily be made gluten free so for those that need to avoid wheat you’ll be happy with the options available to you in this cookbook.
- I was so pleased to see a ‘vegan’ cookbook that didn’t rely heavily on soy. In fact, only a handful of recipes used soy at all! A lot of people are sensitive to soy and while my family and I all eat soy we only do so on a limited basis. Kudos to Dreena for not buying into the soy trend.
- Dreena devotes an entire section of the book to “Feeding Your Vegan Baby & Toddler”. While my kids are well past this stage it has WONDERFUL information for anyone with babies or toddlers at home. It has a fantastic chart that shows you when to introduce foods and has a ton of food ideas and combos to feed even the pickiest of kids.
- You would think that being as this is a cookbook that you might find pictures of food. Not in this book. There are pictures of Dreena’s family scattered throughout the book but not a single photo of food. I certainly never expect my meals to come out looking like the photos but having pictures of the final product is helpful and would have broken up the lackluster pages of the book.
- I certainly don’t expect all vegans to eat a big bowl of leafy greens each day but the use of green vegetables in this book is almost non existent. Out of the 104 recipes in the book only 2 recipes contain green leafy vegetables. Even carrots are only used twice! There are less than a handful of recipes that feature vegetables in general and those are focused on frozen peas, zucchini and broccoli. This was by far the most disappointing aspect of the book.
- The book is HEAVILY influenced by grains, oats and seeds. Hemp is used frequently throughout the entire book. While hemp has great nutritional properties I don’t think we should limit any part of our diet to just one product. It would have been nice to see other nuts and seeds utilized a bit more. She does mention in some of the notes that you can substitute with other nuts and seeds but you end up changing the texture and taste of the recipe and in most cases you end up with a different recipe entirely.
- For someone just getting started with a healthier lifestyle some of the ingredients are less known and not as easy to find at your local grocery store. Barley flour, kamut flour, spelt flour, hemp seeds and amaranth flour are used throughout the book and are not easily substituted with other easier to find alternatives.
- Sugar as well as a some other ‘processed’ ingredients, such as faux meat products and phyllo dough, make their way into this cookbook. While Dreena is sure to point out to use an unrefined sugar those that are listed, sucanat, turbinado and evaporated cane juice, are among the most processed on the market. Though, this isn’t a deal breaker since you can easily substitute your favorite ‘sugar’ in any of her recipes.
If you are just starting out with a plant based diet this is a terrific book to pick up. The recipes are easy and simple to follow and you can feed your family delicious food that everyone will love. While I’ve made a few recipes from this book it’s not one that I go back to at all now that I’m comfortable preparing my own plant based meals. I would recommend checking to see if your local library has a copy and taking note of any recipes that interest you. You can also try picking up a used copy from Amazon if you can’t find it at your local library.
For those that have been following a plant based diet for some time, you most likely won’t be surprised by any of these recipes and probably already have made most of them in some way or another. I wouldn’t bother spending my money on this book and recommend that you check out this awesome blog and this awesome blog instead.
I was not paid or perked for writing this review. The review is solely based on my personal and honest opinions. If you do not agree with them please feel free to leave a review in the comments.