The Complete Vegan Cookbook: Over 150 Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Recipes and Techniques

Image of The Complete Vegan Cookbook: Over 150 Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Recipes and Techniques
Release Date: 
April 2, 2019
Clarkson Potter
Reviewed by: 

“Eating good food can be joyful, emotional, and even spiritual. Sharing it with others can be a universal commonality that allows people to connect with one another.”

Did you ever dream of quitting your job and going to culinary school? Not just any commonplace cooking school but one whose focus is plant-based and wellness? Your fantasy takes you to “a place where likeminded people congregate, collaborate, study, and enjoy health-supportive foods.” This is exactly what Annemarie Colbin achieved well before the present-day vegan craze. Colbin, a pioneer in the field of healthy plant-based eating, launched her school in her small New York apartment in 1977.

This year the Natural Gourmet Cooking Center honors its founder with The Complete Vegan Cookbook written by a variety of chefs and teachers who graduated from this prestigious institution. This cookbook pays homage to Annemarie Colbin and her vision to train the public how to create healthy delicious food. Colbin, a home cook, eventually trained thousands of students to become professional chefs with degrees in wellness, health, and food science.

Throughout this cookbook the reader is presented with the beliefs that weave through the whole-food plant-based movement. The authors address how food affects overall wellness as well as how food and medicine are intertwined. With the benefit of this cookbook, the home cook will grasp the connection between foods filled with vitamins and minerals that are necessary for health. It then instructs how to achieve delicious meals. After all, we are what we eat!

This cookbook is a course on how to stock our kitchens with the best available produce, how to hone our knife skills and become adept at mincing and chopping. In straightforward language and easy to understand recipes we learn the basics of plant-based philosophy. The book’s guidelines are a roadmap on techniques and skills that lead the reader towards new ideas about food, its preparation and its benefits.

Following Annemarie Colbin’s vision, the Natural Gourmet Center, through this cookbook has brought healthy and vibrant food to the masses. Throughout the book’s ten chapters we learn not only the foundation of cooking the natural gourmet way but are provided with recipes that suit any occasion from snacks and starters to weeknight dinners and more elaborate weekend feasts. The red lentil lemon soup is a classic starter to any meal and the flourless chocolate cake is a heavenly completion to any meal.

By reading this cookbook, as well as recreating the recipes, one learns how a simple white bean is not only low in fat and high in fiber but filled with iron, folate, and magnesium. We discover that thiamine is great for brain power. This cookbook is filled with abundant information that reflects Hippocrates’ famous quote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

There are a variety of basic recipes as well as beautifully displayed photographs. Foods are enriched with sour creams made from cashews and shitake mushrooms transformed into bacon. A little-known Japanese product, umeboshi paste, adds punches of umami to many of the creations.

After the cookbook has been read and recipes tested and enjoyed there is a better comprehension for plant-based living. The reader will understand the difference between whole and processed foods. The tools to reset your kitchen will be everything you need to achieve success and support a positive lifestyle change.