I am so excited to share my review of California Vegan, another new and refreshing entry in the plant-based cookbook world.
March 15, 2021
Blurb: Plant-powered dietitian Sharon Palmer tells the diverse story of California veganism with recipes showcasing local produce and celebrating the cultural roots, historical legacy, and future of plant-based pioneers in the state. California is where vegan culture all began, and where a diverse group of innovators continue breaking new ground. From the first glimpses of California cuisine in the 1970s to today’s Silicon Valley startups revolutionizing the way America eats, the Golden State starts the veggie trends the rest of the country follows.
Featuring over 100 plant-based recipes with full nutritional information and illustrated with original photography, California Vegan welcomes Californians into veganism and vegans all over the world into California.
Sharon Palmer, dietitian, author, and blogger, takes us on a vegan food journey through California in California Vegan. With each region, she provides a little of its history and then the significance of its vegan offerings while also dropping in facts like California provides half of all the fruits and nuts produced in the US (wow!).
The recipes are grouped from each region and are mostly very healthy offerings, but the significant element for me was how fresh the recipes are. These aren’t just new takes on old recipes but most are innovative and based on whole foods. Even the Mediterranean-influenced ones are completely different from ones I’ve read before, with perhaps the exception of the ubiquitous Eggplant Parmesan, but the technique is different and the sauces all vegan.
Some of my favorite recipes were Tofu Mole with Brown Rice in which rich mole sauce tops pan-fried tofu and brown rice making a rich but guilt-free dish; Coconut Curry Corn Chowder, which looks like it would be my soup-oriented comfort food from this book; and Caribbean Coconut Rice with Okra, in which the rice is smothered in a rich, spicy sauce.
Each recipe is accompanied by a bright, tantalizing photo of the finished recipe. The recipes are easy to follow and don’t have a lot of hard to find ingredients or use cooking techniques that can’t be done utilizing typical pots and pans. I liked that Palmer in the indigenous section used spices that would have been used in the early days like juniper berries, which I personally can’t wait to try, just to see what that flavor is like and maybe how to use it in other recipes.
The introductions for each section are not only informative, but they also act like encouraging permission to try new things, new ingredients, new techniques, which I really need to start doing with my own vegan and vegetarian cooking.
California Vegan would be a wonderful gift for a new or experienced vegan or for yourself to try some new plant-based cooking.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies