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Good Starter Vegan Cookbook for Vegans and Non-vegans Alike Edit
by Jennifer C Combined Rating: 4.0
In July I celebrated my one year anniversary as a vegan and thought I should buy myself a new cookbook as a reward. I decided to get Betty Goes Vegan: 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Family,...
Pros Cons
  • Works for long-term and new vegans, good recipes so far, approachable food for non-vegans
  • Processed foods used often, not enough images, terrible index

In July I celebrated my one year anniversary as a vegan and thought I should buy myself a new cookbook as a reward. I decided to get Betty Goes Vegan: 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Family, mainly because I'm a big fan of Meet the Shannons, the blog that launched the book. I almost NEVER buy cookbooks, let alone brand new, full-price cookbooks, so was it worth it? Here's what I think...

 

Betty Goes Vegan is written by vegan couple Annie and Dan Shannon. Their blog Meet the Shannons and this cookbook were both inspired the book/movie Julie & Julia, which I haven't seen, but it's about cooking your way through an entire Julia Child cookbook in a year.  After seeing the movie, the Shannons decided to follow suit and have been cooking their way through the Betty Crocker cookbook, only turning all the recipes vegan.

 

 

Macaroni & Sheese Cups

 

Types of recipes in the book

This cookbook offers over 500 vegan recipes including main meals, snacks, desserts and holiday menus too. Plus extras like sauces, salad dressings, dips, condiments, beverages and more. Below is a small sample of the sort of recipes you'll find in the cookbook. 

 

  • Fried eggs 
  • Pumpkin gnocchi
  • Tofu scrambles
  • Cajun blackened tofu
  • Sweet potato risotto
  • Rainbow quinoa
  • Biscuts and gravy
  • 5 bean chili
  • Chicken po'boy
  • Chicken Caesar salad
  • New England chowder
  • Minestrone soup
  • Cheezy crunchy chicken strips
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Cajun blackened tofu
  • Sweet potato risotto
  • Pasta in fresh basil sauce
  • Temphe tacos
  • BBQ pizza
  • Bacon cheeseburgers
  • Rainbow quinoa
  • Tons of vegan desserts & baked goods
  • Lots of appetizers & snacks
  • AND so much more. 

 

 

Taco Salad

 

My favorite things about this cookbook

 

  • There is NO vegan preaching! There's not a bunch of extra stuff about why you should go vegan or the benefits of vegan or slideshows of animals in pain, just a whole bunch of flipping recipes, which is the whole reason you buy a cookbook.
  • Betty Goes Vegan is also casual and friendly - the tone is nice like someone is in your kitchen making food with you. 
  • The recipes are 100% recognizable. Everyone, meat eaters, vegans and others will not confused by the recipe selection.
  • The recipes are VERY easy. But not overly simple - i.e. long-term and new cooks will like them. 
  • If you're vegan, you'll have most, if not all of the ingredients you need to make the recipes in this book. These recipes don't require you to purchase any crazy expensive ingredients to use once. 
  • The dishes are not scary. I like baking but cooking meals is harder for me. Most vegan cookbooks are really complex and scary, but not this one. Betty is simple.
  • The dishes are hyper non-vegan friendly. This cookbook is packed with food non-vegans will enjoy, so you can cook and impress all your non-vegan pals.
  • People love the recipes. 

 

Stuff I did not like

This book has very few flaws, but I didn't like some stuff, like.... 

 

  • NOT enough images - this book needs a lot more images - LOTS more.
  • There aren't a ton of kid-friendly recipes - some but not tons. 
  • Betty Goes Vegan has the most confusing index I've ever used. It's impossible to find stuff and the term "vegan" is used in front of half the recipes so all those "Vs" make searching a pain. It's not a deal breaker, but you should sticky note your favorite recipes or memorize the page numbers for sure. 

 

 

 

Vegan Fried Egg

 

OMG the mock food issue! 

 

Most people who wrote bad reviews of this book are mostly complaining about the book containing too many recipes with mock meats and mock cheese. I get it but people are seriously overreacting. You DO NOT have to use mock meat or cheese in these recipes. You can use homemade tofu, tempeh, seitan or whatever you like. Omit the vegan cheese if you want. It's a cookbook not written law.

 

Lots of folks are all, "BUT mock foods aren't healthy!" but for people who like meat and cheese and other mock foods, what's the alternative? The real deal? This cookbook offers meal suggestions for alternatives to real meat and real eggs and real cheese, so what's the big deal?

 

More importantly, as a vegan who hangs out with non-vegans and lives with THREE non-vegans, here's what's hard - feeding everyone - especially the meat eating kid in my house. I've got kids at my house plus friends and family who are really scared of vegan food. This cookbook offers ideas those people will like that are vegan. And you can adapt the recipes to be more whole food based. It's NOT a big deal. What is a big deal is getting people to eat fewer animal products right and this cookbook does that. 

 

I've tried about 6-7 recipes so far, and they've all been massive hits at my house with both the vegans and non-vegans.  We especially liked the twice baked cheesy potatoes (and I usually hate vegan cheese in anything and the mock chicken salad which was to die for. NOTE - I'll post a sample recipe soon! 

 

Overall - if you ever have to cook for anyone who is NOT vegan, this cookbook will be a big help and you (the vegan) will like it too. 

 

All images courtesy of ©MeetTheShannons.com unless otherwise stated 

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