Color Me Vegan

color me vegan

I recently stumbled upon The Vegan Bucket List by VegNews Magazine, and number 79 on the list is to own at least one cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Ani Phyo.

I’m a third of the way there because I own Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I’ve had it for a while, but I recently started cooking my way through it. I’m so glad I did – it’s loaded with yummy recipes! Now that I’m intimately familiar with it – I thought I’d share some thoughts.

Here’s what I like about Color Me Vegan

The recipes are delicious! Almost every dish I’ve made from this book has been outstanding. It’s obvious that the recipes are tried, tested and perfected. My favorites include Stuffed Shells with Marinara Sauce, Cashew and Red Lentil Burgers and Quick Curried Swiss Chard. The only dish I haven’t cared for so far is the Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard.

The dishes are pretty. Food presentation is important for the overall enjoyment of a meal and because Color Me Vegan is organized around color, you won’t find any dull brown fare in this cookbook. The dishes you’ll discover here are saturated with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white and even black. There is a section of brown recipes, but even these turn out beautiful rather than drab. The Six-Shades-of-Red Soup is especially striking.


Six-Shades-of-Red Soup

There are many Engine 2 Diet options. The Engine 2 Diet (E2) is a way of eating championed in Rip Esselstyn’s books, The Engine 2 Diet and My Beef with Meat. My husband and I generally follow this way of eating which consists of consuming whole, plant-based foods. Foods that are not whole or not plant-based, like meat, dairy, processed foods, extracted oils and refined sugar are avoided.

It’s often a challenge to find E2 approved recipes, even among vegan cookbooks, because many of them use extracted oil. Please note that the E2 diet is not devoid of fat. Healthy fats are consumed in the form of whole foods like flax seeds, olives, avocados and nuts. It is only extracted oil that is not allowed. Thus olives are fine, but olive oil is not.

While not all of the recipes in Color Me Vegan are E2 approved, many are. There are also some recipes that can easily be made E2 approved by sautéing veggies in water or vegetable broth instead of oil.

There are some healthy dessert recipes. I indulge in a rich, sinful dessert on occasion, but generally I like to tame my sweet tooth with healthier options. Color Me Vegan boasts a number of moderately healthy desserts like Mango Saffron Mousse, Frozen Banana Dessert and Coconut Tapioca Pudding.

Here’s what I didn’t like about Color Me Vegan

I would have liked more E2 options: More than half of the Color Me Vegan recipes are not E2 approved because they use extracted oil. I found this odd because in the introduction Goudreau states, “My recipes tend to be very low in oil or devoid of oil, though not devoid of whole fat. I do encourage people to make healthful, whole fats part of their diet, but that doesn’t mean you always have to cook with oil. When you can cut oil, I recommend you do so…”

I believe that Goudreau could have done better with cutting the oil, without sacrificing taste, in many of her recipes. I wanted to make the Beet Burgers, for example, but opted not to because the recipe called for ¼ cup of oil. There are so many delicious oil-free veggie burger recipes that I’m sure this one could have been developed without oil. And her Cashew Cheese recipe has ½ cup of oil, which I don’t think is necessary. Luminous Vegans recently posted a similar, but oil-free, Cashew Cheese recipe that’s absolutely delicious.

Bottom Line?

I believe most vegans will find a lot of recipes that they’ll use over and over from Color Me Vegan. Vegans who forgo extracted oil, however; should look the recipes over closely before buying. I found enough oil-free recipes to satisfy myself, but others may feel differently.

On a final note, I love how Catherine from VegCharlotte does her book reviews, so I modeled my review style after hers. I hope you don’t mind Catherine, but please let me know if you do.

Photo of Six-Shades-of-Red Soup courtesy of

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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23 Responses to Color Me Vegan

  1. riceeyd says:

    Thanks for the review. Although I am not vegan I am on the search for more plant based eating options to include in my diet. I may have to check this book out.

  2. Poppy says:

    Gosh, half a cup of oil in a cashew cheese is extortionate! My favourite nut cheese, baked almond feta, originally calls for 3 tbsp oil but I now make it with one (I honestly couldn’t see or taste any difference) and am going to try it next time fat free and see if it’s at all necessary. Also 1/4 cup in the beet burgers? I just don’t see the necessity – the ones I make are oil free and I never feel that they need any oil added, I don’t even fry them in oil.

    Such a shame but I love the sound of colourful plates of food! 🙂

    • I just checked out your beet burgers Poppy – they’re lovely!! I knew they could be made without oil. I’ve been craving beet burgers ever since I saw the recipe in ‘Color Me Vegan’ and now I have an oil-free recipe to try. I’ll be shopping for beets tomorrow! And you’re not alone with loving the sound of colorful plates of food – she won me over with that too. Thanks so much for your comment Poppy! Celeste 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        Thanks Celeste! They are my fave burgers to make and the colour is so cheerful, they’re always a winner with omni guests too! You can play with the grain too, they’re very adaptable! I’m expecting beetroot in my veg box delivery tomorrow so I might make some too! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the shout out! I haven’t bought a new cookbook in ages. I think the last one I bought was the Vegan Pie one by Isa. I need to check out that vegan bucket list. Sounds like fun going through it.

    • I think my next cookbook purchase will be one by Isa. I’ve been hearing lots of good things about her lately. Anyway, I’m happy to give you a shout out – your blog is worth shouting about! Have a wonderful week! Celeste 🙂

  4. debbiec67 says:

    I totally understand the oil frustration! Our diet is a mix of Fuhrman, McDougall and e2. I find I keep going back to the “Happy Hebivore” cookbooks, but I stick with date paste instead of agave nectar with her recipes. Neal Barnard’s books also tend to avoid oils in his recipes.

    • Hey there Debbie! I have ‘Everyday Happy Herbivore’, but I don’t use it often. I really should try more of Lindsay’s recipes. I also want to get her first cookbook, ‘The Happy Herbivore’. I do the date past too! How long have you been plant-based? Celeste 🙂

    • Oh, I remember now that you’re a newbie to this way of eating. Celeste 🙂

      • debbiec67 says:

        Yep. Started in February but it seems like we’ve been doing it a lot longer! We’re not going back to our old ways of eating. This is working really well for us.

    • I’m so glad that eating plant-based has worked out so well for you Debbie. It’s really worked out for my husband and me too. I love eating this way now, and can’t imagine ever going back to eating the way I used to eat. Celeste 🙂

  5. Hey! I’m doing pretty well! I have cookbooks from all three of these fabulous women, but I do not have THIS cookbook. Thanks for the review! I’m with you on the oil – in so many recipes it is just not needed.

  6. Anna says:

    Thank you for sharing Celeste, I always learn something new.

    • Thank you for commenting Anna! I always appreciate it when you share something on my blog girlfriend. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. The weather is perfect today – I love it! Celeste 🙂

  7. HeartBound says:

    Great review! I have one of her other cookbooks – ‘The Vegan Table’. Her recipes are great for vegans and non-vegans I think. I’m with you on the oil though. Have you looked at any of the cookbooks from the True North Health Centre, like ‘Bravo’ or ‘The Health Promoting Cookbook’? I know they’re oil free. 🙂

    • Hi Cat! I don’t have any cookbooks from The True North Health Center – I’ve never even heard of the place. I’m excited to hear that they have oil-free cookbooks, however; so I’ll certainly check them out. Thanks so much for sharing this with me – it’s a struggle to find vegan, oil-free cookbooks. I hope you’re having a beautiful week! Celeste 🙂

  8. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Fantastic, Celeste. I like reviews as I often hesitate to take off in a new direction, wanting some recommendations. These are great recommendations.

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