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.
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.
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 http://pinterest.com/patrickgoudreau/