- Is the layout clear? The layout of the book is clear; it starts with a detailed table of contents that breaks the book down into introduction and other things you may need to know before you start cooking. It then lists the categories and all of the recipes and their page numbers. I really like how it is set up because it creates a directory at the front of the book that works as a reference tool when looking for specific recipes.
- Are you able to easily tell the ingredients apart from the instructions and the notes? Are the instructions easy to follow? The ingredients list is very easily distinguishable in the recipe. The ingredients are in bold, headings are in light green and directions are in standard black text. This makes the recipes easy to follow. Additionally the commentary for each recipe is at the top and in italics which again separates it from the ingredients and directions.
- Are the recipes numbered or is the section labeled? The recipes are referenced by category and page number in the table of contents and are easy to locate throughout the book.
- Does the cookbook feature photos? If yes, is there a photo for every recipe? Veganomicon features one section in the middle of the book with featured photos. In this selection of photos, they’ve included photos of recipes from every category. However, with more than 250 recipes in the book you will not find a photo for every recipe.
- Do the photos of the recipes look like the actual results? The recipes that I have made that do have photos were the Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls and Chickpea Cutlets both of which their photos looked like my results.
- What kind of paper is the book printed on? I actually really like the paper that the book is printed on. I am no expert in papers but it is a nice heavy, off-white paper that doesn’t strain the eyes and compliments the ink.
- How is the quality of the photos? The photo quality is decent. The photos look nice but they did not seem to be professionally done. I really wish there had been more photos.
- How many recipes are in the cookbook? I didn’t take the time to count them all, but according to the Post Punk Kitchen website there are over 250 recipes in Veganomicon.
- What kinds of recipes will you find in this cookbook? The kinds of recipes you can find in the book are: snacks, appetizers, little meals, dips, spreads, brunch dishes, salads and dressings, sandwiches, vegetables, grains, beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, soups, casseroles, on-pot meals, pasta, noodles and risotto, sauces and fillings, baked goods, cookies and desserts. Basically everything you could imagine and recipes with influences from around the world.
- Is there a theme to the recipes? While there was no common cultural theme, the recipes all seemed to be common, everyday type meals.
- Are the recipes complex or simple? Would they be good for seasoned cooks and/or beginners? I found that the recipes for the most part were pretty simple with the exception of a few dishes involving seitan which becomes slightly more complex. I think that the book could be good for both seasoned cooks and beginners.
Ingredients and supplies
- Are the recipe ingredients easy to find? For the most part all of the ingredients are easy to find. There are a couple of dishes that have items such as jicama or yuca which can be a little more difficult to locate in certain areas, but there are very few recipes that have items you can’t find in your average grocery market.
- Are there any items that stand out as being expensive or specialty? Besides those two items there isn’t really anything that stands out as specialty and nothing too expensive.
- Are there particular appliances that will be required such as blenders, juicers, dehydrators, ect? For some recipes you will need a food processor, blender and/or immersion blender and possibly a crepe pan.
- Does this cookbook provide additional useful information? This cookbook does start with an introduction section that provides you with information about cooking beans, grains and vegetables. It also gives you a list of items that are needed to stock a Veganomicon pantry and the kitchen equipment you will likely need. Lastly it discuss the icons that are used throughout the book and various cooking and prepping terminology.
The Recipes I Tried:
Specifically for the Cookbook Club I tried the following recipes:
- How did the recipe turn out? How did it taste? The recipe turned out pretty bad. This is one of my least favorite recipes in the book. I found that it ended up as a big pile of lentil mash and the flavor was really lacking- it needed additional spices.
- Was the recipe easy to follow? The recipe was not very easy to follow- I started out confused because the recipe calls for 1 cup uncooked lentils but does not specify what type of lentils to use. Now I think this is where the recipe went wrong because I used red lentils, what I had on hand, and I think that they became over cooked. Due to the fact that no specific lentil was named in the recipe and no photo of the recipe in the book It was hard to tell which would be best. Additionally, I found that the addition of the maple syrup to the recipe just made it too sweet and was really unnecessary.
- How did the recipe turn out? How did it taste? I thought that this recipe turned out well and even looked similar to the photo in the book. They were tasty and an easy way to introduce people to products made with vital wheat gluten.
- Was the recipe easy to follow? I did have a few issues with the recipe. One of the major issues I had was the layout of the recipe. The second step is to add all remaining ingredients and when I did this I went in the order they are listed; logically that seems like the way to go. Well when doing this you add the liquid ingredients to the vital wheat gluten before you have added all of the spices which caused the mixture to clump up and not combine well and I had to add additional water to get the mixture to come together. Now what I have learned from my experience using vital wheat gluten you really need to mix the dry ingredients and the wet separately and then add the wet to the dry to get an even mixture. Aside from the issue with the ordering of ingredients, I really did like this recipe. Although, if it had been a few years ago before I had started working with vital wheat gluten I would probably have not known what to do and just given up and thrown the mixture away.
- How did the recipe turn out? How did it taste? I really loved the flavor of this sauce. I served it over the chickpea cutlets and they really made a great pair. Now I am a huge sucker for mustard of any kind, so this was perfect to me.
- Was the recipe easy to follow? My criticism of this recipe will only make sense to those who have the first edition or possibly earlier additions of the book because edits have been done throughout the book and specifically to this recipe. The issue I encountered with this recipe was that there was a step missing that added essential ingredients from the ingredient list. If you know how to make a sauce you will know when to add these missing ingredients, but for those who don’t you may want to look at newer editions of the book.
Lower-Fat Banana Bread
- How did the recipe turn out? How did it taste? I made this recipe as muffins. This recipe was as big hit with the husband. He has been asking me to make more every since he finished off the last muffin.
- Was the recipe easy to follow? The recipe was easy to follow, tasty and lower in fat which was a win overall.
Sauteed Seitan With Mushrooms and Spinach
- How did the recipe turn out? How did it taste? This recipe tasted good and came together easy. It is a good easy weeknight meal that is filling and could be served with pasta, bread, rice or you could even put it in a wrap.
- Was the recipe easy to follow? This recipe was easy to follow and overall came out just like I had expected.
In addition to the recipes I tried for the Cookbook Club I have also made the Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls, Saffron-Garlic Rice, Chickpeas Romesco and Caesar Salad. Out of all of the recipes I tried the Spicy Temeph Nori Rolls and the Chickpeas Romesco were the favorites and probably the only recipes i would make again.
Overall I think that Veganomicon is just an okay vegan cookbook. I don’t think that it lives up to the title of the “Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” that it is given on the cover. There are a number of recipes that I just won’t make because they are filled with oil and the recipes I have made all lack seasoning. For me when I think of the “ultimate vegan cookbook” I think of a book that I will keep going back to for reference, for my favorite recipes and for inspiration. I don’t get any of this out of Veganomicon. I think out of all of the Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero cookbooks that this is my least favorite. Isa’s Vegan Brunch or Isa and Terry’s Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World or Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar are three books I go back to over and over again for reference and inspiration and they include some of my favorite recipes.
What do you think about Veganomicon?
Also don’t forget to check out what other Cookbook Club members are saying and learn how you can sign up to participate in the the next cookbook review – Appetite For Reduction.