Being that I’m on a tight budget, I often check things out of the library to see if they’re worth buying before deciding to spend the money. Things like cookbooks and craft books are too expensive to buy on a whim! But The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray quickly became my new favorite cookbook the day it found its way into my hands. I went out and bought a copy of my own before the library lending period was up!
I knew of the upcoming release of the book from Reinfeld and Murray’s Twitter feed. I liked the idea of quick vegan meals for the days when I lack the time, or the energy, to make something too involved. Of course, in order to merit a place in my cookbook library, the recipes also have to be good, and it’s helpful if the ingredients can be obtained without too much hassle.
The 30-Minute Vegan delivers on all counts. With sections for every meal, as well as lighter dishes like salads and soups; plus recipes for beverages, snacks, and desserts, you’ll never be at a loss for something quick and delicious to make!
It would take too long to delve into everything that makes this book great, so I’ll keep it short by introducing you to my two personal favorite recipes: the Monk Bowl, and Macaroni and Cheese.
The Monk Bowl was the first recipe in the book that grabbed my attention. It’s just about the easiest, most versatile recipe I’ve ever seen and, though it appears in the book’s lunch section, also makes an excellent dinner. Its perfect balance of quinoa, oven-roasted tofu, and crisp steamed veggies make it a warming, healthy choice for any day. Reinfeld and Murray make several suggestions for variations, as well as sauces and garnishes to give the bowl just the right finishing touch.
Macaroni & Cheese appears in a section devoted to vegan versions of common comfort foods. Mac and cheese was one thing I sorely missed when I made the switch to a life without dairy. Reinfeld and Murray have the perfect solution for vegans who miss the taste of cheese: a mac and “cheese” sauce that you can serve to your omnivore friends and they won’t know the difference. The ingredients are familiar, with a few vegan variations. If you have nutritional yeast and your favorite non-dairy butter and milk on hand, you can make this recipe and feel like a kid again, enjoying your mac and cheese with the knowledge that it’s now 100% vegan, and healthier to boot!
The preface and introductory chapters are invaluable to new and seasoned vegans alike. Reinfeld and Murray offer tips on how to best prepare some of the book’s recurring ingredients, explain several useful preparation methods, and give ideas on how to make your kitchen the best vegan kitchen it can be. Armed with these facts and hints, there’s no reason to be shy about trying new ingredients or putting a new spin on an old favorite.
There is so much more to this book that will broaden your cooking horizons. The recipes span regions, cuisine types, and dietary preferences. Why not be adventurous and try the “Rawvioli”–raw, zucchini-based ravioli with pine-nut-macadamia cheese? Kick things up a notch with the Hot Hot Hot Sauce? Or impress your omnivore friends and family this holiday season with a completely vegan Holiday Nog?
Whatever you decide to try, you can be sure that The 30-Minute Vegan won’t disappoint!