"Why eat a vegan diet?" asks author Deborah Gray in the introduction to 500 Vegan Dishes. She continues, "A vegan diet is healthy, low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As long as the diet is varied, the vegan diet is the healthiest option of all." Should anyone find a vegan diet intimidating, there are 500 creative recipes, some of them adapted from popular meat dishes to ease a meat-eating family into healthy vegan foods, rich in fruits, grains, beans, and vegetables, and packed nutrition.
Rather than reworking recipes left over from the less imaginative hippy days, Gray has generally avoided the use of processed vegan "meats," which keeps the recipes fresh and sparkling. In a contemporary mode, her recipes are gleaned from the vast number of vegetable-loving peoples around the world. The introduction provides sections on ingredients, animal-free substitutes, (including egg substitutes), and basic recipes. For ease of use, the book is divided into nine sections:
-Breakfast & Brunches
-Bean, Lentil & Nutty Dishes
-Rice, Grain & Pasta Dishes
Even if you're not vegan, you will want to discover new ways to use vegetable ingredients. Experiment with Wheat Berry Salad, make Spicy Spinach & Buckwheat crepes to use the powerful nutrition packed into buckwheat. Discover new uses for tofu such as Tofu Puffs, or Tofu & Vegetable Mole Oaxaca. Travel the world, and make Indonesian Gado-Gado, Thai Green Vegetable Curry, Italian Pasta e Fagioli Soup, Japanese Yakisoba (a noodle dish sold at festivals and as street food), Sicilian Caponata, Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers, Chinese Hoisin Glazed Tofu with Asparagus & Cashew Stir-fry, or Indian Biryani.
The choices are limitless. If this is an introduction to vegan food, the transition will be surprisingly easy. If one is already committed, the repertoire bursts open. There are color photos throughout to guide the eye.