Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Review: Easy. Whole. Vegan. by Melissa King

Easy. Whole. Vegan: 100 Flavor-Packed, No-stress Recipes for Busy Families
by Melissa King

easy whole vegan
Easy. Whole. Vegan. by Melissa King (pre-publication proof cover)

Pub Date 06 Sep 2016 (or my UK systems show 01 Nov 2016)
Publisher: The Experiment, USA
ISBN 9781615193097
Format: Paperback.
UK price not yet available. Cover image shown is from a digital proof copy and may be subject to change.
UK availability is not yet clear at August 2016 but this should be available to order from your local bookshop nearer the publication date. Please shop local to help keep your high streets alive.

I eat about a 95% vegan and gluten-free diet and I’m a bit of a foodie, so there’s quite a lot in this cookbook that I’ve come across before, or through trial and error, have already created for myself. However, if you’re not a die-hard veggie and are new to a plant-based diet or are exploring the idea of trying out more wholefoods and plant foods, then this book is a great starting point to get you going. The author explains really well how she and her family came to make the decision to turn to a plant-based wholefood diet. The recipes sound nutritious and delicious but – and this is particularly good for the newcomer – they are not all virtuous! Using natural sweeteners, such as apple sauce, dates, raisins, fruit, maple syrup etc., there are plenty of sweet treats in here to appeal to kids and adults alike.

The author claims that her recipes won’t take you hours or involve fiddly preparation. However, I think they are likely to require some careful thought and planning, some re-stocking of your store cupboards and possibly some searching through the health food shops for some of the ingredients. The same goes for kitchen equipment. A food processor seems to be an essential for a lot of these recipes. I have a small kitchen and I don’t have a food processor, although I do have a juicer (another bit of kit used in Melissa’s recipes). I certainly don’t have a citrus press, a dehydrator or bamboo cutting boards (other recommended kitchen gadgets). There is a bit of an over reliance on kitchen electricals in the recipes, where alternative suggestions would be useful for the average cook. In fact, ‘the food processor and blender vegan cookbook’ might almost be a useful subtitle. This isn’t a criticism but it is an indicator of how much they feature in the recipes. Time is also a factor (despite the author’s assertions that it isn’t!). She recommends making your own nut milks, for example. This is a great idea and of course they taste wonderful but it is a fiddly and time consuming job and also not a particularly cheap option – not ideal for the time-poor, over-worked or cash-strapped amongst us). The recipes also don’t translate brilliantly well to the UK market. I have other US cookbooks but reading through this proof copy, I had to look up arugula, cilantro and sriracha to see what on earth they are (for those not in the know, that’s rocket, coriander and a hot thai chilli sauce).

I haven’t made any of the recipes yet – I’ve only just had a first look at the book today. I’m looking forward to trying (amongst others) the macadamia nut cheese sauce, raspberry vanilla chia jam, homemade applesauce, apple cinnamon quinoa, sweet potato pancakes and blueberries and cream chia pudding.

There’s some nice photography in the proof edition; always a help when visualising how the finished product should look! And it does all look quite delicious and appetising. When I get around to trying some of the above I’ll report back on the blog and let you know what I think! Overall, I like the style of this book and it looks reasonably accessible to the novice vegan or wholefood cook. There are some lovely-sounding flavour combinations and, along with books like the ‘Deliciously Ella’ cookbooks, it looks like a good starting point for discovering new healthy food options.