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Great Cookbooks for Families: A Bottomless Pit of Vegan Creativity

Reviewed by Katy Killilea
Dreena Burton is vegan, exuberant, Canadian, a mom, and an excellent cookbook writer.  She has written three all-vegan, allergen-sensitive books, including one geared toward families with kids. I have been using her books so frequently that I plum forgot to review them. They came into my home and seamlessly worked their way out of the “to review” basket and onto my most-often-used shelf. (It’s worth mentioning that this happened despite the fact that we are not vegans.)

The recipes are clearly laid out but not at all terse. Dreena writes as if she is imagining what the home cook might be tempted to do wrong, and warns against it. On the other hand, she knows you’ll be thinking, “I wonder if I could use all-purpose instead of kamut flour” and provides the answer. (You can.) Another thing I love is her unapologetic sweet tooth.  Her dessert chapters are generous and creative with lots of crazy good cookies and cakes.

Both Vive le Vegan and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan include many wheat-free recipes and notations on de-wheating the others. Vive le Vegan is her book for “the everyday vegan family,” and it includes extra information on first foods for babies and ostensibly more kid-friendly recipes. However, I find that all three books have loads of all-family-happy recipes.

The recipe below is good for everyone–even the toothless. It’s greater than the sum of its parts and offers a luscious texture as well as a break from butter. And it’s addictive.

Autumn Puree
From Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

3 pounds sweet potatoes and winter squash (in any proportion as long as at least half is sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup coconut milk (regular or light)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (Note from Katy: if you can’t grate it fresh, I would leave it out.)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve the squash and seed it (no need to peel it yet). Pierce the potatoes and squash with a knife, place on prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes (or longer, depending on size of vegetables) until very soft.  Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins. Combine the vegetables and all of the other ingredients.  Use a hand blender or food processor to puree until very smooth. Season with additional salt if desired. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a bit more coconut milk and puree to incorporate. Serve warm, or reheat in a baking dish until hot.

The details:
(All of these books are written by Dreena Burton.)

Eat, Drink & Be Vegan
Arsenal Pulp Press

Vive le Vegan!
Arsenal Pulp Press

The Everyday Vegan
Arsenal Pulp Press

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1 comment
  • Can’t wait to check these out, thank you!

    Especially the sweet tooth chapters – I am notorious for my (vegan) dessert failures.