Veganism is going mainstream. The benefits of consuming fewer animal products appear frequently in the news, and public figures and celebrities have openly embraced the tenets of a vegan diet, bringing it further into our collective food conscience. Whether for health, environmental, or political reasons, more and more people are looking to get hearty plant-based meals onto their table. But eating vegan can seem overwhelming: Will it be flavorful? Satisfying? Easy to make? America's Test Kitchen addresses head-on what intimidates people: finding great-tasting and filling vegan protein options, cooking without dairy, preparing different whole grains and vegetables, and even baking. With more than 140 vibrant, foolproof recipes including proper day-starters, "cheesy" pizza you'll actually want to eat, filling vegetable-and-grain bowls, new dinner favorites, appetizers, DIY staples, and the ultimate birthday cake, this cookbook has something satisfying for everyone—the committed vegan or simply those looking to freshen up their cooking.
Cooking vegan challenged us to rethink the way we look at mealtime, reinventing rather than replicating dishes. Animal products tend to have an obscuring presence; it’s easy to define a dish by the meat component or the cheesy filling rather than as the sum of all its parts. When we stripped away those ingredients, we were sometimes disappointed (we sampled many bland tofu dishes). But more often, when we experimented with new techniques, we learned that a hearty vegetable, seared until charred and daubed with a bright sauce, can be your steak—but fresher. A nut-and-vegetable-based pasta sauce can have all the richness and savor of a cheese-based cream sauce—but less leaden. And so we were able to create some of our most interesting and unique recipes to date—like Baja-Style Cauliflower Tacos, which feature crispy coconut-coated cauliflower paired with spicy mango slaw and cilantro cream.
Two misconceptions about vegan cooking—that it’s expensive and requires a slew of specialty ingredients—were happily dispelled during the development process. All you really need beyond the norm is supersavory nutritional yeast, umami-rich miso paste, and some dairy-free milk. When it came to processed items like vegan cheese, we ended up buying minimally; in fact, we didn’t use a single store-bought cheese. And we created a lineup of DIY recipes that are valuable additions to your cooking—from a nut-and-spice blend called dukka that you’ll want to sprinkle on everything to a creamy, dreamy vegan mayo that tastes like the real thing.
Developing baked goods without using dairy and eggs is an undeniable challenge. After all, these are the building blocks of most traditional desserts. And many of the vegan baked goods we sampled were dry, pale, and crumbly. But after rigorous testing (we made more than 100 batches of our Blueberry Muffins), we were amazed at the treats we were able to create: tender cakes, browned pastries, and even ultracreamy ice cream. These are desserts you’d be proud to serve to vegans and nonvegans alike. How did we do it? Instead of just swapping in substitutes for any animal products, we altered our techniques and combined ingredients in surprising (but simple) ways that allowed us to deliver beloved muffins, cakes, cookies, brownies, and pies. They might not be made exactly like your traditional favorites, but they’ll satisfy your cravings just the same.
At the end of our testing and development process, we’d created recipes that will remain a part of our day-to-day cooking. These are recipes we’ve come to crave and that we feel good about eating. Writing this cookbook made us better appreciate the potential of ingredients that had been there all along.
Get 140+ plant-based recipes and flavor building strategies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between, all guaranteed to please committed vegans, sometime vegans, and curious carnivores alike.