Color Me Vegan - Cookbook Review
Maximize Your Nutrient Intake and Optimize Your Health by Eating Antioxidant-Rich, Fiber-Packed, Color-Intense Meals That Taste Great
By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
(Fair Winds Press, 2010)
Unless you're the rare person who actually prefers wheatgrass to Wagyu beef, the idea of a vegan diet can seem pretty boring to say the least. However, in Color Me Vegan, award-winning author and compassionate cooking crusader Colleen Patrick-Goudreau introduces adventurous home chefs to the vibrant, colorful world of meat-free food in a way that is fun, informative and easy to follow. Taking her inspiration from the multi-hued flora of the natural kingdom, Patrick-Goudreau encourages her health-conscious readers to literally taste the rainbow with the flavorful technicolor treats detailed in this enticing collection of recipes.
From the book's bold, bright text and photographs to the visually-stunning vegetarian creations that fill its pages, Color Me Vegan is all about enjoying food while exploiting the nutrient-rich potential that plant life holds. Beginning with the charge for her followers to "fill their baskets with color," Patrick-Goudreau takes aspiring vegan cooks on an educational journey through the entire spectrum of shades as she elucidates the nutritional value that each hue holds. Dividing her recipes into chapters by color, the author covers everything from familiar dishes like Brown Lentil Soup to more creative concoctions such as Lavender-Roasted Purple Potatoes and Purple Onions. Along the way, our benevolent guide includes plenty of intuitive cooking tips and informational tidbits on phytonutrients (the colorful chemicals that make plants so nutritious and delicious).
For our first test run with Color Me Vegan, we decided to go with the relatively tame combination of Hot Tamale Pie with a side of Kale Chips. Not only were Patrick-Goudreau's instructions refreshingly straightforward, the food tasted great and, as expected, the colors almost seemed to pop right off the plate. While cooking the Hot Tamale Pie's cornmeal crust to golden perfection took a little time and finesse, we found the Kale Chips to be a quick and easy addition that would work well as either a side or a snack.
Through all of Patrick-Goudreau's emphasis on parti-colored presentation, her message of ethical eating is never lost. Along the way, the author includes pointed yet non-intrusive anecdotes illustrating the pitfalls of farm-raised fish and other meat products. However, while her position on animal rights is clear, her advice is rarely pedantic and never preachy. Overall, Patrick-Goudreau's aim seems predominantly focused on exposing readers to the benefits of a vegan diet in a lighthearted and non-threatening way — and at that she easily succeeds. So we say, keep the Wagyu to yourself — you can color us crazy for Color Me Vegan's scrumptious veggie-centric offerings!
Reviewed by Nick Winfrey