I have been using this book now for a while and I have a tried a number of dishes. Overall, I think this book is a great buy; vegan or just flirting or even just looking to add new recipes to your arsenal this book is a good addition to your shelf.
The way this book is organized is by colour rather than by meal. I have to say that there are upsides and downsides to this. First, the upside:
Organizing the book by colour first I felt took me away from restricting dishes to specific times of day. Not that I have ever followed the rules.. I have eaten pancakes for dinner, leftovers for breakfast, and pasta I feel is an any time of day snack... but I think this book forces you to rethink what should be breakfast, lunch and dinner. Colleen addresses this in her introduction and notes that the purpose of the book is to focus on the different phytochemicals found in the plant-based foods out there and the benefits found in the different colours. So instead of searching in the entree, or dessert sections for recipes, I found myself trying to make combinations of colours. In the end I had colourful and nutrient dense meals that I may not have thought of before.
Another upside to this book, is that it teaches you about the colours in food and provides tips on how to get more into your diet. As someone who is still learning about the nutritional benefits found in food, I can honestly say I learned a lot from this book.
Lastly, there is nutritional information. I have been finding that many vegan cookbooks do not have the nutritional information with their recipes and I always sit and wonder... How healthy is what I am eating? Just because a dish is vegan, does not guarantee that it is low fat (well, I suppose there is the guarantee that it is saturated fat free), low calorie. Regardless of whether you are on a diet, some people want this information and it was nice to see it there.
Now, what I did not like about this book.. Some recipes call for reserving ingredients and do not note how much. If you are like me and never fully read instructions and impulsively jump into a recipe, you will likely have mess-ups along the way... I did (See the post on the Raspberry-lemon muffin loaf!) I found a few recipes that this happened. So my advice, read all instructions before starting!
Another down-side is that it can be difficult to find things in this book. I kept flipping through and seeing things I liked, but then when I would go back, I couldn't find them. This was not the end of the world, there is an index. A lot of the recipes will be under one colour, but likely have more than that colour in them. Colleen acknowledges this and admits she had to make executive decisions on some items.
In the end I tried eight recipes out of this book. I loved all of them. Anything that did not come out right was my own fault. The book is well-balanced and has a number of recipes I had not seen before. Total score in my opinion and I highly recommend that you give it a go!
Recipes that are must-tries (and I may post on soon):
- Farro and fresh vegetable medley
- Sweet and spicy almonds
- Blueberry Buckle
- Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- Garlicky Greens Pasta
- Lemony Pan-fried chickpeas with chard
- Raspberry Lemon Loaf
- Eggplant with sweet miso sauce