Weekend Cooking: Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson

Vegan PlanetLast month my daughter Hayley announced she’d like to give a vegan diet a try.

So, the next time Ward and I found ourselves in a bookstore, we decided to buy a copy of Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson. Well, okay, it was more like Ward browsed around for a vegan cookbook and found Vegan Planet; I was too busy looking at all the fiction (you know how it goes …).

Ward’s always been fascinated by the vegetarian lifestyle. Back before our youngest, Dylan, was born, he actually went vegetarian for a year. The only problem was, at the time he wasn’t into cooking the way he is now, and the only vegetable he liked was broccoli. So a “vegetarian” diet for him back then translated into cheese and more cheese! Not exactly the healthiest option.

But now that he’s into cooking, he’s really conquered a lot of his old food dislikes (yes, he has eaten anchovies … and capers!); with Hayley opting to be vegan for a while, he decided to join a 21 days of vegan challenge that a vegetarian friend of his told him about.

So that left me as the sole omnivore in the household, my oldest having just moved onto campus and my youngest being primarily what we call a “pastararian”, as in he eats pasta and cheese and pasta with sauce with no “stuff” on it and not much else.

But I have been very, very surprised by my new (mostly) vegan diet (“mostly” because Ward very thoughtfully will make a meat dish every now and then just for me – he’s been very faithful about sticking to his own 21 day challenge though, going so far as to start using soy milk in his coffee).

Ward has cooked up about fifteen different recipes from Vegan Planet so far, and they have all been absolutely stunning in terms of taste. He even made a chocolate cake that was utterly delicious!

I was actually thinking that maybe all vegan cooking is like this – highly flavorful and very filling – but Ward’s vegetarian friend has been cooking some of the recipes you get emailed to you when you sign up for this 21 days of vegan challenge, and she says most of them haven’t been very good at all.

So I’m guessing that Vegan Planet is just an excellent cookbook. There is an Asian stir-fry recipe that is better than anything I’ve had while dining out (the links to recipes in this post are to Ward’s Sensei Cooks blog, by the way); it’s also quick and easy and Ward says he’s quite happy to whip it up for me anytime (in fact, that’s what we’re having tonight, since he’s away for most of the day at a Jodo training session up at Guelph.)

It used to be my favorite, but now it’s a toss-up, because Ward made some really delicious Korean-style scallion pancakes the other night that I find myself yearning for at all times of the day.

Hayley’s favorites are a white bean cassoulet, which Ward has made twice now, as well as this vegan version of Pad Thai (which is also on my favorites list).

Ward’s not sure whether he’ll stick with a totally vegan diet after the 21 days of the challenge are up; we both know, though, that the Vegan Planet has changed our perspective on vegan food (which I used to think must be bland and not very tasty).

I am pretty sure that the majority of our meals in the future will be vegan. Sure, it’s very healthy, but even better, the dishes are so tasty and as a bonus, the house smells wonderful when Ward’s cooking!

I’m participating in Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads with this post; for more delicious cooking-related posts from book lovers, head on over to the latest Weekend Cooking post and check out all the other links!

10 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I would love to try a vegetarian diet, but my two guys are such carnivores, I think they would struggle with this. My sister and her husband are trying to eat vegan, so I’m going to look for this cookbook for Christmas.

    By the way, I love your new look! I hope it’s new, anyway, because if it’s not, that means I’m slow.

  2. Margot

    My kids have all gone through times when they only wanted vegetarian. It helped us all focus on healthier eating. Vegan, on the other hand, was very difficult for all of us. I applaud your husband and this book. I’m going to see if the library has this book. If I can add some very tasty meals into our diet that are also very healthy, that’s a good thing.
    .-= Margot ´s last blog ..Chocolate Zucchini Cake =-.

  3. Memory

    In my experience, vegan food is either incredibly bland or incredibly flavourful, depending on the cook’s attitude. I’m sure it’s far from an equal divide, but I’ve mostly found that vegan cooks who use a lot of meat substitutes create less satisfying dishes, while those who embrace naturally non-animal flavours create amazing ones. It sounds like Ward’s done the latter and produced some delectable meals.

    When my parents and I went to York, we asked a random person on the street to recommend a good restaurant. He told us to try a place called El Piano. Once we were ensconced at our table, we learned that it was a vegan restaurant. My father’s a pretty staunch carnivore/anti-vegan, but he agreed to stick it out and give the place a go. The meal was so amazing that he completely changed his mind and is now willing to try vegan dishes on a more regular basis. The food worked so well because it played up the ingredients rather than focusing in on the absence of meat and dairy.

  4. brizmus

    Vegan Planet is definitely up there when it comes to amazing vegan cookbooks! Go your daughter for going vegan and Ward for doing the 21 day thing! That’s awesome!
    If the vegan thing lasts and you want some great cookbook recommendations, I will be happy to oblige! :-) You’re lucky because, as you’ve got a cook in the house, you can enjoy the wonders of things like the Millenium Cookbook.
    Yum vegan food!

  5. Rural View

    I was a vegetarian many years ago and still eat vegetarian a lot, but I’m married to a meat and potatoes guy. Vegan though – no thanks. I couldn’t survive without eggs.

  6. patti

    Oh, I LOVE the sound of this. We’ve been taking baby steps. Perhaps this’ll be just the thing to go all the way!

    About to go into the writing cave. No choice with two deadlines looming. Sure hope you can occasionally drop by my place.
    Will miss your blog BIGTIME!!


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