When I first ventured down the road into my new vegan lifestyle I spent many hours online (and picking the brains of my few vegan friends) looking for whatever resources I could find. Granted, it is much easier to be a vegan in 2010 then it would have been 30 years ago, but I still needed help finding recipes, substitutions, cookbooks and everything else you can think of. When I decided to launch The High Impact Vegan™, I knew that I wanted to have an extensive resource section full of, what I feel, are the basics for starting out your new life as a vegan. Select a category below:
- Recommended Cookbooks
- Must Reads (Books & Magazines)
- Kitchen Staples
- Vegan Restaurants
- “Follow Worthy” Blogs & Websites
If you can’t tell by now, I absolutely LOVE to cook (and bake, too)! When I first became vegan, I did a lot of research and have found quite a number of great cookbooks that are 100% vegan. As part of my resource guide, I wanted to share with all of you my favorite cookbooks as well as some of my favorite vegan recipes. I hope you enjoy the list!
Spork Fed, by Jenny Engle and Heather Goldburg. This is my latest cookbook find, and has become a staple in my kitchen. In fact I am preparing Thanksgiving dinner entirely from recipes in this book this year! Heather and Jenny are sisters who live in California and run an online vegan website as well as host vegan cooking classes in the LA area. If you do not live in the LA they also offer an online version of their classes you can sign up for. Purchase this book on Amazon.com. Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Matthew Ruscigno. I received this cookbook last winter as a holiday gift from my parents and it is by far my favorite vegan cookbook. Not only are all the recipes in the book delicious and relatively easy to make, they are all low-fat and full of things that are good for you like protein, fiber and flavor! If you were only able to purchase one vegan cookbook, this wold by far be my number one recommendation to you. Purchase this book on Amazon.com. The 30 Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. This is a great cookbook for many reasons, the most important (if you are busy person) is that all the recipes take 30 minutes or less to prepare. It is also a great cookbook because everything I have ever made out of it has been fantastic! Some of my personal favorites are the Rainbow Kale Salad, The Coconut Rice (with and without beans) and the Tofu Saag. Purchase this book on Amazon.com. Vegan With A Venganceby Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This is another cookbook that I LOVE! It is also by Isa, who is one of my favorite authors, and the book is filled with great recipes that even your non-vegan friends and family will love. Try the pancakes (they are my favorite) for brunch, or even a fun dinner. There is also a great recipe for pizza crust in this book and several pizza ideas for making great vegan pies! Purchase this book on Amazon.com. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This little gem is a vegan bakers dream! I like to call this a “must have” for every vegan that loves dessert. I always tell people the major difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that vegans do not get to enjoy dessert as often since most baked good sold in bakeries and restaurants have dairy and eggs in them. I have made several cuppy-cakes from this cookbook and they have all been amazing. They always come out moist and to me, taste better then any regular, egg and dairy filled cupcake could! Check out my post about birthday cuppy-cakes here. Purchase this book on Amazon.com. Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Especially a vegan cookie!!! This book, written in by the same gals, and in the same format as Vegan Cupcakes Take of the World is truly a must have for the vegan baker! This past holiday season I baked several cookies from this cook book and my family and friends loved them all! The chocolate chip cookies are super easy and just like the ones mom used to make. Purchase this book on Amazon.com. Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Released in the fall of 2011, this is yet another vegan baking cookbook by my favorite authors, Isa and Terri. Filled with amazing, mouth watering vegan pie, tart and cheesecake recipes, this book is a must have and will complete your set of amazing vegan baking cookbooks. The trio (with the two above books) would make a lovely gift set. Purchase this book on Amazon.com. Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I just recently got this cookbook with a Amazon gift card I had and I must say, it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I really enjoy the cookbooks that Isa and Terry write and this is no exception. The conversation style of the authors makes it easy and fun to get into and the recipes have been amazing. I made the Mushroom and Spinach Strata and Diner Home Fries on Mother’s Day for my Mother-in-Law. She loved it, and so did everyone else.
Must Reads (Books & Magazines)
VegNews Magazine. The fabulously creative, vegan staff at VegNews put out 10 amazing issues a year. Having just celebrated their 10-year anniversary (in 2010) the magazine has grown from a small newsprint publication to a full-blown, glossy paged magazine. Each issue is full or interesting interview, fabulous articles, great new vegan finds, as well as tons and tons of wonderful recipes. Each month, I anxiously await the arrival of my issue so that I can snuggle on the coach or layout by the pool and read it from cover to cover! Click here to subscribe to VegNews. Vegetarian Times Magazine. While this magazine is not completely vegan, it does offer a ton of great vegan recipes. In fact, most issues have an entire “Vegan Gourmet” section which highlights that month’s feature vegan recipes. Another great thing that Vegetarian Times does in all their recipes is place a small “V” at the bottom of each recipe noting whether it is vegan or not. And most of their recipes can be made vegan with a few simple changes (leave out the cheese, swap mayonnaise for veganaise, etc.) I would highly recommend this magazine as an additional resource for recipes. Click here to subscribe to Vegetarian Times.
The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. This book was written to share the benefits of eating a vegan lifestyle, and being compassionate towards animals with the world. But it is presented in a non-confrontational way. Alicia is very open about her lifestyle and her food choices and makes even the most skeptical person want to try being vegan. She spends and entire chapter of the book talking about “Flirting” with veganism and how making the change does not have to be “cold-turkey” for a lack of a better word. The entire second half of the book is filled with Alicia’s delicious recipes too! If you, or anyone you know is interested in learning more about the vegan lifestyle, this is the book for you! Purchase this book on Amazon.com.
Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr This is a truly amazing book, by a truly amazing women. Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare form or incurable cancer over eight years ago. She was determined to fight the cancer and give herself the best life possible. And that is just what she has done. This book is full of valuable information, wonderful pictures, awesome healthy recipes and even a 21 day cleanse to kick start your Crazy Sexy Diet. This book take veganism to the next level! Purchase this book on Amazon.com.
Kitchen Staples (my favorite vegan substitutes)
Earth Balance Buttery Spread (Vegan Butter) By far the one and only vegan butter substitute! Made from all natural ingredient, GMO free, no hydrogenated oils, and a fabulous “buttery” taste, what more could you ask for! It comes in original, whipped, soy garden, made with olive oil, soy-free, and the all-new coconut oil. The best part is you can buy Earth Balance (at least the original in a tub) at most chain grocery stores. Look for the stick version, great for baking at healthy food or natural stores such as MOMs Organic Market, Whole foods, etc. Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread This product is the latest innovation from Earth Balance and it is simply amazing! I can not say enough good things about it. The creamy, smooth texture and the slight coconut flavor make this a perfect soy-free substitute for regular earth balance. It is great spread on a muffin or some toast, or used in place of vegan butter in baking. If you try one new product this year, this should definitely be it! Five stars for Earth Balance on this product! Silk Soy Milk and Almond Breeze Almond Milk There are actually a ton of options when it comes to a milk substitute, mine just happen to be Soy Milk (I like Silk Organic in plain) and Almond Milk (I like Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze in Original). I would suggest that you try all the options before you settle in on what your favorite is as they each have their own flavor and texture. A few options include So Delicious Coconut Milk by Turtle Mountain, Tempt Hemp Milk by Living Harvest, and Rice Dream Rice Milk. Daiya Vegan Cheese, Teese Vegan Cheese and Vegan brand Vegan Cheese As a vegan, I can tell you that the one thing there is no real good substitute for is cheese. There are several options out there, but my opinion is that if you have eaten cheese (cow’s or goat’s milk cheese) in the past five years, then the vegan versions will taste nothing like cheese to you. That being said, I much prefer the vegan alternative to the harmful effects of the real thing. In reality, I typically just avoid it all together, pizza with no cheese, I make my own ‘cheese’ sauce for mac n’ cheese and I et by just fine. I wold however recommend that you at least try some of the vegan cheeses out there. You very well may like one or two of them, and they are not bad when mixed into to a dish.
EnerG Egg Replacer This is just one of the many ways that you can replace an egg when cooking/baking. It is probably the most simple and pretty much works every time. You simply mix 1 1/2 tsp dry Egg Replacer with 2 tbsp water (= 1 egg) and it forms a foamy gel-like mixture that becomes your “egg”. There are instructions on the box for replacing egg yolks and egg whites as well. For additional ways to replace an egg check out these links 1) PETA.org 2) Vegweb.com
Veganaise (Vegan Mayonnaise) To me, Veganaise is just as creamy and flavorful as real mayonnaise and is a great substitution. Use it just like you would regular, egg-based mayo; on sandwiches, in salads, in cakes and more. My personal favorite is the grape seed oil version (the one with the purple label and lid), it not only has great flavor but it also has some nice healthful benefits. Grapeseed oil is one of the few natural foods known to raise HDL, AKA the “good” cholesterol.
Dandies and Sweet and Sara Vegan Marshmallows Not many people know this but regular, “Jet-Puffed” marshmallows are not vegan. Those sweet little pillows of joy contain gelatin, which is an animal bi-product and makes them not vegan. Could you imagine life without marshmallows? Nope, me either! Thanks to Sweet and Sara and the Chicago Soy Dairy (makers of Dandies) vegans like you and I can enjoy some of the best tasting marshmallows you’ve ever had. Both brands are good, but I must say I LOVE Sweet and Sara’s marshmallow. They are the best marshmallows I have ever had, vegan or not! Important to note, both brands melt just like regular marshmallows. Try them both and have a s’more or two for me!
Vegan Grain-Sweetened Chocolate Chips What makes these chocolate chips better then any other vegan chocolate chip (Trader Joe’s has a version, and so does Ghirardelli) is the fact that they are grain sweetened. What does that mean? It means they are not made with sugar, and are a lot better for you. Oh, and they taste amazing too! I learned about grain sweetened chocolate while reading Alicia Silverstones‘ The Kind Diet and have been hooked ever since. You can find them at specialty grocery stores or order them online by the case (like to do) here.
Earth Balance Almond and Peanut Butter Regular Jiff, or Skippy peanut butter are vegan, however they are also made with hydrogenate oils and trans fats making them a not so ideal choice. Personally I adore Earth Balance’s No-Stir Natural Almond and Peanut Butters. They are smooth and delicious and make a killer sandwich or topping for a bagel. The best part is, they are really no-stir! A lot of other brands claim to be no-stir, but Earth Balance really is!
Sweetened and Condensed Milk Substitute Mimiccream and Soymilke are two great vegan substitutes for recipes that call for sweetened cream, sweetened condensed milk, or unsweetened cream. They both live a shelf life and will stay in the pantry for at least six-months. Great items to keep on hand for all your baking needs.
Vegan Whipped Cream Substitutes Another staple item in my kitchen is whipped cream! Dessert is just not dessert without it! And let me tell you, the vegan version I make is 10x better then the old fashion dairy version. You can use canned coconut milk and a little organic confectioners sugar to whip up a delicious whipped topping for pies, vegan ice creams, or fresh berries. Check out the simple recipe here. But, if you are a person who does not like the flavor of coconut, then I would suggest Healthy Top, a nut oil based whipped topping that you freeze until ready to use and whip up the same way you would the coconut version (but it is already sweetened).
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This list is by no means a complete listing of all places to get good vegan eats in any of these areas. Theese are simply my favorites, and/or places that have been highly recommended to me that are on my list to try. Jason (my husband) and I spend a lot of our time traveling to different cities trying out all the vegan places we have heard about. We call them vegan food tours. Check out more about the places we have been, and all the great food we have eaten (and see the pics) in my Adventures blog section.
Baltimore/Washington DC Area
Great Sage, Clarksville, MD Great Sage is one of my all time favorite place to eat, and I must say it is so nice to have a vegan restaurant close by. They are located right off route 108 in Clarksville, MD and are part of what is called The Conscious Corner. Owners Jeff & Holly Kaufman and Jody Cutler started The Conscious Corner in 2000 when they opened Roots Market, an independent natural and organic market catering to the gourmet and natural foods enthusiast. In addition to Great Sage and Roots, you will also find Bark, a natural and organic pet food and supplies store and Nest, a socially responsible gift & clothing boutique. If you live int he are or are ever in the Baltimore/Columbia MD area, I would highly recommend a trip to The Conscious Corner, you won’t be disappointed! The Land of Kush, Baltimore, MD The Land of Kush is an amazing vegan restaurant located at the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd and Eutaw Street in Baltimore, MD. They’ve only been in business for about six months but they are doing very well. So well that they recently added Sunday hours to their schedule. What I love most about The Land of Kush is that their food is amazing, and affordable, and the folks that own it are super nice. The platters proved a huge selection of food (one main dish and two sides) and are under $10. They also have a selection of fresh made juices and teas to choose from and several vegan baked goods to purchase. The Land of Kush also host sever events each month such as Vegan Drinks, Farm Animal Sanctuary Fund Raisers and much more. Check them out online, and be sure to stop in the next time you are in Baltimore. Cafe Green, NW Washington DC This place is tops on my list of places to try the summer! Our good friends, Laura and Tim, went here recently and said that the food was amazing. They dined on Mung Bean Pancakes, Gluten-free Gnocchi, Gluten-free Vegan Mac n’ Cheese, and a awesome Cashew Butter Chocolate ‘Milkshake‘. From the pictures they sent me, the food looks amazing. Jason and I are planning a trip to DC to check this place out ASAP! UPDATE: Jason and I finally made it to Cafe Green this past summer! It was very good, and some place I would definitely recommend. I had the Mac n’ Cheese with Kale and Jason had the vegan club. both were very good! The atmosphere is really nice, quite and cute. We will be making another trip here next time we are in DC. David’s Natural Market Cafe, Columbia, MD David’s is one of my favorite places to go for lunch. All of their food is amazing and they have a hot and cold vegan lunch special every day! The best part is, you can check out what the specials are on their website any time after 11:30am! Now the only downfall is that they are only open for lunch Monday through Friday, but if you are ever in the area and need a quick and tasty bite to eat, be sure to stop by David’s. Oh, and David’s is also a Natural Grocery Store too! Mango Grove, Columbia MD Although Mango Grove has been in Columbia (where I grew up) for more then 20 years, Jason and I only recently went there for dinner. Mango grove is a 100% vegetarian south Indian restaurant, with tons of vegan options (labeled on the menu). They offer a lunch time buffet with 17 vegan options on the buffet and dinner has just as many choices. I ordered the Masala Dosai, a jumbo south Indian crepe filled with potato and onion masala, and Jason got a Mushroom, Onion and Bell Pepper Oothappam, a rice and lentil pancake. They were both delicious and filled us up quite nicely. My only complaint is that a few items on the menu were labeled vegan, when in reality they were not. The garlic nann bread definitely came out with butter on it. I would just make sure to ask the server (or even ask for the owner) to make 100% certain there is not dairy in what you are ordering. Better safe then sorry.
Update: Unfortunately, Mango Grove is currently closed. They are in the process of relocating. You can follow them on Facebook for updates to when the new loaction will open.
Blackbird Pizza, Philadelphia PA If you are a pizza lover then this place is for you! When I first became vegan,the one thing that I told Jason I missed (just a little) was pizza. It was not the cheese that I missed however, it was a good pizzeria style pizza crust. Being Italian, I am not one to seek out a delivery chain when I want pizza, I want a good hand tossed, amazing crust. That is exactly what Black Bird has! In addition to an amazing crust, they also offer several different specialty pizzas, vegan subs, and some to die for vegan dessert! A must-do in Philly for sure!
Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant, Philadelphia PA Govinda’s Vegetarian offers two options for dining, a quick service carry out place and a full service sit down restaurant. I have only been to the quick service side, but I have heard good things about the restaurant as well. Jason and I stopped in the quick service and grabbed two ‘chicken cheese steaks’. The fake chicken was topped with sauteed peppers and onions and an amazing soy cheese sauce. The veggies were so tender and delicious that we inhaled the sandwiches is no time!
Mi Lah Vegetarian, Philadelphia, PA I have not actually been to Mi Lah Vegetarian, yet. But we are planing a trip to Philly later this summer and will try it out then. I discovered Mi Lah when I was looking for vegan places to eat near my grandparents house in New Jersey (not far from Philly). I used an app for my cell phone called Happy Cow, a great resource, and Mi Lah came up. Since then, one of the bloggers I follow went to Philly and shared some great photos and notes about his trip. Check out the Vegan Dad’s post about Philly to read more about Mi Lah and the many other veg-friendly places Philly has to offer. Vedge Restaurant The owners, Rich and Kate previously owned the best vegan restaurant I have ever been to, Horizons. Sadly, Horizons shut down in the summer of 2011, but it was only to give Rich and Kate time to prepare and move into their new venture Vedge, a vegetable restaurant. I am super excited to let you know that they are now open!!! Jason and I will be having dinner there in early December and I cannot wait to tell you all about it. In the mean time, follow them on Twitter and Facebook or check out their website. Or if you are in the Philly area, go there for dinner!!!
New York City, NY
Blossoms, 187 9th Ave, NY This year, to celebrate our five year anniversary, Jason and I went to NYC for a vegan food tour. It was absolutely amazing and Blossoms is one of the fabulous places we got to eat. Blossoms is a small, casual sit down restaurant located in the heart of Manhattan. We walked in, without a reservation and were able to get a table, however I would highly recommend you make a reservation. We shared an appetizer, entree and dessert and were perfectly satisfied, although their portions are not overly large. We were just not that hungry that night. There are a ton of vegan restaurants on NYC, but if you are in the area, I would highly recommend that you give blossoms a try.
Cocoa-V, NY (vegan wine and chocolate bar) The same people that own Blossom’s also own Cocoa-V and let me just tell you, this place is amazing. We arrived around 10pm and it was just Jason and I at the time. The gal working that night was very nice and assisted us in pairing some wine with the perfect chocolates (which are hand made on the premise). We ending up with a lovely Riesling, a dark chocolate bar with cherries and pistachios, and a raspberry lemon cupcake. The chocolate is euphoric and by far some of the best tasting chocolate I have ever had. Mix that with a nice glass of wine, the perfect atmosphere, and my wonderful husband and that is what I call heaven!
Candle Cafe, 1307 3rd Ave, NY This place is a super cute vegan cafe located in the upper east side of Manhattan. We walked here one afternoon after spending some time in Central Park and had ourselves an amazing lunch. Jason got the tofu club sandwich and I got the lemon basil tofu and both were wonderful, although I must say, mine might have been one of the best meals I have ever had! The cafe is small and seats about 20 people, they have a juice bar, full lunch and dinner menu and a very nice serving staff. This is a must try in NYC!
Natural Gourmet Institute (Friday Night Dinners), 48W. 21st Street, NY If you are looking for a totally unique dinner experience in NYC, and you are there on a Friday night, I would recommend trying one of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Friday night Dinners. The dinners are open to the public and run on most Fridays through out the year. For $40 a person you get an amazing three course vegan dinner prepared for you by the up and coming student chefs. Something else that is really neat about this experience is that you get sat with other people, most tables hold ten, and you can get to know some other like minded people while you enjoy your delicious diner. The night we attended the theme for dinner was “The Deep South and Dusk” and the menu was truly amazing. Next time you are in NYC, make a reservation and plan to attend a Friday Night dinner!
“Follow Worthy” Blogs & Websites
These are a few of the my favorite sites and blogs. While most of them are other vegan chefs posting recipes and reviews, some of them are links to other conscious people I love and you will love too! Check them out and let me know what you think!
- The Conscious Gourmet (Diane Carlson, renowned cooking instructor and conscious gourmet.)
- The Vegan Dad
- Manifest Vegan (also gluten-free)
- Chef Chloe (1st vegan winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars™)
- The Kind Life (Alicia Silverstones’ blog)
- Divine Transformation
- Cup Cakes Ring and Glittery Things
- Red Radio (Vegan Erin Red’s amazing podcast)
- Compassionate Cooks (the website, podcast and blog of Vegan educator and author, Collen Patrick-Goudreau)