Book Review: “Food 52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen”

I’ve been holding onto Gena Hamshaw’s new cookbook since October, not because I didn’t want to review it, but because I wanted to give it the proper attention before writing this post.  If you’ve been reading This Vegan Whimsy for a while, you’ll know that Gena’s website The Full Helping (formerly Choosing Raw) was the very first blog I read before I started my transition towards veganism.  I have her first cookbook, Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat, because I bought it the second it was released.  I’ve read every Green Recovery story posted on her blog, and made too many recipes from her website to count.  Gena introduced me to foods I didn’t know existed, flavors I didn’t know could go together, and animal rights issues I had never thought about.  I stumbled upon her blog very shortly after being told by my doctor that I was allergic to dairy, and I’ve continued to visit it at least once a week ever since to make sure I don’t miss any new posts!

Because of all of this, I didn’t want to just slap a review together and say the book looked nice.  I’ve been cooking from Food52 Vegan since I received it months ago.  I haven’t been disappointed once.  The recipes are so friendly and colorful that even ingredients unfamiliar to non-vegans don’t seem intimidating.  Every recipe comes with a personal note from Gena at the top.  There’s a beautiful photograph accompanying each recipe as well.
Food 52 Vegan
My favorite dish by far is actually only the fourth recipe in the book – Go-To Pancakes.  I have made these pancakes about 10 times since October.  They truly have turned into my “go-to pacakes”!  In fact, I made them yesterday when I got home for work.  Breakfast for dinner anyone?  Yes please!

Food 52 Vegan
Photo Credit: The Full Helping

The Polenta with Greens, Roasted Tomatoes, and Lentil Walnut Crumble is out of this world.  I was skeptical of the Sweet Pea Hummus, but it completely won me and a few non-vegan friends over with it’s fresh, light flavor.  I can see myself turning again and again to the Penne with Summer Squash, Corn, and Herbs recipe on busy weeknights, because it’s so simple and delicious.  My final favorite recipe is the Mushroom, Pecan, and Lentil Burgers.  I don’t like the texture of mushrooms at all, but in this recipe they’re pureed in a food processor so you get all the flavor with none of the gag-inducing mushroom squeakiness!   There’s also some killer desert recipes like her Double Chocolate Brownies and Perfect Pumpkin Pie.

If I hadn’t been given the opportunity to review this cookbook, I would have bought it myself just like I did with her previous one.  Gena makes vegan food accessible, and this is one of the best things we can do to help animals.  I’m grateful for her work.

I received a courtesy copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  Reviews and opinions expressed are my own, and I will never provide a good review if I don’t believe in, or like, the product/book.

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