Quick, Delicious, Healthy: A Review of The 30 Minute Vegan

September 1, 2009 at 3:58 am 1 comment

From The Vegan Cookbook Critic

Quick, Delicious, Healthy: A Review of the 30 Minute Vegan

I have been a fan of Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray’s work since I first opened Vegan World Fusion and dreamed of being a diner at the Kauai location of Blossoming Lotus. In fact, until it closed (I know, I was devastated!) I had planned to spend my 50th birthday party there (yes, that is still 20 years away. I’m a planner). Last year, I reviewed the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw, which has since become an essential addition to my resource library. So when I saw that these authors (the previous two titles were coauthored by Bo Rinaldi) had released a new title, the 30 Minute Vegan, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

I have participated in many outreach events and I often hear people say “I’d love to eat like you do but its just too hard”. Many people are intimidated by the idea of adopting a vegan diet because it seems like chopping all those vegetables would be a daunting task. Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray are helping to destroy that myth by presenting a collection of 175 wholesome recipes that can be prepared and enjoyed in less than 30 minutes.

If you’re familiar with the authors’ previous collections or the menu of their popular restaurant than you would not be surprised that this book contains both raw/live recipes and cooked dishes. The chapters include: preparation basics; smoothies and beverages; breakfast and brunch; snacks, pick-me-ups & kids’ favourites; uplifting lunches – wraps, rolls, bowls; extraordinary salads; sumptuous soups; small plates – appetizers, side dishes & light dinners; wholesome suppers; guilt-free comfort foods; divine desserts; condiments, infused oils & spreads; and feasts soirees and slumber parties. Pretty comprehensive, huh?

I was excited to discover that although the chapter titles might seem somewhat standard for a vegan cookbook, the recipes themselves are unique and provide surprising twists on preparing readily available ingredients. Over the past few weeks I have prepared a number of the recipes from the 30 Minute Vegan with each dish I was increasingly impressed by the fresh, bold flavours.

Quinoa Kitchari

Some of you know that I recently suffered a back injury. When I read the description of the quinoa kitchari as the most healing dish in the ayurvedic system I knew it was exactly what I wanted to balance my emotional frustration and my physical ills. It is a simple dish but the authors provide a number of suggested additions. I prepared my version with red quinoa, red lentils, garlic, ginger, onion stock, kale, carrots, miso and ginger. The flavour was deep, rich and comforting. I’ll let you know if it manages to heal my back.
Power packed energy bar
These bars and fantastically easy to prepare. Throw a bunch of oats, agave, nuts, dried fruit and spices in a big bowl and stir. Press them into a baking pan and after just a few minutes you have a portable, satisfying source of sustainable energy. These are perfect for a road trip, but I actually love them directly from my freezer (I know people who freeze chocolate bars…it’s not so weird).

Watermelon cooler (the pink jars)

This quick blender concoction celebrates summer’s fresh watermelon, spiked with a little strawberry and lime juice. It is as refreshing as it sounds.

Now for the famous live cinnamon buns. I prepared these twice over the past few weeks. They are great for sharing at summer gatherings. Unlike many raw desserts these treats are pretty resistant to summer’s heat and humidity.

Live Cinnamon Rolls – buckwheat dough
Spread with a layer of cinnamon date walnut filling
All rolled up

Seriously? Amazing. Surprising texture and craving inducing flavour. These buckwheat treats are high in fibre and don’t require any dehydrating – so in about 15 minutes you’ll be enjoying a little slice of sweet cinnamon bliss.

Look at those rolls, all ready to be shared with friends. The coconut orange icing is a decadent addition (not shown). I brought these to an event at the Toronto Vegetarian Association. I did not bring any home with me.

Pesto Sauce on cucumber noodles

This is a simple sauce prepared with the authors’ suggested cashews in place of the pine nuts. They imparted the perfect creamy texture and lovely contrasts to the sharp, ripe basil. Pesto is one of my favourite summer recipes. I couldn’t resist the bunches of basil at the farmer’s market last week. This is the perfect way to preserve all of those green leaves – I now have a big freezer container of pesto ready for those cold grey, winter nights.

After trying these recipes from The 30 Minute Vegan I’m still drooling and dreaming about trying dozens of the dishes that Mark and Jennifer have created. Although I have an extensive cookbook collection, I sought out this book and have not been disappointed by the potential delights that this tome contains. I love the pages of additional resources that the authors have compiled, I have had fun exploring and being introduced to amazing people, products and services.
I recently found an online video of Mark preparing the green popcorn that is an excellent medium for consuming a good dose of spirulina for those days when you just need help to get your greens. Check it out. The authors have also shared their recipes Fajitas Bonitas online.
If you have ever felt intrigued about the vegan lifestyle, but felt that it just took too much time and effort, let Mark and Jennifer share their recipes for success. Your taste buds will not be disappointed (either will the animals!).

Entry filed under: Reviews, The 30-Minute Vegan. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Pam  |  September 12, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Your cinnamon rolls look really good!

    Congrats on the foodie blogroll!


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