Alisa Fleming ~ With all of the vegan cookbooks there now are available (as Isa Moskowitz might say, "vegan cookbooks take over the bookstores"), I was surprised to see how few focused on entertaining and gatherings. After all, we don't just want to eat special diet food, we want to show friends, family, and acquaintances just how delicious it really is. Thankfully, Robin Robertson, vegan cookbook author extraordinaire, now has our backs. She recently releasd her most recent cookbook (is she now up to 20 titles?), Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food for Every Occasion.
I believe this is my fourth Robin Robertson cookbook, and thus far, none have let me down. Though we opted to take a break from our annual Christmas party this year, I couldn't resist trialing out a few recipes … because who doesn't enjoy party-worthy fare every day?
First up was the Mini Falafel recipe (pictured at right and in a big picture at the end of this review). Wow, what a delicious, fabulous, easy make-ahead recipe … for entertaining or for lunch! I opted for lunch. Robin's version uses a homemade Harissa Mayo, but since I didn't have any harissa on hand, I topped each little falafel with a chunk of avocado and a dollop of Sriracha. Equally pretty, don't you think?
Next up was the Fingerling Potato Salad with Pan-Fried Arugula Pesto. Tasty? Yes! Attractive? Not my version. I think this would be a lovely vibrant dish if the cherry tomatoes and olives were included (offering a nice contrast to the bright green hue), but I had neither on hand and no one around to impress, so I omitted. The result was savory and flavorful, but not picture-worthy. Moving onto a more attractive dish …
A cookbook review just isn't complete until you sample at least one baked goodie, and I chose the Chai-Spiced Muffins from Party Vegan.
The spice blend was absolutely perfect, flavorful but not overpowering, and as Robin notes, great with tea. This recipe was in the Mother's Day Brunch section, and I couldn't imagine a more perfect fit. For my family, I might even go a touch more indulgent by topping these muffins with a vanilla frosting. But, since the only thing I was celebrating was tasty muffins, I kept the sugar light by finishing these off with a pat of Earth Balance …
Of course there is way more in Party Vegan than just these three recipes. The book starts with 30 pages of information, tips, and menus to help you plan a successful gathering. It then moves onto 140 recipes grouped into (several) chapters (or menus) by event. There are 25 menus covering various "anytime gatherings" and "holiday gatherings," including, but not limited to, effortless potluck, a child's birthday party, Chinese new year, passover, halloween, cinco de mayo, and of course, new year's eve!
Article, recipe and third-party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org, blogger at Alisa Cooks, and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets. To get a copy of this book in time for your next party, purchase Party Vegan here on Amazon.