Good news for vegans who crave the taste of meat and dairy: Kim-Julie Hansen (Vegan Reset) doesn't consider this the mark of a flimsy commitment to the animal-rights cause. In her introduction to Best of Vegan: 100 Recipes that Celebrate Comfort, Culture, and Community, she admits: "To be honest, I don't think I would have stuck with veganism for as long as I have if it weren't for vegan cheese, meats, milk, and even eggs." Happily, Best of Vegan can satiate the appetites of both camps: it contains veganized recipes as well as those developed without a thought for ersatz animal products.
Best of Vegan, named for Hansen's community-based online platform, bundles its satisfying recipes into five chapters. Worth consulting first is the fifth chapter, "Best of Vegan Basics," which explains how to make the staples (nut milk, vegan cheese, etc.) that some of the book's recipes call for. "I Don't Want Salad" collects veganized recipes like silky Classic Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese and fiery Chipotle Curry "Chicken" Wraps. "Cultural Food" features international recipes such as Borani Banjan, a luscious Afghan tomato-eggplant dish. "Wholesome" prioritizes healthfulness, which seems to radiate from dishes like tangy Roasted Garlic & Butter Bean Soup with Basil & Thyme. Readers can reward themselves for their nutritive diets with treats from "Best of Vegan Baking," starting the day with crispy Gaufres de Bruxelles (Brussels waffles) and ending it with Mango Coconut Lime & Basil Sorbet, which tastes like a melted gourmet Creamsicle cross-pollinated with a piña colada. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer