Food52 Vegan Cookbook Review!

I recently had the opportunity to review Food52’s Vegan Cookbook by Gena Hamshaw. When it first arrived in the mail I was so impressed by just the outside of the book. It’s hardcover (the best!), and the spine of the book is really unique too. It reminded me of of a vintage book with textured tape. The word “VEGAN” is set back further than the rest of the text. It’s really nice! I quickly went through the book to check out if any recipes popped out at me, and in all honesty Food52 Coveralmost all of them were recipes I wanted to make right away! Each recipe also has a beautiful picture that made it easy to want to make everything. I quickly flagged most of the book! Take a look inside the book here!

The book has 6 sections: Breakfast, Appetizers & Snacks, Soups, Salads, Main Dishes, and Desserts. I was able to find at least 2 in every category that I needed to make ASAP, and more than that in most of the categories. Some of the recipes that popped out at me right away were the Green Smoothie with Avocado, Five-Minute No-Bake Granola Bars, Parsnip Fries with Spicy Harissa Mayonnaise, and the Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto Vinaigrette. I went to the store the day the book arrived and stocked up on all the ingredients I needed!

One thing that is really nice about this book (at least for me), is that it uses many common ingredients that an everyday cook would keep on hand. Things like oats, quinoa, nut milks, and more. Some maybe less common, but ingredients I always stock up on are nutritional yeast, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, kale, etc. I barely had to buy anything because most of the ingredients were really common for me.

The other thing I loved about this book is that the cooking methods are all fairly simple, especially if you are familiar with easy things like roasting veggies, or cooking quinoa. It’s all pretty easy cooking techniques.

Now for the recipes!


Green Smoothie with Avocado

The first one I made was the Green Smoothie with Avocado. I would definitely consider myself a smoothie expert! I make one every single morning, and am also blending my way through the “365 Vegan Smoothies” book one smoothie at a time. So I have made a ton of smoothies, and a ton of green smoothies at that. This smoothie was delicious! I was really impressed with the texture and the lack of flavors from the “unique” ingredients in the smoothie. I couldn’t taste the greens or avocado at all, which is good right?? It was crazy creamy! My only critique is that I think it is big enough for 2 people, and the serving size says 1. But if you like a giant smoothie (more than in the picture), then it would be perfect! I put the rest of my leftover smoothie into popsicle molds and stuck them in the freezer. They were perfect for this too because they were so creamy!

The next recipe I made was the Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto Vinaigrette. This recipe was AMAZING! This was the most complicated recipe I made and it wasn’t really that difficult at all. Roasting sweet potatoes, cooking quinoa, chopping up some kale and basil, and then blending the dressing. Super easy! The flavor was sooooo good! I would use this dressing on so many different salads, but it paired perfectly with this one. If you are not getting your greens, or looking for a beginner kale salad, this is the one! Kale usually is a little more bitter and chewy, but because this one is chopped really fine and mixed with quinoa you barely notice the greens. I however am a big kale fan, so this hit the spot! I prefer this one at room temperature, but it was great cold too. This would be perfect to put in jars and take to work for a fews days. I am definitely add thing this to my regular rotation of meal! (my husband, toddler, mom, and friend all thought it was amazing too!)

Granola Bars

Five-Minute No-Bake Granola Bars

Next were the Five-Minute No-Bake Granola Bars. These were so good! I’m not even a fan of granola bars, but these looked so tasty and easy, I had to try! They are made with oats, pumpkin seeds, raisins (I used dried cherries), almond butter, agave, and salt. These are packed with healthy ingredients and taste delicious! These kind of reminded me of a no-bake cookie, they were that good! They didn’t stay together as well as the picture seemed to, but I didn’t really care. I liked the smaller bite size crumbles! Oh and does there have to be granola in granola bars? This one didn’t have any… but oh well!

Tofu Scramle

Tofu Scramble

Then I made the tofu scramble! This was a little different than the ones I’m used to, for the good and bad. She mentions that she is not keen on creating “faux” versions of nonvegan dishes in the description, but if I’m going to try to make it I want it to taste like the real thing! That being said, this was really good, it just didn’t really taste like eggs. I loved going out of my comfort zone a bit and adding tons of veggies and greens. I usually just add onion and garlic to mine. The veggies were really good in it! I added some organic ketchup and put it on some whole grain toast, it was soooo good! In order to achieve a more “eggy” taste I just added a bit of black salt to the dish. If you have never tried black salt on tofu, it’s perfect for egg like dishes! It has a really weird sulfur flavor that mimics eggs exactly!



Last night I prepped the Muesli so I could have it for breakfast this morning. I was really surprised how good it was! I thought having cold oats would be kind of weird, but it was really great! I wasn’t planning on making this recipe at first but when I noticed that it shared a lot of ingredients with the Five-Minute No-Bake Granola Bars, I thought I may as well! Again I used dried fruit (cranberries) because I don’t like raisins. I topped it with more pumpkin seeds and cranberries when I served it. I cut the recipe in 1/2 and it was still a lot. Definietly serves 4 (like the recipe says). But I’ll finish the rest tomorrow! My toddler loved it too.

Parsnip Fries

Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayonnaise

The last recipe I made were the Parsnip Fries with Spicy Harissa Mayonnaise. The picture of these looked so good, and I happened to see parsnips at the store the other day, so I thought I’d give it a try. I definitely went out on a limb with this one. I had never tried parsnips before and I had no idea what harissa was. I got the parsnips but my store didn’t carry harissa. I did a quick search for a recipe and decided to just make it from scratch. That was interesting! I learned a lot! Anyway, I thought it was going to turn out terribly every step of the way because I was so unsure about the ingredients, but it was really really good!

The only recipe I tried that I didn’t love were the Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. I’m not sure this is the author’s fault because I’ve tried packaged ones in the past and hated them, I just wanted to give fresh ones a try. I really hated them, and most of them burned, but my toddler ate all of the ones that didn’t. I guess I’m just not a roasted chickpea person. But it wasn’t a total loss! I had never soaked and cooked my own dry beans before, and it was so easy! I’m super grateful I tried this recipe because this is how I am going to have beans from now on!

I still have so many recipes flagged that I am going to try, some I already have ingredients for! The Polenta Square with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade is up next! Then I’m planning on making the Butternut Mac and Cheese tomorrow night and the Double-Chocolate Brownies for dessert!

This book is all around amazing! I own 100+ vegan cookbooks, and I have to honestly say that this is in my top 5! I have never had a cookbook with so many recipes I needed to try right away!

The only improvement I would suggest for this book, and it really is personal preference would be the page numbering placement. It’s in the middle and a little towards the spine so it’s not as easy to navigate. I would also like more recipes since there are only 60, but 60 great recipes is better than 200 recipes with a bunch of failures.

Overall I give this book 2 thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone! I couldn’t be happier!

  • I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for this review.

Vegan Banana Bread

My mom has always made the perfect banana bread. This was before I was vegan though. Since then I have been trying recipe after recipe trying to come up with one that is as good as I remember. After my mom went vegan a few years ago she decided to try and veganize her mom’s banana bread recipe she had always used. It worked perfectly! I’ve made it several times since. It’s the perfect way to use up those bananas that are turning dark. (that and nice cream right?!) Anyway this is my Grandma’s banana bread recipe VEGANIZED!

Vegan Banana Bread
Vegan Banan Bread with Walnuts

5 Large Bananas (preferably organic)

4 Ener-g Egg Replacer Eggs

1 Cup Shortening

2 Cups Sugar (I like to use raw sugar)

4 Cups Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Salt

1 Cup Walnuts (broken into small pieces)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mash bananas with a fork until there are no lumps. Add to a mixing bowl, then beat in egg replacer eggs.

Cream the sugar and shortening, then add to the rest of the ingredients and mix.

While mixing, slowly add in dry ingredients.

Stir in nuts, then pour into 2 well greased bread pans.

Bake for an 1 hour 10 minutes.


Easy Vegan Pesto

I tend to only make pesto in the summertime – otherwise there is no way I would be willing to spend the money on 2 cups of basil, know what I mean? This year I have 3 huge basil plants thriving in my garden. Each week I pick off a couple of cups of basil. Because I don’t want it to go bad I have to come up with something to use all of it. I’ve made vegan pesto lasagna and stuffed shells from The Accidental Vegan cookbook a few times, and they were both great, but I thought I’d try just a regular pesto. This is what I came up with, and it’s really good!




2 Cups Basil

2-3 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)

1/2 Cup Olive Oil (the best you can afford, it makes a big difference)

1/4 Cup Walnuts or Pine Nuts (I use Walnuts because they are cheaper, both are good though.)

3 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste.


Combine everything but the oil, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until it is fairly smooth. I don’t like mine completely puréed, but it’s up to you. Stir in your oil and add your spices.

Serve over cooked pasta, use as a spread for bread, use as a condiment for sandwiches. Get creative, it’s delicious!


Mexican Quinoa Salad

I know I said a few posts back that I don’t make a lot of healthy things, and I love my comfort foods… but I may throw you off by throwing in a pretty healthy recipe every now and again – but it will definitely be a rare occasion.

I took this Mexican Quinoa Salad to an Easter get together a few weeks ago, and all of my husband’s omni family seemed to enjoy it just as much as anything else.

Here it goes…



Serves 4


1 cup Dry Quinoa

1 Sweet Potato

1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)

1 Avocado


1/4 cup Olive Oil

2-3 Tbsp. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/4 tsp. Chili Powder

Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Salt (I use Pink Himilayan)

Black Pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Wash and peel your sweet potatoes. Cut into small cubes (1/2 in. x 1/2 in. or so). Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil of your choice (I like olive oil). Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes. Toss them around a bit half way through the cooking time.

2. If you have never cooked quinoa before, it is similar to rice. You want to put double the amount of water than you have quinoa. This recipe calls for 1 cup quinoa, so you would use 2 cups water. Got it? So in a small pot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add your quinoa, turn your heat to low, and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes. Watch closely to make sure the water doesn’t run out. If you check at 20 minutes and there is still water in the pot, gently stir, put the lid back on and watch for another couple minutes.

3. While your quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooking, mix your ingredients for the dressing, drain and rinse your black beans, and cut your avocado into small cubes.

4. One the quinoa and sweet potatoes are finished, add your black beans, avocado, dressing, sweet potatoes, and quinoa to a big mixing bowl. Gently mix everything together.

Serve warm.



Approximately $.70 per serving.

Red Potato Salad with Leeks


This is one of the easiest recipes to make, and it’s perfect for taking to omnivore type events. No one will every know it’s vegan – I PROMISE! I don’t have exact measurements for this recipe because I always just do it by taste. It’s really easy though, I’ll walk you through it.


Serves 6 (ish)

10 – 12 Red Potatoes (or however many you want)


Spicy Brown Mustard (regular will work, but I prefer spicy brown)

1 Leek (green onions work too, but leeks are so good!)

Celery (about 1-2 stalks)

Olive Oil

Salt (I prefer Pink Himalayan Salt)

Black Pepper

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder


1. Boil a big pot water. Wash your potatoes and throw ’em in. Let cook until a knife slides easily through the center. Watch closely, they need to be perfect. Around 40 minutes.

2. Cut up your leek. If you don’t know how to prepare a leek, see this video. Saute them in a little oil for about 5 minutes to help bring out the flavors.

3. Slice your celery really thin, and add as much as you want. I like about 1/3-1/2 cup.

4. Mix a big scoop of Vegenaise with a few squirts of spicy brown mustard. Taste this mix until you like it.

5. Add in quite a bit of salt and pepper, then about a 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder and onion powder.

6. Keep tasting your Vegenaise mix until it tastes how you want it. If you don’t know what it is supposed to taste like, it should be a light yellowish color – kind of like an egg salad sandwich type flavor. (The flavors of the garlic powder and onion powder may come out more later.

7. Once your potatoes are done, drain, set aside (they will be super hot). Once cooled, cut up into chunks – however big or small you like.

8. Mix everything together in a big bowl, slowly add your mix and gently turn your potatoes into it. Don’t stir too quickly or they will get mushy. Keep adding your mix until it’s how you like it.

9. Cover and keep in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.

Sorry for the not-so-direct directions, but it really is better to just do it to taste.


Don’t over cook your potatoes. If you do, you are better off starting over.

I use the original Vegenaise, but others would probably work fine too.

If you do green onions instead of leeks, then add about 1/4-1/3 cup. (or more or less depending on how many potatoes you chose to use.)

The longer it sits, the stronger the flavors some out.

You may need to add more salt once you add the potatoes, just keep tasting!


Approximately $1.60 per serving.




Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip


I have been working on this recipe for a couple of years now. Spinach artichoke dip has always been a favorite of mine; when I was an omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan. It’s amazing!

This recipe is by no means healthy, besides the actual vegetables in it… but it’s worth the calories. You will learn that this is not a health food blog… as much as I would like to eat all those beautiful salads and such, I just love my comfort food.

Here it is.



Serves 6 (at least!)

2 C Daiya Mozzarella Shreds (1 bag)

16 oz. Tofutti Sour Cream

8 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese

1/2 C Earth Balance Buttery Spread

10 oz. Frozen Spinach (thawed, drained, squeezed)

14 oz. Can Artichoke Hearts (drained, rinsed, chopped, leave a little chunky)

4 oz. Can Diced Jalapenos (It is a little spicy, 1-2 oz. for less spice, or not at all)

2 Cloves Garlic (minced)

1/4 tsp. White Pepper

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper


1. Melt sour cream, cream cheese, and butter in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Whisk together until combined.

2. Add your cheese. Daiya melts best at higher temperatures. Temporarily increase your heat while whisking until cheese is melted.

3. Lower heat to low-medium. Add in the rest of your ingredients. Whisk until combined.

4. Let cook on the stove, while stirring frequently, for at least 15 minutes. The longer the dip cooks/sits the better the flavor comes out.

5. Serve with chips, crackers, on sandwiches, in wraps, or however you please!


I highly recommend you do not substitute brands ever on my blog. If I give a specific brand it is because that is what I used to make it. I make no guarantees otherwise.

The first time I made the dip I ate it right away and it didn’t have much flavor, but the next day it did. This last time I made it, I let it cook on the stove longer, and the flavors came out right away.

This dip is a little spicy! I love it that way. If you don’t like spicy, then you could do 1/2 the jalapenos, or none at all. It is still good without the jalapenos, but I still highly recommend them. It is definitely too spicy for the young kiddos with the jalapenos, unless they happen to like pretty spice stuff.



This dip is not cheap to make. But it makes a ton, and it’s worth it – you’ll see.

Approximately $2.92 per serving.

HINT: Tofutti will mail you coupons if you email them and ask. You can also get Daiya coupons through their FB sometimes.

(I’m all about saving money, you’ll learn more about that later…)

Easiest Cheesiest Vegan Mac & Cheese


Okay… so it’s not always mac and cheese, it’s more like spirals, shells, penne, farfalle, bowtie, whatever you want – and cheese… but you get the idea right?

My husband actually created Vegan Machine’s original mac & cheese recipe several years ago, but we have since simplified and improved. Basically, we have the cheesy vegan sauce down to a science. We use this general recipe, or some form of the recipe, in so many different ways. We make nachos, alfredo, queso, cheesy cornflake potatoes (Utah folk call ’em Funeral Potatoes), cheese sauce for veggies, and much more.

So here it is… the best (not that healthy, but delicious) vegan mac & cheese out there! (OK, maybe that’s just my opinion, we’ll see)


Serves 2 (generously)

2 cups (uncooked) pasta of your choice

1 cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds (1/2 a bag)

1/2 cup (prepared) Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Broth

1/2 cup Tofutti Sour Cream (red and blue container)

Small Squirt of Sriracha (Huy Fong brand)

Black Pepper (a few shakes or grinds)


1. Boil water, cook pasta to your liking. I do mine for exactly 10 minutes every time. Strain and set aside.

2. In same pot on medium heat, add your prepared broth, sour cream, sriracha, and pepper. Whisk together completely.

3. Add Daiya Cheddar Shreds. Turn your heat up a bit and continuously whisk until it is all melted. This may take a few minutes.

4. Once mixed, turn your heat back down to medium. Add you strained noodles and stir until even heated.

5. Serve and enjoy!


1. I super strongly advise that you use the exact brands I have listed in the recipe, otherwise I make zero guarantees. The broth and cheese are the most important. You could get away with using Follow Your Heart sour cream or even Tofutti’s Sour Supreme, but I don’t recommend it.

2. Don’t overcook your pasta. Why? That’s just gross.

3. It’s not great warmed up. It kind of tastes like the cheap Kraft boxed mac & cheese used to when you used to warm it up before you gave up dairy. Remember those days? Not great right?

4. Daiya needs higher heat to melt. Watch it closely. Let it bubble up, but don’t scorch or burn.

5. The sriracha shouldn’t make it spicy (unless you like it that way, then add more). I give my little girl this recipe with the sriracha with no worries about it being too hot. My husband also hates spicy stuff and doesn’t think this is spicy. But, if you don’t have sriracha, you can leave it out. But really… just get some, it’s the best.

6. If you want a tiny bit healthier, lower in calories, and cheaper version – you can just leave the sour cream out. It won’t be super creamy, but I make it this way sometimes too, it’s still pretty good.

7. The broth is your salt. If you use a different kind you may need to add in some extra.


Approximately $1.85 per serving.