cookbook review: PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook

With almost 300 recipes for college students, this cookbook is quite a collection of vegan recipes.  Unfortunately, many of the recipes are just regular recipes that call for vegan cheese instead of regular cheese or vegan mayo or vegan chocolate chips instead of regular chips.  I’m guessing that most people who become vegan end up having to do quite a bit of cooking for themselves so even college students might find many of the recipes in this book too simplistic.

The authors tried to gear the book towards college students by creating funny names for the recipes and by focusing on foods that college students might like – shakes, smoothies, pasta, ramen, chips, etc.  The section on ramen was actually a decent section (I remember making similar ramen when I was younger – the cooked ramen noodles, some frozen veggies, a bit of peanut butter, soy sauce).  The desserts section was also good.  Another good point for this book is that the recipes are all very short and easy.  Beginner cooks will have no trouble with these recipes and most of them don’t require any special cooking equipme3nt.

The problems with this cookbook are that, as mentioned before, most the recipes are regular recipes with vegan substitutions.  Another problem with this book is that there are no pictures!!  That is a huge downside in a cookbook.  There are a handful of illustrations of silly things like a carton of milk or some other ingredients, but there aren’t any pictures of the completed dishes.  Could it be because vegan cheese doesn’t melt?  🙂  Yet another drawback is that this book is geared towards college students and if you’ve ever bought vegan substitutes, you know that they are very expensive.  Vegan meat costs about $4 per package.  Vegan cheese is also pricey and it doesn’t melt well.  This is why I was really hoping that they would come up with more recipes that didn’t require vegan substitutes.

My favorite recipes are the ones that don’t call for substitutes, including the tofu crumble (resembles scrambled eggs).  I’ve made these before – I got the recipe from PETA years ago – and they are a close approximation to well-scrambled eggs.

Overall, this cookbook might be okay for a vegan college student who is new to veganism or who doesn’t know how to cook much.

I don’t know if they still do this, but PETA used to send out free starter kits for people who want to become vegan.  In this starter kit, there was a little pamphlet with some vegan recipes.  I can’t remember all of the recipes, but it included the scrambled tofu recipe, one for “fettucini alfonso” (made with frozen corn and tofu – genius!), and chocolate pudding (made from carob chips).  I know that all of the recipes I tried from the pamphlet tasted wonderful and I don’t think that any of them called for vegan substitutes like vegan mayo.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary e-book copy from NetGalley for my honest review.