Vegan Holiday Kitchen author Nava Atlas has been a popular vegetarian, then vegan, cookbook writer for a long time.
Susan Voisin, who shot the beautiful food photos for this cookbook and contributed recipes, is the author of the popular food blog, Fat Free Vegan, and an awesome cook.
What makes Nava's cookbooks so successful is that her recipes are simple, easy, delicious, good looking, practical and accessible.
If you're planning an elaborate holiday feast, Nava's menus, recipes and tips will mean less stress, and guaranteed success.
What I mean by practical & accessible is that most of the recipe ingredients are easy to find, the directions are straightforward, the cooking methods are familiar, and the recipes suit American tastes. Most importantly - Nava's recipes always work.
With her latest cookbook, the gorgeous Vegan Holiday Kitchen, Nava Atlas has come full circle from her book Vegetarian Celebrations, published over twenty years ago to fulfill her own needs and help the many people who asked her for vegetarian cooking advice - especially on holidays.
Vegan Holiday Kitchen has more than 200 recipes for special occasions. The fact is that these recipes will make any meal a special occasion with only a little extra effort.
So, if you decide to make vegan brunch on the spur of the moment, have unexpected guests, if you're invited to a potluck, if you're a non-veg feeding veg - or if you're just feeling festive -Vegan Holiday Kitchen is your go-to cookbook.
For our Thanksgiving feast this year, I made a stuffed buttercup squash as a main dish, using the wild rice pilaf recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen for a stuffing. Nava uses that recipe for stuffing peppers, and I plan to try that too. As a side dish, I made her recipe for red wine roasted Brussels sprouts.
Like most of the recipes in the book, both the wild rice pilaf and the Brussels sprouts recipes make 8 or more generous servings - a good thing, because everybody loved them!
Perhaps the most valuable section of the cookbook for me is the ultimate vegan grilling guide. Nava has included everything any veg needs to know about grilling, along with tasty looking grill recipes. Up until now, vegan grilling has been a bit of a mystery to me. I confess I'm a stir fry baby, and I've rarely grilled anything even when I've gone camping, which isn't often.
Nava has me all excited about grilling. Even though it's winter, I'm ready to go out and buy a grill and give my meat grilling neighbors some competition with my grilled tempeh, tofu burgers and veggie kabobs.
My daughter Sarah, who has developed many recipes for Savvy Veg, noticed when she read Vegan Holiday Kitchen that many of the recipes call for a package or can of this and that. That's one of the main strengths of this cookbook.
It's true that fresh food is best, and cooking all your own food from scratch is the healthiest and cheapest way to eat.
However, when comes to choosing between 100% healthy scratch cooking, and living on junk food, there is a middle way.
I know that Nava Atlas is an extremely busy woman of many accomplishments, and that she also takes care of her family. I also know from her other cookbooks that she's dedicated to a healthy vegan diet and loves delicious food. So Nava of necessity has become a master of recipe shortcuts.
One of the secrets of healthy eating for busy people is to have fridge and cupboard stocked with cans and packages of this and that for making healthy meals quickly. Another secret is using cooking shortcuts to save time.
Those things are important when you're trying to make time to cook for yourself and your family. When you're making elaborate meals for other people, they're absolutely necessary to avoid becoming a bundle of quivering stress and exhaustion - so you can enjoy the meal too.
In keeping with the practical and accessible nature of her other cookbooks, in Vegan Holiday Kitchen Nava Atlas has shared her secrets for easy planning and cooking of healthy beautiful dishes for special occasions. Thank you Nava!
I'm just sorry that I didn't get my copy of Vegan Holiday Kitchen in time to post a review before Thanksgiving. But it'll be there for Christmas, Hannukah, Easter, Passover, Valentine's Day, Independence Day, and all the other special meals throughout the year, for many years to come.