One of the latest vegan books fresh out of the gate this year is
Virgin Vegan: The Meatless Guide to Pleasing Your Palate by Linda Long.
There are so many things that make this book awesome. As the title indicates, it’s aimed towards those new to veganism but quite frankly, this experienced vegan ate it up! It’s a great read, rich with information, delicious eats and recipes for success for any vegan, vegan newbe or vegan wannabe.
With Virgin Vegan, Linda Long gives you a lot of information. A friend of mine said to me, “Before you’re even thinking of the questions you want to ask, she’s answered them.” She’s factual, clear, concise, not overdrawn, not dragging out, not giving you more information than you need.
You won’t find a long drawn out chapter on nutrition and another massive chapter on ingredients with a list of dos and don’ts and minutia. Why? Because you don’t need all that. This book gives you what you need in the simplest, most concise and fun way. It’s like you’re sitting down with Linda Long and she’s just telling you everything you need to know and nothing more, but by the way, if you want to know more about x, y, or z, you’re welcome to check out this book or this website or that movie.
She has great resources sprinkled throughout the book so you don’t need to go looking for them. She takes you down the path, points you in the right direction and before you know it, there are no more training wheels and you’re hands-free cruising along vegan style. Virgin Vegan has dozens of great recipes too, with contributions from many prominent vegans, cookbook authors, renowned chefs and some celebrity vegans too.
Traveling? Not a problem. Nobody speaks your language? Child’s play. Essential components of nutritional excellence? Yep, gottcha covered. Also, meal planning, special occasions, basic food prep and cooking and lots more.
In Virgin Vegan, Linda Long tells you how to order from even the most non-vegan-friendly restaurant in such a way that not only you but they’ll be glad you came. It’s about charm and finesse and just being a kind, compassionate person. Linda illustrates how changing a word or two in how you ask for something, makes all the difference. She says it in her book, and I remember one of the first conversations I had with her she said it then too, “at one point, we were not vegan.” No one was vegan before they were vegan.
Linda Long spent a good part of her life in the business of food from teaching home economics to writing about veganism. She’s been vegan for over 20 years and is a professional photographer. You’ve seen her luscious food photographs in magazines, Tal Ronnen’s cookbook The Conscious Cook and in her first book Great Chefs Cook Vegan. Her inviting conversational style comes through in this book. If you want to hang out with a really cool, super smart awesome lady and get schooled on veganism, check out
Virgin Vegan: The Meatless Guide to Pleasing Your Palate.
With a happy, whimsical cover, Virgin Vegan is a compact book that will fit in your bag, makes it easy to carry around. Being vegan is fun and fabulous and this book mirrors that in every way. Even the hipster store Urban Outfitters has it stocked on their shelves.
Thank you to Linda Long and publishers Gibbs Smith for providing me with a copy of Virgin Vegan to review and also for working with me to do a giveaway (coming soon).
In the meantime, here’s Linda Long’s favorite go-to soup to snack on.
Straight from the book, with Linda’s commentary, it’s easy to see how Linda Long was the best person to pen this book. Helping people launch into the vegan lifestyle is something she does so naturally, effortlessly and effectively.
This is my favorite go-to soup. It is classic in preparation, and once the base of the moirpoix (onions, carrots, celery) and broth is done you can then make the soup in any direction by choosing another bean or lentil, or by choosing other vegetables.
The nuts and lentils make this a protein and vitamin-packed soup. Better than chicken soup for those “chicken soup times”.
Note: All measures can be loosely followed, use more or less to taste and available.
Raw cashews, ½ cup
Water, 8 cups
Red lentils, 1 cup,
Vegetable bouillon, 3 cubes (Rapunzel with Herbs and Sea Salt is one option)
Bay leaf, 1 or 2
Carrots, 4 medium, peeled, sliced
Celery, 4 stalks, cut in half lengthwise, sliced
Onions, 1, large, medium diced
Potatoes, white or sweet potatoes*, 2 cups, ½ inch cubes
Corn, fresh or frozen, 1 cup (optional)
*When using sweet potatoes, it is best to use raw peanuts instead of cashews. They just go together better and is more like a soup you might have in Africa!
Add cashews to a blender, cover with hot faucet water to about a ½ inch above the nuts and allow to soak while making the soup. Do not blend yet.
In a large saucepan add water and bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. Place lentils in a sieve and run cool water to rinse and then add to pot. Allow water to boil again, stirring lentils briefly. Add the bay leaf, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, and corn, if using. Turn heat to soft boil, uncovered, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
Turn blender on high and blend cashews long enough to be completely creamy and super smooth. If too thick, add a bit more water. Add to soup as a last step, creating a hearty base. If not using nuts for some reason, blend 2 ladles of soup instead to create a more sturdy broth to finish.