Vegan 101: A Vegan Cookbook Review

By Jodi Truglio — February 13, 2017

I love to read and have several book shelves in my house ranging from classical literature to books about animal rights and vegan cookbooks. I admit that I have collected over 50 throughout the years. Although most books are now available online to read there is just something magical about holding a book in your hand and reading it. This is especially true when it comes to a cookbook, the treasured few will be sitting on my book shelf in my kitchen available to look up a favorite recipe or reference at a moments notice.

Vegan 101: A Vegan Cookbook” by sisters Jenny Engel and Heather Bell has recently become one of the books that I have added to my collection. When I first received the book I was excited to read it because the image on the cover was inviting and the recipes seemed really appetizing, I was looking forward to trying them for myself. For me no matter how long I have been vegan(9yrs) I never get tired of reading a new cookbook and learning something new.

Recently, I had the pleasure of sharing “Vegan 101” with my mother who after years of arguing with her to eat more of a plant based diet she finally agreed to do it for health reasons and a lot of her friends were told by their doctors they can no longer eat meat. The first recipe I made for her was the Tempeh Tuna Salad Wrap. which was super easy to make and my mother couldn’t believe how chickpeas can be prepared to taste like tuna.

The book is perfect for anyone transitioning to a vegan diet or is a seasoned chef because it so easy to follow the recipes and the food is delicious, the recipes are simple to make and don’t involve complicated ingredients that are difficult to find.

Based in Los Angeles, Spork Foods is a gourmet vegan food company owned and operated by sisters Jenny Engel and Heather Bell who offer fun organic vegan cooking classes, in-home healthy eating consultations, private cooking parties, corporate trainings and demos, team-building cooking classes. They recently teamed up to write “Vegan 101 which shows off their years of culinary experience and ability to craft a book that is delightful to read and learn from.
Below is another one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy:)
Vegan 101: A Vegan Cookbook

Velvety Kale Soup with Cashew Cream


Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 18 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

The Fountain of Youth isn’t really a fountain, it’s a bowl of kale soup. Fully loaded with greens and drizzled with cashew cream, this warming, nutrient-rich dish is packed with antioxidants and fiber—it’s basically nature’s Botox.


1 bulb garlic, top sliced off to expose the cloves

¼ teaspoon neutral-tasting oil

¾ teaspoon sea salt, plus pinch, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus pinch, divided

2 tablespoons vegan butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 large potato, peeled and diced (about ¾ cup)

1 bay leaf

1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chopped (about 3 loose cups)

1 bunch spinach, coarsely chopped (about 3 loose cups)

2½ cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

¼ cup Marsala wine

1 cup soy milk creamer


⅓ cup unsalted raw cashews

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup soy milk creamer or almond milk

Pinch garlic powder

Pinch sea salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.


1. Place garlic bulb cut-side down in a heatproof ramekin. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pinch sea salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, or until cloves are soft.

2. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add butter and onion. Remove 4 or 5 cloves roasted garlic from the bulb and use the blade of a knife to squeeze flesh out of skin into the pot. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add potato, bay leaf, and remaining ¾ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add kale and spinach and sauté for about 3 more minutes to wilt.

4. Add broth, wine, and creamer. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 18 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender. Discard bay leaf.

5. Using an immersion blender, purée soup. Alternately, blend soup mixture in a blender, with middle of lid removed, covered in a clean kitchen towel. Only fill blender halfway at a time, to prevent spillage. Season with more sea salt and pepper, if desired.


In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine cashews, lemon juice, creamer or almond milk, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper and blend until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle each portion with cashew cream.

Tip: Even though your greens will shrink by about 90 percent when you cook this soup, you’ll still need a lot of room, so be sure to use a large pot.




Image Courtesy & Recipe: Heather Bell

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