The Vegan Family Cookbook

Brian McCarthy (Author)
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Product Details

Lantern Books
Publish Date
December 01, 2005
6.82 X 0.9 X 7.9 inches | 1.17 pounds
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About the Author

Brian McCarthy has been a professional cook/chef since 1982. In 1995 he turned to a vegan diet for its health benefits, and began to explore the world of vegan cooking. In 2012 he moved to Massachusetts to be a chef at MIT, and became an instructor for The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.


Reviewed by Debra Wasserman

The Vegan Family Cookbook serves up more than 400 recipes. Many are the usual standards, such as Hummus, Lentil Soup, Potato Salad, and Red Beans and Rice.

However, Chef Brian P. McCarthy offers readers a variety of unique recipes, including Breadsticks made from pizza dough, Adzuki and Peanut Soup, Spaghetti Salad, Potato Bread Stuffing, Pumpkin Pancakes, and Cinnamon Rolls. Many of the recipes are also quite easy to prepare, using few ingredients. Please note that nutritional analyses are not provided.

Review: SB
THIS IS A GREAT all-round cookbook and I really couldn't say it any better than Lantern's blurb on the back:
"Now that you've become a vegan, you're learning lots of ways to prepare tofu, but you or someone you love is really starting to miss macaroni and cheese, pumpkin pie and birthday cake. Maybe you and your family feel self-conscious (and hungry) at holidays, picnics, and parties. Or maybe just one person in the family is vegan, but you need to create meals that everyone will eat.
"Since the day Brian McCarthy and his wife, Karen, chose a vegan diet for their family ten years ago, Chef McCarthy has created over 400 simple vegan recipes with easy-to-find ingredients for traditional favorites like biscuits, corn bread, stews, pastas, pizzas, cakes, pies, and even egg(less) nog."
I liked Chef Brian as soon as I read his acknowledgements: "Here is a quote from my younger son: 'The Broccol Cauliflower Soup is disgusting, hideous and gruesome. The worst soup I have ever tasted. No one in their right mind would like it. Its texture is terrible.' Thank you, son, for being one of the main recipe testers and for your honest opinions on my cooking. A cook often has a clouded vision of his own cooking and you were always there to speak the truth."
Strangely, I couldn't locate the infamous soup recipe anywhere in the book...
Reviewed by Colleen Kane, summer 2006

The recipes are healthy, the book is printed on recycled paper, and some of the profits go to help the environment. What's not to like? Actually I do have a (veggie) beef with The Vegan Family Cookbook. For this comfort-food-lovin' former cheese-atarian, the measure of a home-style vegan cookbook is its mac-uncheese recipe. And I gotta say, this one ain't cheesy - it's more like mac with bland peanut sauce. For shame!

Some of the recipes are pretty basic. If you're a more experienced vegan cook, odds are you already put nutritional yeast on your popcorn, know how to make plain fice, and have a guac recipe - one that calls for lime juice, not lemon juice, as Chef Crazytalk here would have it. However, the book also has simple recipes that may be fresh to vegan veterans: miso kale, an egg-salady tofu sandwich spread, and savory chickpea nuts (my new favorite cure for a snack attack).

While definitely useful, the book is more valuable for newer vegan recruits and parents looking to accommodate children who "believe in things." But any palate will appreciate the many drinks, breakfasts, soups, salads, Asian dishes, Mex-cellent food, and plain ol' tastily prepared veggies in here. Oh, and there's plenty of sweet treats, too (mmm... cinnamon rolls), so vegers won't be deserted at dessert time.
From snacks to dips, from side dishes to entrees, from beverages to breads, from salads to desserts, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook is an impressive and "kitchen cook friendly" collection of vegan recipes compiled and organized by Brian P. McCarthy who has been a professional chef from twenty-five years and has enjoyed a vegan diet for the past ten years. From Root Stew with Marjoram; Couscous Corn Salad; Ginger Rice with Peppers & Soybeans; and Thai Grilled Tofu over Coconut Rice; to Chai Tea Mix; Pecan Pie; Caramelized Onion & Garlic Spread; and Baked Potato Bar, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook has a delicious diversity of hearty, easy-to-make dishes that will quickly become family favorites for every dining occasion. Enhanced with the inclusion of "Cook's Notes", a glossary, a conversion chart, recommendations for a well-stocked vegan pantry, a "Protein List", and a comprehensive index, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook is confidently recommended for any and all family cookbook collections!
Serious in intent and plain in presentation, this is a subdued cookbook for vegans (no meat, fish or dairy) who cook three meals a day and need a reliable cache of ideas. Oregon professional chef McCarthy spent 10 years amassing these recipes to sate his own family's desire for "real food" as they were settling into the vegan way of life. The result is this comprehensive selection that spans all parts of the meal. There are vegan versions of familiar family dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, vegetable quiche pie, lasagna florentine and French toast, which feature such traditional substitutes as egg replacer powder, varieties of tofu and vegan cheese. Some recipes flash with originality (e.g., Moroccan Red Lentil Soup), but others (e.g., Acorn Squash with Molasses) are reliable standbys with no vegan-offending ingredients in their original incarnation. A glossary and list of items in "A Well-Stocked Vegan Pantry" are serviceable, but lack the explanations and idiosyncrasies that make cookbooks and their writers memorable. By emphasizing the everyday aspect of preparing food, McCarthy concentrates on large-scale coverage rather than culinary openness and creates a book that speaks to the converted or nearly converted vegan.