After a decade of struggling with an eating disorder and subsisting on diet, low-calorie processed foods, Angela Liddon vowed to get healthy once and for all. Done with feeling sick and tired, she threw out her fat-free butter spray and low-calorie frozen dinners. Instead, Angela embraced whole foods that made her glow from the inside out. But first, she had to learn to cook-and eat-right. Five years ago, Angela started a blog, ohsheglows.com, to spread the word about her journey to health and the powerful transformation that food can make in our lives. Almost overnight, her energy and authenticity attracted readers eager to create their own positive life changes. Today, Oh She Glows attracts millions of visitors every month, making it one of the most popular vegan recipe blogs on the Internet.
In fact, I don't know that there's anything about me that points to my being in the target market for this book.
I point this out because despite not being able to come up with a single thing about myself that places me in Angela Liddon's target market, this is still a contender for my most favorite cookbook in the whole world...and I've barely scratched the surface.
I first encountered Liddon courtesy of Google; I was hunting for a lentil loaf recipe and Liddon's blog popped up. I distinctly remember almost passing the ohsheglows result by entirely because of the blog's name, which - probably in no small part because I'm neither a she nor the least bit glowy - sounded a little too twee for me.
I made that recipe, and truly loved it – loved it enough that it joined the ranks of my all-time favorites – but it wasn't until I read a review for this very cookbook, accompanied by a different recipe (Thai peanut noodle bowl) that sounded fairly delicious, that I started to consider buying a cookbook new when then only cookbooks I buy ever are used and cheap. (They're hard to justify when the internet is right there, you know?)
I'm really, really glad I bought it. I consider a cookbook a win when I find maybe five recipes worth making more than once. This statement may be a tad premature, but I'm pretty good at judging how well I'll like a recipe, and I have a strong suspicion that this one is going to have a (much) higher success rate.
One thing I've always disliked about buying cookbooks online is how difficult it is to guess what you're going to end up with. You buy a perfectly normal-sounding vegetarian cookbook and end up with 60 recipes using shiitake mushrooms or three chapters of boring salads that are only slightly different from the salads you came up with on your own years ago. So in light of that, here is a breakdown of the recipes.
Breakfast – 10 recipes – including several that sound like they'd be pretty swell at any time of day.
Smoothies, Juice, and Tea – 11 recipes – probably the biggest disappointment for me in the book; I'm not big on smoothies, juice, or tea...and when I want something like that, I don't need a recipe to make it.
Appetizers – 8 recipes – including a nacho dip that sounds bizarre to this non-vegan. Not bad, necessarily, but...there's no cheese! That one's weirdness is offset by a strawberry-mango guacamole that may have possibly made me drool a bit.
Salads – 8 recipes – I'm good with the smaller number of salads included here; I've got salad recipes coming out the wazoo, and never mind that I'm usually pretty good at coming up with a salad all on my own. Some of them are pretty unique, though, and the “Long Weekend Grilled Salad” sounds outstanding.
Soup – 7 recipes – A couple of these sound a bit weird, but there are two for sure that I want to make as soon as I get to the grocery store again.
Entrees – 15 recipes (or 16, depending on your reckoning...the noodle bowl has two different dressings) – I've already been impressed by the two I've made, and several of the others sound really original and satisfyingly hearty.
Sides – 9 recipes – some of these feel a bit like cheating (baked fries needed a recipe?), and I admit, nothing here really spoke to me, but we'll see.
Power Snacks – 9 recipes – two roasted chickpea recipes is probably pushing it, but I possibly would have bought this book just for the peanut butter cookie dough bites. The chia pudding parfait is getting made forthwith, BTW.
Desserts – 11 recipes – some of these seem like an awful lot of work when I'm perfectly satisfied by boxed brownies, but every last one sounds delicious.
Homemade Staples – 27 recipes – this chapter almost made me knock the book down to four stars – it's totally cheating to call things like oat flour and roasted garlic “recipes,” and by my count there's only 88 recipes before this chapter, not “over 100” - but I think the others made up for it.
You're no doubt getting as sick of reading this as I am of typing it, so just a few other random comments about the book: First, the photography is breathtaking. There are lots of pictures (possibly one for each recipe, I didn't keep track), and every last one is colorful and artful and makes the food look delicious. Second, there seems to be a minimum of weird ingredients. It's clear Liddon has a fondness for chia seeds (never tried them, but now I'm curious), but the fact that I can make a good number of these things without making a trip to a specialty store gets points from me. Third, the recipes I've made – and, from the way it looks, most of the ones I haven't – have a terrific balance of flavors. This stuff may be simple, some of it, but definitely not bland! Fourth, while there aren't any nutrition facts provided – a disappointment, since figuring it myself is so putzy – each recipe has notes in the header with things like “gluten free” and “nut free.” And finally, each of these recipes is obviously easily adaptable. I already tweaked the lentil loaf recipe to one that's a bit less of a pain to make (but retaining the deliciousness), and since I'm not vegan, it's pretty clear how I can incorporate real dairy or whatever. (Sorry, but I shall never ever give up cheese. I would rather die. And I'm only being a little facetious.) At the same time, these recipes all look straightforward enough and flavorful enough that I may very well try some of them exactly as written.
Now that you've grown old reading this review, I'll just summarize by saying that although I haven't made all the recipes in this book, the ones I've made all deserve five stars...and I'm looking forward to trying most of the rest of them. This book has inspired me to cook in a way that I haven't been inspired in a really long time.
I got this lovely cookbok from my husband for Christmas and it is a delight to try out the inspiring recipes. I hadn't realized that the she is a well-known blogger, judging from her name I thought she was some middle-aged woman (like myself) who had found the philosopher's stone and now wanted to share her wisdom (yes, I know, heaps of prejudices here, really no excuse at all) and was lucky to have her recipes published in a book. Turns out that one of my husband's daughters (very bright and also a very picky vegan) follows her on Instagram and it is apparently a well-known and very appreciated cookbook. Well, I love it, have tried a lot of her recipes by now and they are easy to follow and delicious. My only reservation is that there are way too many chocolate cakes, I would have appreciated a wider range of cakes. And some of the photos, yes, they are nice, but I have seen prettier and more creative and original. So that is the reason for the 4 stars and not 5, but I am admittedly hard to please when it comes to cookbooks.
I was so excited to read this book that I actually pre-ordered it online and it arrived in the mail before it was set to be officially released. I was not disappointed :).
If you want to experiment with being vegan, or are vegan already and want to have new, easy recipes - get this book! I am very impressed - never have I ever had every recipe be successful. I have tried a lot of different vegan cooking and baking books and online recipes galore.
Most of the ingredients are basic and are attainable at the local grocery store, with the rare exception. The recipes are easy to throw together and most are fairly quick to throw together.
The imagery is beautiful - I think there is practically an image to accompany every recipe in the book. The story of the author, Angela Liddon, is a nice touch to the book. I feel many readers will be able to relate to her experience - especially women in today's society.
My favourite recipe so far is the one to make your own almond butter - the recipe is to die for! I actually let out a little moan when I tasted the first teaspoon. I shall list the recipes below that I have tried so far.
Overall I recommend this book really to anyone - simple yet so enjoyable.
Effortless Vegan Overnight Oats Protein Power Goddess Bowl Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette Crunchy Maple-Cinnamon Roasted Almond Butter
I haven't gotten to try many...but I couldn't wait to review this book any longer!
As I have mentioned in previous posts, my family is moving toward a more plant-based diet, so we are testing out all sorts of cookbooks and other resources catering to vegans. In my searches for things like realistic chocolate chip cookies and other cravings, I have come across Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows website over and over again. Since some of the recipes sounded pretty good, I thought I’d check out her cookbook.
While I think the recipes sound very good, I have to admit this book did not knock me out. Liddon is clearly an excellent cook, and these recipes look fantastic, but from my years of experience cooking I can tell you this is a more advanced cookbook than I would recommend to those not clearly versed in either vegan cooking or cooking in general. It’s more along the lines of Martha Stewart in both obscure ingredients and fancy recipes. As I was saying to my husband, it’s more like a cookbook that someone without kids and tons of free time to cook would like. So if that’s you, check this out. For me, whom a family and budget are serious considerations, I’d skip it.
This is a gorgeous cookbook that will make you realize that plant-based eating doesn't need to be associated with a sad person chewing on a kale leaf. Everything I've made so far is amazing. The instructions are clear. There is sufficient introduction to ingredients. I LOVE this cookbook!
So this is, like, the most popular cookbook in Canada right now? I thought I’d check it out.
Disclaimer that my rating is completely subjective. YMMV, big time. I tried to be generous because I knew going in that it was Not My Bag, but two stars is just how it compares to my other cookbooks, for my preferred style of cooking.
I think "Oh She Glows" will work best for people who already dabble in veganism or have major food allergies, because these are the people who will already have a lot of the “sci-fi” ingredients in their pantry (like nutritional yeast, chia seeds, flaxseed, tamari, brown rice syrup, nut milk, exotic nut butter, etc). I have a very well-stocked pantry and I would've had to buy a few things for almost every recipe. Some recipes also require special equipment - her chia bread, for example, requires that you grind your own oat/buckwheat flour.
For someone like me, who is just looking for good vegetable-only soups, salads and sides, there are better books out there. In fact, I thought the Sides section was very weak for a vegan cookbook. Out of 100+ recipes, I bookmarked ten.
Bottom line, I think this book is more for people looking for an entry point into a particular lifestyle than a recipe book for the average joe trying to eat a little healthier.
I’ve enjoyed perusing this cookbook even though I don’t think I’ll ever call something made with pureed cashews “cheese.” Liddon became a vegan after overcoming an eating disorder, and she’s all about plant-based eating. However, sometimes I feel like she tries a little too hard to mimic meat-based dishes with substitutes that just aren’t going to measure up. Her best recipes are those that let the veggies be veggies instead of pretending to be meat. I made her rainbow carrots with tahini sauce for friends this weekend, and I think they turned out pretty well. Nobody ran from the house screaming, anyway!
I love this cookbook and I use recipes from her blog (ohsheglows.com) several times a week. Fantastic healthy food and beautiful photography.
Just one little quibble... The chia seed doughnuts aren't doughtnuts. I mean, I LIKE overt health food, but if someone told me they were going to give me a doughnut and then they gave me one of those, I would be annoyed. Don't get me wrong, they are good, as little fluffy balls of chia-studded dough go, but they aren't doughnuts. Words have meanings. I'm just saying.
Other than that, I've liked every recipe I've tried out of this book!
This book would be 100% better if I didn't have to read about whether the author's husband enjoys these recipes enough to have them included and published.
Update: I was feeling really snarky when I wrote ^^^ and thought I would add: there are some really good recipes in here- especially if you're just starting out with vegan cooking. Some classic, simple recipes with easy-to-find ingredients. Four stars for recipes. 2 stars for the betty crocker stuff that comes out in the intro and recipe descriptions. I thought she started the intro to the book really honestly by talking about her past eating disorder. Very admirable, for real, thank you for sharing! But lady, if you're so about empowerment, who gives a shit if you cook well enough for your husband, Eric. Let that dude make his own smoothie for once, jfc.
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the publisher's behest.)
Let me begin by thanking Penguin Books for sending me a copy of this cookbook for review about a month prior to its publication date. (Before it was even on my radar, actually.) As an avowed junk food vegan, it's probably not something I would have picked up on my own - but I've discovered more than one new favorite dish in The Oh She Glows Cookbook!
As fans of the Oh She Glows website and blog already know, Angela Liddon focuses her culinary efforts on plant-based, healthy whole foods, free of chemicals and additives. Continuing this tradition, The Oh She Glows Cookbook includes 75 new recipes, as well as more than 25 fan favorites from her blog. Recipes run the gamut, from "power snacks" to smoothies, juices, and teas, as well as breakfast foods, appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, sides, and desserts. There's a fairly wide variety of dishes to be found, from vegan versions of American favorites (Lentil Walnut Loaf, Grilled Portobello Burger, Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries) to more international meals (Creamy Vegetable Curry, Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole, Quick & Easy Chana Masala). Many of the recipes are gluten-free, or include gluten-free substitutions; and Liddon sometimes offers soy-free alternatives, too.
I tried just over a dozen recipes in preparation for this review (and, let's be honest, because my stomach compelled me to!), including the following:
- Classic Hummus (page 89)
Never before have I been able to get my homemade hummus as smooth and creamy as the store-bought versions...that is, until now! The secret's in the chickpea skins - or rather, the lack of them. For a super-silky hummus, Liddon recommends skinning the chickpeas prior to use.
This works well, but at what cost!?! It took me nearly an hour to skin the chickpeas required for this recipe. Probably I'll stick to Sabra brand for the foreseeable future. Barring a hummus shortage or zombie apocalypse, that is.
On the upside, this is a delicious recipe. Normally I prefer my hummus with some "extras" - roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes - but as far as plain hummus goes, this one's a winner.
- Broccoli and Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burrito (page 159)
SO GOOD! Seriously, this recipe is worth the purchase price of the book alone. While the fillings - quinoa, broccoli, sundried tomatoes - are delish, it's the cashew cream sauce that really makes this burrito sing.
Don't want to use quinoa? Swap it out for millet, barley, or even just plain old white (or brown!) rice.
- 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta (page 173)
I’ve enjoyed avocado pasta before, but this is just...WOW.
The sauce is deliciously simple: avocados, garlic, basil, lemon. (The lemon? It downright OWNS the pasta.) Blend in a food processor, mix with the pasta, and serve.
The hardest part about this dish is the timing: since avocados oxidize quickly (thus turning an unappetizing shade of brown), you want to use the sauce immediately. Or at least if you want to snag a halfway decent photo of it.
I'd never tried roasted chickpeas prior to this recipe, and I am kicking myself for not checking them out sooner. Delicious, healthy, and very easy to make.
The Oh She Glows Cookbook contains two recipes for roasted chickpeas - a "plain" version and a salt and vinegar flavor - but you can very easily experiment with your own versions by following the basic recipe in the book.
- Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich (page 105)
Another epic win. Modeled on a flaky chicken salad the author used to enjoy in her pre-vegan (pregan!) days, the mashed chickpeas (no skinning required!) provide a nice, flaky base for the salad. Also present: mustard, vegan mayo, dill pickles, red peppers, and celery (though I omitted it - too weird and stringy for me!). The dill is optional but takes the salad to the next level. Seriously, don't skip it. Unless you loathe dill. Then do. But not before reconsidering your priorities and life choices.
- Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (page 265)
This was my first time making gluten-free cookies, and it was NOT A DISASTER! Actually it was a yummy, yummy success. Instead of wheat flour, this recipe uses almond and oat flour; this, along with the almond butter, gives these cookies a multilayered nutty taste that's pure perfection. (I really love almonds, yo. MARCHPANE!)
The only downside? This is the only cookie recipe in the whole book. (Boo!) My inner Cookie Monster is indignant.
Pro tip: always use parchment paper and cooling racks when baking cookies. It makes all the diff.
- Apple Pie Oatmeal (page 49)
Though it's more effort and brainpower than I'm able or willing to muster first thing in the morning, this Apple Pie Oatmeal makes a tasty and filling lunch or dinner. Only thing I'd do differently next time around? Mix the apples into the oatmeal after it's done cooking. I like them either raw and crisp or soft and mushy - no in-betweenies, okay.
- Luxurious Tomato-Basil Pasta (page 181)
I'm pretty sure the "Luxurious" in the Luxurious Tomato-Basil Pasta is code for "cheesy." And if it’s not, it should be. Put vegan cheese on ALL the things!
This pasta dish has an unusual pink sauce that's the result of a super-holy marriage between a traditional red tomato sauce - and a white sauce made of blended cashews and nondairy milk. So good, and super-easy to make. The cook time on this one is just 30 minutes, so you can whip it up in a snap. (Though I prefer to let my tomatoes simmer for awhile so that they get nice and tender.)
- Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl (page 47)
I've never had savory oatmeal, and so I fully expected not to like this recipe. (Fussy eater problems, yo!) And I didn't. Like it, that is. BECAUSE I LOVED IT!
It reads more like a stew than an oatmeal; the oats take on the flavor of the chicken broth (vegan, natch) they're cooked in, and the lentils make it extra-hearty. The husband enjoyed his bowl with the suggested avocados and hummus, while I went with crackers and avocado toast. A pretty excellent weeknight meal, if I do say so myself.
- Sunrise Scramble with Roasted Home Fries (page 33)
I'll be brutally honest here: this isn't my favorite tofu scramble recipe. That said, it's still a tofu scramble, and tofu scrambles effin rock.
This one's got both mushrooms and spinach, the excess moisture of which can be difficult to cook off. Consequently, my tofu ended up a but wet and mushy. Also, this recipe's funny in that it doesn't include many of the tofu scramble staples, namely tumeric, soy sauce/tamari, and extra spices to season. There's just a tablespoon of nooch (rather low, imho), papika, salt, and pepper. Yawn.
Still, it's tasty enough. And the home fries? Fuhgettaboutit! Way easier to make than hash browns (I've yet to produce a properly crispy batch!), and every bit as tasty.
- Our Favorite Veggie Burger (page 155) with a side o' Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries (page 203)
You know, if the cashew cheese burritos hadn't already sold me on the OSG cookbook, this veggie burger would have sealed the deal. It's thick and hearty, and stuffed with tons of goodies: black beans, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, breadcrumbs, grated carrots, garlic, onions, parsley...shall I go on? It takes a little while to put together, but it's so worth it. And since I usually only cook for two, I just stored the extra batter in the fridge for another night. The husband and I ended up stretching this out into four meals. Score!
The Crispy Baked Fries are rockin', too. They have an arrowroot powder/oil coating (similar to that in the Roasted Home Fries) that gives the outsides a really interesting texture. Plus they have roughly the same bake time as the burgers, so they make a convenient pair. It's almost like they were made for each other! (*wink*)
- Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms (page 161)
So, I’ll be honest: this isn’t my all-time favorite pasta sauce. But to be fair, I am super-Italian, and have been enjoying pasta at least once a week my entire life. I have long since perfected my own dream red sauce recipe. (Spoiler alert: it involves roasted red peppers.) But I have to admit, I love the idea of adding red lentils to pasta sauce, and the chia seeds are a nice extra too.
Well done, even by own snobby standards.
As you can see from the individual breakdowns, most of the dishes I tried were an overwhelming success. (And those that weren't, were still pretty damn good.) A few will even make it into regular rotation in the Garbato-Brady kitchen: Broccoli and Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos. 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwiches (which I've already made three times now!). Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl. Our Favorite Veggie Burger. Of those recipes that I most likely won't make again (Apple Pie Oatmeal; Sunrise Scramble; Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms), it's mainly because I have my own tried and true recipes that I prefer to Liddon's - not because hers aren't nom-worthy, too.
The ingredients lists are straightforward and don't feature many unusual or hard-to-find ingredients. Among the "weirder" ingredients I found: chia seeds, coconut aminos (which I've since learned is a soy-free alternative to soy sauce), and gluten-free rolled oats and spelt bread crumbs (each of them easily swapped out for the gluteny versions).
To the newbie, some of the recipes might appear intimidating at first glance, with extensive ingredient lists - but, upon closer inspection, you'll find that many of the entries are spices. While it's true that some of the dishes require a little more prep work, none are especially difficult.
Liddon is a food photographer as well as a chef, and as expected, The Oh She Glows Cookbook is a gorgeous book. The pages are thick and glossy and peppered with Liddon's photography. Every recipe is accompanied by a full-page, full-color photo. Those who like their cookbooks colorful and shiny will not be disappointed.
As for the overall rating, The Oh She Glows Cookbook ranks somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars for me. While there are many amazing recipes to be had here, there are also a number of recipes that I'm not likely to try (including an entire chapter of smoothies and juices). For those who consider themselves health food vegans, The Oh She Glows Cookbook might be more of a 5-star dealio. To be fair, I decided to average the two and round the resulting 4.5 stars up to 5. If you enjoy healthy, wholesome vegan food - not to mention mouth-watering food photography - look no further.
Cool vegan cookbook! The food photography is excellent and I honestly just enjoyed looking at all the recipes. ;) So far, I've tried the Chia Power Doughnuts (as muffins, pg. 41) and the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas (pg 147). They were both a success! Definitely recommend, if you're an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan!
This cookbook has done an AMAZING job in helping inspire me to cook vegan meals that are easy to make / not time consuming and yet still absolutely delicious. I can't wait to keep trying new recipes. Not everything is GF, but it is easy to substitute ingredients when needed. This is one cookbook that would actually be great to have a hard copy of instead of borrowing from the library, I'd definitely like to make my way through all the recipes at some point. 4.5
I never thought I'd enjoy eating lentils until I tried Liddon's recipes. Being a follower of her blog, I eagerly purchased this book in hopes of trying out new-to-me recipes. I was pleasantly surprised to find all sorts of treasures such as a list of food she keeps in her pantry at all times (critical for bulk shoppers like myself). Several months later, I've yet to use a recipe I didn't enjoy. Most make enough food for several people which is essential for someone with a busy lifestyle. I don't mind eating this food every day for a week! Her instructions are straight forward and don't call for bizarre ingredients you can't find in a basic grocery store or can't easily supplement. This makes this cookbook my favourite one of the large stack I've accumulated over the years. Not only is it beautiful, it's easy to use and accessible to those of us who are daunted by the kitchen and don't necessarily have a lot of time to cook.
2.5 stars. I got this from the library and scanned the recipes I want to make. I only found three worth scanning. In fairness to the author, I have not tried them yet and her photos are really nice. I mostly am not a fan because her recipes are either full of carbs, as in serve home fries WITH toast, or have weird flavor combinations. Her guacamole and bruschetta recipes are whack, for example, because she wants you to add mango and berries to perfectly delicious, savory foods. It feels like an excuse to put dishes so easy they don't need a recipe into her cookbook anyway, but she ruins these simple dishes by putting far-out ingredients in them.
An excellent recipe book for tasty and easy to make Vegan dishes. Includes: breakfasts, appetizers, soups and main dishes and uses ingredients that are easily purchased. As a newby to plant-based eating, I tried over half of the recipes and most were keepers.
Pretty fucking good. I'm not even vegan. But this book, as a cookbook, is extremely neat.
I got this mostly for the smoothies, which are excellent. The food pictures in this book are sort of out of this world too, like absurdly good.
Like, I never knew vegan food could look so good. I feel like I learned a lot from this book, just by looking at the pictures. I feel like I am less dumb now because I know more about something I thought I knew all there was to know about.
When you think about what you were like when you were 13 or 16--that's what I feel like right now, thinking about the "me" before reading this book and the "me" now, after having read this book.
It's not a 5 because 5 is for perfect books but if you're looking for a new cookbook that's not totally like the other cookbooks, I recommend this one.
(Also, there's no such thing as "perfect" anything).
Easy to follow, delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. I have tried quite a few of the recipes in this book, and really enjoyed them. I especially love the baked oatmeal recipe, and the lemon tahini bean goddess dish. Yum! And best of all, 100% vegan.
Gorgeous photography which made it worth the read. Pantry staples and equipment section is a bit of a yawn. Some of the “recipes” are for smoothies, etc. — and who really needs a recipe? Some interesting dishes like the peanut noodle bowl (yum) and some new ideas for me to try.
I do not eat exclusively vegan, so many of these recipes would complicate my life to try and make but in an effort to eat more plants I was able to save several recipes that I will be trying. I’m sure it would receive a higher rating were I actually vegan.