Cookbook review: Betty Goes Vegan by Annie and Dan Shannon
Almost everyone has a favorite dish courtesy of Betty Crocker. Now, thanks to Betty Goes Vegan, you can easily turn many Betty Crocker-inspired recipes into vegan favorites!
The past catches up with us
Many of us grew up with meals made from Betty Crocker's iconic recipes. In fact, you can probably recall a favorite salad, casserole or cake that was either standard fare at your house or served for special occasions.
Annie and Dan Shannon decided to take on a cooking challenge: As vegans, they wanted to prove that any recipe could be recreated in a vegan format. Not simply recreated, but made palatable to just about anyone.
What the pair produced is a comprehensive cookbook called Betty Goes Vegan. Their cookbook is filled with 500 all-vegan recipes in every category from breakfast to holiday foods.
Vegan meals made easy
What's fun about this cookbook is that many of the recipes the Shannons created were inspired by the 2010 edition of The Betty Crocker Cookbook (they chose the recent edition to appeal to the modern family). However, Betty Goes Vegan is more than a mere cookbook. The couple doesn't just tell readers to veganize recipes. They walk readers through the process, explaining how to use vegan products to deliver the best results.
The Shannons cover meatless proteins (like seitan and tempeh), mock meats and vegan cheese in the book's comprehensive sections. In the "Meat, Poultry and Fish" section, for example, you'll find many main-dish remedies to the "what will you eat" question often posed to vegans at holiday meals. As they prove, based on these recipes, the answer no longer is "everything but the turkey."
Each recipe is introduced with a brief overview of the origins of the dish, and occasionally includes a charming tale from "that time when..." You'll also find lists of products and tools that will make vegan cooking easier (both to understand and to accomplish). Inspired by Betty Crocker, this cookbook is a resource for vegans, those new to veganism and those who might be there one day.
Try a recipe from Betty Goes Vegan:
Mini pot roast pies
Makes 4 pies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine
- 1 (9 ounce) package Gardein beefless tips or beef seitan, defrosted
- 2 shallots, diced
- 6-8 small red potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup frozen green beans
- 3 baby carrots, sliced
- 1/4 cup baby portobello mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 cup Better Than Bouillion vegan beef broth, made per the instructions on the package
- 1/4 teaspoon horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon Bragg's liquid aminos
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour, plus extra for flouring a surface
- 1 package puff pastry sheets
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat your olive oil and red wine in your cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, toss in your vegan beef and shallots. Cook until your vegan beef is evenly browned and has crispy edges and your shallots are tender. Then remove your vegan beef from the skillet.
- Toss your potatoes into the skillet to cook. Brown for a minute and then use your spatula to flip them a few times so they cook evenly.
- After 3 minutes, toss in the peas, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, broth, horseradish, Bragg's, nutritional yeast, vegan Worcestershire sauce and flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the nutritional yeast and flour are blended and become a light gravy with the broth. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Fill four 12-ounce ramekins 1/2 of the way with the vegetables and gravy. Place 1/4 of the vegan beef in the top of each ramekin.
- Dust your workspace with flour and slightly roll out a sheet of puff pastry dough so that the creases and folds don't show. Then spray your puff pastry with a light coating of olive oil cooking spay and fold the pastry sheet in half.
- Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, cut 4 circles out of the puff pastry. Place 1 circle on the top of each ramekin. Spray the pastry circle with another light coating of olive oil cooking spray and then bake for 10 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown and fluffy.
Get your copy of Betty Goes Vegan >>
About the Authors
Annie and Dan Shannon live in Brooklyn, N.Y. Annie has worked at the animal advocacy organization, In Defense of Animals, and as the fashion industry liaison for the Humane Society of the United States. She does most of the cooking. Dan was previously the director of youth outreach & campaigns for PETA and is now a senior strategist for the social movement strategy consulting company, Purpose. He does the dishes.