Marie Kacouchia’s cookbook Vegan Africa is packed with a wide variety of recipes from across the continent.
The recipes range from simple sauces to flavorful mains, all using natural ingredients and that stand to hold appeal for vegetarians and omnivores, too. Some of the easier recipes involve two or three steps, as with a West African kinkeliba-mint iced tea made from boiling dried kinkeliba leaves, and with a vinaigrette from the Ivory Coast made by whisking a few items together. Others are far more involved, as with a vegan version of the classic Ethiopian stew wat, packed with carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and plenty of fragrant spices.
Because of its cross-continental approach, the cookbook tackles staples that highlight different regions’ flavors and cooking styles. It includes breads like Ethiopia’s spongy injera, the Indian-influenced chapati popular in other parts of eastern Africa, and even sweet beignets. Its side dishes range from the tomato-forward jollof rice of western regions to a vermicelli with Spanish cashews that comes from the Middle East and represents a fusion of cuisines. Its desserts include vegan versions of rice pudding, chocolate mousse, and banana-peanut butter ice cream, as well as muffins and pancakes.
The easy-to-follow recipes are complemented by a brief introduction that highlights the health benefits of the vegetables, grains, and legumes they use, and by dozens of beautiful photographs of the dishes and their ingredients. The book also includes a short list of menus for specific occasions, like a romantic dinner or a gourmet snack.
Making use of ingredients from around the continent, including yams, cassava, red beans, mangos, and plantains, Vegan Africa will appeal to home cooks who embrace regional food.
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