The first thing I thought when I opened Carolyn Scott-Hamilton's new cookbook, The Healthy Voyager's Global Kitchen, was that I wanted to get in the kitchen and try out some of the recipes because they looked so fun!
The photos and descriptions made me feel like each recipe was a way to experience another culture. I'm not one to stick to only making North American food, but the way Carolyn gives little tidbits about different cultures and the way they cook makes trying these recipes really fun.
Since I eat a vegan diet, I'm often left with only a few options for trying foods in different countries. So having these recipes for vegan versions of classic dishes is an awesome way to try out the things I might have missed.
Some of the recipes that I've tried and loved:
Some others that I can't wait to try out:
I love Carolyn's positive attitude about healthy foods. She includes lots of vegetables in every recipe to maximize nutrients, and they're always fun and super tasty too.
She has handy tags for each recipe to tell you whether it's gluten-free, soy free, low fat, low glycemic, kosher or raw. Most of the recipes are gluten-free, soy-free and low in fat anyway, but it's nice to have the confirmation.
One thing I really appreciate about the cookbook is that Carolyn includes directions for making certain ingredients from scratch - like curry paste, gnocchi, pizza dough, marinara sauce, Worcestershire and fish sauce alternatives. Of course, when you don't have the time you can always buy those things prepared, but it's nice to know how to make healthier versions yourself.
At the beginning of the book, Carolyn gives an excellent list of spices and foods to get your kitchen set up. The more essential ones to start with are bolded so that you don't have to feel overwhelmed, and those who already have a well-stocked kitchen can branch off to get the extras.
Yes, there are ingredients here and there that you might not normally buy... but that's the point! To venture out to new places and flavors! I didn't come across any that I wouldn't be able to find, and you can always sub or leave out certain things.
The list of shopping and kitchen tips is fantastic. One tip I loved was to make stocks and broths ahead of time and freeze them in ice cube trays. So simple, but so smart!
For people who are transitioning to a vegan diet, there are recipes that include meat substitutes like vegan chick'n, beef and sausages. It also shows you some great ways to use seitan, tofu and tempeh to ease yourself into a healthier plant-based diet.
And for people who prefer sticking to whole foods, those things are really easy to swap for some beans, mushrooms or just leave out. There's plenty of flavor and texture going on in every dish, so the recipes don't rely on the vegan meat substitutes.
Overall, I think the cookbook makes healthy cooking fun, super flavorful and exciting. It's great for people just starting out, to show them how amazingly delicious and satisfying healthy vegan food can be. And it's fantastic for people who already eat healthy and vegan to spice up their routine with new ideas.
Be sure to check out Carolyn's website, HealthyVoyager.com, where she has lots more vegan travel tips and recipes.