Book Review: The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On

The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld

The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On by Mark Reinfeld is a guide that veganizes all your favorite soups. Reinfeld received his training from his grandfather a renowned chef and ice carver. He holds a Master’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition. Reinfled has spent his career associated various vegan groups. 

I have been a strict vegetarian for the last seven or eight years and the only area of cooking I haven’t really mastered is soups. Aside from basic vegetable stock, lentil soup, and chili, soups are not a big part of my home cooking. I have thought about making French Onion Soup and really wished I knew how to make something close to Amy’s Not Chicken Soup. I think this book may be just what I need.

The introduction covers basic ingredients, food preparation, and the tools you will need. The ingredients are listed and defined. Some ingredients are not well known by all such as Kombu or tamarind paste, and others are well known by most vegetarians like quinoa and nutritional yeast. The preparation section and tools are pretty basic but cover everything you will need to know. There are options to make some of the recipes raw or gluten free. Chef’s Tips and Tricks provide useful information and a clock symbol is shown for recipes taking longer than thirty minutes. 

From the beginning the recipes are great. The third recipe is for roasted vegetable soup, much like a basic vegetable broth, but with far more taste. Soups go from the simple broth to a fairly easy, but extravagant, Truffled Wild Mushroom Consomme with Grilled Baby Asparagus. The tips and tricks here let the reader know what real truffle oil is and what is its counterpart, a chemically treated oil made to smell like truffles. 

From Thai Coconut with Lemon Grass, to African Peanut Soup, to Jamaican Jerked Soup, Irish Cabbage and Potato Stew, to Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup Soup’s On recipes cover the world. I was surprised to find one of my favorite soups from before I went vegetarian: Italian Wedding Stew. That soup was one of the few things I missed from my meat eating days. I even found a recipe from my young years in Cleveland that I am going to try: Polish Vegan Sausage and Sauerkraut Stew. There is a great range and creativity in the soup recipes. Along with the traditional soups are blender soups, and raw and dessert soups. The last chapter covers garnishes and sides like Red Oil and Basil Oil. Veganized cornbread, feta, garlic spreads, and mayonnaise recipes are also given.

Soup’s On gives the reader an extensive collection of soup recipes. Most are easy and the ingredients are easy to find. Some ingredients are a bit more difficult to find but available to most. Although I usually do not review cookbooks and rely on the internet and friends for recipes, this book is well worth owning. It is an all in one resource for soup which I will be using all winter.

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