BOOK REVIEW: ‘Virgin Vegan: The Meatless Guide to Pleasuring Your Palate’ Makes Vegan Cooking Easy

virgin vegan

Reviewed by Rene A. Henry

SEATTLE, Wash., Jan. 24 – Linda Long has authored another winner which I recommend for every home kitchen and believe should be a must read for every vegan and vegetarian.

Long’s “Virgin Vegan: The Meatless Guide to Pleasuring Your Palate” (Gibbs Smith, 176 pages,  $19.99, available from  has scores of simple and tested recipes for dining, snacks, sandwiches and desserts.  It is perfect for any host who might need to adjust a menu to accommodate a guest’s diet preference.

Long, who is a member of the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals, includes in her new book recipes from home cooks, renowned vegan activists, and chefs of leading restaurants across the country.  She has lectured at universities on vegan nutrition and has chapters on good things to know about nutrition as well as being vegan.

She notes that a vegan diet lowers cholesterol and blood pressure; assists in managing or preventing many cancers; lessens or heals hypertension and Type 2 diabetes; and supports better weight balance.  The author also has strong views on overuse of animals and the impact on our environment.

The book lists and describes various products for vegan and vegetarian recipes.  I learned about vegan cheese, how soy milk substitutes for whole milk, vegan margarine and different types of tofu.  I was a guest at a dinner party she hosted to honor a friend on his birthday and the way tofu was prepared I thought I was eating chicken!  The entire dinner was an absolute delight.

Long gives the reader a meal plan template with numerous suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  In one chapter she has recommendations on the preparation and cooking of vegetables, greens, grains, and beans.  In the chapter about nutrition she provides information on the best sources for protein, iron, calcium and vitamins A, B-12, C, D and Omega 3s.  She also tells the reader about various oils, sweeteners and soys.

I plan to prepare some of her vegan recipes including vegetable soup; black bean chili with chipotle skillet cornbread; several sweet potato dishes; mac and cheese; chickpea halvarti cheese spread; Norwegian caraway cheese spread; sour cream; and Southern fried “chicken.”

Long graduated from Mansfield University and received her master’s degree in home economics from Penn State.  For years her career was in the fashion industry.  “I was married and living at The Concord Hotel resort in New York’s Catskills when I met comedian Dick Gregory who inspired me to change my eating habits,” says Long.   “Dick, a self-taught nutrition expert, was making sure Muhammad Ali, who was at the hotel training for a championship fight, kept his immune system up to peak performance.”

She authored and photographed the award-winning book “Great Chefs Cook Vegan” for Gibbs Smith in 2008.  Long also writes and photographs articles for vegetarian magazines and leading newspapers and is the host/producer of Vegan Hotspot, a web-based TV show that spotlights vegan restaurants in New York City.

Rene A. Henry lives in Seattle and has authored eight books and writes on a variety of subjects, many of which are posted on his website During his 50 year career in public relations he represented a number of food and beverage clients.



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