Cookbook Review: Mena Massoud’s Evolving Vegan

What do we love more than vegan recipes? An inside look at the vegan visionaries behind the food, of course! Mena Massoud’s Evolving Vegan Cookbook gives us both!

Evolving Vegan takes us on a culinary adventure through North American cities in this part travelogue, part behind-the-scenes cookbook that spotlights vegan restaurant owners and chefs with the ultimate pay-off: recipes from, or inspired by, these famous kitchens.

About the Author:

Mena Massoud took the vegan world by storm when he, well, took the whole world by storm with his stellar performance as the title character in Disney’s 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin.

Mena co-founded Evolving Vegan, a company that aims to introduce people to the vegan lifestyle and evolve into it at their own pace. His star-status led to his veganism gaining mentions in magazine and television interviews. Then it all went viral on social media!

This is why vegans LOVE vegan celebs, because they have the platform to inform! And set a compassionate example for the masses!

And with the Evolving Vegan Cookbook he does just that! Inside you will find over 70 recipes. Many sourced directly from, or inspired by, the restaurants he visits in his cookbook-writing-quest, in addition to recipes from both his home kitchen and his Mamma’s kitchen, too!

The recipes:

The diversity of the recipes in this book is outstanding! It’s truly a trip around the world featuring recipes from every cuisine imaginable – Moroccan, Indian, Thai, Italian, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Mexican, Chinese, with some American classics, too.

I dove head first into the Potato Pierogies from Fare Well Restaurant in Washington, D.C. I love Pierogies, but have never before made my own. And I should mention, I love Doron Petersan. A perfect fangirl moment! (You’ll find yourself experiencing these moments again and gain throughout this book!) Doron is also the owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats and on a recent one-day trip to D.C. I was able to walk 45 minutes (one-way) from the airport to grab some vegan cupcakes, a milkshake and a wrap before my flight home.

So making Doron’s pierogie recipe was an extra special treat, and the recipe did not disappoint! The pierogies were authentic, and bursting with flavor. Assembly takes some practice, but it is worth it when you can sit down with a plate like this knowing that you made it yourself!

I love easy, fresh and flavorful salads, and who doesn’t want to make and eat what Mena Massoud is making and eating on the set! So the next fan-girl moment, um I mean recipe-testing moment, was the Fresh Chickpea Salad from Mena’s home kitchen.

This oil-free salad is layered with flavor – cumin, coriander, fresh dill and kalamata olives – and takes about 15 minutes to prepare. I can see this as a regular lunch in my house!

The Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies from Trilogy Sanctuary in San Diego, California were quick to appear in my kitchen. Almond flour based, these brownies were very gooey, so much so that they need constant refrigeration to keep their shape after baking and cooling, but the flavor was rich and fudgy, reminiscent of a box mix, which to me is the ultimate goal of any brownie recipe. With that flavor, cold brownies? So what!

Other recipes I want to try:

“Cheesy” Kale & Butternut Squash Scones by Sweet Hart Kitchen

Giambotta Stew from Pura Vita

Toasted Jackfruit Tuna Sandwich from Off the Griddle

And many more!

The Verdict:

This is a wonderful (and long-awaited) addition to your cookbook shelf. The recipes are easy to follow with well-written steps and instructions. The photos will inspire you to get cooking. If you have been lucky enough to visit some of these great vegan establishments, this cookbook will be even more exciting! And if you haven’t, you can get to work updating your vegan bucket list!

Set to release on September 15, 2020, you can pre-order Evolving Vegan: Deliciously Diverse Recipes from North America’s Best Plant-Based Eateries — For Anyone Who Loves Food directly on the Evolving Vegan Website. And join the over 75K followers for even more behind-the-scenes with Mena and friends on Evolving Vegan on Instagram.

If you purchase this book, be sure to come back and let me know what you think in the comments! I can’t wait to see what you have cooked up!

Happy Reading!

Thank you to Tiller Press and NetGalley for providing me with a digital Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

(You can check out my Cookbook Review Rating System by clicking on the rating above.)

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