Mayim’s Vegan Table is the first cookbook from Mayim Bialik and one I did not expect from the former star of Blossom, a TV show that I watched as a kid. The cover suggests that it’s a cookbook of healthy recipes meant for families. Clearly, it’s not a book targeted at me as a child-free vegan who prioritizes taste. Still, I was curious and the recipe index looked promising.
Mayim’s Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik | Video Cookbook Review
The first recipe I tried was a Vietnamese sandwich known as Banh Mi. I used to eat up to five of them a day in high school and lived in an area with a Vietnamese restaurant every two blocks so I kinda feel like I know what good banh mi sandwich should be like.
Perhaps it was my own experience that made me feel the recipe was lacking. It was a delicious sandwich but the memories of what I thought “should be” wasn’t there. That said, my boyfriend (non-vegan), who hasn’t had a lot of banh mi experiences, loved this sandwich. So if you’re a banh mi connoisseur, this might not be up to standard. For example, she calls for a French baguette but banh mi sandwiches are made with Vietnamese-style baguettes which are completely different. But if you just want a tasty tasty sandwich, go for this. In my experience, most people love the combination of sweet, tangy, and savoury with crunchy vegetables and soft, chewy toasted french baguette.
There are a lot of American comfort foods in this book. Like mac and cheese. This version is really simple and the recipe is available online. But basically, the sauce is like a regular omni recipe but replaces the non-vegan ingredients with plant milk and store bought vegan cheese shreds.
Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with that idea. She recommends Daiya and while I like it now in certain applications, when I first went vegan I thought Daiya cheddar shreds were gross and really not a great replacement when cheese is a major ingredient. But I was cooking also for someone who does enjoy Daiya so I sucked up my doubts, my cheapness and put in the whole five dollar bag.
The texture turned out well. It looks like a decent classic mac and cheese. To me, it tasted like if you mixed melted kraft processed cheese slices with milk and tossed it with macaroni. My boyfriend said it reminded him of those days when he would grate cheese over cooked macaroni and call it a meal. Not gross but not especially delicious. Still, it’s a super easy recipe, very quick to make and I’m sure you guys could add herbs and spices and make it really good.
The next recipe I tried was for potato salad. Another basic recipe that uses store bought vegan alternatives; in this case a whack load of vegenaise. I did sub green onions for red onions and edamame for peas as I just didn’t have those ingredients on hand.
It tasted just like a classic potato salad. I found that most of the recipes in this book were just like that. Basic, simple classic comfort food recipes that subbed in store bought vegan version of dairy.
So far, because of all the store-bought vegan ingredients (which can get pricey) and the fact that most of the recipes seemed like regular recipes with those vegan substitutes, I wasn’t super impressed. But then I got to the end of the book and saw vegan doughnuts. Excuse me while I take back everything negative I ever said about this book! Thanks to Mayim’s Vegan Table, I have made my first homemade vegan doughnuts. These doughnuts were not too sweet, which I prefer, plus they are so soft and fluffy and the texture when fresh, amazing.
Overall, I recommend this book if you can afford and have access to store-bought vegan alternatives like Daiya cheese, Vegenaise, vegan cream cheese, vegan deli slices, etc. The book is targeted towards American families with young kids, so if that sounds like your family, you may enjoy this book. Despite the cover’s suggestion, the recipes within are a mix of nutrient dense meals and snacks along with not-so-healthy recipes so you can have a balance of both in one book. However, if you’re living where specialty vegan items are difficult to source, this book might be frustrating to cook from. Have you tried any recipes from Mayim’s Vegan Table? What did you think?