Celebrate Veganism at Your Table with Colleen Patrick Goudreau

September 6th, 2009 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

After the success of The Joy of Vegan Baking, readers may automatically associate Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s name with cruelty-free sweets. So, you may be surprised to learn she is just as comfortable creating wholesome savoury dishes. In fact, Colleen has been teaching cooking classes for more than a decade, arming new vegetarians with simple, healthy recipes. Now, with the release of The Vegan Table, we can all benefit from the recipes she has tested with her students over the years.

Colleen is an advocate of spreading veganism by demonstrating the joy that living according to your principles creates. She even sells “Joyful Vegan” T-shirts on her website. The Vegan Table is based on this philosophy. The recipes are organized with celebration in mind, making this a great manual for anyone who loves to entertain and is searching for dishes that work well together.

The Vegan Table contains menus for everything: from casual meals to formal dining to special occasions, including a Passover Seder and an English tea party. Within each category, recipes are also organized by season. This comprehensive cookbook includes 200 recipes, with tips for entertaining and informative insights sprinkled throughout.
The recipes in The Vegan Table impressed me because they are accessible regardless of your level of culinary expertise. The instructions are clear and concise. Although there are plenty of dishes inspired by Indian, Thai and Indonesian cuisines, the flavours are generally less exotic than in many vegan cookbooks. Instead, Colleen’s focus is on providing vegan alternatives for dishes you may recall from your childhood. And she loves kale (just like another vegan you know!) and includes lots of lovely greens in many of her recipes.
Now, on to the recipes I’ve tried, the pan-grilled portobello mushrooms with herb-infused marinade made a fantastic central dish for an easy summer dinner, which I complemented with two side dishes: roasted asparagus with lime juice, and kale and cauliflower salad, both of which came together quickly.
Marinaded mushrooms…the best vegan steak!
Quick lime asparagus and raw kale salad are the perfect light compliment for a summer meal.
I really appreciated that Colleen’s recipe for apricot muffins called for whole wheat flour and dried apricots, making them great for any time of year.
Whole Wheat Apricot Muffin
The pumpkin curry provided warmth and comfort in a bowl. It is a fantastic use for any leftover pumpkin puree you may have after all of your fall baking.
I also tried the red lentil pate (when I was away at my cottage). For my taste, it needed a bigger hit of spice but I think the neutral flavour would appeal to those with a less demanding palate. Overall, after sampling these dishes, I know that my next dinner party will be even more impressive with Colleen’s help.
In June, Colleen Shea and I interviewed Patrick-Goudreau for the Toronto Vegetarian Podcast #149, and she revealed that her next book, tentatively titled Color Me Vegan, will feature recipes organized by their predominant colours as a helpful guide to the nutrients and phytochemicals they contain. You can check out the podcast interview here. I also encourage you to tune in to her podcast “Vegetarian Food for Thought”. I’ve been a dedicated listener for years and I have yet to find another podcast that delivers more thoroughly researched information on vegetarianism and animal rights.
Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to be inspired by Colleen in person during her featured presentation at Toronto Vegetarian Association’s 25th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair (September 11-13).
One amazing recipe from Colleen is her Garlic & Greens Soup
You can watch Colleen make it here
8 cups plus 3 tbsp water or vegetable stock divided (see directions)
1 head of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, collard greens, bok choy or chard, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 yellow potatoes, such as Yukon gold, diced
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat 3 tbsp of water and saute garlic and onion until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add kale, potatoes and remaining 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
Add rice vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and serve immediately.
Serves two to four.

Find inspiration for celebrating around your vegan table with recipes from The Vegan Table.


  1. Posted September 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    That soup sounds really, really great. I watched the video before, but totally forgot about the soup. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. Posted September 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    The greens are about to get even sweeter so it will be the perfect dish to whip up in the coming weeks.

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