A cookbook and culinary toolkit of more than 100 recipes to get affordable, plant-based family meals on the table—in no time flat.
For many years, Anna Pippus found herself exhausted at the thought of coming up with what to make for dinner every night, until finally she changed how she tackled cooking forever. In The Vegan Family Cookbook, Anna shares the approach she developed to eliminate her mealtime dread: daily cooking themes. Mondays are pasta, Tuesdays are bowls, Wednesdays are one-pot meals, and on Thursdays, it's all about stir-fries.
Anna’s simple yet flavourful recipes have short ingredients lists and streamlined preparations. Kids will love Peanut Butter Banana Waffles and Mac and Cheesy with Broccoli (to name only a few!), while adults and parents will appreciate fuss-free takes on classics, such as Corn Soup with Sneaky Red Lentils, Lighter Kale Pesto Pasta, and Crispy Sweet and Sticky Tofu. The Vegan Family Cookbook is also filled with scrumptious ideas for breakfast, lunch, and snack time, to round out this family-friendly collection.
Anna not only shows us what to cook, but how to cook nutritious and delicious vegan food, too. The Vegan Family Cookbook is filled with foundational cooking building blocks, like how to ensure your vegan dishes include enough flavour and texture and how to make soup without a recipe. She shares her mix-and-match approach to building bowls, complete with her family’s go-to combinations. In everyday life, we need practical, adaptable meals that come together easily. With this book at your side, you'll become a resourceful home cook, confidently feeding your family the best of what nature has to offer every day of the week.
About the author
ANNA PIPPUS is the voice behind Easy Animal-Free, a popular multi-platform project dedicated to helping people eat more plants. A lifelong food lover and the self-appointed Kitchen Manager in her family, Anna is known for her casual, creative, and realistic approach to healthy and flavourful vegan cooking. Anna holds degrees in law and psychology, having worked as a farmed animal advocacy lawyer in Toronto and Vancouver, and has been named one of Canada’s most influential vegans. She now calls East Van home with her husband and two children.
Excerpt: The Vegan Family Cookbook: Simple, Balanced Cooking for Real Life (by (author) Anna Pippus)
Whether you’re vegan, vegan-ish, trying to eat more plant foods like vegetables and legumes, or simply interested in eating well with minimal fuss—welcome! This book is for you.
I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life, for reasons that have evolved as I have. As a child, I had a strong connection to animals, from hamsters to horses. I loved them, but more than that, I related to them as emotional beings. I could see that, just like us humans, animals experience contentment, loneliness, excitement, boredom, fear, and relational connection. When I learned that vegetarians existed, I decided to become one; I didn’t want to eat these miraculous creatures who were my friends.
As a teenager, I had a limited cooking repertoire. Fortunately, I still managed to absorb an appreciation of both cooking and eating from my parents, who are skilled cooks. Although my parents weren’t vegetarian, they wholeheartedly supported me in expressing my values in this way. My dad would experiment with dishes like eggplant moussaka with béchamel sauce, and mushroom risotto with truffle oil. My mum often had a pot of legumebased soup simmering on the stove: French-inspired lentil, or black bean and spinach. I learned that cooking at home can be fun and creative, and even an expression of love.
When I moved out on my own, I started to cook more seriously for myself. As a vegetarian, I turned to Indian cuisine, with its endless inspiration for flavouring vegetables, grains, and legumes. I fried mustard seeds and turmeric with cauliflower, transformed spinach into fragrant sauce, braised cabbage with cumin seeds until it nearly melted, and cooked countless pots of lentils, starting with that all-important flavour foundation of sautéed onion, garlic, and spices. I was in awe that such bold, satisfying flavours could be created so simply, with so few ingredients. A sense of curiosity and experimentation in the kitchen took hold and has never left me.
I worked in restaurants to help put myself through school—first an undergraduate degree in psychology, then a juris doctorate in law. Although at the time, the restaurant jobs felt incidental to my “real” life, in retrospect I can see how being immersed in food culture further shaped how I cook and eat, and planted the seeds for what would become a career. I tasted delectable food prepared by veteran chefs, saw how ingredients could be transformed into beautiful plates of food, and learned how to analyze and talk about what makes a meal delicious.
As a law student, I learned more about farming and food systems. I was devastated to learn how destructive modern agriculture could be for workers, the environment, our health, and animals. I discovered that dairy and egg farming, even under best-case scenarios, involved practices that didn’t sit well with my animal-loving self: animals are selectively bred, separated from their families, and killed in industrial slaughterhouses when their production declines. Males, of no use for dairy and eggs, are killed even sooner than are the females. I decided to boycott these industries, too, and became vegan. If there’s one thing I love more than food, it’s animals, and so the transition felt easy for me.
I was upset that I had unwittingly been contributing to this system, and I felt that the truth had been obscured from me—by cultural songs, books, and imagery that depict farming idealistically and falsely; by a sophisticated industrial agriculture industry with big marketing and lobbying budgets; and by a government that I had wrongly assumed was regulating sensitive industries. I felt driven to help educate people about modern food systems and to provide solutions. I started a (now-defunct) cooking blog, helped run an animal-law club, wrote most of my upper-year law school papers on animal rights topics, joined the board of a vegetarian organization, and held vegancooking classes and potlucks in the tiny home I shared with my husband, Arden. When it came time to start my legal career, there was never really any question that I would work in the area of farmed-animal protection.
Working as a farmed-animal lawyer strengthened my commitment to plantbased eating as a way to have a positive impact in our world. Time and again I saw how complicated and entrenched the problems of animal farming were, and how elegantly simple one solution could be: Get more people eating more plants. Through my work, I connected with many people who wanted to eat fewer animal foods but were genuinely stumped as to what to eat or even where to start. Most of us understand that eating more plants is a good thing, for our health, for the environment, for workers, and for animals. We don’t need the why—we need the how.
In our information culture, we’re inundated with websites and cookbooks with millions of plant-based recipes, but in spite of all this information—or perhaps because of it—it’s difficult to figure out how to apply it to our own lives. I once had a shelf full of cookbooks and a browser full of bookmarked recipes, yet despite being a competent home cook, too many days I blanked at dinnertime. I’d make ravioli from scratch one day and order Thai food the next, burnt-out from my marathon cooking project. Every evening, after a long day at school or work, the same overwhelming question: What should we have for dinner?
Then, as a new mother on a tight budget and with my husband, Arden, working long hours out of the house, I was happily forced to take control in the kitchen. By challenging myself to cook all our meals every day, I honed some serious kitchen management skills. And it was an epiphany for me to realize that they are skills. Cooking dinner is easy, all things considered. What’s difficult is deciding what to cook (arguably the hardest part right there), ensuring the ingredients are on-hand and fresh when you need them, and finding ways to use or repurpose ingredients and leftovers to avoid waste.
I no longer blank at dinnertime. I’ve found an approach to cooking that works for our family, and have a repertoire of simple, pantry-friendly meals. I love tasty food, I enjoy being in the kitchen, and I crave a varied diet. At the same time, I gravitate toward efficiency. Spending hours making a fiddly, gourmet feast is not my idea of a good time. I naturally seek out ways to minimize the time and effort put into cooking while not sacrificing flavour and satiety.
In 2016, I started Easy Animal-Free as an Instagram account to share this approach to cooking that was working so well for me. I thought it would be useful to provide an example of how one family of four managed the daily and weekly rhythms of animal-free eating. I wanted to show how we ate well with minimal effort—meals that are nutritionally balanced, family-friendly, tasty, satisfying, and practical for everyday people with full lives. I also hoped to inspire people to cook regularly, and to do so with confidence and resourcefulness—with or without recipes. I committed to sharing only food that my family really eats: real-world tested and family-approved.
Eating animal-free isn’t a deprivation. On the contrary, putting vegetables, legumes, grains, spices, and herbs first opens us up to a world of fresh and exciting flavours. As award-winning authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg put it in The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, one good reason for cooking plant-based is “maximizing flavor—which is too often masked by meat-based stocks or butter and cream.”
The Easy Animal-Free project has grown into this very book. After years of sharing kitchen tips, hacks, and recipes in a piecemeal way, and after receiving dozens of polite messages from people sick of screen-shotting my content and asking me to please put it into a book already, the time felt right to organize it all into something more digestible. This book is a collection of my family’s favourite foods and an articulation of how I approach making them. I hope it helps make it easier for you to eat more delicious plants. More than that, I hope it helps you find your own sense of joy and ease in the kitchen. Let me show you what I’ve learned.
PRAISE FOR VEGAN FAMILY KITCHEN
“In The Vegan Family Cookbook, Anna shows busy families how simple, flavourful, and versatile plant-based cooking can be. Even on days when you don’t have time to do a grocery shop, her easily customizable templates allow you to use what you have on hand to build your own meals. Genius! With The Vegan Family Cookbook in your arsenal, you’ll feel ready to tackle just about any kitchen dilemma!” ANGELA LIDDON, bestselling author of The Oh She Glows Cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day, and Oh She Glows for Dinner
“The Vegan Family Cookbook will restore the joy of feeding your family (and your sanity!). Anna’s simple, nourishing recipes are sure to be a hit with your wee ones and these pages will help make you a more confident, relaxed and efficient cook. Whether you’re hoping to add more plant-based meals to your family dinner rotation, or your family is already vegan, there are so many dinnertime wins in these pages.” DESIREE NIELSEN, bestselling author of Eat More Plants
“The Vegan Family Cookbook is packed with a bounty of delicious and nutritious vegan recipes that the whole family will love. With Anna as your guide, you’ll learn how to organize an easy weekday plan that will keep your family members coming back for more.” SAM TURNBULL, bestselling author of Fuss-Free Vegan and Fast Easy Cheap Vegan
“My friend Anna constantly blows me away with the effortless and delicious way she feeds her family—finally, she is sharing her brilliant, life-changing secrets with us in this book. Many of her go-to dishes have become mine, too, because they are simply so tasty and so easy to make. Of all the plant-based cookbooks out there, The Vegan Family Cookbook could easily be one of the most useful and practical.” ERIN IRELAND, owner of To Live For Bakery @erinireland
“In The Vegan Family Cookbook, Anna shares her wisdom, savvy cooking tips, and sensational recipes! Even better? She offers it all with such patience and heart, encouraging you to truly 'make friends' with cooking vegan. Turn the pages, meet your new kitchen BFF!” DREENA BURTON, author of Dreena’s Kind Kitchen
“Even for people who absolutely love to cook, there are moments when home cooking becomes a form of kitchen management. The Vegan Family Cookbook is the ultimate plant-based training manual for this position. This resourceful guide is filled with ideas to turn simple core recipes into meals and easy strategies to add more vegetables to your day! Anna’s recipes answer the 'What’s for dinner? question with simplicity, variety, and plenty of flavour.” LAURA WRIGHT, author of The First Mess Cookbook
“Anna is a natural teacher and a wonderful cook. I loved stepping inside her family’s kitchen within the pages of The Vegan Family Cookbook. Not only are these recipes approachable, but they’re delicious and will become instant favourites with each and every member of your family.” TONI OKAMOTO, author of Plant-Based on a Budget and co-author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook