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Create healthy, restaurant quality vegan meals at home

Make vegetarian and vegan life easier with familiar recipes and products.
Make vegetarian and vegan life easier with familiar recipes and products.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Charleston lost a friend when Puree Organic Café closed its doors in December. While healthy organic meals can be found at veg-friendly Alluette’s and The Sprout, and Dellz Uptown rocks the quick, casual meal menu, Puree was the place where one could find delicious, approachable, and familiar vegetarian and vegan meals for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. To fill the void, try making your own whole food vegan meals at home. If you’re unsure of where to start, several cookbooks are available.

Approachable and familiar are the key terms here when it comes to pleasing the omnivore palate. While more adventurous eaters may jump at the chance to try something new, those more set in their ways may not want to try anything too far outside of the box. The following cookbook and recipe suggestions are a good mix of casual fare and more upscale options.

For organic eating on a budget, focus on avoiding the Dirty Dozen and picking up the Clean Fifteen.

Radiant Health, Inner Wealth has recipes, shopping lists, suggested menus, and an eating plan for anyone looking for a healthier body and mind. Author Tess Challis has three other books that follow this plan. Must try recipes include the Coconut Rice with Mango, Mint, and Crystalized Ginger, Simple and Spicy Thai Red Curry Vegetables over Jasmine Rice, and Blueberry Streusel Cake with Lemon Icing.

Christy Morgan’s Blissful Bites includes seasonal recipes and menus ideas for any occasion. This book also includes pantry and kitchen equipment guides and food glossary that make it a good buy for beginners. The Chilled Corn Bisque, Key Lime Soy Yogurt, and Tempeh “Fish” Tacos are family-pleasers.

Vegan Brunch is the go-to for hearty brunch recipes for any time of day. Sausages, casseroles, pancakes, waffles, scrambles, scones, omelets, and more are included here. The East Coast Coffee Cake is perfect in any of its variations.

Veganomicon has a little of everything. Try the Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh with sautéed greens, rice, and black-eyed peas with the Vanilla-Yogurt Pound Cake for a southern-inspired meal. The Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream is another rich, hearty, omni-pleasing meal.

For all things dessert, The Joy of Vegan Baking is the go-to. Coleen Patrick-Goudreau includes all types of savory and sweet baked goodness from biscuits to pies and everything in between. The Mexican Wedding Cookies are as addictive as any traditional version and the Lemon Cheesecake is a winner.

Swing the any branch of the Charleston County Library or any of Charleston’s bookstores to pick up a little inspiration. Or if you’re an e-book fan, get the Kindle editions. You don’t need a Kindle - just get the free Kindle app.

What are your favorite got-to, omni-pleasing meals? Tell me about it on Twitter, Facebook, or G+. Share your favorite vegetarian and vegan tips, hints, and
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