Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Over 125 Recipes So Tasty… (2024)


4,499 reviews

July 10, 2012

I'm really enjoying this cookbook and am grateful that my library has a copy. I'm not yet sure if it's one I like enough to own—at least, not at full hardcover price, but maybe a used copy one day.

I intensely dislike the title of the book. As an ethical vegan I don't enjoy seeing the word "carnivores" when I go to select a recipe and I certainly don't miss meat--I am grateful for every day that goes by that I don't have to see it on my plate or that of someone else. However, having read the book, I do understand the title better and I do think that the team has their heart in the right place.

When Ellen and Portia decided to become vegan, they had a hard time with sacrificing so many of their beloved dishes. So they asked Martin if he could veganize them. Roberto is not vegan himself but he had a good grasp on flavors and how to adapt. Maybe the goal of the title is to use the "celebrity" of Ellen and Portia to get veg-curious fans (who enjoy meat) to look into the book. I admit having such a manly man on the cover and the "carnivores" in the title might attract some audiences who are put off by the more hippie-type vegan books on the market. I suppose if the title encourages non-vegans to adopt even a few vegan dishes, it would be worth it. I hope that other ethical vegans will be able to overlook the title and enjoy the many delicious recipes Martin has created.

We do have a few "celebrity" type dishes here (like the vegan "caviar") but the recipes are mostly very down-home and fairly easy to prepare and find ingredients for (such as Ellen's favorite dish, Red Beans and Rice). I haven't had a chance to make too many of them, but the mac and cheese is up next (looks amazing!) and the Asian salad is my husband's current favorite dish. Many of the salad dressings, pasta sauces, etc. look amazing. The leek and potato soup was delicious. If there is a negative to the book it is that I was surprised how many prepackaged meat substitutes are used (a professional chef can't make his own vegan sausage!?) but then again the convenience does help those of us who don't have 40 hours a week to devote to cooking.

I really like the style of the book. Roberto has an engaging approach that is friendly without pretending like he is your long lost best friend. The photographs of him cooking with his wife and son are adorable. His instructions are clear and helpful.

Portia's "Forward" is absolutely beautiful. She explains the event that caused her to become vegan and it is is so touching and magnificent. I also enjoyed Ellen's afterward. I've been an Ellen fan for years and it made me so happy when I heard she became vegan. As Portia, Ellen and Roberto have proven, you don't have to sacrifice the flavors you love when you give up animal products and your heart will be as happy as your taste buds ;-)

    cooking vegan-vegetarian

Lisa Vegan

2,826 reviews1,273 followers

September 4, 2012

for me: 2 to 3 stars, and I suspect for many: 4 to 5 stars

I almost didn’t read this book because its title is so unappealing to me. I am not a carnivore, not even an omnivore at heart. I don’t miss meat, and I tend to like naturally vegan foods. I like Ellen, and Portia, and a few Goodreads’ friends convinced me to read it, and I’m glad that I did. I greatly admire celebrities when they use their influence for good, and this book (among other things) is a good example of that. Creating a 100% vegan cookbook that has mainstream appeal is a laudable act. The author-chef is the personal chef for DeGeneres & de Rossi.

However, while I found a few tempting recipes, overall for me, there is too much salt, too much oil, too many faux meat and other animal similar foods, and foods I don’t enjoy such as vegan mayo, mustard, vinegar, and the majority of the recipes require more work than I am willing to put in, at least on any kind of regular basis. There are quite a few easy to make recipes and I’m aware that I dislike many flavors others like. I am glad I read this cookbook, but I’m also glad it was a library book.

This is a fabulous cookbook for cooks who don’t mind spending some time in the kitchen, who want to eat vegan but who enjoy animal based foods, for fans of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, and cooks who want access to chef created recipes.

I appreciated that the recipes are international, with some from the U.S. south, where Ellen is from.

The photos are great, with luscious looking photos of many of the recipes, helpful photos of food preparation for a few of the recipes, wonderful photos of people, including Ellen & Portia and the chef author and his family, with some absolutely adorable ones of the author’s young son helping prepare food.

Ellen’s short piece was good and inspiring, and the chef’s was very interesting. Portia’s nearly brought me to tears; it was very emotionally touching. Her short story alone is worth reading this book. There are some interestingly written blurbs by the chef at many of the recipes, several of them amusing. The chef seems like an especially nice guy.

Most of the recipes did not appeal to me but I think they will to many others. If I could do 2 star ratings, I’d assign 2 ½ stars for myself and 4 ½ stars for others.

Some recipes I can see making as is or with minor adaptations are:

from Breakfasts: Buckwheat Pancakes, Quinoa and Berries Breakfast Cereal, Whole Wheat Waffles with Maple-Berry Syrup, Tofu Scramble with Springtime Vegetables and Crispy Potato Squares

from Appetizers and Snacks: Kale Chips

from Soups: Potato Leek Soup, French Onion Soup, Creamy Grilled Asparagus Soup

from Pizza, Pasta, and Pasta Sauces: Potato Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter, Homemade Ravioli with Tofu Burrata and Portobello Mushrooms, Wild Mushroom Tomato Sauce, Almond Pesto

from Entrées: Shiitake Lettuce Cups, Southwest Rice and Beans, Baby Bok Choy with Crispy Tofu and Sprouted Brown Rice

from Sides: Mac ‘n Cheese, Risotto, Twice-Baked Potato, Roasted Butternut Squash and Yams with Caramelized Leeks, Grilled Polenta Cakes, Garlic and Herb Baby Red Potatoes, Creamed Spinach

from Beverages: Agua de Melon (Melon Water)

from Desserts: Peach Crisp, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Vegan La Bete Noir (the Black Beast), Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Condiments, Sauces, and Dressings: Cashew Cream, Blackening Spice, Pico de Gallo, Dark Red Mole Sauce, Quick Enchilada Sauce, Charred Red Onions, Orange Citrus Dressing


Foreword by Portia de Rossi
Introduction: From Carnivore to Vegan Chef
The Pantry and Some Basics
Chapter 1: Breakfast
Chapter 2: Lunch
Chapter 3: Appetizers and Snacks
Chapter 4: Soups
Chapter 5: Salads
Chapter 6: Pizza, Pasta, and Pasta Sauces
Chapter 7: Entrées
Chapter 8: Sides
Chapter 9: Beverages
Chapter 10: Desserts
Chapter 11: Condiments, Sauces, Dressings
Afterword by Ellen DeGeneres

    cookbook non-fiction readbooks-male-author-or-illust

Jo ☾

252 reviews

June 2, 2012

This cookbook is a must-have in every vegan kitchen! I haven't been this impressed by a vegan cookbook in awhile and it's rare for me (being that I'm such a picky eater) to find a cookbook where I want to make practically every recipe!

It begins with a very well written foreword by Portia De Rossi, where she shares the moment she first decided to go vegan (which made me tear up because it's so amazing). Next is a great introduction by Roberto: From Carnivore to Vegan Chef, followed by The Pantry and Some Basics (a great and handy list of important ingredients to keep in your pantry). Roberto also covers a few tips on knives, brand name vegan products, why using freshly ground black pepper is best and techniques for soaking beans and preparing tofu.

Now it's time for the good stuff! The book is divided into sections: Breakfast (I swear the book is worth it for this section alone!), Lunch, Appetizers and Snacks, Soups, Salads, Pizza, Pasta and Pasta Sauces, Entrees, Sides, Beverages, Desserts, Condiments-Sauces and Dressings. Awesome, right? :)

Some of the highlights for me: Whole Wheat Waffles with Maple-Berry Syrup (wait until you see the picture, it's glorious!), Tofu Benedict with Chipotle Cream, Tofu Egg Salad, Tofu Crab Cakes, Tortilla Soup, Spicy Noodle Salad, Blackened Tofu Caesar Salad, Southern Fried Chick'n, Pierogi, Faux Pho, Mac n' Cheese, Grilled Polenta Cakes, Corn Pudding, Pumpkin Pie, Peach Crisp.

All this deliciousness is then followed by an afterword from Ellen. Overall, this is a wonderful book that has me anxious to get into the kitchen!



584 reviews2 followers


September 9, 2016

Generally I'm not a fan of vegetarian or vegan cooking that merely substitutes tofu, Chick'n, and other products for meat and dairy, but I am very willing to make an exception for these recipes. To be honest, I picked up this cookbook specifically because of the title--for carnivores--because holiday cooking for the meat-happy and veggie-adverse folks in my family can be challenging. The avocado reuben sandwich is delicious, soaking tofu in kalamata olive brine to make a feta-like salty & crumbly substance is actually kind of inspired, and the fruity snack balls have been a big hit as appetizers and as hiking and biking treats.



70 reviews8 followers

February 14, 2013

I was not impressed by this cookbook at all. The author states that he is into health food, however he relies heavily on prepackaged, convenience food, including brands that aren't that healthy. (Morningstar?) I tried a few recipes and I was disappointed. The only good part about the cookbook is the section on sauces, condiments and spices. There you find several excellent recipes of items to keep on hand. There are far better (and healthier) cookbooks out there.

    cookbook vegetarian


10.6k reviews107 followers

July 26, 2012

I'm happy that veganism has gone so mainstream that there is a high-profile, popular cookbook like this. There are lots of bright color photos and some celebrities, too.

However, this cookbook as a useful item didn't really appeal to me. The recipes are entirely too complex and require too many ingredients, not all of which are easy to find. In short, it's too "fancy." I made copies of two simple recipes (Kale Chips and Avocado Reuben) that I'll be willing to make, but I know the whole book would just gather dust.

Heather McWhorter

12 reviews3 followers

June 4, 2012

This book really is amazing. It got my father - the die hard meat and potatoes man - to try and actually LIKE vegan food. He's actually excited about it now. He may not switch over to veganism because of it - but he at least eats vegan meals with me and doesn't complain about it anymore. That's a HUGE step!


22 reviews

July 14, 2012

I have tons of vegan cookbooks and bought this on a whim, not really expecting it to be anything special. It turns out that I love it. I am cooking me way through it now. The recipes are well written and provide a good selection of various types of foods from fancy to casual. And it has many great photos.


1,000 reviews28 followers

July 21, 2012

Super accessible vegan cooking by Portia and Ellen's chef, who grew up with 15 brothers and sisters. Lots of yummy fake meat. I have high hopes for the tofu crab cakes. Update: The banana/oatmeal pancakes are really good.

    cookbooks social-class


518 reviews13 followers

June 9, 2012

Some great recipies but I had hoped for a little less processed fake meat recipes. Some great basic vegan staples and some fun new ideas.

The Ellen and Portia bits are cute.


69 reviews

March 7, 2013

Might be a good starter book, but his reliance on already made and store bought food makes this book sort of the semi-homemade/Sandra Lee vegan cookbook.



838 reviews25 followers

August 25, 2018

I don't like R. Martin's cooking. Even feel sorry for Ellen and Portia with his cooking.
Hope they found better vegan food, better recipes, easier and tastier dishes.
I tried to make his buckwheat pancakes, they were all right when hot but the leftovers were inedible.
Risotto, pizza, soup recipes are fairly ordinary.
Vegan food is much nicer and healthier if not overcooked. Hate twice cooked potatoes... R. Martin's cakes, muffins, biscuits are nothing special.


461 reviews7 followers

October 17, 2017

Some great recipes in this one! Great ideas for transitioning vegans - to make "mock" items but also some really good true vegan dishes.

    cookbook-food health-mental-physical non-fiction


236 reviews5 followers

May 20, 2017

There is some brilliant stuff in this book (the fried chicken recipe is pure genius), but these recipes aren't generally ones I would turn to on a daily basis. However, for a special occasion, craving a gut-bomb situation, it's hard to beat.


429 reviews15 followers

November 25, 2017

Roberto Martin cooks for celebrities Ellen DeGeneres and Portia del Rossi, and each of them has little essays in this book. This cookbook didn't amaze me -- there are a number of recipes that are virtually identical to ones I have been making for a while in my home kitchen. Martin also includes a lot of standard recipes that simply substitute "vegan butter." What I like best about this book: Martin makes it clear that cooking vegan isn't actually all that hard, and I think it'd be great for people who feel overwhelmed with the idea.


592 reviews8 followers

August 22, 2012

Lots of fake meat, lots of color photos, lots of Ellen 'n' Portia. The dishes are not super innovative, more like classic dishes veganized, but his techniques are really, really good.

Red beans and rice: very tasty. Use 3/4 the liquid he calls for, though. Excellent with some smoky greens from the slow cooker.
Fried faux chicken: holy moly. Crispy, flavorful, decadent, and impressive. Makes you wanna batter and fry everything in sight. Might be good to use his method with some marinated tofu, because fake meat is expensive.
Crab cakes: these were just ok. I learned that Old Bay Seasoning is incredibly f*cking salty, but in tiny quantities makes savory foods more delicious.
Grilled cheese for grownups: it is impossible to watch someone eating one of these sandwiches and not go immediately to the cast-iron pan to fry one up for yourself. It is not good for you. It requires substantial napkins. It is heavenly.

Still to try: Salad with homemade burrata. Pumpkin pie. Tamales.

    600s cookbooks


396 reviews2 followers

May 1, 2013

I tried this book because Chef Roberto cooks for Ellen Degeneres. The book is beautiful and I love the ideas, but the recipes had a lot of ingredients and didn't turn out for me. Still want to try the Horchata and drink recipes, but the Asian Salad didn't taste right when I made it, and the fried chicken recipe uses a processed product as a chicken substitute.



925 reviews28 followers

January 29, 2014

You know those cookbooks that you read & are not tempted to make even ONE SINGLE THING? Well, that's what this one is for me. There were a few recipes that looked interesting until I realized I had better ones for the same thing in other books. PASS.

    cooking nonfiction


671 reviews52 followers

May 13, 2012

Easy instructions, short ingredient lists, yummy food. I'm going to try his Nacho Cheese for sure.



279 reviews13 followers

October 2, 2018

When my husband and I decided to transition to a plant-based diet it was with the idea that we didn’t want to give up tastes and textures that we most thoroughly enjoyed as full-blown, meat and cheese lovers. The other caveat was that my husband won’t eat beans or anything resembling beans. This really limited our options in the past only allowing me to dabble with vegetarian options as side dishes. But vegan food and cooking has come a long way, especially in recent years and with the explosion of molecular gastronomy based meals. Don’t worry these recipes aren’t the like of ones you’d see in the restaurants or cookbooks of Hervé This, Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, and Grant Achatz, but it will help to have a few ingredients on hand that you may not have previously encountered as meat and dairy eaters (i.e., nutritional yeast-and p.s., I recommend Whole Foods brand because it’s folate and not folic acid based, allowing for the best absorption for all eaters as well has the best umami-ish/Parmesan flavor of ones I’ve tasted thus far).
Anyhow, the title Vegan Cooking for Carnivores interested me because I’d dined at Bouldin Creek Cafe in Austin and had a thouroughly enjoyable vegan meal there. I didn’t miss the meat or dairy with their preparation methods, so I was curious if we could duplicate that at home. This book was the first vegan cookbook I checked out from the library and we were excited to see recipes that encompassed the idea that one could give up animal meat and dairy while still being satisfied with tastes and textures of plant-based foods... and more importantly not miss meat. I bought a copy for myself after we were very satisfied with the several recipes we made. If you’ve never been an animal-meat lover or have been on a plant-based diet for more years than you can count, this book may not appeal to you. But if you’re ready to take a step to including more plant-based meals into your diet this is a great place to start!

    cookbooks loved-it-so-much-i-bought-it


259 reviews

December 29, 2023

While I was initially excited about trying some of the recipes in 'Vegan Cooking for Carnivores', particularly the pot pie, I found myself disappointed by the reliance on store-bought processed meats. I replaced the “chick’n” with tofu. It wasn’t great. Using pre-made vegan sausages and crumbles seems at odds with the book's focus on healthy eating, especially considering the author's creativity in developing substitute recipes like the vegan fried chicken (which, ironically, also uses store-bought Gardein Chick’n Scallopini). Although I understand convenience is a factor for many cooks, I would have preferred more recipes featuring whole plant-based ingredients. That said, I did appreciate the variety of dishes offered in the book. Some look quite promising as a stepping off point to alter comfort foods to make them vegan.

Daniel Schulte

335 reviews4 followers

November 26, 2020

This was a really good cookbook. The recipes are really simply and don't look like they'd take too much time to prepare. I wish there were more pictures, but I think I've said that about every cookbook I've ever seen. I'm not sure that I'll be able to try many of these recipes because some of them seem pretty high in calories, but I'm definitely tempted.

    library-kcls physical-book

Megan Bowes

34 reviews

October 3, 2021

Most of the recipes in this book are easy to prepare and taste good. If you want to make some of your favorite foods animal-free, this book has the recipes. It helps to have some comfort foods on this journey so you don't feel like you're missing out (or eating only salads ). Having a base of good foods gives you the freedom to experiment with other vegan recipes.


87 reviews1 follower

August 2, 2017

I went on a 30 day vegan challenge with my son, who is what I would call a "junk food vegetarian". We loved every recipe we tried from this book, and he learned how to prepare better meals for himself. Clear, easy directions and food that I continue to crave!


Alli Maydole

28 reviews1 follower

December 2, 2019

Not my favorite vegan cookbook. I usually can tell if I’m going to like a cookbook if I’ve liked the majority of the recipes I’ve tried in it and with this one, wasn’t a huge fan of many. Too many oily ingredients for many recipes and overly complicated for such simple foods.


14 reviews

December 4, 2019

Easy instructional guide to amazing vegan recipes. I love the pictures. I actually have no interest in cooking in general, but this makes it easy enough where I enjoy it and guests enjoy eating the food I made. Love it!


1,685 reviews

March 30, 2018

I really liked this book. It has delicious recipes, accesible instructions and gorgeous photography.


141 reviews

June 24, 2018

I like this book, but it does rely on pre-made vegan meats and cheese for many of the recipes. Everything I have made in this book has turned our yummy. It is a comfort food cook book.

SheReaders Book Club

359 reviews37 followers

July 10, 2018

I was interested in trying a good handful of these recipes and was also inspired to hear that Ellen and Portia are vegan 🌱


2,238 reviews

November 21, 2018

I applaud the concept, but these recipes didn’t peak my interest

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Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Over 125 Recipes So Tasty… (2024)


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