Isa Does It Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Isa Does It

Update: congrats to our winner, Kayci! Thank you to everyone who entered and shared your comments. I loved reading all of them!

Scroll down for giveaway details!!!

Before I get started, I should mention that I never really do reviews on this blog. This is mostly because I want my site to be a place where my readers are not inundated with propaganda. Further, I no longer accept free products to review for companies, because I really don’t want to be unduly influenced by the promise of free stuff. So this review comes to you simply because I really do like the book THAT much. If you click the link to Amazon and purchase a product from here, literally a couple cents will go to this blog. I always honestly appreciate the support so that I can keep things running here (site hosting and domain purchases can get expensive…not to mention all the food for recipe testing). But I digress. That’s not the reason I’m doing this. This is truly just a book I really wanted to share with my readers, who probably are more on the ball than myself and know all about it! But if not, read on…

There comes a time in every food blogger’s life when they come across another person’s recipe that is so ingenious and fantastic that they think Gosh, why didn’t I think of that???? So when I received my copy of Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Dishes for Every Day of the Week last weekend, I knew I was looking at a pretty stellar piece of work when I literally had that thought with each turn of the page.

Isa Does It is destined to become a classic vegan cookbook that no foodie (vegan or not) should ever live without. My first perusal of the book yielded several audible (seriously, ask my husband) “ooohs” and “ahhhs”. I am also pretty sure I uttered the following phrases at least once while looking through it:

  • Oh my gosh I want to make everything!
  • This is the best purchase I have ever made in my life!
  • No, Seriously, Gennaro, this is the best thing I have ever spent my money on!
  • This is my favorite cookbook of all time!

Better yet, all of the recipe’s I’ve tried from the book so far — and I’ve still got a looong way to go — have been awesome. A household favorite was probably the Down Home Curry — a splendid blend of hearty vegetables and Indian spices, which turned out to be a perfect winter stew.

down home curry

Down Home Curry. I substituted green beans and cauliflower for the broccoli.

I also made the Lentil A-Roni, which I totally messed up by not soaking the cashews and forgetting to change my Vitamix from a super low setting to blend the cashews for a cream. So my cashew cream was a little, uh, chunky. But like Isa says in the book, it still worked for this dish because it added sort of a Parmesan-esque essence to the dish which I liked. And even with messing it up, I still loved the recipe.

lentil a-roni

Lentil A-Roni, which I messed up but still thoroughly enjoyed.

I should also mention that both of the above recipes, including others I’ve made from the book, stretched enough to feed the two of us for multiple meals. In fact, I didn’t even bother to heat up my Lentil A-Roni for lunch the next day and it was still good.

There are many other stellar recipes I am excited to try. From soups and stews to a whole section on all-encompassing bowls (a vegan favorite — think, tofu-kale bowl with curried peanut sauce, for example), there are so many superb recipes and ideas in the book. A few notes regarding specific questions some of you might have about this book:

  • Gluten-free/soy-free/whatever-free? I know that before I spend money on a cookbook, I am always wondering if there is going to be anything in it I can actually eat. But I’m sure you can guess that if I love the cookbook so much, I must be able to make something in there. Yes, there are plenty of recipes for those, like me, who are also gluten-free. Isa also gives substitutions in the beginning of the book for things like breadcrumbs (i.e. ground-up gluten-free pretzels — who knew??) Also, it’s pretty easy to adapt pretty much all of the pasta recipes to be gluten-free (duh!). I’ve never had a problem with it. While my Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Fusilli (above) may not have held up quite as well as the gluten-filled kind, it still worked perfectly fine in the Lentil A-Roni. Isa also has a lot of recipes in the book that don’t rely on soy or tofu, and gives substitutions whenever possible. There are plenty of recipes based around beans, legumes and hearty grains. And yes, the dessert recipes are made mostly with sugar, but what else is new? It’s hard to find sugar-free and vegan dessert recipes many places. That’s what I’m here for!
  • Complicated? Nope. Title doesn’t lie. These recipes are pretty simple for the average cook and so far nothing I’ve made from it has been at all complex.
  • Hard-to-find vegan specialty items? Again, nope. For an all-vegan cookbook, this one goes easy on the nutritional yeast, which is absent from several recipes (and doesn’t seem to suffer for it). Sure, there may be a few “different” ingredients here or there, but I love this book because the majority of items can probably be purchased from Trader Joe’s.

OK, HERE’S THE SCOOP ON THE GIVEAWAY: In the spirit of the holidays, I am giving away a copy of Isa Does It to one lucky reader. I seriously looove this book and really wanted to share it with all of you. If I were Oprah, I would give a copy to everyone. But alas, I am just a small-timer so one copy it will have to be. To Enter, simply leave a comment below. While I would certainly love to hear what your favorite cookbook is, you do not need to leave any specific type of comment to win. Just say hi! The giveaway will close at 11 p.m. EST next Friday, December 13th. Because we all know it’s fun to close a giveaway on Friday the 13th. A winner will be chosen at random, probably with the help of some sort of internet calculator thingy.  UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered!

And if you already have the book, enter anyways! It would be a great holiday gift for someone else in your life. I’m giving a copy to my mom (so Mom — don’t enter the giveaway, unless you want to give your copy to someone else!)


  1. Laurie says

    I tend to kind of cook on the fly and not follow recipes, but my old standby is the Joy of Cooking. I don’t eat meat, but would love more ideas for reducing the eggs and cheese in my diet.

  2. Leslie says

    I did have to buy it after the great reviews on Amazon, but I wouldn’t mind having another copy to share!

  3. Cee says

    This is totally on my wishlist! Thank you so much for this giveaway. I’m glad to hear that this goes easy on the nutritional yeast–for whatever reason, this is hard for me to come by where I live, other than ordering online. It’s always gone from the shelves, and there are only minute amounts left in the bulk bins whenever I go grocery shopping.

  4. Lisa says

    I am guilty of being very lazy when it comes to cooking vegan food. It’s so easy to grab fruit and veggies and eat them as they are. This looks like the jump start I need to jazz up my meals .

  5. Brandy says

    I’m not sure I could have picked a favorite cookbook if you asked, but if I wrote a list, Isa’s books would take up a good portion of it. I’d be thrilled to add this to my collection!

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