“PETA’S VEGAN COLLEGE COOKBOOK: 275 Easy, Cheap, and Delicious Recipes to Keep You Vegan at School.” With Marta Holmberg and Starza Kolman. Sourcebooks. $15.99. No photos.

BEST FOR: College students; vegan high school students; young people in their first apartment; all people on tight budgets; those who travel and stay in hotel rooms; and microwave fans everywhere.


This is the update of PETA’s 2009 book and features quick and inexpensive recipes crafted with an assist from the microwave and other countertop appliances, such as blenders, toasters and even an iron (used with tin foil to make vegan grilled cheese). The book recommends thrift, such as loading up on chopped veggies at the dining hall salad bar and finding lots of vegan foods at dollar stores. It also provides an updated list of plant-based meat and cheese brands and where to find them. Emphasizing budget-friendly foods, the book includes whole chapters on peanut butter, ramen and potatoes. There are multiple recipes for microwave pancakes in a mug or a bowl. Other (goofily named) recipes include “Don’t Be a Chump” chickpea sandwich, Rush Week Greek salad, teacher’s pet tater skins and instant enlighten-mint chocolate latte.

“THE ROOTLETS: Trouble at Plantasy Land.” By Vicki Marquez. The Rootlets. $12.99. Illustrations by Jeremy Russnak.


BEST FOR: Vegan kids; vegetarian kids; kids who won’t eat vegetables; kids who will eat vegetables; and young superheroes everywhere.

Will the Great Zucchini destroy the garden? Or will Carrotina, Cornelius, Brocc and Kaley discover his plot? Opening day at Mr. Fungo Fungi’s plant-themed amusement park is the setting for this illustrated tale and my one break from the cookbook mold in this year’s list. The book is a fun, adventure-filled story that parents and kids will enjoy reading together. The veg-positive message is not heavy-handed but weaves “ooey gooey oats” and “chickpea crispies” into a story about four veg-powered superheroes on a faraway planet who must unravel the mystery of a dying garden. The book follows up on Marquez’s 2014 “The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities” and mixes nutrition with a story that my preschooler honored with a coveted “Read it again, please.” At 60 fully illustrated pages, it also appeals to older readers tackling books on their own.


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