Blissful Basil is a very nice vegan cookbook with a huge selection of good, mostly original recipes from breakfast through sandwiches to desserts and beverages. Ashley Melillo briefly shares her life story in the introduction and the health problems (physical and mental) that have driven her to be vegan to solve the difficulties. Yet the cookbook is not without faults; the publisher chose a too-small font, and the recipe layout is not very good, forcing cooks to turn pages back and forth between ingredients and instructions. Also, Melillo uses as many as fifteen symbols to designate each recipe, such as gluten-free, soy-free, or oil-free option, and so on. These are a bit confusing. The recipe instructions are very good, and the ingredients are available in health food stores and conventional markets. Each recipe gives preparation time that is reasonable for an experienced cook. Yet this cookbook is not written for the beginner cooks—many of the recipes are rather complicated, with three, even four preparations required before assembly. Some staples listed at the end (like sauces and reductions) need to be prepared ahead of time when called for in a recipe. You also need a high-powered blender for many preparations. The index is good and cross-referenced.

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