Title: Beautifully Real Food
Author: Sam Murphy
Publisher: Blink Publishing
5/5 stars


Beautifully Real Food is a book full of over a hundred recipes that celebrate the joy and excitement of food. I’ve read it cover to cover several times now, taken note of future cakes and meals to make for family and friends, and flipped through the book to get inspiration for the next meal. Beautifully Real Food shows that healthy food can be delicious; that plant-based food is food anyone can enjoy.  

After years of suffering anorexia and body dysmorphia, Kiwi vegan chef Sam Murphy has embraced healthy and beautifully real food. She has discovered the balance in a struggle for many: a genuine way to eat healthily while still eating the foods you really want. There is no shortage of such foods in the book. Chilli ‘cheese’ fries, salted caramel and chocolate brownies, and nachos are some of the standouts. There are also recipes for substantial meals, like gorgeous salads and noodles, and dishes to share.

Good cookbooks share the basics: Chocolate chip cookies, pancakes, fried rice.

A great cookbook pushes you out of your comfort zone and expands your cooking repertoire. The vegan shepherd’s pie, sushi burger, and onion rings are some of the more unusual recipes that I’ve bookmarked. Right after reading the book, I actually ended up making the tomato and mango salsa (an unlikely pairing to me). The recipe made a great lunch, and the results speak for themselves: my (non-vegan) family members said it was delicious.

It needs to be said that the photographs are stunning. The food is styled to professional Instagram-level beauty, yet still seems achievable. The joy of food flows through every page and every tip Murphy gives and each story she shares about these recipes. This book is a true joy to read.

As a vegan, it can be difficult to show others that plant-based eating is something other than chewing on celery sticks, but the decadent recipes in this cookbook gave me hope. This will make a great staple for the home. It’s perfect for any foodie, and anyone who loves delicious, easy-to-make, real food.   


Beautifully Real Food is out in bookstores now.  Read more about Sam and her food adventures on So Beautifully Real.