A Cookbook to Make Vegan Food Taste, Well, Not Vegan

Allyn Raifstanger, the chef-owner of Columbia-Tusculum’s Allyn’s Café, wants you to know that you, too, can be vegan.
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Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Allyn Raifstanger doesn’t want the word veganism to scare you. Six years ago the chef-owner of Allyn’s Café in Columbia-Tusculum dove headfirst into veganism for its purported health benefits. In May, he released the vegan cookbook We Don’t Just Eat Lettuce to demystify the lifestyle. Raifstanger breaks down in 25 recipes what a vegan diet looks like, spelling out creative adaptations so you don’t have to completely sacrifice familiar meals. Your hamburgers, spaghetti, and tacos are safe—just meat- and dairy-free. His signature Cajun flair appears in the jambalaya and chili recipes, but fans of his restaurant will instantly recognize the jackfruit BBQ sandwich; pulled apart and cooked with a Kansas City barbecue sauce until tender, the fruit has a similar consistency to its pulled pork cousin. That’s not the only Allyn’s Café recipe that appears in the book. Raifstanger also tells you how to make his popular vegan cheesecake with graham cracker and chocolate crust. Now you have no excuse for not eating your vegetables.

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