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"Viva Vegan!" Cookbook Review: Papaya-Lime Sorbet (Guest Post)

I’m in Miami as I write this post, hanging out with my grandparents and enjoying all the Cubanisms I don’t have access to in Atlanta or even DC; like fresh guayaba or mamey, my favorite ice cream in the world. I’m actually sitting in their dinning room as I type, with the sniffles, but savoring a huge bowl of that insanely delicious mamey ice cream I found at Sedano’s, a local grocery store.

Probably a poor choice of food since I’ve been fighting a cold for over a week, but something’s are just worth it. I don’t get to eat these native flavored ice creams or treats very often. I suppose I could make them, but I’m more cut out for cooking main courses and savory dishes.

Don’t get me wrong.

Baking and making pastries is a beautiful art, but it requires a lot of more than what I currently have in spirit: patience. But, I’m working on it!

Thank goodness for great friends like Christina that are near by and always have treats to share with me. Not just any treats, rather treats that will make me wanna find a very suitable man so that he can give me all I want and more!

How appropriate or not that her next guest post would be on a latin dessert from a Latin cookbook she’s helping me review. This is definitely one for the keeping. I’ll even put my Cuban twist on it when I put my hands all in it! Thanks Chris!

By Christina Arpante

These cookbook reviews for Bren have been very entertaining. And, Viva Vegan! is no exception.  It is another cookbook by Terry Hope Romero, author of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Veganomicon.

Let me begin by saying that I am not vegetarian or vegan.  Now, it would not be a far stretch for me to steer myself in a total vegetarian lifestyle, since I don’t eat a lot of animal proteins.  But, if I am being honest, vegan would be difficult for me to follow completely.  There are a ton of delicious vegan recipes in the world, but I am just not ready to go the extra mile, especially with the recipes with multiple “unique” ingredients. But I digress.

Viva Vegan! is a great book to dabble in both vegan and vegetarianism, for someone who wants to take baby steps into learning a new genre of eating.  The beginning pages offer suggestions for a vegan pantry and the appendices include mini menus, a shopping list, cooking terms and tips, and conversion charts. The recipes themselves are uncomplicated and the ingredients and steps can be easily discerned.  The pages even included tidbits of information, tips and variations.

There are, however, a couple of items that bugged me a bit.  First, I am not a huge fan of chopped recipes.  No, I don’t mean “chopped” as in the Food Network Show. I mean recipes that are cut off, partially placed on a page with the title and/or a few ingredients, then continued on the next page.  It becomes necessary to turn the page before completely reading the list of ingredients, etc.  Please, don’t think I can’t deal with a recipe interrupted by a page footer.  But, if a recipe is not split strategically correct, my attention span is moves to the next thing. The second item?  Dried herbs.  I was a little shocked at the number of recipes that used dry herbs instead of fresh.  This is not to say I don’t use my share of dried herbs, but I think I just think of vegetarian recipes as plant-based foods that off the vine, farm fresh.

Nonetheless, my little objections about the cook are easy fixes.  The recipe placement is my own control-freak issue.  The herbs?  It is not difficult to simply replace dried herbs with fresh, as it is a simple substitution ratio, 1:3 (dried:fresh).

Overall, there is a great variety of meat- and dairy-free recipes in this cookbook, even some that are soy-free and/or gluten-free. So, there is plenty to satisfy any palate, for both sweet and savory .  And, for an added bonus?  Her website includes downloadable shopping lists, a convenient time saver, for sure.

The first recipe I decided to try was the papaya-lime sorbet. Even though school has started here, summer isn’t ready to give up quite that easy.  It is still so hot here, and incredibly humid.  So, when deciding on which recipe to try first from Terry Hope Romero’s cookbook, Viva Vegan! I went for the cool and refreshing.  The Sweet Corn Ice Cream initially caught my eye and I thought it was going to be the dessert to try. I even have the corn in the freezer, waiting to be used.  However, as I kept reading, my heart skipped a beat when I turned to page 239.

I am a huge fan of papaya.  In fact, I think papaya has moved to the top of my favorite fruit list since I tried it for the first time a couple of years back.  When I flipped through Viva Vegan! and read the Fresh Papaya-Lime Sorbet, I knew I was hooked.  Once sorbet was done, I knew I made the right decision.  The cold, fruity goodness caused my internal turn-off button to short.  I ate the whole batch, by myself.  Share?  Oh no…not this sorbet!

All bets were off.

Fresh Papaya-Lime Sorbet


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lg. red papaya (about 2 lbs) peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vodka juice


Make a simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a small saucepan bringing it up to a boil over high heat.  Lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm and/or room temperature.

Using a blender (not a food processor), puree the papaya chunks. You may have to do this in a few batches. The end result should amount to about 4 cups of smooth puree.

In a mixing bowl, combine the puree, lime and the vodka.  Pour into a container, cover and chill.  Once chilled, place the cold mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers instructions. Store in the freezer, in an airtight container.

*pictures taken by Christina Arpante.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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38 thoughts on “"Viva Vegan!" Cookbook Review: Papaya-Lime Sorbet (Guest Post)

  1. So glad you’re having a good time in Miami! Jealous…I had some amazing food when I was there! Hope you’re getting better, so then, when you get back to Atlanta, I can try your papaya lime Bren twist sorbet!


  2. Bren, I love your articles, you are getting better and better in what you do and I am so proud. Love you child.

  3. I can definitely get down with vegan and that sorbet looks really good. From the recipe, its sounds easy to make. I’m gonna have to try that.

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