I’m a little bit of a cookbook junkie, so I have a difficult time saying no when I’m asked to review a new book. This year I’m trying not to take on too many reviews, so that I can do my own thing. So when I was asked if I’d like a review copy of Peace & Parsnips by Lee Watson, I almost said no. I hadn’t heard of Lee Watson, and I was working on creating some recipes of my own. The book sounded intriguing though, so I let my inner junkie take over, and I said yes. After receiving the book, I was very glad that I did!
Peace & Parsnips: Adventurous Vegan Cooking for Everyone: 200 Plant-Based Recipes Bursting with Vitality & Flavor, Inspired by Love & Travel is a gorgeous hard cover book that’s packed with mouthwatering photos and 200 delicious recipes. The dishes are inspired by Lee’s travels, so there’s an ethnic flare to them. Lee’s enthusiasm for cooking vegan food shines through, and he shows you just how easy and fun it is to make plant-based meals. I love his casual approach to cooking, with recipes calling for a handful of this, a generous pinch of that, or a glug of something. That’s how I tend to cook when I’m cooking a casual meal – I rarely reach for measuring cups and spoons.
If you’re new to vegan cooking, you’ll find everything you need to know in the book’s first chapter. Lee explains the benefits of eating vegan, and he busts many of the food myths around veganism. There’s a comprehensive guide to stocking your pantry and run-down on spices that are helpful to have on hand. There are also tips for cooking vegetables as well as simple recipes for homemade dairy-free milks.
The recipes in Peace & Parsnips cover just about every type of food you could have a hankering for. The twelve chapters cover everything from breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert, and everything else in between. There’s an entire chapter devoted to burgers and sandwiches, and another that’s dedicated to sauces, dressings, and other toppings. With so much variety, you could cook from Peace & Parsnips for months and never get tired of the food.
I’ve tried three recipes from Peace & Parsnips and I know I’ll be making more soon. The Asparagus Club Sandwiches with Rainbow Chard and Pine Nut Cream were absolutely delicious, and there were large enough to be a meal on their own. I was glad to have leftovers of the fillings to make more sandwiches for lunch the next day. The Pappardelle with Artichoke & Almond Sauce, Purple Kale & White Asparagus (I could only find green asparagus) was a nice change of pace from our usual pasta meals, and I loved the creamy green sauce made from almonds, artichokes, and watercress. My favorite recipe so far has been the Leek & Wild Mushroom–Stuffed Potato Skins with Lemon & Chive Yogurt. These flavorful spuds are stuffed with veggies and are a perfect light meal or side dish.
It’s only mid-year, but Peace & Parsnips may be my favorite cookbook of 2016. Packed with creatively flavorful vegan recipes, this book will renew your love of food and revive your enthusiasm for cooking.
- 4 large baking potatoes
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, finely sliced, green parts included
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 small head of broccoli, florets and stems finely diced
- 10½ ounces (300g) wild mushrooms of your choice, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons mixed herbs instead of the previous three)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup (75ml) almond milk or soy milk
- a big handful of toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- a handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1¼ cups (300ml) unsweetened soy yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- a large pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and rub them with oil. Bake for 1¼ hours, until golden and soft, turning them over once during that time. Cut them in half and leave to cool.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium and sauté your leeks for 6 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, broccoli and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Pop in the dried herbs, stir and season, then remove from the heat and cover.
- The potatoes should now be cool enough to handle. Carefully scoop out the insides and put them into a bowl, leaving the crispy skins intact. These will be our stuffing vessels! Mash the insides with the milk, then stir in the vegetables, seeds, nutritional yeast flakes and mustard, adding a little more salt as needed. Spoon the mash back into the waiting skins, packing them full to bursting, and place them on an oiled baking tray. Pop the potatoes back into the oven for 10–15 minutes, until piping hot.
- To make the lemon and chive yogurt, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Serve the stuffed potato skins with a good dollop of lemon and chive yogurt on the side.
I have a copy of Peace & Parsnips for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on June 19th. Good luck!