Have you ever had someone write a cookbook just for you? I never expected it to happen, but it has. Much as I know it may not be true, I'm firmly sticking to my belief that Suzanne Landry had me in mind when she created her new book, The Passionate Vegetable.
First and foremost, the pictures in Ms. Landry's book immediately had me flipping through the photo splashed pages while gaining visual insight about the recipes included in the book. Sections including Healthy Start Breakfasts, Salads, Soups, Grain, Beans and Vegetables had my heart, but it was the To Meat or Not to Meat chapter that let me know Ms. Landry understood my hope to increase vegetarian foods while still enjoying my favorite animal proteins.
Meat has been and always will be a part of my life, but as I age, I'm finding my meat requirements and desires are waning as more vegetarian tastes take over. Not having been a huge fan of vegetables as I was growing up, my vegetable repertoire has remained fairly slim and I find myself quickly tiring of steamed broccoli. Ms. Landry, however, seems to fully understand my quandary and hence, wrote The Passionate Vegetable to help.
A mother who raised her children to look to nutritious foods for health, Ms. Landry has been teaching vegetarian cooking classes for over 30 years. What she discovered in her classes though, were people just like me. People hoping to increase vegetables, grains, beans, etc, but who were not ready or willing to become a full fledged vegetarian.
Raising my own children with similar ideas, we often turn to natural, organic when possible, nutritious foods to keep us all healthy and to grow their young bodies. With Liv entering the teen years and also being an athlete, food is vitally important in keeping her bones strong and her body energetic. She's discovered first hand how different foods can have huge impacts on her energy and performance levels as well as overall health, and has found herself naturally turning to fruits and vegetables to keep her immunity up through her incredibly demanding schedule.
The Passionate Vegetable approaches life the way we "Liv" it, and Ms. Landry's recipes make it easy for a mom to feed her family to meet those healthy requirements I listed above. Clear, organized and filled with information, The Passionate Vegetable includes sections with easy to understand information on foods, stocking your pantry, making choices, and cooking tips galore.
Her book brings family favorites like Breakfast Fruit Muffins, Hawaiian Cole Slaw, Bison Chili Con Carne and Marvelous Minestrone to the table along with better for you sweet treats like Best Ever Apple Pie and the one I'm eager to try - Chocolate Coconut Bars with an oatmeal crust and a chocolate, cocnut-infused topping. "Bits of Insight" listed at the bottom of many recipes bring additional information regarding ingredients and cooking tips as well as serving ideas and additional health information.
Ms. Landry's book goes beyond the simple "cookbook" and instead brings a plan for a healthier yet flavorful and enjoyable way to Liv Life. I'm honored to review this book and bestow my highest endorsement on The Passionate Vegetable. And personally, I can't thank Ms. Landry enough for writing a book just for me...
Thai Coconut Chickpeas
Since receiving The Passionate Vegetable I've read the book cover to cover more than once. One of those books you can sit down with and read like a novel, Ms. Landry's personality and passion show through her descriptions and pages of easy to understand information. The recipes are easy to follow with organized instructions and often a stunning photo for reference and will have you putting a nutritious meal on the table that will see your family asking for seconds.
This curried chickpea recipe was met with raised eyebrows from my kids (we haven't explored curry much), but left me with clean plates and requests for more. Sweet, creamy and delicious, I've never been so happy to finish a photo shoot and eat the props for lunch.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion (my addition - not in original recipe)
1 cup bean juice form cooking or vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs curry seasoning (I used about 3/4 tsp red curry paste)
2 cups precooked chickpeas
1 Fifteen oz can light coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
garnish with a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut if desired
In a medium sized frying pan, sauté garlic and onion in oil for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the sweet potato, juice or broth, and the curry. Cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until potato is almost tender (ours took about 10 min).
Add chickpeas, coconut milk and salt. cover and simmer on medium-low for 5 minutes. Add cilantro and basil and simmer again for another 2 minutes, just long enough to wilt herbs.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a whole grain such as brown basmati rice or Naan bread - an Indian flat bread that is similar to a pita. Alwasy serve a green vegetable with a wholesome meal. There is plenty of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and some good quality fat in this dish. Serving a light salad or steamed broccoli will finish it off nicely.
We served our Chickpeas over Whole Wheat Cous Cous.
Makeover: Leftovers can be made into a quick soup by blending some of the beans to a paste and then adding additional broth and curry. Actually, any leftover bean dish is a great beginning for a soup.
Note: Recipe and directions are from The Passionate Vegetable with the exception of the onion and coconut garnish.
Recipes from The Passionate Vegetable by Suzanne Landry
Health Inspired Publishing
Liv Life received The Passionate Vegetable for review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.