My first cookbook review! I am really excited to be sharing this Vegetables First cookbook review with you. Over the years, I have amassed quite the collection of cookbooks, over 25 to be exact. And some are definitely more well-read over others. This one, titled Vegetables First from Canadian chef Ricardo Larrivée is a beautiful cookbook that puts the emphasis on vegetables.
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Let's start by getting acquainted with who the chef is that wrote this cookbook. Chef Ricardo Larrivée is a Food Network star and was named a member of the Order of Canada for advocating the importance of cooking and eating together. As someone who appreciates the community aspect of food so much, I love this approach. The Ricardo brand was co-founded with his wife, Editorial Director and Nutritionist Brigitte Coutu. They publish a magazine, sell kitchen products and of course plenty of cookbooks.
After skimming through this GORGEOUS cookbook, I was immediately drawn to several of the recipes. And it doesn't hurt that the photos are absolutely stunning and there is one for every recipe. This is something that I personally love seeing in a cookbook. Because I need to see what the final product is supposed to look like! I settled on a few different dishes and set out to make them and with the ones I have tried so far, I've been impressed.
The recipes I enjoyed were: Grilled Tofu with Kale and Sweet Potato Salad, the Buddha Bowl, The Beet Hummus, and The Endive Salad with Blood Oranges. Sorry for the lack of photos on my part with them, but I made them in the evening and the lighting was not ideal to share a photo with you.
The photography as I said is absolutely stunning. I do not say this lightly, I think it has some of the nicest photos I've seen in a cookbook. The photos really inspire you to want to get in the kitchen and create the dish. Just look at the photo below!
The focus on vegetables is also a very strong selling point for me. I think that no matter what type of eating style you may ascribe to, vegetables are always important. And if we are being honest, a good majority of people probably aren't eating enough of them. When we do away with following diets, we can instead focus on how food makes us feel. We can forget all the labels (just like this book does) and just focus on eating real, whole foods as much as possible. I think this message is important and I like that it is prominently featured in this cookbook. As someone who regularly buys health focused or wellness style cookbooks, I found this one refreshing in that way. The focus is on vegetables first, without being preachy or judgemental. And the recipes are simple, flavourful and fairly easy to make.
It covers a wide variety of recipes for all seasons, from drinks to sauces, to brunch, salads, sides and mains. I found the recipes very easy to follow and the focus is on highlighting the natural flavour of vegetables using minimal ingredients. There is also freezing recommendations along with many of the recipes which is helpful in reducing food waste and for those that live alone (like me!).
I wanted to share a recipe from the cookbook with you to help inspire you in the kitchen. And the people over at Penguin Random House Canada have allowed me to reprint the recipe below for you.
Overall this recipe worked out better than I thought as I was a little hesitant to mix peanut butter with mayo. If you don't like mayo, you probably won't like this sauce because it is a prominent taste in the dressing. If you are looking for a healthier alternative to most store bought mayo, I always buy this one from Chosen Foods. It is made with avocado oil, so it has more health benefits than those traditionally made with canola. It also tastes just as good (if not better) than traditional mayo. I also use millet and brown rice ramen noodles. If you are gluten free, ensure that the noodles you purchase indicate that they are gluten free as many soba noodles are blends of buckwheat and other gluten containing flours. The noodles I recommend and buy all the time are these ones from Lotus.
It makes a great meal prep option, just store the sauce separately from the noodles. And toss the noodles in a little oil to keep them from clumping together.
I hope you enjoyed this Vegetables First cookbook review. It truly is a great cookbook to add to your collection. If you are looking to make vegetables the centrepiece of your plate, this book will help you do that.
Acknowledgement: Excerpted from Vegetables First: 120 Vibrant Vegetable-Forward Recipes by Ricardo Larrivée. Copyright © 2019 Ricardo Media. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Note: I received a review copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada, but was not otherwise compensated. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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