Now that Spring has sprung (finally, sort of), we can start talking gardens, farmer’s markets and vegetables. As Minnesotans, we are blessed to have bountiful amounts of almost any veggie you can think of. Our local restaurants take full advantage of this and you can too. We need more ways to get vegetables on our plates at home. Sometimes we need help with it too.
So this week Dara is sharing what she thinks are the top 5 vegetable cookbooks. There are local authors talking specifically about Minnesota, national authors that lead the food industry in talking about vegetarian cooking, and even one that will take you to the other side of the world and show you new ways to take veggies from the garden to the plate!
Here are Dara’s Top 5 Vegetarian Cookbooks!
“The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”, by Deborah Madison
Random House Publishing
This book by one of the countries top veggie-focused writers, Deborah Madison, is Dara’s “desert island” book. The one you need to have if you’re interested in cooking vegetables. It’s a classic, having been out since the late 90’s. Recently reissued with some modern updates, this is recommended by Dara as a top, basic cookbook every kitchen should have. It has all the basics, the techniques, the elemental cooking ideas for veggies, plus an encyclopedia of vegetables from Artichokes to Winter Squash. This is the “it” book for vegetable cooking and something you’ll turn to over and over!
“Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmer’s Market Cookbook”, by Beth Dooley
University of Minnesota Press
Beth Dooley’s “Minnesota Bounty: The Farmer’s Market Cookbook” does a fabulous job of telling what to do with the exact same things you’ll find at your local market. Many cookbooks don’t cater to what you can get fresh locally. Minnesota’s veggies are going to be very different from what you find in Florida, California or even New York and other northern states. In addition to recipes she’ll give you a buyer’s guide for hitting those farmer’s markets and how to take those “ingredient-first” ideas straight into your kitchen.
“Eat More Vegetables: Making the Most of Your Seasonal Produce” by Tricia Cornell
Minnesota Historical Society Press
Another locally-focused book is Tricia Cornell’s “Eat More Vegetables: Making the Most of Your Seasonal Produce”. This companion for home cooks helps you to wring all the pleasure, flavor, and nutrition possible from the available vegetables of seasonal farmers’ markets and CSA boxes. If you’re into local and fresh, this book will really help you dive deeper in and give you ideas for making great vegetable dishes!
“660 Curries”, by Raghavan Iyer
Local author Raghavan Iyer and his book “660 Curries” takes the Indian love of vegetarian cooking into your home. Vegetables can be a lot of the same-old-same-old. This book will give you new ways to spice that up. He’ll give you really basic things to do such as popping mustard seeds into a hot pan to cook with leafy greens. You’ll also learn many of the complicated Indian recipes full of exotic spices. The cookbook contains many meat-related recipes so while it’s not all about the veggies, it contains enough new ideas to keep you coming back to it all the time.
“Vegetable Literacy”, by Deborah Madison
10 Speed Press
Deborah Madison, as we mentioned earlier, is a suburb vegetarian author. This one is described by Dara as “changing her life”. Look at it as a botanist-geeks bible. She groups vegetables by what’s related to what. Know what’s in the carrot family? Did you know that fennel, parsnip, cilantro, celery and carrots are related? You do now. And Deborah’s book will share all you ever cared to know about it. You learn basics and how to think about what pairs with what. That’s how you learn that fennel is a great compliment to celery. See, you already learned something else! Deborah’s book will give you more than you ever thought you’d know about veggies.