Book Club Tuesday: My New Roots

Ok. I’m back again for another review (how many times does a person have to do something before it becomes a habit? I’m really starting to look forward to writing these Tuesday reviews). This week I’ll be reviewing Sarah Britton’s My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season. After last week’s review of Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, I realized that each author’s success is partly born from a particular expertise. In the case of Amy Chaplin and Emma Galloway, they’re both chefs. For Sarah Britton, she is a holistic nutritionist (among other things). One of the things I enjoy most about her writing and recipes is her unabashed enthusiasm regarding health and nutrition – even I was excited about her Revolutionary Pancakes (just read her blog post and you’ll see what I mean)! I like how she re-thinks everyday ingredients and makes them into something special — take the humble avocado. Who could believe that, in combination with cashews, it could become one of the most sinfully delicious vegan ice creams in creation? Have a gander at these Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches and see if you don’t agree.

If you don’t think her attitude is infectious, listen to her talk. I think her TedTalk is one of my favourite TedTalks because she discusses how important small change is to improving one’s health and how empowering it is to learn to cook/make things. Her example was nut milk, but for me it was learning how to take tomatoes and make pasta  sauce from scratch. I certainly live each day trying to make one small change, because she’s correct in asserting that each small change will add up to 365 after just one year. Imagine the change over a decade. This idea is mind blowing to say the least. Now for my thoughts on her cookbook My New Roots

Interestingly her book is super organized – into seasons and each season is even further broken down into Mornings, Small Measures, Mains, and Sweets. Intuitively this makes more sense to structure a cookbook in a way that makes shopping for ingredients easier. Getting the freshest, most in-season produce is essential if you’re looking to fill your diet with vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of phytonutrients.

One of the first recipes I tried to make was the Raw Cashew Yogurt – I used macadamia nuts in place of cashews (most of her recipes are flexible in this way — subbing ingredients is never a problem). Her thorough instructions made this seemingly impossible dish a snap to make. I had tried in the past to make yogurt but who knew that the chlorinated water flowing from my faucet was to blame for my failed yogurt attempts? The resulting plant-based yogurt was delicious and creamy – a perfect breakfast served with fruit and granola!

Her recipe for Black Lentil Salad w/ Tzatziki, Avocado, and Pea Shoots is so amazing I feel like I’ve made it a hundred times (probably more like a dozen but you get the idea). I love the combination of the mild tasting lentils with the saltiness of the olives topped with the creaminess of the tzatziki– a perfect nexus of flavor and texture. Although to be honest I’ve never made it with pea shoots as I have never been able to find them at any grocery store. This brings me to another point concerning ingredients: the majority of the ingredients used is fresh produce that is readily available (if you purchase according to season — fresh fruits and veggies will also taste better if eaten in the season in which it’s grown).

As I write, I can see the first snowflakes falling – how can winter be so close?! It feels like fall never had a chance. However, winter is not such a bad season at all especially with all of recipes My New Roots has set out for us. With Butternut Stacks w/ Kale Pesto, Kasha, and Butter Beans to look forward to, I think this dish is a real winter show-stopper. I also think this recipe is perfect to serve at any holiday meal and no one will feel they got swindled by just being served salads or side dishes.

Even now, just looking at the photo of her Fig and Buckwheat Breakfast Tart makes my mouth water! Though never having made the tart with figs, I assure you that using mixed berries tastes absolutely devine in its place! A few months ago I made this tart for a brunch I was hosting and it was one of the most popular dishes by far! It was perfect because it appealed to everyone! Especially those diners who observed gluten-free diets and also being nut-free was a plus for one guest who was ridiculously allergic to nuts. Again this is a dish that I’ve made a half-dozen times and it never gets old. It’s like having dessert for breakfast what could be better (and it’s healthy too!)

This is definitely one cookbook that I recommend for anyone who wants to improve their health and nutrition. The recipes are fairly flexible and offer a variety of options: vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan. Since we eat a mainly vegetarian diet, I was happy to learn how to make ghee and was not the least offended to use dairy or eggs when called for. If you’re curious about other dishes I’ve made from My New Roots I invite you to check out the Instagram hashtag #mynewrootsse – there you’ll find several other dishes I’ve cooked and enjoyed.

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