The Plantiful Plate has an inventive and adaptable approach to its vegan and gluten-free recipes. Christine Wong, who created yommme.com, includes recipes that allow cooks to choose different types of bases, proteins, spices, sauces, and so on for the various recipes. Children will love the autonomy and flexible this affords, and with no wrong choice, it will all be delicious!
After a lively narrative in the introduction, Wong also provides an extensive list of in-season produce, methods of preparing beans, greens, and bulk items. She also discusses fermented foods, preparing a cast-iron pan, and how to store items in the refrigerator for best effect. She also focuses on going plastic-free for both environmental and immediate health effects. Older children and teens will find it both easy to read (or be read to) and informative.
Recipes are arranged in sections that will make a sense based on times of day and also tastes. The START section has no-bake bars, porridge, granola, muffins, and fritters. None are overly complicated, and each has a variety of choices for flavors. The SIPS section includes teas, kombucha, smoothies, juices, milkshakes, and even a savory recipe for a vegan Bloody Mary.
In SNACKS, Wong includes staples like hummus, trail mix, and veggie chips. She supplements these classics with a Brazil nut cheese recipe and onigiri. Several of these recipes utilize options from elsewhere in the book, like adding the “carrot lox” to the onigiri, or using the book’s recipe for nut flour in the cracker recipe. Again, each recipe feels accessible to all levels of kitchen ability.
The SAVORY section is a treasure of salads and soups, Rainbowls for every season, noodles, tacos, dumplings, several marinades, and a gorgeous ratatouille. The recipes in this section up the ability level, but the directions are clear and still include the various options for ingredients. For cooks on the beginner scale, Wong includes simple recipes for savory staples like veggie stock, roast cauliflower, veggie fries, and stews. The chilis and masalas also feel at once “fancy” and doable.
Any complete cookbook needs a solid SWEETS section, and A PLANTIFUL PLATE is no exception. From the currently ubiquitous protein and bliss balls to cookies and crumbles to ice pops and ice cream, all the usual suspects appear. There is also an amazing recipe for sticky toffee pudding and a Meyer lemon and ginger cheesecake. Something for everyone!
A special mention is necessary for the photographs throughout the book. Readers will salivate over the heirloom tomato pizza, and the collection of images of ratatouilles will inspire cooks to attempt the colorful designs for the look as well as the taste. The images are truly a wonderful addition to the recipes.
Review by Kristin Wald