We are always on the lookout for cookbooks that include recipes kids will be able both help cook in a meaningful way and eat with zeal. The PLANT-POWERED PROTEIN COOKBOOK from Vegetarian Times has lots of easy-to-follow recipes that include color, texture, and a wealth of flavors. As with many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, the cookbook offers a basic primer focused on the primary plant-based sources of protein. Another section offers replacements for eggs and dairy replacers, making the recipes easy to adapt to vegan from the majority of the vegetarian recipes. Each recipe also provides nutrition information including protein, sugar, and sodium.
Most kids love smoothies, and there are several in different colors to choose from here. Other breakfast item standouts are the various tofu scrambles, baked oatmeal, and beautiful millet porridge pancakes. Several other recipes rely on eggs, but vegan families will find it easy to adapt the flavors with replacements or by adjusting the recipe to suit their lifestyles.
Appreciated, especially for busy families, is the Snacks & Finger Foods section. Staples like crispy kale chips show up, but it’s snacks like the peanut-stuffed okra fingers and black bean and corn taquitos that include texture, protein, and flavor perfect for picky children. The Soups & Stews section is full of recipes that the young people in your life can help chop, stir, and garnish. Again, there are familiar staples like lentil soups and stews, and these are joined by a delicious farmers’ market chowder made with corn, leeks, sweet potatoes and more and a gorgeous smoke vegetable & wheat berry stew.
Additional standout sections include Sandwiches & Wraps, Pizza & Breads, and the voluminous Vegetables section. An inventive section on Tofu, Veggie Burgers, and Meat Substitutes includes basics like tofu skewers and instructions on how to use tempeh effectively in the glazed maple-mustard tempeh bourgignon. With everyday meals like a portobello mushroom pizza and elegant dishes like the truffled wild mushrooms over whipped white beans, there is something for every occasion.
As with many vegetarian and vegan fallbacks, the Pasta & Noodles section had a sizable selection. We love that there were two different lasagna recipes, one with noodles and the other with tortillas. There is also a wonderful recipe for peanut noodles, another for beet linguini, and still another for zucchini-corn cannelloni. We suspect that the spinach-artichoke mini lasagnas, baked in muffin cups, will appeal to just about any young cook.
Don’t worry! We haven’t overlooked the desserts! Chocolate-cherry quinoa muffins, a fresh berry tart, and glazed chocolate avocado cupcakes are all included. There’s also a lovely raw cashew cheesecake, and the cookbook includes detailed instructions on how to make a versatile cashew creme. The photos will make every aspiring chef want to try each recipe.
Review by Kristin Wald