By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Whether you believe in making resolutions or not, the beginning of a new year is a time we associate with starting over and making a change—especially when it comes to dietary choices. Vegetables get a lot of love in the January push toward healthy eating. As a chef, I would advocate an increased focus on vegetables for dozens of other reasons—especially for the incredible range of creative ways you can cook them. So following up on my last list of ingredient-focused cookbooks, I’m sharing a few vegetable bibles that will expand your culinary horizons: Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and Jonathan Lovekin
Arguably, no chef has had a greater impact on the current vegetable revolution than Yotam Ottolenghi. The first of his incredibly popular cookbooks, Plenty showcases vegetables front and center on the plate. The recipes are inspired by the chef’s Middle Eastern background, as well as the UK’s diverse cross-cultural culinary heritage. Many of the dishes in the book are featured at Ottolenghi’s namesake cafes in London.
Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice L. Waters
As one of the country’s first restaurants to exclusively use seasonal ingredients sourced directly from local farmers, Chez Panisse stands among the country’s most influential restaurants. Chef Waters has led the pro-vegetable fight for more than 20 years, and this cookbook is a timeless primer for simple vegetable preparations that will appeal to all.
Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
Deborah Madison is the queen of vegetarian cuisine. As the author of numerous award-winning books on vegetable-focused eating, her latest book highlights the 12 families of the veggie kingdom. Offering over 300 recipes and gardening tips, this is one cookbook I’d like to cook my way through from start to finish.
Roots by Diane Morgan
January may be a rallying month for vegetable cooking, but it’s not peak season for most of the vegetables we know and love. Roots, however, offers a complete education on 29 of the most popular root vegetables. In addition to its many recipes and beautiful photographs, readers will find information on the history, cultivation, usage, storage and nutritional content of vegetables from carrots to cassava.
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith
You’d be amazed at how helpful gardening books can be for a chef. Even if you never sow a single seed, learning about the regions of the world where veggies grow best or when certain vegetables are in season can have a transformative impact on your cooking. And having an index that describes hundreds of heirloom vegetable varieties can be very handy in the kitchen.
Passionate about vegetable cooking? Click here to learn about ICE’s indoor hydroponic farm.