If you know me at all, I am a sucker for a beautiful cookbook. I am especially a sucker for it if is [mainly] full of plants and gluten-free things and not a ton of a sugar and generally good-for-you ingredients. And pretty pictures. (Right?)
Friends. Fans of the Rawtarian blog. Humans who like food. Cook Lively! is maybe the most beautiful cookbook I have come across in years – and it’s all vegan, gluten-free and packed with whole, nourishing, delicious things. (There is a whole section for side dishes!!!! SIDE DISHES!) :)
I started reading the Rawtarian blog several years ago when I started dabbling in raw food. Since then, it has grown into something of an online food empire, where Laura-Jane Koers shares her creative kitchen ideas and literally thousands of delicious plant-based recipes.
Her new book comes out tomorrow (May 30, 2017) and Cook Lively! is every bit as beautiful, colorful, interesting and accessible as the blog. Whether you’re starting out with a plant-based diet, interested in incorporating more raw foods into your life, intrigued by what it means to make bread out of seeds or just looking for some mouthwatering photos of veggies turned into meals, this book is for you.
While a lot of raw food recipes and website require odd ingredients that can be tricky to find – spirulina, Irish Moss, jackfruit, lucuma powder – Laura-Jane’s focus is on things you can find at a typical grocery store or farmers market, and every recipe requires fewer than 10 ingredients.
Everything in Cook Lively! is vegan and gluten-free, but not every recipe is raw: many include the option to bake if you don't have a dehydrator (or would prefer things cooked). The book says the recipes are “raw inspired”: I found it to be very flexible in its instructions and options. Grains and beans are also included to round out many of the dishes, so if you’re not interested in going entirely raw, there is room in here for some macrobiotic goodness. There is no dairy, refined sugar or wheat anywhere to be found in its pages. How nice not to have to figure out substitutions to accommodate these dietary preferences – it’s done for you!
I love that the book also comes with a meal plan, a guide to grains and a shopping list. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of where to begin, particularly if this is new for you.
What are the recipes like, you ask? Here are two that look particularly yummy (provided courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books). We made a batch of the Baked Apple Breakfast Cake this past week – it’s wildly yummy. We also made a little variation on the Black Bean Cookie, swapping out the dates for almond butter to keep the sugar down. (I formed them into tinier bite-sized cookies to avoid the overdoing. ;) #easywhentheyredelicious The versions using an oven are below; the book provides the dehydrator option as well.
Baked Apple Breakfast Cake with Cinnamon and Rolled Oats
Yields 1 pan, Serves 8
1 ½ cups almond meal
1 ½ cups GF rolled oats
1 ½ tbsp flax meal
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
2 ½ tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/3 pure maple syrup
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Set aside a medium glass baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Add coconut oil, maple syrup, plus 1 cup water. Stir.
- Add apples. Stir again.
- Transfer the mixture to the pan and smooth out.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until bubbling and slightly golden on top.
Black Bean Cookies with Vanilla and Cinnamon
Yields 10 small cookies (16 if you make them extra tiny)
¾ cup cashews
1/8 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup pitted dates, tightly packed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup almond meal
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor, process cashews, salt and cinnamon into a flour-like powder (30 seconds).
- Add dates, vanilla, maple syrup and beans. Process into a paste (30-40 seconds).
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add almond meal and stir until well combined.
- Use your hands to form the batter into cookies and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 7 minutes (22 minutes total). Let cool slightly. Enjoy!
Happy reading, all! And happy cooking. :) This is a good one!
Excerpted from Cook Lively!: 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin, and Vibrant Living—Using 10 Ingredients or Less by Laura-Jane Koers. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
I received a complimentary copy of Cook Lively! in exchange for posting this honest review. Cheers!