It’s day three of “6 Days of Vegan Cookbook Reviews!” If you’re just jumping in now, be sure to check out day one: Celebrate Vegan (you can still enter to win a copy!) and day two: Eat Vegan on $4 a Day.
I was over the moon when I was asked to review Superfood Cuisine: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods by Julie Morris. I was doubly-excited when I opened the box and found a package of Navitas dried mulberries included (that sure helped me decide which recipe to share in this review)!
Why so excited? Even though some of my more popular recipes on this blog fall closer to the “vegan junk food” category, if you look closely at my posts, and how I eat on a daily basis, you’ll see I definitely lean more toward the health-nut category. I’ve also written about some of my cleansing experiences — note that these are nutritional cleanses under the guidance of a nutrition counselor. I won’t be dieting in January, and I won’t be cleansing, but, after reading this book, I have decided to use Superfood Cuisine to develop meal plans in January and February to get “back to basics”–and the omnivore husband is on board, too!
I see this book as a nutritional guide, not just a cookbook. Julie Morris is a natural food chef and educator. Much of what she espouses in her introduction, Breaking Habits, is consistent with what I have learned from my own nutrition counselor. You will note right away, both from my complimentary package of Navitas mulberries and her note to readers in which she talks about her work with Navitas, that you can probably find any superfood she uses through Navitas. It won’t be cheap (in sharp contrast to my review yesterday) as the 4 oz bag of dried mulberries costs $5.99. Maca Powder, called for in 10 recipes, starts at $17.99. Having said that. I have spent plenty of dough on cleanses, juices, probiotics, etc. and, on a limited basis, I am willing to invest in superfoods.
So what’s in the book?
Before Julie gets to the recipes she provides great details on the following topics: The experience of Eating; What is a Superfood; The Need for Nutrient Density; The New Superfood Pantry (berries, algaes, cacao, chia, hemp and flax seeds, quinoa, miso and maca, to name a few); and Smart Kitchen Techniques (blender, food processor, dehydrator and eco-pans). I do need to point out that in addition to the superfoods, the suggested kitchen tools can have a high price point, depending upon the brand.
Here’s a breakdown of the sections and a few examples of recipes you can find in each:
- Breakfasts: Spiced Chia Porridge; Hot Quinoa Bowl
- Soups: Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Stew (Can’t wait to make that one!); Chilled Creamy Beet Soup
- Salads: Sushi Salad Bowl; Simple Spinach Salad with Mulberry-Mustard Dressing (recipe below!)
- Entrees: Cauliflower Risotto; Pomegranate-Glazed Portabello Steaks over Lemony Spinach
- Sides: BBQ Sweet Potato Fries; Hemp Hummus
- Snacks: Cheesy Kale Crisps; Buckwheat Graham Crackers
- Sweets: Sacha Inchi Buckeyes; Maca Chocolate
- Drinks: Superberry Smoothie; Watermelon Chia Fresca
What a variety! I seriously cannot wait to set up my January and February meal plans with these recipes.
I tried my hand at this super-easy and super-delicious superfood salad:
Simple Spinach Salad with Mulberry-Mustard Dressing
from Superfood Cuisine: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods by Julie Morris
Reprinted with permission from the author
- 8 large handfuls baby spinach
- Mulberry-Mustard Dressing (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup Quick Pickled Onions (see page 112 of the cookbook) Note from JL: essentially onion soaked in vinegar and sea salt
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 T flaxseeds
In a large bowl, gently toss the spinach and several spoonfuls of the Mulberry-Mustard Dressing by hand to evenly coat the leaves. Transfer the salad to serving plates, and top with the onions, avocado, and flaxseeds.
- 2/3 cup dried mulberries
- 3 T Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
In a blender (use a small one if you have it), blend the mulberries, mustard, apple juice and apple cider vinegar into a smooth consistency. Keep covered and refrigerated when not in use; will last for a couple of weeks Makes about 1 cup
I juiced several apples so that I could use fresh juice. I also doubled the recipe (therefore using the whole bag of dried mulberries) and stored the dressing in small, airtight glass jars. It tastes fresh every single time I use it (as a dressing as well as a dip with raw vegetables). I’m hooked.
Julie concludes the book with “extras”: substitutions (use sunflower seeds in place of $11.99 hemp seeds), a FAQ, ingredient resources guide, suggested further reading and references.
This is an incredibly comprehensive book that fully explains superfoods and includes excellent recipes that are not complicated to prepare. I do believe that the high cost of superfoods make this much less of an everyday cookbook. Personally I can see using it as I mentioned above — to develop meal plans to eat more nutritionally sound — and most certainly I can modify the healthy recipes when I don’t have access to some of the superfood ingredients. I feel fortunate to have this gorgeous book in my library!
Are you a superfood fan?