February Cookbook of the Month: The Plantpower Way
Hi everyone, and happy Friday! I’m writing this post with just a few days left in Berlin before visiting my parents in the States. This is my first cookbook of the month review, and I’m so happy to have chosen the cookbook The Plantpower Way by Julie and Rich Roll. My husband Adam received this book as a Christmas gift two years ago already, and if I had to guess, I’d say we have made only around five or six of the recipes in it so far. Crazy, right!? So I was excited to test out some more.
I was aiming to hit fourteen recipes to make this month, and I’m happy to say I’ve been able to make thirteen.
As always, I aim to test out recipes from all sections of the cookbook. For my review I take in account the following criteria:
- Price and availability of ingredients
- Clarity of instructions, difficulty level, and length of time to make the recipes
- Any “extra” information that the author includes in the cookbook
- And how the recipes taste, of course!
Some quick background on my own cooking skills: I really enjoy cooking, and it was a couple of years ago (2015) that I started to cook more difficult recipes. Before then, I had little to no experience in cooking and had made it a point to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible. Fast forward to today and I would say I’m a pretty decent cook (intermediate level, maybe?) and love finding new recipes and flavors to test out. My baking skills lean more towards beginner. I let you know this as it might be helpful for you, depending on the level you’re at.
So, let’s get to it!
The Plantpower Way by Julie Piatt and Rich Roll is their first cookbook together. They are a married couple with four kids. Rich is an endurance athlete who turned his life around at the age of 40, from being a couch potato to someone who now runs ultra marathons . Julie is a yogi, chef, and spiritual guide. They wrote this cookbook to serve those looking for help in creating their own path to healthy living.
There are three optional paths outlined within the cookbook: one for physical excellence, one for rebirth, and one for balance and harmony (Performance, Transformation, and Vitality). If you like you can follow these paths for a more focused plan, or can enjoy them however you choose.
Recipes I tried (scroll to bottom for pictures):
Cherry Cacao Blend Smoothie (page 47)
Hemp Milk (page 70)
Morning Porridge (page 127)
No-lox plate with bagels (page 131)
Chia Seed Pudding (page 138)
Torre de Nachos (page 207)
Aztec Enchiladas (page 214)
Untuna Wraps (page 229)
Mocha Latte (page 248)
Ginger Turmeric Latte (page 249)
Peanut Butter Cookies (page 261)
Abuela’s Glazed Bananas (page 262)
Rich’s Birthday Apple Pie (page 283)
My favorite recipe(s): Torre de nachos. All the way.
Price of ingredients: For the mains, I would put it at the more expensive end. Many of them have one or two ingredients that are rather pricey, and I wonder what I will do with the rest of them. A few times I would switch out the pricier ingredients (kalamata olives) for a more affordable option (black olives). However this could take away from the final taste, something I made note of and considered in each recipe.
Availability of ingredients: One thing that bothered me for some of the recipes is that I could not find all of the ingredients, or I would have to make special trips to various health food stores to get just one of the ingredients for a recipe. I also have to make sure I can find another recipe from somewhere else to make use of said special ingredient.
Cooking experience: Novice–Intermediate. Most recipes aren’t too difficult to perform, but there are certain ones where instructions aren’t very clear and if it weren’t for my previous cooking experience, I wouldn’t have known how to do it (such as how to blanch and fold a collard green wrap for the untuna wraps).
What I like about the cookbook: In between the recipe contents there are chapters providing insight to various healthy lifestyle topics (raising healthy kids with a plant powered lifestyle approach, But where do you get your protein?, Embracing the Now, and Find your Purpose and Invest in the Journey, just to name a few). I found these really interesting to read as well as helpful for ideas on how I can improve my own eating habits and lifestyle. I also enjoyed the introductions to each recipe along with possible serving suggestions and pairings. There are many gorgeous photos throughout the book of their family in their home, surrounded by food.
What could be better: The clarity of instructions in some recipes, especially fermenting food and sprouting – these things are just touched on and they do not go in-depth, so I would seek out another cookbook for these matters. I also would appreciate possible substitutions for some ingredients, so the price of the recipes wouldn’t be as expensive. As mentioned above, there are many amazing photos of the family provided, however the photos of the actual food and food styling are all close-ups and rather basic (according to my taste and opinion).
Final takeaway: Most recipes were not too difficult to make, but some of the mains got to be very time-consuming (the enchiladas, for example). I’m not sure I would incorporate too many of them into my go-to meal repertoire, as I know I wouldn’t have all of the given ingredients for one recipe on hand at once. Maybe just the nachos…those were relatively uncomplicated to make and pretty memorable to eat. What I liked about the recipes themselves is that they had some interesting flavor combinations that I haven’t tried before.
I would recommend this cookbook to someone who already has some experience in cooking, and is looking to widen their plant based recipe/cookbook repertoire. It is also beneficial to someone who would like to read about the Rolls’ lifestyle and habits, and learn more about the basics of living a plant-based, conscious way of living.
Would I keep it on my bookshelf? Yes. However nothing really “wowed” me, and it probably wouldn’t be one of my go-to cookbooks for the recipes…but I would pull it out to re-read the stories and advice provided.