The Veggie Queen: Vegetables get the royal treatment by Jill Nussinow
I recently reviewed another “seasonal produce” cookbook called Local Bounty. Both cookbooks have chapters of recipes broken down by season and both are vegan, but really the similarities end there. Perhaps it is the more generous use of seasonings, it could be the intriguing recipe titles, or it could be as simple as the fonts! … but this cookbook had a more of a gourmet feel about it. It is also a better choice if you are seeking a full cookbook of vegan recipes that includes everything from desserts to sides to full main dishes.
The book’s introduction section is brief, jumping right into Spring and the first chapter of recipes. Though you don’t read a lot upfront, the author does include sizable stories, anecdotes, cooking tips, and suggestions in relevant spots throughout the entire cookbook. At the end of the cookbook there is a brief Glossary of Food Items and a neat and tidy index, both of which I have found quite useful. Yet, I was surprised that there wasn’t a quick guide as to what produce is in-season during what time of year. I think it would help in varying recipes (and in coming up with some of my own ideas) when I crave something slightly different. If I could make any suggestions for the author’s second edition, this would be it. For now, I will reference another book or online for this information.
While I can hardly wait for Spring to trial the Asparagus with Black Bean Sauce (made from scratch rather than a jar!), there are certainly plenty of enticing Fall and Winter recipes to keep me busy in the mean time … Curried White and Sweet Potato Pancakes, Herb Roasted Root Vegetables, Stuffed Swiss Chard, Maple Vinegar Sauteed Parsnips, Rice Paper Rolls with Spicy Citrus Sauce …. Okay, I will stop now as this is making me hungry!
However, I must make one additional recipe reference; I was elated to find three recipes for homemade veggie burgers. I love them, but have yet to find a go-to recipe, so I will certainly be trialing all three. The veggie burgers are actually in a chapter that follows the four seasonal chapters, and is called “Anytime at All.” I thought this was a nice addition. And though I do not own a pressure cooker myself, some may really like that there is an additional chapter filled exclusively with pressure cooker recipes.
It should be noted that the recipes do occasionally call for a meat alternative or some soy parmesan, but not with an alarming frequency. Tempeh, tofu, legumes, and grains are scattered throughout, but there are also plenty of recipes for the produce purist. As a side note, this looks to be a good cookbook for the gluten-free vegan or vegetarian, as pasta is barely present, most of the grains used are gluten-free, and any of the very few stumbling blocks (such as soy sauce/tamari) can easily be overcome with a common substitute (such as wheat-free tamari).
The Veggie Queen is available on Amazon.
The above review was written by Alisa Fleming, author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook