On Nutrition + Plant-Powered book reviews

Happy Monday! I hope you had a chance to read my latest On Nutrition column in yesterday’s Seattle Times on plant-based diets, but if you haven’t, you can link to it here.

In the column, I quoted registered dietitian nutritionist Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of The Plant-Powered Diet and Plant-Powered for Life. I bought The Plant-Powered Diet shortly after it came out in 2012, and Sharon recently sent me a review copy of Plant-Powered for Life. Both books are wonderful, for slightly different reasons.

The Plant-Powered Diet is more information, less recipes (although there are quite a few recipes), and Plant-Powered for Life is less information, more recipes (although the information, presented in bursts at the beginning of each of the 52 themed recipe chapters, provides a clear road map to taking small, steady steps toward a plant-based way of eating). Photos are one significant difference between the two books: The Plant-Powered Diet has no photos, while many of the recipes in Plant-Powered for Life are accompanied by simple but lovely photos. I mention this because I know some cookbook readers like to see what they will be preparing!

If the idea of a plant-based diet is quite foreign to you, and you want all the solid, science-based information you can get, presented side-by-side with practical tips for putting the information to use in your own life, then you will particularly benefit from The Plant-Powered Diet. If you already eat a lot of whole plant foods but want to kick it up a notch, or if you simply prefer your information in small doses, then Plant-Powered for Life might be your best bet.
Over the last few weeks, I had a chance to make a handful of recipes from Plant-Powered for Life:
  • Rosemary and olive cassoulet (hearty on its own or as a side dish)
  • Chickpea stew with kale and za’atar (a super-healthy, super-quick, tasty weeknight dinner)
  • Persian couscous with apricots and pistachios (lovely and aromatic)
  • Blueberry oatmeal waffles (a new weekend breakfast favorite!)
I want to make almost every recipe in this book, and have quite a few earmarked to make this month, including the farro and white bean veggie burgers and polenta with puttanesca sauce. I am particularly excited to finally tackle tofu with the tips Sharon offers in the book. Since I am an omnivore, I don’t need soy as a protein source, but I do want to include tofu occasionally (I already eat tempeh) for the unique phytonutrients found in soy. I enjoy tofu when I have it prepared for me in Asian restaurants…I’d like to be able to prepare it in similar ways myself.

Note: I had a question from a reader about the vegetable broth base in the ingredient list of the recipe that ran with my column. Broth base is concentrated: 1 teaspoon of broth base + 1 cup water is equivalent to 1 cup of broth. Broth base is handy and space saving, but you can substitute regular broth (homemade or purchased).