Vegetables are good for you! Most people don’t eat enough of them. In a time where most of us have more time, shouldn’t we all learn how to prepare vegetables that are satisfying and flavorful? Maybe you disagree; if living on instant ramen and frozen pizza rolls make you happy, then do you! But I’m a hardcore veg-head, and I’ve been delving back into one of the best vegetable cookbooks of all-time: Power Vegetables by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach (a hipster food magazine with a cult following that is sadly no longer in print-#RIPLuckyPeach).
Power Vegetables is packed with recipes that are self-described as “indubitably delicious” (wholeheartedly agree) and “mostly vegetarian, just like you” (how do they know?). Flip through the pages, and you’ll find recipes from famous chefs (like the daikon with XO sauce from Ivan Orkin) alongside family recipes graciously shared by Mom (Fran’s Stuffed Artichokes).
They begin with an ingredient checklist of sorts to help you cook through the book. It’s not entirely inclusive, but it’s an excellent start to a powerful pantry. You’ll use those ingredients in recipes for everything veggie, from dips to hearty main dishes. The book is cleverly composed. Several sections feature recipes that are from all over the world, yet wildly similar. Each page offers a little blurb or recipe description that is a joy to read; Power Vegetables is the type of cookbook you’ll want to read from cover-to-cover.
I recently made Julia’s Peanut Butter Collards, which were rich and creamy and not weird at all despite the strange-sounding amalgamation of flavors. Spooned over toasted bits of homemade sourdough and drizzled with hot honey, these collards are most definitely a powerful vegetable.
A favorite of mine is the Grilled Cabbage with Banana Blossom Dressing. The dressing is a luxurious blend of coconut milk, red curry paste, lime juice & fish sauce. This spicy, pungent concoction is poured over charred wedges of cabbage and topped with cilantro, roasted peanuts, sliced chiles, and crispy fried onions. A powerhouse of flavor, and a power vegetable indeed.
This book is not new; PV was released in 2016, and I’ve been cooking from its pages for the last three years. I’m always delighted by the results, and I still have plenty of new recipes to try. You can still grab a copy of Power Vegetables for around $5 on eBay. It’s worth every penny.