Melissas Beet Quinoa Tabouleh salad | cookbook review by Recipe RenovatorMy friends at Melissa’s Produce published a simply gorgeous book earlier this year: 50 Best Plants on the Planet: The Most Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables, in 150 Delicious Recipes by Cathy Thomas with photographs by Angie Cao. I was excited to read it and try some of the recipes inside, including this Beet Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad. We’ll be giving away this book on Friday September 27 as part of our big September giveaway.

What I liked about this book:
The book is vibrant, with full color on every page reinforcing the “eat the rainbow” theme. Each of the 50 plants is listed in alphabetical order, with an info page about it, nutritional breakdown, special attributes (e.g. “Cancer chaser”), availability, and how to store it for optimal freshness. Quick-cook ideas are followed by three detailed recipes with one full color recipe photo among them. It’s one of the most visually appealing books I’ve seen that is also packed with useful reference information. I would never have expected the bane of most lawns, dandelion greens, to be included in this book. I tried four recipes: quinoa tabbouleh with beets (shown above), which was simple, fresh, and delicious. Cold beet, pear, and red pepper soup was a huge hit at my writer’s group meeting. Vegetable patties with asparagus, green beans, and potatoes were disappointing; they sounded more flavor-packed than they were. We both liked the warm quinoa salad with cilantro and black beans. The savory photograph of the caramelized Brussels sprouts nearly convinced me to try them again, while the broccoli stalk and garlic soup sounds like a wonderful way to use up stalks that most people throw away.

I wasn’t so keen on:
Some of the design choices make certain pages harder to read than necessary, especially when they use white type on a red background. This is another book that uses sans serif font throughout, making the recipes more difficult to read. It would have been helpful to have gluten-free recipes noted. Many of the recipes are vegan but are not noted as such.

Recommended for:
Anyone looking to learn more about nutrition and choosing more nutrient-dense foods; families; vegetarians and vegans.

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