I noticed there were nuts in many recipes before I noticed there was very little, if any meat in The Sprouted Kitchen. There are toasted hazelnuts in the roasted cauliflower cappelini, Marcona almonds in the Brussels sprouts and baby spinach sauté, and a tofu quiche with an almond meal crust. There are a handful of meat dishes--grilled chicken with tzatiki, green herb shrimp with summer squash couscous, walnut-crusted salmon with edamame mash (nuts!), and some chopped bacon in the ranchero breakfast tostadas (optional). I'm generally skeptical of vegetarian cookbooks, but blogger-turned-cookbook-author Sara Forte lured me in with delicious recipes.
The 100 or so recipes are divided into chapters for breakfast dishes, salads and sides, and main dishes. There are also chapters on "snacks to share," "the happy hour," including appetizer and drink recipes, "treats," and "etc.," which includes basics like herb compound butter, preserved lemons, and a handy grain cooking chart. With recipes for dishes like soft scrambled eggs with leeks, spicy sweet potato wedges, beer bean and cotija-stuffed poblanos, and crunchy curried chickpeas, meat may be the last thing on your mind.
You won't find recipes for pork chops, blue cheese burgers or steak skewers, but you will find recipes for soba bowls with tea-poached salmon, chipotle and apple turkey burgers, and roasted wild cod with Meyer lemon and caper relish. There are however, some recipes only serious eschewers of meat would appreciate, such as quinoa collard wraps with miso-carrot spread, mushroom and brown rice veggie burgers, and lentil meatballs with lemon pesto.
Forte's popular blog lends a handful of recipes to this cookbook. Popular recipes she's posted over the years such as red grape salsa on crostini, and strawberry and leek quesadilla. Recipes that represent her signature style: fresh ingredients, combined for unique flavors or textures. Her cooking style is simple and straight forward, and while some ingredients may not be available in middle America (millet and miso, perhaps), you should be able to find them at any well-stocked West coast supermarket.
Recipe headnotes are actually sidebars, as they sit on the right side of the page, but they include useful tips, techniques and substitutions or variations for each recipe, and shouldn't be missed. Forte cautions when you should really take the effort to seek out an ingredient, like brown rice syrup for the granola protein bars, or brown rice tortillas for the quesadilla, but if a different nut, grain or green will work in a pinch, it is mentioned as well. This well-crafted cookbook has enough intriguing recipes and inspiration that I'll keep it on hand in my kitchen for some time to come.
Sara Forte will be at Book Larder on September 23, from 4 to 5 p.m. , to discuss The Sprouted Kitchen and sign copies of the book. There will also be samples to taste.