If you’ve been reading Coconut and Berries for any length of time you’ll know that I’m a Dreena devotee! I’ve been enjoying her recipes for a long while and actually reviewed her last book, “Let Them Eat Vegan” when I was just getting started blogging (nearly 2 years ago!). I’ve also had the privilege of photographing some of the recipes for her blog. Naturally, I was more than a little excited when I heard she was writing a 5th cookbook!
Plant-Powered Families focuses on healthy, easy, family-friendly recipes using whole foods. All recipes are vegan and there are plenty of nut-, soy-, and gluten-free options (As far as I can tell all the recipes are also oil-free).
As a busy Mum of 3, Dreena clearly understands the need for meals you can get on the table fast! And, more importantly, food that’s both healthy and that everyone is going to enjoy. In other words, this is a book you’ll actually cook from!
Tofu Feta (& Greek Salad)
I love the whole look and feel of it, especially the fact that ALL the recipes have accompanying photos! Nicole Axworthy’s photography is particularly gorgeous and really brings the wonderful recipes to life.
It’s a really well rounded book too - with breakfast, lunch, dinner and sweet treats all covered fairly evenly. It’s divided into four parts: Introduction, Recipes, “Plant-Powered Challenges & Solutions”, which includes how to deal with picky eaters and school/lunchbox solutions (useful even for adult lunches!) and “Plant-Powered Support”, where you’ll find cooking guides, sample meal plans, a very complete FAQ and nutrient charts.
I’ve already made a fair few of the recipes. Pictured are just some of those I’ve made so far.
I was really surprised at how flavourful the Tofu Feta (above) was as I’ve attempted tofu feta before and it was rather lacking. I used it in a classic Greek Salad but there are lots of other serving suggestions listed. Also in the “Lunch Fixes” section, the Chickpea Nibbles are a must try! I’ve been making batch after batch to throw into lunches or just for “nibbling”.
Double Chocolate Orange Banana Muffins
I tend to be a little sceptical about oil-free baking as I’ve had some chewy, tasteless oil-free muffins and cookies in my time…but these chocolate-y little gems were moist and perfectly flavourful (See bottom of this post for the recipe!). The “Best Banana Bread” (made as muffins) was also a hit.
Saucy BBQ Chickpeas & Green Beans
I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the “Dinnertime” section. The Saucy BBQ Chickpeas & Green Beans is deceptively simple but the easy homemade BBQ sauce really makes it special. I loved it stuffed into a sprouted wheat wrap with a few chunks of avocado. The Hummus Tortilla Wraps and Ultimate Teriyaki Stir-Fry are also real game-changers for me for busy weeknights. Both super quick and delicious.
Lentil Pumpkin Seed Pie with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Most recently I tried the Lentil Pumpkin Seed Pie. This has a lovely chewy, nutty texture and makes a really satisfying meal served with Lemon-Tahini Sauce, Sweet Potato Fries (I’ll have to try Dreena’s Balsamic-Glazed Seasoned Yam Fries next time…) and broccoli or another green veg.
I’ve been remarkably restrained with delving into the Sweet Treats section. Not that all the puddings, cookies, bars, ice cream and cakes aren’t incredibly enticing! I did love the Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl and the leftover berry sauce was lovely stirred into non-dairy yogurt too.
The book’s publishers, Ben Bella Vegan, have kindly allowed me to share the recipe for the Double Chocolate Orange Banana Muffins. Hope you enjoy them as much as me!
- 1-1/2 cups whole-grain spelt flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour (see note for nut-free option)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1-1/2–2 teaspoons orange zest (from 1 large or 2 small oranges)
- 1/4 rounded teaspoon sea salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup pureed overripe banana (see note)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 large or 2 small oranges)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup nondairy mini or regular chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 11–12 cups of a muffin pan with large cupcake liners.
- In a large bowl, mix the flours, cocoa powder, orange zest, and sea salt, then sift in the baking powder and baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pureed banana, orange juice, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, then add the chocolate chips and stir through until just well combined (don’t overmix).
- Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 17–19 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Banana Note: If you have an immersion blender, puree about 2 large overripe bananas in a deep, large cup, then measure to get your 1 cup. If you are a little shy with the measure, use applesauce to make up the difference!
Nut-Free Option: If you’d like to make these nut-free for school lunches or other allergy concerns, substitute 1/2 cup oat flour for the almond flour. They won’t be quite as moist, but will still have lovely flavor and texture!
Reprinted from Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton, with permission of BenBella Vegan.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that if you don’t have the book yet, to get yourself a copy asap! Although it’s written with families in mind, you definitely don’t have to be cooking for children to get a lot out of it. Every time I pick it up I seem to find a new little nugget of information, a fun serving suggestion or useful tip.
I honestly want to make ALL the recipes but next on my list to try are: Thick ‘n’ Hearty Tomato Sauce, Tofu in Cashew Ginger Sauce, Red Lentil Hummus, Apple Pie Chia Pudding, Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake.
N.B. All photos in this post are my own. See the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon for sample images from the book
Have you got your copy yet? What recipes have you been enjoying so far? Or, if you haven’t got the book yet, which recipe most tickles your fancy?
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