We’ve started getting a weekly fruit + veg box delivered every Wednesday.  Whilst we are not vegetarians, it definitely feels like there’s movement these days towards more of a produce-heavy way of eating which we have embraced. We still eat a fair amount of meat but I try to be more judicious in the way that we use it and put vegetables/grains at the centre of our meals rather than relying on a slab of meat to do the job and having a selection of seasonal vegetables arrive at our front door every week has really helped us to do that.

Although I occasionally post some of our meals on instagram, I don’t tend to blog about the savoury food that we eat very often. When it comes to cooking (vs baking), I’d much rather follow someone else’s recipe. The pressure of producing something edible for dinner is just too much generally for me to want to wing it. Luckily, there’s been a whole glut of seriously amazing cookbooks that have come out recently, many from some of my favourite bloggers. Every time I leaf through the pages of a new offering, I feel a rising sense of panic that there just aren’t enough meals in the day to try all of the recipes that I want to.  Some of the books below are totally vegetarian, others contain a mix of recipes. All are worth additions to your collection.

The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen by Erin Alderson – The idea behind Erin’s book is so simple but so clever; 50 base recipes, each four different seasonal interpretations. Given that I’m often looking for ways to make the most of whatever has appeared in our fruit + veg box, it’s no surprises that I find this really helpful. The recipes range for breakfasts to desserts with everything in between but I’m particularly smitten with the lunch section. I sometimes struggle to come up with interesting ideas of what to have for lunch, particularly on days when I’m working from home and Erin’s soba noodle bowl has become a staple (above is a variation on the spring version in the book with roasted mange tout and sesame seeds). A batch of her roasted vegetable and black bean enchiladas are waiting for me at home tonight.

A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones – I picked this book up a couple of months ago having seen a lot of press about it.  The author, Anna Jones, previously worked for Jamie Oliver. It’s a big book (and beautifully photography by Brian Ferry) and whilst all the recipes are vegetarian, it feels very accessible, even for a fairly committed carnivore like me. The favourite thing I’ve made so far is a salad of quinoa (well, it was supposed to be farro but I used quinoa) with roasted sweet potato, leeks and romesco sauce. I think I proceeded to eat the leftover romesco sauce with everything in sight because it was so good. I have bookmarked the lemon-roasted feta and tomato salad for summer eating and sometimes have dreams about the sweet potato and white bean quesadillas.


Bowl + Spoon by Sara and Hugh Forte – I’m guessing that most of you don’t need an introduction to Sara and Hugh. Like many others, I have and love their first self-titled book and was eagerly awaiting the follow up. Sara’s recipes always appeal to me and I’m a huge fan of Hugh’s photography; their site was one of the first that I found that made me realise that food photography doesn’t always have to look the same to be beautiful.  The concept of this book is ‘bowl food’ which is something that I am totally on board with as well – we have two shallow bowls that I bought very cheaply from Muji a couple of years ago (my boyfriend refers to them as our ‘doggy bowls’) and I’m pretty sure we eat 90% of our meals out of them. So far, I’ve made an eclectic mix of recipes including the smoky tortilla soup, a version of Sara’s breakfast crumble and a batch of the SK sriracha (so good). Only the fact that there are a limited number of meals in the day has prevented me from making everything in the book. Most of the recipes are vegetarian although, as with the first book there are a couple with fish/turkey.


Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady – This is another book that I’ve been waiting a long time for. I always feel such a sense of calm when reading Tara’s blog and that has translated perfectly into her debut book. Tara’s book is not vegetarian (and her method of cooking a burger like a steak, in a little butter and white miso has changed my life forever) but I defy anyone not to be inspired by Tara’s words and recipes. I love the way that she manages to weave the elements of her culinary heritage together and how Tara makes the whole thing feel so intimate; not least because all of the photographs were taken in Tara’s house throughout the course of the year that she was writing the book.  So many of the recipes I’ve tried have been wonderful (not least the chocolate chip cookies which are worth buying the book alone for) but I have to say that the roasted red pepper, feta and almond salad was a revelation.


A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry – Clearly, a book about chicken is not vegetarian but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it given how much I cook from it (plus Diana Henry’s previous book, A Change of Appetite, is pretty vegetable heavy).  We don’t eat a huge amount of red meat at home but we do quite often eat chicken and this book contains pretty much every recipe you ever need, and then some more.  The recipes wander the globe and range in complexity so there is something for pretty much every occasion and you know that you can always trust a recipe from Diana Henry.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made the salad of chipotle-griddled chicken with quinoa and lime crème fraiche (although, in the interests of full disclosure, I sometimes leave the chicken out which defeats the purpose slightly but the combination of quinoa, harissa roasted tomatoes and avocado is pretty tough to beat).


Five Quarters by Rachel Roddy – This book only just squeezed into this post as I’ve only had my copy since Sunday morning but within 12 hours of opening it, I’d already made two recipes (the tomatoes stuffed with rice and served with crispy matchstick potatoes (above) and my absolute favourite vegetable dish in the world of peas with bacon (below)). Everything about Rachel’s first book tells me that it’s going to be one that I will turn to time and time again. The recipes are simple in the way that the best Italian food is and the words and photographs transport me to a corner of Rome that I’ve never visited and make me long for a life that I’ve never had. It’s a keeper for sure.


(Links above are to amazon.co.uk for the sake of ease – I don’t earn anything from them. Apart from Erin’s book which was very kindly sent to me by the publisher, Fair Winds Press, I purchased all the others myself).

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37 Responses to "eating vegetables + some cookbooks"
  1. I love peeking into what cookbooks other people love at the moment! It’s always so hard to know which ones are going to be a favorite until you dig into them, but I’ve been eyeing Tara’s book for a while and I think you’ve convinced me to make the jump to get it! Also, I am so the same as you when it comes to cooking, baking I can do, but cooking just ends up being a disaster when I try to do it off the cuff : )

    • kathryn says:

      I’m so glad I’m not alone! It makes me feel such a failure at times but I’ve learnt it’s just way better to follow recipes as they’re written and let someone else do all the hard work for me! I think you’ll love Tara’s book too :)

  2. Cookbooks! I love them so freakin much. Tara’s book is high on my list, but I’ve been loving Sara and Hugh’s book since it came out. I just photographed my blog post for that one over the weekend, so I’m really excited to share about it on my blog. :-) And my CSA starts next week – I can’t wait!

    • kathryn says:

      Can’t wait to see you post on Sara and Hugh’s book. There’s so much that I want to cook out of it, I don’t even know where to start!

  3. Nicole says:

    I think I need to know more about this miso/butter burger situation!! I love this group of cookbooks you’ve gathered. I’m really bad with cookbooks. I usually buy them, read through every page and admire the photography and if I’m lucky I’ll make 2 things and then it will go to the bookshelf. This is inspiring me to go back to my collection!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Ooh, thanks for the great roundup of what you’re reading. I so easily getting into a rut with my savoury cooking, making the same things week after week despite all the cookbooks on my shelf. Perhaps some new additions are just what I need…any excuse for more!

  5. jones’ roasted feta is a dream! make it asap ;) enjoy your veg cooking!

  6. Abby says:

    Oh, I can’t believe I still haven’t purchased Tara’s book! It’s one I’ve had on my ‘to-buy’ list for so long… I’ll have to get on that immediately. <3

  7. Susan says:

    Love all those books, I follow the first 3 authors and really enjoy their perspective. Good choices!

  8. Erica says:

    I’ve been thinking of starting to buy some cookbooks and these are great recommendations. I actually bought my roommate Bowl + Spoon and was a little mad about having to give it away (guess I’ll just have to buy it again!!)

  9. I am so envious of all these new cookbooks! I’ve had my eye on Anna Jones’ book for ages – but frankly, I’d happily take all of these. I’m a cookbook junkie.

  10. We also have a veggie box coming to our door every week, at the beginning it was daunting, we never know the veggie that they’ll bring. We did not know how to use best some of them. It had taken us a few weeks to get used to experimenting with ingredients we were not accustomed to. We love it now!
    I am with you with Bowl + Spoon, it’s a great recipe book
    Thanks for the recipe :)

  11. Charlotte says:

    I am a cookbook addict too – I dedicate each week to a different cookbook and all the recipes we eat that week come out of it and that way you make sure you don’t just look at the beautiful pictures but actually get to try the fantastic food too! Currently working my way through Diana Henry and my hubbie and I raved about the same recipe you liked. On reading your post I’ve now ordered ‘Bowl and Spoon’ that’s been sat in my basket for the last month and added more books to the basket to buy in the future. Opps!

  12. Love this post, it was so great reading about all of the different cookbooks! I’m loving Bowl + Spoon (and My New Roots too!) And hooray for eating more veggies! Veggie-saurous over here ;). Plus I love that you and your man call yours doggy bowls, Scott and I call ours dog bowls too – hehe.

  13. What a post! I find so much inspiration in cookbooks and loved to read about your favorites. xx

  14. Great round-up!!! I love that you have made recipes from all of them and taken pictures. Many of these are on my to-buy list. I just know that once I buy one it’ll be a train wreck… I just can’t go near the cookbook section of any bookstore, anywhere.

  15. Marie says:

    Seasonal vegetables are really inspiring aren’t they? I love to just browse through the market stands and see how veggies change according to season. These days I am so excited with everything green !!
    I like your book review, it actually made me discover a few bloggers that are new to me (yay!) and I feel very inspired to get in the kitchen now…
    Have a lovely day !

  16. marie says:

    great selection! I am not vegetarian but having says that I am trying to cut down on my meats so this is inspiring !

    by the way I have a give away (4 tickets) on my blog for Taste of London event next week that might interest you :)


  17. Joanne says:

    I’ve been loving cooking a lot from cookbooks lately also and so many of these are on my LOVE list!!

  18. Alana says:

    This was such a lovely post and I’m so inspired to snatch up all the books!! That miso/butter tip is awesome. I def use a little butter but MISO!! Game changer. Also, I’d lovvveeeee to see some of your savory recipes! I bet they’re fab and will continue to be amazing now that you’ve got all these lovely books to supplement your skills!

  19. If I’m being totally honest, I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed by the greatest of new cookbooks in my kitchen right now! I love them all dearly, but need to give them each the time they deserve…baby steps ;) Love the round up, and can’t wait to see what else you’re making!

  20. Amanda Paa says:

    So many of these are on my wishlist, especially the new Sprouted Kitchen one and Tara’s. Everything you’ve pictured here looks wonderful. Those tomatoes stuffed in rice look like summer bliss.

    I wish I had the discipline to cook more from those already sitting on my shelf, trying to make that more of a practice this year! xo

  21. Yay for produce-heavy eating! There are so many cookbooks I want to buy. I’ve been loving Bowl + Spoon by Sara and Hugh, and though I don’t have Tara’s book yet, it’s been on my to buy list for forever. I love flipping through cookbooks- you really get a sense of someone’s style of cooking through their voice and it’s very relaxing to read about someone else’s approach to a certain ingredient or dish. Have you checked out Alice Water’s cookbooks? I keep seeing The Art of Simple Food I and II around and all her recipes seem very approachable.

  22. Great selection! Thank you for sharing with us. :D

  23. I’m trying to incorporate more veggies to my dinners, too – I just feel better overall when I do so. These pics are making me hungry!

  24. Ceri says:

    This is the way I’ve been moving the last year of so. All hail the vegetables! (but I simply can’t be without a bit of meat – I think it grounds me). I’ve been looking at Anna Jones’s book, so maybe I should just go ahead and buy it!

  25. I’m trying to find new ways to do more “vegg” friendly dinners without going hardcore-veggie, and not just limit it to basic boring salads. I’m checking these out. Thanks Kathryn.

  26. Renee Kemps says:

    Yeah! I love those cookbooks! And I love all of your bakings(:

  27. Kathryn, I can’t wait to get my hands on Rachel’s cookbook! There has been so many rave reviews about it, plus, you making 2 recipes in a span of 12 hours within receiving it says so much!

    Hope you’ve been well friend!

  28. Kathryn, we’re so on the same page. I’m leafing through many of the same books these days. Wow we are spoiled with all these wonderful cookbooks to choose from, aren’t we?
    I still need to check out A Bird in the Hand and 5 Quarters… thanks for these suggestions.
    I hope you’re well, my friend!

  29. Nora says:

    Thanks for these wonderful recommendations! I, too, am not a vegetarian but always prefer produce at the center of my plate. :)

  30. We have similar taste in cookbooks, as these are all on my wishlist! For a long time I have prided myself on the fact that I don’t use recipes for savory dishes (I do sometimes for baked goods), but I sure do have a lot of epic kitchen fails. Thankfully I have a husband who will eat just about anything (other than the soggy, salty tarragon dumplings I made once. Those went in the compost)! Every beautiful things you make for your blog comes off as effortless so I was surprised to see that you are not confident making the savory foods sometimes. Maybe we are too hard on ourselves when it comes to food standards? I sure have become more particular when I started food blogging.

  31. All look amazing! When it comes to vegetables, I’m pretty obsessed with Steven Satterfield’s Root to Leaf cookbook at the minute.

  32. Lauren says:

    My husband and I absolutely fell in love with the veggie kabobs with lentils and rice from Bowl & Spoon! The sauce is worth making alone and eating by the bowlful! And I love the photos, too!

  33. sara forte says:

    wow. Thanks for the sweet words. I am also really loving Tara and Anna’s books. There seemed to be some really lovely work that came out this past spring. I haven’t been cooking much but you inspired me to dig in further. Your pictures are so great and refreshing to look at. Thanks again xo

  34. the Tartine cookbook is wonderful too. definitely check that one out ;)

  35. Erika says:

    This is such a fantastic roundup! Also, I’m geeking out at the fact that Sara left you a comment on your post. Your pictures ARE great and refreshing!! I’m so looking forward to checking out these cookbooks–that lemon-roasted feta and tomato salad form A Modern Way to Eat is something that will be on my table STAT.

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