You know when you climb into bed with a great cookbook and wind up equal parts ravenous (‘tho too lazy to get up and fix yourself something), inspired, and more than a little bit charmed? That was my experience with The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing by Emma Knight (with Hana James, Deeva Green and Lee Reitlelman), and I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll be the same for many of you too. It’s the first book from the creators of Toronto’s wildly popular cold-pressed juicery, The Greenhouse Juice Co., and features 100 plant-based, gluten-free meals and drinks that promise to nourish and energize with nutrient-dense delicious goodness anyone can make and adapt (vegetarians and omnivores alike). Penguin Canada was kind enough to send me a copy and allow me to share one of my favourite recipes from the book, the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Dinosaur Kale.
Doesn’t that look good? I’m making me hungry! (Ha!) Wait ’til you see the picture from the book.
Plantiful, uncomplicated breakfasts, lunches and dinners are all here, along with the co’s much-lauded juices, smoothies, nut milks, tonics and cleanses. The authors have also included an A to Z list of their favourite plants to eat and juice and why they’re so good for you. And those new to juicing like me will appreciate the guide to the various equipment involved (cold presses, masticating and slow juicers, centrifugal juicers and blenders) and the pros and cons of each. We have a juicer my mother-in-law won at a golf tournament years ago but it’s since been recalled so I’ve been using the blender and straining the juice through a sieve. Which is kind of a pain but does the trick.
I love The Misfit juice to rehydrate after a workout, ‘tho it’s also apparently amazing for righting the damage after a bender. The mix of celery, red grape and lime juice is bright and so refreshing. And the Jobim smoothie (named for Antônio Carlos Jobim, the late boss nova superstar) is right up my alley too with its blend of OJ, non-dairy milk (I haven’t tried making my own yet so I just use my favourite coconut bevvie from the grocery store), banana, hemp seeds and protein powder and brilliant after a workout. “Lots of protein, a hit of vitamin C, some fibre and some healthy fats, and off you go.”
The start-up created by a “motley band of siblings, couples, best-friend’s-little-sisters and so on” has become an incredible success in the three years since it opened, expanding to several stand-alone locations in the GTA and pop-ups within other venues, with more to come. Despite its meteoric rise, its approach to juicing (and indeed, healthy eating) is very down-to-earth.
“While technically you could call us professional juicers (now that we have a juice company and everything), we still prefer to describe our juice-related activities — and those we espouse — with the made-up term, “recreational juicing.” We define this approach as drinking juice whenever the mood strikes, because it tastes good, because it makes you feel good and because it’s good for you — not because you’re a born-again health fanatic who has sworn off solids and who flosses with kimchi … Juice devotees though we are, we’re also strong believers in eating. We do it all the time. Eating is one of the most enjoyable activities on the planet; it should not take a back seat to juicing and feeling smug.”
The authors invite readers to adapt the recipes to suit their lifestyles and preferences. “Add sharp slices of pecorino to the Pea Shoot and Asparagus Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts, pile some buffalo mozzarella on top of your Socca with Walnut Pesto and Arugula … and spread the Warm Beet Hummus and Roasted Eggplant Dip on the fluffiest pita you can find.” They want readers of all proclivities to use and enjoy the book and benefit from all of the — well, benefits — that plant-based eating provides.
If you’re looking for new ways with veggies, The Greenhouse Cookbook is packed with all kinds of delicious recipes to savour and sip. It’s a pleasure to cook from, charming to read, and a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the tummy.
Now for that soup! (There might be a little something else too.)
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Dinosaur Kale
Makes 4 to 6 bowls
This is a hearty, restorative soup for a cold night. White beans are an excellent source of fibre and protein. We use dinosaur kale, which is also sometimes known as lacinato or black kale, because we like how its coarse texture stands up to the soup; if you can’t find dinosaur kale, you can replace it with another kind of kale or with another leafy green, such as collards or chard. Serve with a green salad and a thick slice of bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.
5 tablespoons virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped into thin rounds
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
5 cups filtered water or vegetable broth
4 cups cooked white beans (cannellini, great northern or navy beans)
1 bunch dinosaur kale, chopped into ribbons (about 3 cups)
Up to 4¼ teaspoons sea salt, divided
Up to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar, divided
2 sprigs flat-leaf or curly parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large pot, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions for about 7 minutes, until fragrant and beginning to soften, then add the carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the celery, garlic and 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the garlic is golden and fragrant.
Add the bay leaves and water or broth to the pot, along with the white beans and kale. If you are using water, stir in the salt and several grinds of black pepper to taste; use less or no salt if you are using broth. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, coat the cherry tomatoes in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Spread the tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, checking on them after 10 minutes and shifting them around with a wooden spoon or spatula. The tomatoes are ready once they are shrivelled and dark red.
When you are ready to serve your soup, remove the bay leaves from the pot and stir in the roasted tomatoes, along with the remaining 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and an extra grind or two of fresh black pepper. Garnish with a few leaves of parsley and serve. This soup lasts for several days in the fridge; sometimes it tastes even better on the second and third days.
Excerpted from The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant Based Eating and DIY Juicing by Emma Knight with Hana James, Deeva Green and Lee Reitelman. Photography by Elena Mari and Nathan Legiehn. Copyright © 2017 by Greenhouse Juice Company. Published by Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Yes! Thanks to Penguin Canada, one lucky reader will win a copy of The Greenhouse Cookbook. To enter to win, tell me one of your favourite plant-based recipes in the comments below. (This entry is mandatory.)
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The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 12, 2017. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another will be selected.
Update May 14, 2017: Congratulations to Erica M!
Cover image shared with permission from the publisher. Penguin Canada sent me a copy of The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing in exchange for an honest review.