June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month and today is Eat Your Vegetables Day! To celebrate I’ve pulled together some of my favorite cookbooks that feature vegetables and some veggie-tainment to keep you occupied while you chow down on the deliciousness you prepared. Checkout this recipe from Alton Brown to get you started! It is one of the most delicious ways I know to eat your entire day’s worth of vegetables in one sitting.
There are few cuisines as well-versed in the use of vegetables as Indian. Whether it is saag paneer (spinach with Indian cheese) or aloo gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) Indian vegetable dishes never fail to satisfy. If just talking about Indian food is getting you as hungry as it is me then be sure to check out India: the Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant. With great recipes for the aforementioned dishes as well as for dishes less well-known in the States like puragayalu pulussu (mixed vegetable curry), this tome attempts to cover the amazing breadth of Indian cuisine in 1000 recipes and it does a pretty good job. Most of the recipes are accessible for an American cook although some might require a trip to your local Indian grocer. To go along with these Indian delights I suggest The Lunchbox, a delightful tale of the way food can bring people together even through the busy streets of Mumbai.
If French cuisine is more your speed but you have always been too intimidated to try your hand at it, then I’d recommend Essential Pépin. With more than 700 recipes from Jacques Pépin this volume covers all aspects of French cuisine including their delicious takes on vegetables. Pépin explains the techniques that French chefs use in simple to understand language. Mushrooms en papilote, one of my favorite recipes from Pépin, couldn’t be simpler. If you love French cuisine be sure to check out The Hundred-Foot Journey, the story of a clash of cultures when a family from India opens an eatery across the road from Madame Mallory’s Michelin starred restaurants. I would suggest a pairing of The Hundred-Foot Journey with any of the delicious vegetable recipes from Pépin that way you can discover along with the Madame Mallory that French cuisine doesn’t have to be fussy to be tasty.
Are you struggling to get your kids to eat their vegetables? Than it is time to check out Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford. While the book was designed for parents packing kids lunches, the smaller portion sizes and creative recipes are great for kids any time of the day. From the Sweetie Pie Quesadilla featuring sweet potatoes and black beans to the delicious sounding Kale Parmesan Chips this book has a ton of fun recipes to entice your kid’s or your palates. If ever there was a movie to make cooking and specifically cooking vegetables cool for kids it was Ratatouille. You could even steal the ratatouille recipe from Pépin’s book to make this a truly thematic night.
So go forth and eat your vegetables!