I had been looking forward to the launch of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook since Derek Sarno’s plant-based diet speech at The Extinction and Livestock Conference last year. His passion for plant-based food is contagious and he left us bedazzled with scrumptious pictures of his food. Flipping through this new cookbook, my mouth watering at all the delicious recipes, I am glad that the wait is finally over.
The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is written by American chefs Derek and Chad Sarno. It has been a very busy year so far for the two brothers.
Chad Sarno is the Head of Culinary at Good Catch Foods, whose mission is to offer plant-based ‘seafood without the sacrifice’ and is co-author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook Crazy Sexy Kitchen.
Derek Sarno is the Chef-Director of Plant Based Innovation at Tesco and together the brothers launched their Wicked Kitchen range of meals, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and wraps through the retail giant this January. The launch sent the vegan world into a frenzy that is yet to abate as Wicked Kitchen has already sold 2.5 million vegan meals this year. In recent weeks, Derek hit the headlines yet again when he introduced a plant-based steak to Tesco’s shelves. Almost 40,000 Vivera steaks were sold within the first few days.
Self-confessed plant-pushers rather than meat-shamers, Chad and Derek Sarno have, in The Wicked Healthy Cookbook, put together an extensive and varied collection of 129 plant-based recipes featuring everything from barbecuing to entertaining to everyday meals.
Wicked Healthy’s overall food philosophy is simple: shoot for 80% healthy and 20% wicked and you’ll be 100% sexy.
After a foreword from Woody Harrelson, the cookbook opens with an introduction to Derek and Chad’s journey and philosophy. One section that truly resonates with me is The Conscious Cook’s Mind-Set, as becoming more conscious about my food choices was the reason why I started The Flexitarian blog. Reconnecting with the food we eat and moving away from all the processed junk is key to our health. Understanding the impact of what we put on our plates in terms of seasonality, food waste and compassion to animals is essential to creating a better and fairer food system for the next generations. Small or big, we all have a role to play and this is why food is so powerful.
Derek and Chad are mushroom afficionados and fungi feature prominently in the book. Yet they are taken to a whole new level to give a new vegan dimensions to meat and fish classics.
Derek and Chad have kindly agreed to share their King Satay with Spicy Peanut-Ginger Sauce recipe below (click on the picture for the full recipe).The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is organised along the following sections:
- First Bites (dips, toasts, crostinis, poutine, king oyster scallops, dumplings etc..)
- Handhelds (sourdough pizzas, jackfruit tacos, samurai burger, jackfruit sliders, banh mi, lobster roll etc…)
- Bowls (soups, buddha bowl, grain bowls, roasted cauliflower fagioli, oatmeal bowls etc..)
- Straight-up Vegetables (cauliflower ribs, sweet potato gratin, grilled aubergine tenderloins, niçoise salad with homemade plant-based eggs etc..)
- Comfort Food (pastas and risottos, food bars and shareable platters etc..)
- Nature’s Candy (gelatos, plant-based meringue, cheesecake, brownies etc ..)
- Healthy Juices & Cocktails
- Sauces & Basics (plant-based cheese sauce, mayo, BBQ sauce, salsas etc..)
The cuisines and flavours are varied, ranging from American, Mexican and Asian to Italian and French, to name a few. The recipes are very cleverly designed to entice both carnivores and plant-based eaters.
While the recipes are clearly explained and easy to follow, this is probably not a cookbook I would recommend for beginner cooks. The UK edition is the same as the US edition so you will need to convert cups and ounces into metric. Some of the ingredients refer to American brands which you need to adapt. For the mushroom recipes, they are quite a few species that you will have problems finding but then again you could always substitute them. Therefore I feel The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is better suited to intermediate or experienced cooks.
Eating more plants is one of the easiest and healthiest decisions you can make for your diet. The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is a true testament to how exciting and delicious plant-based cooking can be. There are some real gems in there which should keep you busy for months to come.
If you fancy a chance to win a copy of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook, make sure you enter in the competition below. Good luck!
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