The Plantiful Plate: Vegan Recipes from the Yommme Kitchen
“Let’s face it, it can be hard to choose to eat ‘healthy’ when so many options may seem more appealing, cheaper, and more convenient—but often also more harmful and wasteful.”
Christine Wong is the latest vegan culinarian to gift us with a beautiful cookbook. The Plantiful Plate is not only appealing with stunning photography of kale, cabbages, eggplants, and cakes but it is educational and informative. For several years Wong has maintained a website, The Yommme Kitchen, as a platform to coach her followers about the benefits of being a “conscious” individual both in and out of the kitchen. As she states in the introduction, her goal is to instruct her readers how to create healthy and nutritious foods that benefit the planet as well as our own selves.
In the introduction of The Plantiful Plate, Wong shares her ideas, philosophy and way of eating. She advocates nourishing oneself with a variety of plants and eliminating meat and dairy from one’s diet. Being healthy translates into meals that have lots of vegetables balanced with plant-based proteins.
Wong is aware of practices that impact on the environment and climate change. She encourages her readers to become eco-conscious and to follow guidelines that will aid in protecting the environment. She uses her stage to advocate a plastic-free society. “Plastic has negatively impacted almost 700 species, including 60 percent of all sea birds and 100 percent of sea turtles, who mistake plastics for food.” She is concerned not only with the health of the planet, but also with the health of the human species. Wong’s journey encompasses inspiring others to join her in “eating our way into a better, and cleaner, world.”
The Plantiful Plate is filled with 80 vibrant recipes brimming with the colors of the rainbow. The author distinguishes her writings in a variety of ways. The contents of the cookbook are divided into five sections beginning with Start, Sips, Snacks, Savory, and ending with Sweets. The reader is always in control of the ingredients as the recipes offer a multitude of combinations. Each recipe offers countless variations giving the cook the freedom to personalize the process.
The Start chapter, breakfast, includes the traditional tofu scramble and tofu frittata that replace the egg dishes in a non-vegan cookbook. She forges ahead with sweet breakfast options such as a kiwi chia pudding made with one’s own “cashewyurt” and granola. The granola is moved up a notch by including coconut, sunflower seeds, and ginger. Instead of a traditional breakfast oatmeal, the whole grain porridge is made with millet, a grain that can benefit digestion. She offers a twist on a bagel with lox by creating a vegan alternative with carrots which remarkably brings one to imagine they are eating the real deal.
From vegan cheese to carrot red lentil hummus our taste buds are aroused. The savory dishes are unique. There is always a twist and turn to Wong’s creations. The gazpacho with the addition of watermelon and zucchini is refreshing and becomes a revitalizing tonic on a warm afternoon. Sandwiches are made with roasted butternut squash, artichoke hearts and harissa which produces a nutty, smoky and spicy component. The chutney can be served with either spicy or sweet dishes.
Veggie burgers from the freezer aisle are a thing of the past because Christine Wong has invented the Italian-o-burger. One of the author’s most inventive recipes is in honor of the movie Ratatouille. Known as Ratatouille’s ratatouille, it was created after Wong saw the movie of the same name. Remy’s ratatouille is a beautifully layered creation that Wong replicates echoing the theme of the movie “anyone can cook.”
Christine Wong has saved the best for last in her Sweets chapter. Most vegan cooks know that frozen bananas are the path to ice cream. Here vegan ice cream is offered with cashews, pecans, dates and maple syrup. Called “nice cream” these ingredients produce a luscious and not too sweet ending to a meal. Her dairy-free cheesecake is smooth and decadent. The lemon flavoring adds just enough tart to offset the sweet.
The Plantiful Plate is a joy to cook from. The creative recipes and photographs are inspiring. Each page offers another recipe waiting to be the evening’s next meal. It will be a challenge to choose which delicious dish to tackle. This cookbook awaits your personal touch and the love that will be infused into the ingredients.
Christine Wong acknowledges how difficult it can be to eat consciously. “Let’s face it, it can be hard to choose to eat ‘healthy’ when so many options may seem more appealing, cheaper, and more convenient—but often also more harmful and wasteful.”