The Casual Veggie cookbook, which will be available for purchase here at Killing Thyme on October 19th, 2015, is something you need to be excited about. No, really – it’s a must-have. For one, it’s a digital cookbook. This adds so much ease of use by putting 166 recipes right into the palm of your hand. Secondly, these are beautiful and do-able recipes whipped up by folks who love to cook. There is nothing intimidating or impossible here! 

Why a digital cookbook? Consider the practicality. Flipping through and following recipes on a tablet or cell phone is the way to go today. The table of contents contains links so you can jump ahead to recipes and internal linking makes navigating the 400+ pages a piece of cake – no thumbing through pages! You can also print the recipes if need be. Cookbooks are lovely to have as collectables (I collect them myself!), and they look great up on a kitchen shelf, but today, most people are finding themselves at the countertop with their electronic devices as opposed to a large obstruent book. I feel like a digital cookbook just makes sense; we are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl. 

Is this a Vegetarian cookbook? Nope, nope, nope. This cookbook is versatile; it caters to vegetarians and meat-lovers alike with recipes where the vegetable is always the star of the dish, but not necessarily the main ingredient. This concept is especially awesome for those like myself who enjoy meat but aim to incorporate more veggies into their lifestyle in a delicious and exciting way. If there is anything I’ve learned over the past few years it’s this: Vegetables are anything but boring. That’s why this cookbook is worth getting excited about. (And okay, because I’m in it! Har har.)

Why is The Casual Veggie cookbook a must-have? From beautiful bright beets to plump artichokes, 166 recipes have been included in this book and the goal is to inspire people on how to use up their produce – especially before it spoils. Let’s face it, we’re all full of good intentions on grocery day, but how many times have you found yourself standing in front of the refrigerator a week later thinking, “It’s a shame that kale might go bad, and I’m not quite sure what to do with that parsnip I was going to throw into that roast I never made” ? Many times, I’m sure. But don’t self-loathe! We’ve all been there; we’ve all  hung our heads in shame while tossing our once promising produce. As we’ve learned the hard way, good intentions aren’t always enough. Inspiration is important in the kitchen, and without it, the crisper can very easily turn into a grisly compost bin. This is why The Casual Veggie cookbook is so great – it will inspire.

I was over the moon when Mollie from Parsley and Pumpkins, the creator of this masterpiece, reached out to me and asked if I’d be into contributing some of my recipes. Choosing which veggie-based recipes to submit was a total blast. I really wanted to represent myself and my relationship with veggies properly while also offering readers something intriguing. Once I submitted my recipes, I became engrossed with finding out what some of the other contributors had submitted, and why. It turns out that they are just as thrilled as I am to give a nod to veggies, and they all seem to come from a place where veggies were once a dreaded necessity as opposed to a culinary adventure. Converts, unite!

See what some of the other contributors are stoked about…

Willow - TCVContributor: Willow Arlen from Will Cook For Friends
Recipe: English Pea Soup with Lemon Creme Fraiche
Star veggie: Peas
Peas are one of my favorite vegetables to eat fresh, just as nature made them, or tossed into a salad – but I rarely cook with them or transform them into something new. Except in the case of this soup, that is. It is hands-down one of my favorite summer soups, but it’s a recipe I only started making in the last couple of years, which is why I was so excited to share it in this book. Before, I never would have believed someone if they’d told me cooked and pureed peas could be this delicious – I mean, it sounds like baby food, right? But now I’m a total convert. I think that “I didn’t know this could taste so good,” moment is one of the most fun things about cooking, and especially cooking with vegetables. I wish I’d had a book like this filled with moments like that to inspire me when I was learning to cook!

Phoebe - TCVContributor: Phoebe Lapine from Feed Me Phoebe
Recipe: Green Goddess Avocado Toasts with Roasted Spring Vegetables
Star Veggie: Avocado
I know it’s a little basic at this point, but I just can’t quit avocado toast. I’ve made some truly impressive combinations with leftovers for my fridge, and this slightly more intentional version using tahini yogurt sauce and spring veggies, was one of my favorites. People don’t normally think to roast their Spring Farmer’s Market finds, but a little caramelization in the oven does wonders for sweet peas, radishes, and shallots. This recipe packs a lot of those healthy veggies into one dish, so I thought it would be perfect as a breakfast or lunch recipe for the cookbook!

Contributor: Kari Lund from Cooking Up Clean
Recipe: Squash and Cheddar Cheese Fondue
Star Veggie: Winter Squash
I’m a self-proclaimed squash hater and I know there are many others who think they hate squash too. Most people think of common preparations involving cubed chunks of squash and if that’s their only impression of squash, I understand why it may be hated depending on what their past experiences at family gatherings may have been (thinking of Great Aunt Gertie’s extra well-done squash cubes with poorly done seasoning for example). I created this recipe to prove to myself that I could like, even love, squash and I chose to include this recipe in The Casual Veggie Cookbook to illustrate that it can be used in a method that truly enhances a dish without overpowering it. In this case, the squash adds to the creaminess of the fondue as well as provides a hint of flavor and nutrients that would otherwise be absent. I promise there will be a few squash haters converted to the squash lovers camp after trying this one.

Farah - TCVContributor: Farah from The Cooking Jar
Recipe: Cauliflower au Gratin
Star Veggie: Cauliflower
While cauliflower gets much love in pizza crusts or as a substitute for rice, I feel an au gratin in a classic béchamel sauce needs some love too. And it’s one of the few things my carnivorous hubby will make special requests for, so that says something about getting someone to eat their veggies!

Liz - TCVContributor: Liz Martone from Pumpkin & Peanut Butter
Recipe: Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew “Ricotta”
Star Veggie: KALE
I chose this recipe mostly because of my love/hate relationship with kale. Welllll not exactly love/hate, I guess more love/meh relationship. I WISHED I could love kale. It’s like the superman of all veggies! But, alas, I just couldn’t jump on that kale bandwagon with my hands in the air…and then I tried this pizza. Ohhhmyyygoodnesss! I was inspired to make this pizza after devouring a similar dish at a restaurant in Sausalito, CA. The nutty pesto, the doughy crust, the creamy “ricotta”, and the crunchy, oh-so-crispy kale. It was the perfect bite! And it got me to absolutely LOVE kale. So if this pizza can make a kale-lover out of me, I’m sure it can do the same for you :)