I have never been a fan of leafy greens. They’re awkward to eat and all I’ve ever really done with an iceberg wedge is chop it to death until I can call it “chopped” salad. Sad, right? Well, this next title puts my inept attempts at trying leafy greens to shame. The Book of Greens by Jenn Louis with Kathleen Squires is a hearty tome in size and in knowledge about the nearly forty varieties of “leafy greens” that are out there.
I should preface that this book is funny. Drop, dead, hilarious. Inside the front cover is a note to the reader about how this book is a “love letter” written in encyclopedia style, but so much love and knowledge about how travel from the “three-green rut” of standard green veggies like cabbage, kale, and lettuce, into this cornucopia of green possibilities.
One of the best things I like about this book is the recipe list at the front. It’s broken down into: starters and snacks, salads and sides, soups, fish and seafoods, pasta/grains/dumplings, meaty mains, drinks and sweets, veggie mains, and basics (aka croutons, my one true love, and quick add-ons like vinaigrettes and sauces. If this quick peek at the kinds of dishes inside this book don’t peak your interest just a little, I promise the recipes inside are just as varied as the list above. There are 175 different kinds of things to try with leafy greens. Some of the most interesting ones that peaked my own interest were: Lettuce and Carrot Cake, Radish Green & Mango Smoothie with Curry and Yogurt, and Sake-Braised Chinese Celery.
There’s a seasonal chart in the book if you’re curious which greens are “in season,” as in, these are probably the ones that are the least expensive and readily available at your grocery store (so look for those and the recipes with them before you splurge for a new kind of leafy green that may only be regularly available (and at a more reasonable cost) during a different time of the year). There’s also a “Bowls 101,” where you can basically turn any leafy green into a complete meal with the proper base + texture + protein, etc. Bowls seem to be all the rage (I did another review on a book just about bowls recently! Search it in my previous posts).
Now for the recipes! Not every one has a picture (which is kinda a bummer in my opinion, but I recently learned this is publishing tactic that helps keep costs down for both the publisher and the reader, so I can appreciate that). Each leafy green does get its own feature though, and what’s really cool is that each leafy’s introduction describes its origin, how to keep it fresh, and the best way to clean/pair/and cook it.
There are a bunch of “interruptions,” if you will, where the authors bring up little asides about things to do with dishes. Under Broccoli Rabe, there’s a whole part about pesto and how to create nearly ten different kinds of varieties of pesto. This is probably one of the easiest “dressings” or add-ons to a meal, as it transforms regular pasta, fish, you name it, into a more dressed-up version, delicious meal.
The photographs of the dishes included in the book are stunning. Vibrant in color and literally oozing with flavor off the pages. So that’s The Book of Greens. I hope I’ve made you as excited as I am about expanding your green palette from lettuce and kale to a whole word of green possibilities.
Score Card: Cover Art 5/5 | Content 5/5 | Ease of Read 5/5
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher, but all thoughts are my honest opinion after reading it.