Book Review: Extraordinary Vegan

extraordinary vegan alan roettinger

Looking through Alan Roettinger’s latest cookbook Extraordinary Vegan, it’s clear he’s a true culinary pro who finds immense joy in cooking. The book’s mission is to make inspired vegan food accessible to anyone. For busy people concerned they may have to expend greater efforts in the kitchen – rest assured. Extraordinary Vegan proves that making everyday meals memorable is easy and enjoyable, and you’ll live better because of it.

Extraordinary Vegan welcomes you to the kitchen with global influences from Thailand to Peru and Catalonia.  You may be lured by sophisticated recipes like White Asparagus Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette or tempted by homier offerings such as Polenta with Peppers. In any case, the recipes are illustrative and straightforward.

Throughout the book, Roettinger encourages discernment, gently nudging you to invest more attention into your ingredients. For example, use basmati rice over other varieties, because it makes a carrot-cardamom rice dish more fragrant.  Opt for an exquisite ruby port in a fig jam recipe to greatly enhance the final dish. Use a spice like Aleppo pepper instead of cayenne with sauteed spinach.

You’ll be rewarded. These relatively small efforts don’t just elevate recipes, but your relationship to cooking and enjoyment of food.

What I also love about Extraordinary Vegan are the surprising and unique flavor combinations.  A Thai curry paste informs an edamame salad.  A green juice is enlivened by ingredients like mint leaves and matcha. An essene bread is packed with quinoa, nuts and seeds.

Roettinger also offers ‘fundamentals’ which he introduces in the first chapter. These include things like roasted peppers and preserved lemons, indispensable pantry items that add both ease and potent flavors to recipes.

Rarely do I try a new cookbook and have all the recipes work out. (With the number of vegan cookbooks being released these days, there are inevitably some that are rushed to publication without being sufficiently tested). However, every recipe I made from Extraordinary Vegan was clear, well-written and came together perfectly on the first take.

The Green Garbanzo and Fresh Kale Soup was incredibly fresh-tasting and delicious. The Artichoke and Lentil Salad I enjoyed immensely.  The Romesco Sauce, a Catalonian spread, has become a staple for me. So many vegan cookbooks rely heavily on potatoes, baked flours and processed foods. Not Extraordinary Vegan. This is an energizing, fresh and whole foods-centric cookbook with several raw options, showcasing quality fruits and vegetables at their best. It’s no surprise Roettinger has enjoyed a long and successful career as a private chef for high-profile celebrities and politicians.

Roettinger’s deep appreciation for seasonality and quality ingredients makes Extraordinary Vegan an inspired and approachable way to cook at home. You’ll find there’s no reason why your own cooking can’t be extraordinary and every meal a celebration.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Sara! Not only do you write well, but you seem to have TOTALLY gotten what I’m trying to do with food (and my cookbooks). I’m following your blog now :-)

    • That’s so nice to hear. Thank you so much, Alan! Best of luck with the book. I’m really enjoying it and know many others will too!

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