Book Report: Plant Powered Families (+ Bonus Recipe!)


One of the things I love about this blog is the opportunity to connect with chefs, cookbook authors, and bloggers all over the world. I am a big fan of Dreena Burton of Plant Powered Kitchen and she recently released this great new book “Plant Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes.”  I got a copy and wow, I am really impressed!

This book is full of creative recipes that are geared toward families – Dreena has three girls. She takes the time to explain her personal story which is inspiring and then discusses how to involve kids in everything from shopping to recipe prep to discussions about food. This is super helpful since I find myself having these very same conversations not just with my husband and son but with people who ask about our lifestyle.

Dreena also outlines her pantry primer which is really basic – nothing crazy or surprising. In fact, when I started flipping through I noticed I had many of the ingredients on hand so that either means the book is super easy to follow or I have gotten really good at stocking up on basic ingredients. Both probably.

In addition to about 100 recipes, there is a whole section on challenges and solutions that plant based families have to deal with (well, all families, actually) including picky eaters, what to pack for lunch, and party ideas. It is nice to see some of the issues I have faced in print and Dreena offers some really great solutions. There is also a section on meal planning and batch cooking. This book is just as educational as it is delicious.

And finally, Dreena offers a list of FAQs which answer questions like, “What about protein, iron, and calcium?” and “What about soy?” because people still ask these questions.

As for the recipes, there are so many good ideas but I had to start somewhere. Here is how my day looked yesterday: chickpea omelet for breakfast, potato meets egg salad for lunch, a big salad with topped with seasoned polenta croutons and artichoke sunflower burgers for dinner, and peanut butter pudding and dreamy baked bananas for dessert. All delicious and all will become staples in my house for sure.

I have a whole stack of cookbooks and this one is staying at the top. I love the ease and clarity of the recipes, the color coded sections, and Dreena’s great ideas. Now just to tempt you to go out and buy it right away, I got permission from the publisher to reprint the artichoke sunflower burgers. They are super delicious! I love love love artichokes and never once thought about making burgers out of them. The combo of flavors is outstanding – the tang of the artichokes with the Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. I used cooked potatoes and oats to hold the burgers together. Make them today!

Artichoke Sunflower Burgers_PRINT

Artichoke Sunflower Burgers
Makes 5 patties

2 cups artichoke hearts (see note)
1 ½ loosely packed cups cooked and cooled brown rice or potatoes (see note)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ loosely packed cup fresh Italian parsley (see note)
1 tablespoon mild miso (ex: chickpea or brown rice)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ rounded teaspoon sea salt
1 medium clove garlic (see note)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup rolled oats

In a food processor, add and the artichoke hearts, rice, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, parsley, miso, Dijon mustard, sea salt, garlic, black pepper, and vinegar and puree. Once the mixture is coming together and a little sticky, add the oats and pulse through several times. Refrigerate for an hour if possible (it will make it easier to shape the patties).

After chilling, take out scoops of the mixture and form burgers in your hands. I scoop generously with an ice cream scoop, roughly 1/3- ½ cup for each.

To cook, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties for 5–7 minutes on the first side, and then another 3–5 minutes on the second side until a little golden. Serve with the fixings of your choice.

Artichokes Note: I use frozen artichokes from Trader Joe’s. I find the flavor and texture much better than canned, and they are more affordable as well. If using frozen, just allow the artichokes to thaw before pureeing.

Potato Note: Instead of leftover rice, you can use prebaked, leftover red or Yukon gold potatoes—but the technique is a little different than if you’re making the recipe with rice. Potatoes can become sticky and glutinous when pureed in a food processor. So, if using potatoes, first peel and roughly cube or chop 1 1/2 –1 ¾ cups. Then, follow the recipe directions but add the potatoes last, after pureeing in the oats. Simply pulse the potatoes until they are worked through the mixture and you can take a small amount and form into a ball in your hand. Do not over process.

Garlic Note: I’m conservative with the garlic for the kiddos, but you can use more if you like.

Fresh Herbs Note: Fresh parsley adds a nice flavor element to these burgers. If you don’t have it, you can substitute fresh basil. I wouldn’t substitute many other herbs, or use dried, though.

Reprinted with permission from Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton (BenBella Books, 2015). Photo by Nicole Axworthy.

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