Books

3 Vegetable-Powered Dinners From Jamie Oliver

February 20, 2020
Photo by David Loftus

Jamie Oliver has written a lot of cookbooks. There’s The Naked Chef, inspired by his breakout television show of the same name, which debuted in 1999. Location-focused ones, from America to Italy to Spain. Constraint-focused ones, like 15 minutes and 5 ingredients. And, most recently, Ultimate Veg.

While more and more vegetable-driven books also include meat (think Six Seasons and Ruffage), Oliver opts not to. Though he makes sure to clarify, “This book is not just for vegetarians.” Rather, it’s for anyone who wants to look at vegetables in a new way—as ingredients that can carry their own weight.

The result is a collection of recipes that focus on big flavor before anything else, with a lot of riffs along the way. Think: pulled mushroom sandwiches, cauliflower tikka masala, and sausage-less Scotch eggs. But what caught my eye most were all the colors—yellow and orange and red and so much green. The three recipes below will show you what I mean.

Angry Bean Salad

Angry, but in a good way. These tender green and yellow beans get a kick in the pants from fresh chiles, only to be mellowed out by milky mozzarella and juicy tomatoes. Add in your favorite loaf of bread and you have dinner.

Super Spinach Pancakes

Oliver pairs his spinach pancakes—which are ultra-thin, almost like crepes—with avocado and cottage cheese. But don’t let that stop you from using these as a blank slate for any breakfast-y dinner: Try chickpeas and feta, or fried eggs and salsa.

Greens Mac ‘n’ Cheese

This vibrant dish falls somewhere between macaroni and cheese and creamed greens, and we’re here for it. If you can’t find broccolini, as the recipe calls for, feel free to swap in broccoli—or, if you’re into its bitter flavor, broccoli rabe.

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

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