Salads are where the magic happens, especially for vegetarians, in Ripe Recipes – A Fresh Batch, Angela Redfern’s follow-up to Ripe Recipes. From Thai-inspired Marinated Mushroom Larb Salad to the vibrant Ripe Red Quinoa Salad, which is nourishingly bursting with colour, there’s plenty of culinary creativity on show.
It’s not a vegetarian cookbook, and it would be best-suited for a mixed vegetarian and omnivore household. But Ripe is about fresh, whole foods and with more than 80 of the 140 recipes suitable for vegetarians (including sweets, dressings and preserves) there’s a lot for vegetarians and vegans to love.
The cookbook is also an excellent advertisement for the Auckland-based deli. Not only does it show off the food; it goes a long way towards capturing the spirit of the place. The photographs are portraits of staff and salads alike, shot close and given extra magic by the hand-drawn illustrations that dance across the pages.
Chapters include Mexican Day, Friday Pie Day and Christmas in addition to more traditional chapters for salads, lunches and puddings. There’s a carefully curated feel to the selection, again reinforcing this cookbook as an extension of the deli and its culture.
We prepared the Ripe Red Quinoa Salad (the broad bean not edamame version) and it was a texturally varied, nutritious and filling packed lunch. The creamy broad beans were a nice partner to the sweet beetroot and tart mustard and balsamic dressing. I must confess, I substituted dried cranberries for the goji berries, no doubt dismantling some of the nutritional value.
Other recipe highlights added to our must-try list, include Raw Broccoli, Cranberry and Pine Nut salad (whip up a vegan mayonnaise for this one to turn it vegan), the impressively elaborate Chaat Masala Potato Salad (a good one for entertaining) and – next time I score a glut of zucchini – Mother-In-Law’s Pickle.
And, being winter, I had to whip up a pot of the Smoky Chipotle and Black Bean Soup. This perfectly seasoned, Mexican vegetable extravaganza is a must for winter. It warms you up not just through temperature alone, but the smokiness of chipotle and smoked paprika are just such warming, comforting flavours. Get your hands on this cookbook and serve up steaming ladlefuls of this bean soup with torn chunks of ciabatta, a blanket over your knees and a roaring fire in the fireplace.