The FBC Cook Lively! cookbook review!

FBC Member Spring Cookbook Releases | Food Bloggers of Canada

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Cook Lively! 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin, and Vibrant Living – Using 10 Ingredients or Less is written by Laura-Jane Koers, author of the popular vegan blog, The Rawtarian.

Her recipes are based on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains that make satisfying meals with no extra fuss that can be incorporated into any meal plan. In the Introduction chapter, Laura-Jane writes about her experience of how she changed her relationship with food by switching to a plant-based diet, which significantly improved her health. It didn’t happen overnight, but one meal at a time.

Table of Contents

The first chapter, First Steps on the Path to Vibrant Health, includes sections on Learning to Eat Well, Getting Comfortable in the Kitchen, Stocking Your Pantry, Ingredients at a Glance, Gearing up, About the Recipes, Sample Weekly Meal Plan and Grocery List for the Sample Weekly Meal Plan.

When I received this cookbook to review, I thought I had to go and buy all kinds of different ingredients to test the recipes. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry.

The 100 plant-based recipes are spread throughout the following chapters:

  • First Sip of the Day
  • Morning Eats
  • Salads and Soups
  • Appetizers and Sides
  • Five O’Clock Rush
  • Desserts After Dark
  • Midnight Snacks
  • Simple Staples

There’s also a Grain, Lentil & Sprout Guide and a chapter on Metric Conversions.


The layout of the 100 plant-based recipes is easy to follow. The recipes are preceded by a headnote with the ingredients listed on the left and instructions on the right, and also include Fresh Tips and Nutritional Information, which I think is always a bonus. Some recipes include instructions for using the oven and the dehydrator, if you have one and prefer to use it. Beautiful, colour photos are spread throughout the cookbook.

Sample recipes include:

  • Easy Green Smoothie, Banana Chocolate Shake, Tea-Free Iced Teas
  • Baked Apple Breakfast Cake, Sunny Granola, Fluffy Quinoa Bowl
  • Asian Grain Salad, Classic Caesar Salad, Eggless Egg Salad, Fresh Tomato Soup
  • Zucchini Nuggets, Spiced-Right Yam Wedges, Flax Wraps
  • Plant-Protein Burgers, Nori Sushi Rolls, Lentil Loaf
  • Addictive Banana Cream Pie, Rich Strawberry Cheesecake, Alaskan Apple Pie
  • Chocolate Donut Holes, Chocolate Frosty, Golden Baked Bananas

The Simple Staples chapter lists recipes for everyday staples that you can make from scratch.

Tested Recipes

First Sip of the Day Chapter:

  • Forgiving Berry Cream Smoothie with Maple Syrup and Mixed Berries (Page 32)
  • Banana Cream Milkshake with Coconut Milk and Pure Vanilla Extract (Page 35)
  • Simple Chocolate Milk the Easy Way (Page 38)

I can’t eat first thing in the morning, so a shake or smoothie will satisfy me for a while. I made all three recipes using unsweetened almond milk I already had stocked in my pantry and loved the flavour of each one. Whenever I crave for chocolate in the afternoon, I now make Simple Chocolate Milk the Easy Way.

Salads & Soups Chapter

Sweet Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes and Chickpeas (Page 80)

This easy-to-make salad is made with only three ingredients. There’s the option of using either canned or cooked from dry chick peas. I made this salad for lunch one day and with the addition of the Asian Dressing (page 95) it was a delicious and satisfying meal.

Hummus Salad with Red Bell Peppers and Red Onions (Page 92)

Another quick-to-make salad that’s crunchy and creamy due to the celery and hummus, while the red bell pepper adds some sweetness. As this salad has the same texture as egg salad, I was tempted to eat it in a sandwich but chose to add it as a topping to a green salad as per one of the serving suggestions in the recipe. I loved the flavour and wanted more.

Five O’Clock Rush Chapter: Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado

Cookbook Corner: Cook Lively! by Laura-Jane Koers

At first, I was hesitant in trying this recipe. I do love pasta and pesto, but this recipe uses raw zucchini for pasta and pesto made with broccoli (you can substitute fresh basil), mushrooms and avocado. This combination of ingredients seemed a bit out-of-the-box for me but yet it gave me the opportunity to try something different. The recipe also gives you the option of using your favourite noodles, but I chose to use the zucchini so I could use my spiralizer (it was still in the box) for the first time.

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As with all the recipes in this cookbook, this recipe was quick and easy to make. My first time using the spiralizer was a success and using a blender, the pesto was a breeze. I still wasn’t sure whether I would like raw zucchini and the pesto. Well, the taste of the creamy texture of the pesto combined with the zucchini noodles tasted delicious. I’m glad I tried it. Since there’s no cooking required, this dish would be perfect for a hot summer’s day.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado
This creamy broccoli pesto sauce is truly noteworthy. The combination of avocado, broccoli, and mushrooms gives it a fluffy yet rich texture that’s beautiful to look at. Not a broccoli fan? Opt for a more traditional pesto flavor and use fresh chopped basil instead of the broccoli. Leftover pesto also makes a great sauce on Mediterranean Cauliflower Pizza (page 140). For added flavor and texture, garnish with hemp seeds, as seen here, or with Easy Cashew Parmesan (page 223).
Serves: 1½ cups sauce; noodles for 3 — 3 servings
  • 3 medium zucchinis (or 3 servings of your favorite noodles)
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli (or fresh basil)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Peel the zucchinis. Turn the zucchini into noodles by using a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler. (See the Spiralizer section of Gearing Up on page 22
  2. for details.) Set aside.
  3. To make the pesto, place all the pesto ingredients in your blender. Add ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Dry off the zucchini noodles if they have released any water.
  5. To assemble, in a large bowl, combine the noodles and sauce. Using tongs or 2 forks, toss gently until the sauce is well distributed over the noodles.
  6. Enjoy immediately.
Serving Size 3 - Per 221 g (8 oz) suggested serving | Calories 106 | Protein 4 g | Fat 7 g | Carbohydrates 11 g | Dietary Fiber 5 g | Sugars 4 g | Calcium 46 mg | Iron 1 mg | Sodium 219 mg | Vitamin C 55 mg | Riboflavin 0.3 mg | Vitamin B6 0.4 mg | Vitamin K 44 mpg

Serving Size 3 - Per 97 g (3 oz) suggested serving | Calories 85 | Protein 3 g | Fat 6 g | Carbohydrates 7 g | Dietary Fiber 4 g | Sugars 1 g | Calcium 26 mg | Iron 0.6 mg | Sodium 209 mg | Vitamin C 33 mg | Vitamin K 39 mcg

Bookshelf Worthy?

If you follow a plant-based diet, Cook Lively! is a cookbook you’ll want to own. The only raw vegetables my husband and I eat are salad ingredients. Reading through this cookbook made me realize the benefits of eating plant-based meals and encouraged me to incorporate them into our diet. I don’t think my whole meal plan will be plant-based, but I’ll take it one meal at a time.

Cook Lively! 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin and Vibrant Living – Using 10 Ingredients or Less
Author: Laura-Jane Koers
Softcover: 250 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press
ISBN: 978-0-7382-1967-7


Excerpted from Cook Lively! 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin, and Vibrant Living—Using 10 Ingredients or Less by Laura-Jane Koers. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

A review copy of Cook Lively was provided by Da Capo Lifelong Books.

The Cook Lively! cookbook review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and believes that every recipe tells a story that must be shared to nourish your soul and feed your belly. You can connect with Liliana on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.



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