I don’t remember where I first heard about Terry Walters and her cookbooks Clean Food and Clean Start, but I know I was immediately intrigued by the idea of “clean food”. While these cookbooks aren’t marketed as vegan, the recipes I have looked at in Clean Start are totally free of animal products.
The book begins by introducing a clean diet, listing the benefits, essential kitchen tools and clean ingredients. It then lists some basics cooking techniques for grains, legumes, greens and stock. Then we get to the recipes, divided by season, which I think is fantastic for choosing recipes to match my CSA deliveries. Each seasonal section includes appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts.
I made the Chilled Chickpea, Tomatillo and Avocado Soup and the Green and Yellow Beans with Garlic and Herbs. The soup was such an interesting flavor combination, with ingredients that I never would have thought to combine. The avocado is actually cooked with the vegetables and chickpeas before pureeing and chilling. The soup tasted almost like a really interesting flavor of hummus, and if you didn’t know what the ingredients were you might not be able to pick them out. I reduced both the olive oil and avocado called for, and I don’t think it impacted the dish negatively. The soup was highlighted by lime juice, fresh basil, chives and cherry tomatoes, which kept it light and fresh.
The side dish was a basic saute, heating garlic and herbs in olive oil and tossing it with steamed beans. I loved the color of the beans, especially because I wouldn’t have gravitated toward the yellow beans on my own.
Now that I’ve dived into this book, I’m excited to try more recipes as the seasons change. Standouts for fall include Carrot Cashew Miso Spread, Red Lentil Soup with Turnip and Parsley, Cabbage Saute with Tart Cherries and Crisp Apples, Pan-Seared Tofu with Ginger Lime Glaze, and Pumpkin Spice Muffins made of teff flour, chickpea flour and almond meal.