Sometimes it’s hard not to judge a book (and only a book!) by it’s cover. The cover of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook packs a punch: a cleaver is front and center, covered in droplets of red…beet juice! Below the knife is the bold proclamation: “Free. From. Animals.” You can almost hear the knife slicing through the beet, juice splattering on the chef’s apron. This cover immediately tells readers that renowned chefs and New England natives, Chad and Derek Sarno, are re-inventing what it means to create filling, healthful, and mouth-watering dishes—made entirely from plants. They call themselves plant-pushers, and when you’re with the book, you’ll be ready to head to the farmer’s market. Collaborating with award-winning cookbook writer Dave Joachim, Chad and Derek Sarno convey a simple but life-changing message: eating plant-based is the future of food, and it’s sexy, too.
The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: Free. From. Animals. begins with a warm recommendation from actor Woody Harrelson, for whom Chad cooked for several years as a personal chef. With Harrelson’s recommendation in hand, we learn a little bit about Chad and Derek. Each goes into their personal journey to the kitchen, fostered by their mother and their nana’s adventurous and love-filled approach to cooking. From there, Chad and Derek went on their separate journeys. Chad began his plant-based journey early on, working in kitchens around the country. Eventually, his journey led him to the position of Executive Chef of SAF Restaurants, and as the Senior Culinary Educator, Global Healthy Eating Coordinator and Media Spokesperson for Whole Foods Markets’ Healthy Eat program. Derek began working in kitchens after culinary school, and currently serves as the Director of Plant-Based Innovation at Tesco, and was formerly the Senior Global Executive Chef for Whole Foods Market.
Simply put, these guys know food. And their journeys have led them to the same path: the Wicked Healthy path.
In the cookbook’s introductory chapter, Time to Get Wicked Healthy, Derek and Chad dive into what the Wicked Healthy path means to them. The breakdown is simple: eat 80% Healthy, 20% Wicked, and you’ll be 100% Sexy. For the Sarno brothers, it’s all about putting fresh, healthful, and nutrient-rich food into our bodies—instead of processed foods—but never, and they mean never, at the expense of taste. The Wicked Healthy path is about finding what works for you and finding joy in cooking and eating. Scattered throughout these pages are quotations from doctors and experts from the plant-based eating world, encouraging us all to put plants on our plates.
The cookbook is organized in an approachable and clear way, with language that is conversational, engaging, and quirky. Before diving into their jaw-dropping, flavor-filled recipes, the brothers introduce techniques and tips for success in the kitchen in the sections What to Keep on Hand, The Conscious Cook’s Mindset, and the candid, straight-shooting section, Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to Taste Like Shit. In each section, Chad and Derek weave through the ins and outs of organizing your kitchen, staple ingredients to buy (and a couple fancy ones), and helpful kitchen equipment to have at the ready. In the back of the book, you’ll find a breakdown of recipes, organized by special diets, such as gluten-free, raw(ish), whole-food, no-added-sugar, soy-free, and no-oil. In short, no matter your diet, there’s a recipe in here for you!
What makes The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: Free. From. Animals. truly shine is the incredible variety of recipes: from a Forest Miso Soup soup for when you’re feeling under the weather; to a melt-in-your-mouth Mac & Cheese bar for parties; to a cleansing Iron Man Juice. The book is divided up into the following sections: First Bites, featuring recipes such as Ninja Nuts; Handhelds, filled with to-die-for pizzas and tacos; Bowls, with a notable Stir-Fried Farro Fawcett; Straight-Up Vegetables, which includes veggies like you’ve never seem ‘em before (Brussels Nachos, Grilled Eggplant Tenderloins!); Comfort Food, filled with many Italian classics with plant-based innovations; and Nature’s Candy, featuring fruit and desserts like Drunken Berries with Amaretto Gelato and Brûléed Pineapple. And the photos of these recipes, taken by Eva Kosmas Flores, are a feast for the eyes; be careful not to drool on these gorgeous pages!
Each recipe page includes an fun and inviting introduction from Chad or Derek, an ingredient recipe list, equipped with tips like where to find certain ingredients (recommended brands, markets, etc.), and easy-to-follow directions. Several recipes offer in-depth pro tips from the chefs, as well as options to spice up, dial down, or substitute ingredients in each recipe. Many build upon staple recipes such as Nana Sarno’s Red Sauce and Wicked Healthy Cheese Sauce that you’ll find in the section Sauces and Basics.
The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: Free. From. Animals. is for all cooks and food lovers. You can be a long-time vegan and discover incredibly innovative and exciting twists on meals you thought you knew how to make. Or maybe you’re just beginning to incorporate more plant-based meals into your life, and craving more meat-like dishes (hello, Lion’s Mane Steaks!). Some of these dishes are more elaborate than others, to be sure; even still, no matter the difficulty level, Chad and Derek guide you to success. And they let you know when a recipe will be more “cheffy.”
Tal Ronnen makes a guest appearance, as does another Sarno brother, Darren, a long-time bartender whose concoctions, featured in the Wicked Healthy Juices and Cocktails section, make you want to host a cocktail party right then and there. Shout-outs to follow vegetable-innovators, renowned chefs, family, and friends abound—Chad and Derek extend gratitude and love for all who have helped them along the way. Above all, there’s no doubt that you can taste this love and gratitude in every bite.
SPICY COCONUT–CORN CRACK RECIPE
The following recipe excerpted from the book THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. Copyright © 2018 by Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.
Photo by: Eva Kosmas Flores
SPICY COCONUT–CORN CRACK
Ginger, chiles, mint, and an intense corncob broth create this creamy bowl of spicy, corny
coconut crack. I served it to the executive board at Whole Foods Market, and it was one of
their all-time favorites. We rolled out a version of it nationally in the prepared foods section
at Whole Foods Markets, and eventually, it became one of the most popular Healthy Hits. It
has no added oils, no added sugars, and minimal salt, and it still kicks ass. —Derek
SERVES 6 TO 8 AS A SIDE, OR 4 TO 6 AS A MEAL WITH A SALAD
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½ -inch pieces
¼ cup garlic cloves (8 to 12 cloves), each halved
1 large white onion, diced
2 cups vegetable stock [or Coconut Corn Broth recipe in book page 283 or Vegetable Stock recipe in book page 284]
2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen corn (or corn kernels from the Coconut Corn Broth)
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon fresh grated or micro-minced ginger
1 bay leaf
2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
3 whole fresh Thai chiles, preferably red
1 tablespoon sesame oil, for garnish, optional
Put the potatoes and garlic in a medium saucepot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until the potatoes are tender enough for a fork to slide in and out easily, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Pick out the garlic pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, in another medium saucepot, saute the onion over medium heat with a splash of broth to prevent burning. Add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Add the reserved garlic pieces, 1 bag of the corn (about 2 ½ cups), and the coconut milk, pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and ginger. Bring back to a simmer, and simmer until the flavors blend, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes before blending. Use an immersion blender or stand blender and roughly blend this mixture into a creamy yet chunky consistency (if using a stand mixer, remove the center lid to allow steam to escape and cover the hole with a folded paper towel). You want to create a creamy base out of the corn, but it shouldn’t end up fully smooth.
Add the reserved potatoes, the remaining bag of corn (2 ½ cups), the bay leaf, and half the chopped mint. Bring slowly back to a simmer, stirring often. Discard the bay leaf before serving.
Garnish with the remaining chopped mint, whole chile peppers, and sesame oil (if using).
• For a smoky flavor, grill whole ears of corn instead of using frozen. Grill 3 medium ears of husked corn over medium heat until lightly browned all over, 5 to 6 minutes, turning frequently. Scrape the kernels from the cobs, then proceed with the recipe, adding half of the corn with the coconut milk and half along with the potatoes.
THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY
And without further adieu, it’s Giveaway Time!!
Note: This giveaway ends 9/5/18 at 12AM. The giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn. The information you enter is collected by Rafflecopter and viewed by me in order to facilitate this giveaway.
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