Deliciously Diving into The Vegetable Eater

Deliciously Diving into The Vegetable Eater: A Culinary Cookbook Adventure
in Plant-Based Cooking

Article by Bobbie Kitto

Recipe included: Sheet Pan Cauliflower Marbella with Polenta

“The Vegetable Eater” is a comprehensive cookbook that celebrates the versatility of plant-based cooking. With a wide variety of recipes curated to highlight the delicious flavors and textures of vegetables, this cookbook offers a range of dishes for every palate and occasion.

From yummy salads and hearty soups to flavorful stir-fries and indulgent desserts, “The Vegetable Eater” showcases how vegetables can take center stage in every meal. Whether one is a seasoned cook looking to expand their culinary repertoire or a beginner eager to learn more about plant-based cuisine, this cookbook provides creative and inspiring recipes that excite taste buds and nourish bodies.

Chef Cara Mangini

Chef Cara Mangini has made her cookbook easy to use by giving the chapters titles we are all familiar with such as: Entrée-worthy salads, Soups, Chilies, Stews, Pizzas, Sandwiches, and even a desert section (Fudgy Secret-Ingredient Brownies anyone?). Chef also gives us a few lessons on how to clean and prepare our familiar and not so familiar ingredients. The Tips and Takeaways section found in each recipe will help the cook from getting into hot water when making the recipe for the first time.

Avocado Toast with Turmeric Nut-Seed Mix

The video presentation treats foodies to three different recipes that show the versatility for cooking with vegetables. First up on the video is Carrot Couscous Salad (pg. 36). Cara shows us how to get dinner on the table in a hurry with this one. Want something a little more substantial? Chef Mangini demonstrates a Sheet Pan Cauliflower Marbella with Polenta. (Don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of making polenta from scratch, Melissa’s Produce has a great ready made polenta that can sit in the pantry until needed.) The third recipe that was shown is Avocado Toast with Turmeric Nut-Seed Mix (pg.111). This recipe would be great anytime of the day or night.

Carrot Couscous Salad

Chef Cara Mangini is a renowned vegetable advocate, cookbook author, and the founder of Little Eater, a produce-inspired restaurant and food company based in Columbus, Ohio. With a strong passion for showcasing the beauty and versatility of vegetables, Cara has dedicated her career to promoting plant-based eating and celebrating the flavors of seasonal produce. Her innovative approach to cooking has garnered widespread praise and recognition, and her first cookbook, “The Vegetable Butcher,” received critical acclaim for its creative and accessible vegetable-centric recipes. With “The Vegetable Eater,” Cara continues to inspire home cooks to explore the world of plant-based cuisine and discover the joy of cooking with fresh, colorful ingredients.

“The Vegetable Eater” is a great tool to help families find new and innovative ways to introduce more healthful and delicious foods into their meal planning.  It will inspire the new cook and the seasoned veteran to try a new twist here and there on old favorites to make them more healthy and favorable. The recipes in this book will make even the most finicky eater a little more adventurous.

Try this tasty recipe compliments of the author.

Sheet Pan Cauliflower Marbella with Polenta

Sheet Pan Cauliflower

This sheet pan dinner is a modern take on The Silver Palate’s famous “Marbella” braise. Cauliflower and onion are layered with chile, olives, currants, capers, and oregano, then tossed with olive oil and sherry vinegar, sprinkled with brown sugar, and bathed in some white wine. The finished cauliflower, roasted and caramelized, is sweet, sour, and a little briny with just a hint of heat. It is a prize destined to be scooped over sheet pan–roasted polenta (or, really, any favorite grain).

BUTCHER TIP: See page 123 for how to cut cauliflower florets.

INGREDIENT INFO: If you would like to crisp the polenta slightly, use a spatula to turn over each round after 10 minutes in the oven. Broil it for 3 to 4 minutes until a light crust forms.


2 pounds cauliflower and/or Romanesco 1 medium yellow onion

1 serrano chile or jalapeño (optional) 3 large garlic cloves

½ cup pitted green olives, rinsed and drained

Heaping 1⁄3 cup dried currants 2 tablespoons drained capers 1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 bay leaves

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ cup dry white wine

Scant ¼ cup pine nuts


1 tube (about 18 ounces) polenta, cut into ½-inch rounds

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Fine sea salt

Manchego, Pecorino, or Parmesan cheese (optional)

1  Position one oven rack in the top position and one in the middle. Heat the oven to 450°F.

2  Make the cauliflower (and/or Romanesco). Place one sheet pan near your cutting board. (Transfer vegetables to it as you work.) Quarter the cauliflower lengthwise, from crown to stem end, then remove the core at an angle. Break apart the florets with your hands or a knife, then cut any large florets into 1¾-inch pieces. Chop the upper part of the core into bite-size pieces; discard the end if dry. Peel and thinly slice the onion and scatter over the cauliflower. If using the Serrano, stem and seed it, removing the white membranes, and mince it. Add it to the pan, distributing it evenly. Thinly slice the garlic, as thin as you can, and sprinkle it evenly over the pan.

3  Halve the olives and scatter them and the currants, capers, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaves over the vegetables in the pan. Drizzle the ¼ cup of oil over the top, then the sherry vinegar, and use your hands to toss and evenly coat everything in oil. Spread out all of the ingredients, lifting the onion and currants to the top as much as possible in places (but don’t fuss). Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top of the ingredients, then pour the white wine all around, directing the wine mostly in between the cauliflower pieces. Place the sheet pan on the middle rack and cook until the cauliflower is starting to turn golden in places, about 20 minutes.

4  Meanwhile, get the polenta ready to go into the oven: Brush both sides of the rounds with the oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Spread out the rounds in a single layer on another sheet pan.

5  Remove the cauliflower from the oven and scatter the pine nuts over the top. Carefully give everything a flip and a stir, then spread out in the pan. Return the pan to the middle rack and place the polenta on the top rack. Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes until the cauliflower is nicely browning and tender and the polenta is sizzling. If you would like, grate Manchego over the hot polenta.

6  To serve, top the polenta with the cauliflower mixture, making sure to evenly scoop and distribute all of the smaller ingredients and bits in the pan.

Reheat leftovers on a sheet pan at 425°F for about 10 minutes until warmed through and the cauliflower is crisp in places.

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Review by Bobbie Kitto
Edited by Linda Kissam

Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article review. Her opinions are her own.

To make the best of each recipe, use for quality ingredients! Bobbie  highly recommends products from Melissa’s.

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