Cookbook Review: How Not to Die
I will get to the the review of the How Not to Die Cookbook in a moment. First, here is a summary of how I choose cookbooks to review.
Cookbook Review Requirements:
– The ingredients are not too expensive on average. The ingredients are accessible for most people. There are not too many ingredients and they are mostly plant-based whole foods.
– Recipes incorporate a *few* key plant-based ingredients that new vegans or plant-based cooks should be aware of. These are items people can add to their regular ingredient list because they will use them often.
– Recipes are manageable and not too complicated. They use appliances most people can access.
Why I Reviewed the How Not to Die Cookbook
I chose the How Not to Die Cookbook for my second cookbook review for one reason: Dr. Michael Greger. If you don’t know who Dr. Greger is, he’s basically the guru in plant-based nutrition science. Well, my guru at least. He runs the very popular website Nutritionfacts.org, which is all non-profit and a wealth of information about the benefits of eating plants. He also wrote the incredibly insightful and evidence-based nutrition book, How Not to Die.
When he came out with a cookbook, I couldn’t wait to try it. I was curious to see what he eats on a regular basis, and knew all of the recipes would be very healthy for the body and mind. In addition, I want to support Dr. Greger’s efforts any way that I can. I even volunteered on his team for a short period and was impressed by his entire operation and how it was helping so many people. The cookbook is categorized by types of meals, such as breakfast, sides, and dinner. I tried five recipes from multiple categories to ensure I tried a range of styles and flavors.
Now, onto the review…
Warm Pear Compote
This warm and flavorful apple mixture was perfect over oats for breakfast. It can also be a dessert topping. We will definitely make it again! My husband loved it and said it tasted like pie. I appreciated the simplicity of this recipe, and that I had most of the ingredients in my cabinet.
My substitutions included:
- apples instead of pears (that’s what I had on hand)
- vanilla paste in place of the vanilla pod
- maple sugar in place of date sugar
I loved that he included substitution recommendations! I felt comfortable making other substitutions because there were few ingredients and they were straightforward.
This recipe is going on our regular meal plan list. I’m so happy it was the first recipe I made, because it was a great indicator of what was to come.
Smoky Roasted Chickpeas and Savory Spice Blend
I love roasted chickpeas as a crunchy addition to salads. This one didn’t disappoint. They turned out perfectly crisp and smokey as the recipe title suggests. I topped my salad with them and it took it up a notch.
This chickpea recipe included making the Savory Spice Blend recipe, so I was able to make two recipes in one. This blend doesn’t have salt, but it gives the impression that it does when you taste it. I sprinkled a bit more of the spice blend on my salad as well. The savory spice blend is full-flavored and also full of nutrients, therefore it’s great one to keep on hand. He uses this blend throughout his book in many of the recipes for deeper flavors. If you’re thinking about getting this cookbook I’d make it up front!
I Highly suggest BOTH of these recipes from the How Not to Die Cookbook as another regular rotation in your recipe rolodex.
Spicy Asian Vegetable Soup
THIS. SOUP. Wow, I could not believe how well this turned out. His ingredients and instructions were very simple, so I didn’t think it would have much depth of flavor. I was definitely wrong. We’ve made this twice since I reviewed the cookbook. It’s colorful, healthy, fresh, spicy and so satisfying. The second time we added buckwheat noodles and it made it a heartier soup for a dinner or lunch.
The only substitution I made was using the juice of a lime rather than blending the peeled lime, and also used sriracha instead of making his Healthy Hot Sauce because it was more convenient for us. Next time, I’d probably add the bok choy in a bit later so it stays a little more crispy. You can also let the soup simmer for a little longer to let the flavors continue to develop, but it was also good as is. Definitely make this recipe soon after you get the book because it is a winner!
Whole Wheat Pasta With Lentil Bolognese
I wanted to try his lentil bolognese because I make lentil bolognese on a regular basis. I wondered how it might be different. It was pretty similar to what we make every week, with a slightly different bite. This is because he uses miso paste in his recipe. I thought this was a unique and creative addition. It also gave me another reason to use the miso paste we keep in our fridge.
If you haven’t made lentil bolognese before, keep this one on hand. It’s quick to throw together and a crowd pleaser!
Favorite Features of the How Not to Die Cookbook
- Repeatable Ingredients
Recipe after recipe had many similar base ingredients which was very convenient. It didn’t deter from making each recipe unique and flavorful. It also made the prep process much easier. I had many of the ingredients on hand already and only had to pick up a can of beans or more lentils.
Dr. Greger offers thoughtful substitutions after many of the recipes. This show he was thinking practically about people and their kitchens. It made me more aware of how I can make substitutions in the future when I make any recipes.
- Daily Dozen Tracker
In his book, How Not to Die, Dr. Greger’s provides his ‘Daily Dozen‘. This is a list of specific foods he tries to get into his daily meals. There are lists online and an app you can download to track these nutrients. At the end of each recipe, he includes the Daily Dozen ingredients that the recipe checked off. Great idea!
This book is not one with a lot of frills and stories filling the pages. It’s straightforward, well-organized and categorized and makes for a perfect go-to cookbook. I downloaded the cookbook on my kindle was able to thumb through the contents with ease. Probably the easiest cookbook I’ve navigated.
All in all, I would highly suggest this cookbook! It will be front and center in our kitchen from now own. You can find it here on Amazon, in paperback or for Kindle. I also recommend checking out his book of the same name so you can learn more about Dr. Greger and plant-based eating.