the first mess cookbook

The First Mess is a highly-reviewed cookbook packed with wholesome recipes to eat through the seasons. What makes this book different is that it uses real locally-sourced organic ingredients to create recipes, using seasonal finds from your weekly veg box. The author is a Canadian who grew up in a family that ran organic box schemes. She then went off to college to train as a chef, and also writes and photographs well. So when all combined, you end up with a smashing book of 125 recipes.

Before cooking, read up on food safety for people & pets (many human foods are unsafe around animal friends). If growing your own food, learn how to make gardens safe for pets (includes indoor plants to avoid – avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows.

Recipes include:

  • Fluffy whole grain pancakes
  • Hot pink beet smoothie
  • Broccoli Caesar with smoky tempeh bits
  • Vegetable bean pot pies with potato crust
  • Weeknight root vegetable dal
  • Burrito-stuffed sweet potatoes
  • Romanesco confetti salad with Meyer lemon dressing
  • Roasted aubergine & olive bolognese
  • Earl Grey & vanilla bean tiramisu

Laura Wright has been cooking and testing plant-based seasonal recipes for years. Her cooking blog is one of the most popular in the world, packed with recipes that use real affordable ingredients, and turn out well each time. Most of her readers are not vegan, she prefers to simply focus on good food to inspire, rather than be a ‘celebrity chef’.

more plant-based seasonal recipe books

The Seasonal Vegan is a book of simple affordable recipes that make use of local seasonal produce. Each recipe is geared to seasonal crops, with some year-round menus. Illustrated with beautiful colour images, these recipes reduce environmental impact, spare our wallets and let you enjoy tasty wholesome food. Arguably, the best recipe books are those that use real seasonal ingredients, so here are a few of the best. Not only is food tastier and cheaper, you’ll find it has fewer food miles and less plastic packaging.

Debunking the myth that seasonal eating is only for people on higher incomes, eating local produce tastes better and costs less too. It also supports local farmers and producers (and is fresher, so tends to be more nutritious). Each of the 70 recipes includes a diary entry. Recipes include:

  1. Pancakes with blueberry compote
  2. Summer berry & coconut milk ice lollies
  3. Potato salad with watercress pesto

Sarah Philpott is a freelance copywriter and proofreader, who presents cooking programmes in her native Welsh language on TV. She also has a recipe column in a Welsh magazine.

Much More Veg is by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstsall, focusing on seasonal produce. Not a vegan himself, but he offers up good recipes using local produce. Recipes include roast squash & chickpeas with spicy apricot sauce, blackened cauliflower with pecans and tahini, spiced beetroot raddicio and orange traybake, celeriac & seaweed miso broth, seared summer cabbage with rosemary and baked celery.

The Vegan Cook & Gardener is a wonderful book, co-written by a father who is an expert at growing and preserving food, then recipes are by his daughter. This is simple feel-good budget-friendly food, ideal if you don’t want anything too fancy, with recipes for soups, mains and carrot or strawberry chocolate cake. Joanna Lumley calls this book ‘delightfully-illustrated and easy-peasy recipes’.

If growing your own food, learn how to make gardens safe for pets (includes indoor plants to avoid – avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows.

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