Cookbooks: Eating From the Ground Up

April 9, 2018(updated on October 11, 2018)

I am the kind of cook who tucks vegetables into nearly everything I cook. My turkey chili always includes wilted Swiss chard. I prefer my eggs perched on a bed of sauteed spinach or zucchini. And if I’m making a sandwich, I pile it high with sliced cucumber, lettuce, and ribbons of carrot. This habit of mine doesn’t always thrill my husband (he grew up with a mother who was less of a produce pusher than mine), but after 10+ years together, he’s gotten used to it.

All that said, I confess to having a somewhat limited repertoire of vegetable dishes. I rotate through steaming, roasting, and sauteing most things. This gets the job done, but can lead to a certain weariness. Thankfully, my vegetable cookery has recently received a much-needed shot in the arm.

This is all thanks to Alana Chernila’s gorgeous new book, Eating From the Ground Up. Many of you might be familiar with Alana’s previous books, The Homemade Pantry and The Homemade Kitchen, as well as her blog (it shares a name with this new book).

What I love about this book is that it tackles vegetables from a number of different directions, all with delicious results. The book opens with a section entitled Barely Recipes. These are ideal for busy weeknights, when you need to get dinner on the table and value speed and flavor.

After that, you’ll find A Pot of Soup (filling and deeply savory), Too Hot to Cook (perfect for deep summer, when it doesn’t take much to make a flavorful meal), Warmth and Comfort (many of these make a main dish out of veg), and the final chapter, Celebrations and Other Excuses to Eat With Your Hands (with a title like that, it needs no additional description).

This book should be on your shelf if you keep a backyard garden, shop farmers markets, subscribe to a CSA share, or simply love vegetables. It’s one that I know I’ll turn to again and again.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book and the giveaway copy at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided and all opinions are entirely my own.

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86 thoughts on "Cookbooks: Eating From the Ground Up"

  • I immediately put this book on hold after I heard you and Joy talk about it on the podcast! Winning one might even be better than borrowing. Our favorite springtime dish is roasted (or grilled) asparagus with parmesan cheese. Can’t wait to eat asparagus!

  • Right now, my favorite dish is the amazing (and amazingly fast) stovetop Brussels Sprouts recipe Cook’s illustrated published a couple of issues back. We eat that every week!

  • I can’t pick a favourite, I love fresh green asparagus on pizza with mozzarella, roasted vegetables with a spicy sauce, salads, shakshuka, soups. Everything is better with vegetables in it.

  • My favorite and weekly side at the moment is sauteed asparagus, snap peas, and edamame with a little bit of kosher salt. I love it but sure could use some other ideas. I have Alana Chernila’s first book and adore it.

  • I am trying to include more veggies but growing up with limited exposure to veg, I’m often stumped at mealtimes! This book would be a great help.

  • My favorite dish is just plain old oven roasted veggies. I road just about everything. Carrots, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, eggplant. The list goes on and on. They all sweeten up nicely, but especially beets.

  • I’m often at a loss at what to do with vegetables. I grew up with vegetables that came in frozen bricks! So these ideas are very welcome.

  • I have been trying to eat more of a plant-based diet and less meat so this sounds right up my alley.

  • I am excited about CSA season! This cookbook will be a great addition to all my cooking this summer and fall.

  • My favorite vegetable dish always has been and always will be creamed asparagus on toast. It can easily become a main dish by adding chopped hard cooked egg white to the creamed asparagus then pushing the yolk through a fine strainer over the top of the plated toast and creamed asparagus. A neighbor years ago made this and called it Sunshine Asparagus. Yummy, especially because the asparagus came from her garden.

  • Couldn’t possibly pick a favorite veggie dish since we eat mostly vegetarian. It’s like picking a favorite child!!

  • I’m also in a rut…we’ve done lots of sheet pans of roasted veggies lately, so those are kind of my favorite. But it would be great to get a few more interesting ideas 🙂

  • I like ALL the veggies – they’re my favorite part of any meal. So this book is right up my alley.

  • Roasted veggies are a favorite at any time of the year- I am especially fond of roasted potatoes (sweet and “regular”)- and any time I can toss in some rosemary, it makes me happy! I’m also partial to a cream of fresh vegetable soup recipe that I have. It helps me to use up leftover fresh veggies (and I can usually freeze the soup base and add the cream bit later), and tastes deilcious!

  • Not really a dish but every year I wait for the Spring Asparagus and just oil, salt and pepper them and cook them on the grill…Yum…
    Thanks for the chance to win the cookbook.

  • Gosh, I’m a vegetable farmer, so I don’t think I can pick just one favorite veggie dish…. But one of my late summer/early fall favorites is a cast iron tomato cobbler with cheddar thyme biscuits.

  • My veggie dishes are tired: steam, saute, grill, repeat. I’m always looking for new ways to add veggies, but I always end up back in the same rotation. My favorite veggie dish growing up was Summer Surprise. My dad would take all of the veggies we had in the house and saute them together for a hearty dinner.

  • I’ve already overloaded on asparagus this spring. Would love some novel new ways to get my veggies!

  • So I know it’s probably not the healthiest vegetable dish out there, but I am seriously in love with Lisa Fain’s (The Homesick Texan) squash and green Chile casserole. Luscious. I also have an addiction to roasted beets, either by themselves or in a salad with red onion, sliced oranges and goat cheese. So delicious!!

  • Roasted veggies – particularly brussels sprouts and rutabaga. (I never cared for rutabaga until I roasted it.)

  • I regularly clear the fridge w/all the odds & ends of greens, radicchio, mushrooms, or carrots, celery, cauliflower, zucchini or broccoli. Begin w/a saute of onion & garlic Finish w/scallion & savories like cheese, vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha –combine or serve over pasta or some variety of grain. Sometimes add in some type of bean. Or bits of chicken. Whatever is left. Next day out to shop for fresh!

  • I really like roasted vegetables sheet pan suppers with whatever veggie combo I come up with (seasonally or what bits and pieces need to be used). I also really love creamy asparagus soup this time of year.

  • Always looking for new ways to experience vegetables. Looking forward to exploring her blog. Thank you for sharing. As for favorite spring vegetable – asparagus, fruit – rhubarb.

  • My favorite vegetable dish is a barley, carrot, onion, spinach bake. It is very hearty. I like making it during the winter months.

  • Is there a solid place to find or get ramps in Philadelphia? would love to make something from this book with them.

    1. They should be showing up at local farmers markets in the next few weeks. Fair Food Farmstand used to be a good place to get them, but they are shutting down. 🙁

  • Being a budding forager, I love salads and sautes made with the unwanted garden weeds…purslane, chickweed, wood sorrel, milkweed, and a few fiddleheads each spring.

  • It doesn’t qualify as a spring vegetable, but roasted, grilled or stuffed eggplant is another favorite.

  • We are still eating out of the freezer and home canned veggies, but I can’t wait for the first asparagus spear to appear!

  • Looks like a fantastic cookbook. Lately roasted cauliflower is a favorite.
    and always asparagus in season!

  • My favorite spring vegetable dish is just steamed asparagus (or a tiny bit cooked in a shallow pan with water) and lemon juice/zest.

  • I love snap peas fiercely, perhaps because they’re only avaiable for a few weeks in spting… Thank you for the giveaway, and yay for another book by Alana!

  • My favorite vegetable dish depends on the season – cucumbers in a light sweet vinegar, roasted beets with thyme, asparagus in any preparation…

  • My favorite *first* thing in the garden is onion & garlic greens – mostly in my eggs, but also on homemade pizza and baked potatoes and whatever else. My favorite *vegetable* dish is pretty much anything with potatoes as the main ingredient.

  • Been following Alana for many years and am excited about her new book. As a CSA member, I enjoy cooking with the seasons. Roasted asparagus is probably my favorite spring vegetable and way to cook it.

  • Asparagus, always asparagus. I peel the bottom of the stalk and barbecue or roast in the oven, usually diagonally slice and stir fry with a little lemon peel and dab of sesame seed oil.

  • My favorite spring vegetable dish is sautéed spring onions, asparagus, and peas with pasta and some tahini, it’s really a great combination.

  • I love sauteed fresh asparagus with pierogies in the Spring. This book looks very interesting. My Mom and I have been growing some different veggies in our garden and are always looking for ways to use them. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  • Here in Maine, we’re fans of fiddleheads simply prepared with olive oil, sea salt and some red pepper flakes for a little heat and added color!

  • I’ve waited for weeks for my asparagus bed to thaw – pretty soon we’ll be eating roasted or grilled.

  • I’m with you; I’m seem to always be eating the same vegetables, the same way. Would love to win this to change things up a bit. I have Alana’s other books and love them. This would be a great addition to my library. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • I was recently fortunate enough to win this cookbook from another blog. It is a beautiful book with Alana’s signature friendly and encouraging narrative. I wish your readers good luck!

  • My favorite vegetable dish has got to be Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad. Tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, garlic powder, Greek oregano, salt and pepper. Simple, easy, and delicious.

  • My favorite carrot dish is either barely wilted spinach or asparagus and pea risotto. I also love a good bowl of mashed sweet potato and peanut butter and pecans for a quick breakfast.