The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook

I think a couple who cooks together has the recipe for love. For me, food is an expression of love. It nourishes, it celebrates, it’s a common gathering point. Now, husband and wife team Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence take that passion and create a new cookbook, The Southern Vegetarian.

The title seems a bit of an oxymoron. I live in the South and everything is smothered in gravy, swims  in fat and is deep fried. Who am I kidding? That’s one of the things I love here.

the southern vegetarian

Justin and Amy are on a mission to change that thinking. Moving the veggies from the side dish to the center stage of the plate. It’s a cookbook with a twist on Southern fare. Over the course of a few years, Justin and Amy lost a combined 100 pounds by refocusing their diets from the native Southern cuisine (meat-focused) to one filled with grains, vegetables and fruit.  It seems to be a trend as many Southerners’ attitudes and actions towards the foods they eat are changing. We have been to the Farmer’s Market and seen it packed with reusable bags filled with the harvest of gardens and farms.

This cookbook is spinning traditional Southern cooking to a more healthful and more modern cuisine.

This book is beautiful. The pictures are filled with color and while there isn’t a picture for every recipe, there is an abundance of photographs–something I love in any cookbook! This may be due in part to the fact that Justin is a freelance photographer for the Memphis Flyer.

Before the cookbook, The Southern Vegetarian, came to be, the couple were blogging at The Chubby Vegetarian. Like most food bloggers, it started with pictures of their meals. Then it grew to include recipes. Then it turned into a book deal–hello, The Southern Vegetarian!

There are some great recipes, like Sweet Potato Grits with Maple Mushrooms. I’m going to admit I love grits…but usually opt for butter and salt as the topping. The maple mushrooms to a potato grit sounds really interesting. Add a topping of tomato, shallot and parsley and topped with an egg, and it may just be my new way to feast on grits.

And then reached page 82, home of the recipe for Smoked Coconut Bacon. Drool. I’m thinking this might be recipe number one in my kitchen with this book. I love me some bacon…and coconut!

How about a Bloody Mary made with fresh juiced tomatoes…sounds refreshing.

This is a great book. The Southern Vegetarian is sure to please anyone who loves food!