Plantbased Recipes: Changing The World One Meal At A Time

Couscous Pilaf with Roasted Cauliflower & Pine Nuts, from Plantbased, by Alexander Gershberg.
Couscous Pilaf with Roasted Cauliflower & Pine Nuts, from Plantbased, by Alexander Gershberg.

Cooking delicious food can change the world one meal at a time, says Alexander Gershberg in the introduction to his book of plantbased recipes. And as you might have guessed, when he talks about delicious food he means plantbased food.

The Russian-born, Israel-raised vegan chef has lived in The Netherlands for 15 years and became seriously interested in macrobiotics and plantbased cooking when he moved into his tiny Amsterdam kitchen. In the years since, he has become a professional chef and cooked thousands of meals for thousands of people out of that tiny kitchen.

Alexander Gershberg, a Russian-born, Israel-raised vegan chef living in The Netherlands.
Alexander Gershberg, a Russian-born, Israel-raised vegan chef living in The Netherlands.

Known for his rich, creative, dynamic cooking style, his recipes are influenced by the wonderful flavours of Japanese cuisine as well as the Israeli food culture in which he grew up. In Plantbased, his third cookbook, he shares his knowledge for achieving a healthy plant-based diet which is beautiful, delicious, sustainable and affordable: something we can proudly regard as the food of our future.

To achieve a nutritionally complete vegan diet you need to include more grains, beans and vegetables in your meals. But what are wholegrains to begin with? And what can you cook them with? Gershberg invites the reader into his kitchen to answer these questions and more. He demonstrates how to cook delicious and easy dishes with staple goods, such as grains, beans, root vegetables, green vegetables, seaweeds, and fermented foods.

The pilaf here is extremely simple and tasty, perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

Buy your copy of  Plantbased from Australian-owned Booktopia.

Plantbased recipes

Couscous Pilaf with Roasted Cauliflower & Pine Nuts

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
black pepper


250 g (1 cup) couscous
sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
30 g (1 oz) pine nuts
1 zucchini (courgette), sliced in half lengthways, then cut into 1 cm (½ in) thick half moons
bunch of parsley (about 70 g/2½ oz), chopped
150 g (5½ oz) sweetcorn kernels
100 g (3½ oz) black olives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
ground sumac, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) fan-forced.
Place the cauliflower on a baking tray and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt and season with a generous amount of black pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until dark brown.
To make the couscous, bring 350 ml (12 fl oz) of water to the boil in a small saucepan. Place the couscous, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, a generous amount of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a salad bowl. Use a fork to evenly distribute the oil through the couscous, then pour over the boiling water — it should be just a little higher than the height of the couscous. Cover the bowl with a plate or lid, then set aside to steam for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and lightly fluff the grains with the fork.
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast, stirring constantly to avoid them burning and adjusting the heat if necessary, for 2 minutes or until golden. Immediately transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl.
Heat a frying pan over high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini and parsley and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, then season with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and a generous grind of black pepper. The zucchini should be shiny and still crisp.
Add the roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, zucchini and parsley, sweetcorn, black olives, lemon juice and a sprinkle of sumac to the couscous. Toss to combine, then dig in and have fun.

Recipe and image from: Plantbased by Alexander Gershberg, published by Smith Street Books, distributed by Thames & Hudson Australia. Photography © Yannick van Leeuwaarde. Reproduced with the publisher’s permission.

This story originally appeared in PS News.

**Enjoy many more delicious recipes from our Food Wine Travel files here.**

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