16 April 2022

Weekend Cooking: The Forest Feast Road Trip by Erin Gleeson

Book cover for The Forest Feast Road Trip by Erin GleesonA few years ago, I discovered Erin Gleeson and her Forest Feast cookbooks and website when I received her Mediterranean cookbook via the Abrams Dinner Party. This year, Gleeson has a new cookbook: The Forest Feast Road Trip, which was, as the subtitle says, inspired by her travels through her home state of California. Thank you to Abrams for the review copy.

Of course, The Forest Feast Road Trip is full of fantastic, easy-to-make recipes for vegetarians and vegans, but it also features gorgeous photos of California, such as poppy fields, vineyards, the beach, holiday houses, and farmer's markets. The book closes with resources for easy road trips and places to visit.

While I've marked some future vacation destinations, my current interest is on the recipes. As you know, we eat meat in the BFR household. But because close to half our dinners are vegetarian, I was excited to find fresh ideas in The Forest Feast Road Trip. One of things I really love about Gleeson's books is the way she marries art, photography, and recipes. See the following scan (click to enlarge, if needed) for a good example of how beautiful this cookbook is.

Recipe and photo of corn salad from The Forest Feast Road Trip by Erin Gleeson

Most of the recipes in The Forest Feast Road Trip are based on fresh vegetables with clean, bright flavors. That said, it's important to note that Gleeson also incorporates pre-prepped ingredients when it makes sense, such as canned beans and jarred sauces. Another thing I appreciate about her recipes is that she often gives variations on a theme or makes recommendations for substitutions. For example, one recipe calls for a local goat cheese, but the recipe introduction tells us we can substitute blue cheese or feta in her lovely beet and greens salad.

A pan of vegetarian enchiladasI've made quite a few dishes from this book. One of the most surprising was the mushroom, black bean, and walnut enchiladas (see the photo to the right). The enchiladas were outstanding, and I think I'm going to have to add walnuts to my enchiladas--vegetarian or meat--in the future.

I also really liked her pita tostados, which uses pita bread as the base for a variation on the traditional Mexican dish. Her recipe calls for canned refried black beans as the first layer with a variety of familiar ingredients on top (avocado, Mexican crema, cilantro, etc.). This recipe also comes with a Mediterranean variation: pita toppings include babaganoush, hummus, feta, and chickpeas. Such a great idea and so easy to put together.

Other recipes we tried (and liked) were a chickpea curry stew, veggie calzones, and sweet potato and black bean salad. We had the stew and calzones for dinner and ate the salad for our lunches.

Muffins on a decorative plate; one muffin cut openI also baked her quick blender muffins (see the photo to the left). The main batter consists of eggs, bananas, and oats. You can then put in fruits and/or vegetables to your liking or you can try one of Gleeson's three variations. I made the carrot raisin muffins  per her suggestion. The texture was perfect and, despite the maple syrup and golden raisin, they were not too sweet.

Finally, I made her shortbread, which also had three variations. I couldn't resist trying the brown butter version. We loved the flavor, though the texture (due to the melted butter) wasn't quite what we were used to.

Recommendation: If you can't tell, I love Erin Gleeson's The Forest Feast Road Trip. The recipes are easy, pretty, and tasty. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys vegetarian and vegan dinners and is looking for new ideas.

For a sample recipe from The Forest Feast Road Trip, either click through to the Forest Feast website or enlarge the scan above for a vegan salad. If you want to make the corn salad, you'll need the recipe for the tahini dressing:
Whisk together 1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini, 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon), 2 teaspoons agave, 1 grated garlic clove, water to thin (add 1 teaspoon at a time for desired consistency).
Note: The scan and recipe are used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. The photos are mine.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Tina 4/16/22, 8:23 AM  

I had just made black bean enchiladas last week but walnuts would be a good addition. The chickpea curry stew appeals to me as well. Cool cookbook.

rhapsodyinbooks 4/16/22, 8:43 AM  

I love the Forest Feast books and website too. There are always great recipes one can find on her blog along with colorful pictures. She reminds me a bit of Susan Branch, although I am more likely to eat Forest Feast kind of food!

Joy 4/16/22, 10:03 AM  

What a gorgeous book! The enchiladas look delicious.

Joy's Book Blog

Jackie McGuinness 4/16/22, 2:17 PM  

We eat meat also. The chickpea curry sounds good.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 4/17/22, 4:21 PM  

I will have to check this series out! I have a different book called The Feast Nearby, about foraging in your own home town or walking park. But these look wonderful. Thanks for reviewing the blender muffin recipe, it is something I have an interest in for regular baking around here.

Marg 4/18/22, 5:22 AM  

This sounds like such a beautiful book even just to look at!

TRUCKER 4/20/22, 11:19 AM  

Road trip sound good

gluten Free A_Z Blog 4/23/22, 11:29 AM  

This is new to me. Their cookbook sounds good and I'll check out their website

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