Someone holding up front cover of Bryant Terry's Vegetable Kingdom cookbook
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Cook with Us! Kitchn’s July Pick for Cookbook Club Is “Vegetable Kingdom” by Bryant Terry.

updated Jun 25, 2020
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Hello, dear Cookbook Club-ers! I hope you’ve all had a good month cooking out of Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. Many of you in our Facebook group said this was already a favorite, which was wonderful to see. I’ve cooked out of Small Victories plenty of times, but it was fun to return to it with fresh eyes. My favorite new recipe I made this month was the chopped chickpea salad — it was light and fresh, and really just an excellent lunch option.

Well, are you ready to kick off a fresh month? Kitchn is going deep on vegetables in July, which is why I’m so excited to share that Bryant Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom is our cookbook pick! Read on to see why we chose this vegan book, and how you can follow along this month.

Want to follow along with Kitchn’s digital Cookbook Club? Here’s how to participate.

  1. Get the book! You can buy the book here or look for it at your local library; while many libraries are currently closed, you may be able to access a digital copy. Also consider buying from your local bookstore! (May I recommend The Lit. Bar?)
  2. Join Kitchn Cookbook Club Facebook group. This is our private space for all of you to talk about the book, ask questions, and chat about what you’re cooking. Click here to join! It’s very active.
  3. Share a recipe review on Instagram and tag with #kitchncookbookclub. Make a recipe from Vegetable Kingdom. Post a photo of your dish on Instagram, with a short review of the recipe in the caption.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why Vegetable Kingdom Is Our July Cookbook Club Pick

One of my favorite features we’ve ever done on Kitchn is an Afro-Asian 4th of July with Bryant Terry. The package was published five years ago now, but it still includes some of my favorite recipes, all of which come from another one of his cookbooks, Afro-Vegan. There’s the grilled vegetable and tofu kebabs with a pomegranate-peach barbecue sauce; a curried corn and coconut rice (this might be my absolute favorite recipe of the bunch); and thirst-quenching gunpowder lemonade. Bryant’s recipes are wildly creative, but they also have a strong sense of place. As he says about this menu, “Our meals carry history, memories, and stories. They connect our family to our ancestors (both blood and spiritual) and bring the past into present day.”

This is a long way of saying that when I found out that Bryant was coming out with a cookbook in February this year, I was very excited, and knew immediately it was something we needed to explore for Kitchn’s Cookbook Club. And because the book is all about vegetables, what better time to dive into it than during the peak of summer?

Bryant credits his two young daughters as the inspiration behind Vegetable Kingdom. “I wrote this book to make a diversity of foods of the plant kingdom irresistible to them, to inspire their curiosity, and to show them the pleasure of a lifelong adventure with good, nourishing food,” he explains in the introduction. Like his previous cookbook, Vegetable Kingdom really captures the heart of how Bryant and his wife, Jidan, cook for their children: fresh vegetables inspired by the “deep well of Black and Asian foodways.”

While all of the recipes in the cookbook are vegan, that shouldn’t deter you if you eat a different way. There are so many delicious things to make, I don’t even know where to start! There’s a farro and kidney bean salad with burnt scallions that looks like a dreamy lunch; a citrus and garlic-herb braised fennel dish that makes me reconsider my tepid relationship with fennel; and pickled mustard greens that I want to add to, well, everything.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Get the Book

Ready to get cooking? I sure am. The first recipe I’m going to make is the green rice (page 155). I saw it on Heidi Swanson’s blog earlier this year, and it just looked so lush and vibrant. I already have all the ingredients, too! What are you planning on making? Let me know in our private Facebook group. See you there!

Oh, and one last note: If you’re not already following Bryant Terry on Instagram, you should be!

— Ariel Knutson, Features Director