After months of keeping silent, we can finally announce some exciting news—and this time it’s not a baby, at least not a human one. Over the past year, we wrote a cookbook! It’s called Pretty Simple Cooking, published by Da Capo Press, and it’s now available to order here.
Do you want a cookbook that you actually cook from instead of just looking at it on the shelf? Alex and I are cookbook fanatics, but what we love more than those full of aspirational photos and recipes are the cookbooks that actually get wear and tear. For years, we’ve wanted to create a vegetarian cookbook for you, our readers—one that combines our top easy healthy recipes and vegetarian meals with our philosophy on home cooking. Writing a book is not as easy as it seems: it’s been three years in the making, one full year of it hardcore development and testing. We’ve taken a photograph for every single recipe, right here in our kitchen. But now, the fun begins: this cookbook gives you the tools to make the very same pieces of edible art, right in your own kitchen.
Above☝ is our cover reveal! This photo was taken just a month after Larson was born. We held our breath as we painstakingly placed every single vegetable, hoping he wouldn’t wake up.
Why should I order it now?
The book launches in February 2018, but if you plan to order, now’s the time! If you order Pretty Simple Cooking now on Amazon, you won’t be charged until the book ships in February, and you’ll get the lowest price between now and then (it’s currently listed at a nearly $10 discount!). We also have a fun preorder bonus here. And, let us know if you’re interested in being on our cross-country launch team.
What’s the cookbook about?
Pretty Simple Cooking our lifestyle-based approach to cooking. The book is full of 100 creative recipes, heavy on the vegetables and flavor, with an eye toward moving veggies to the center of the plate. We started calling it a vegetarian cookbook for non-vegetarians—and it stuck. What’s pretty simple cooking? Food can be both pretty (delicious and beautiful) and simple (approachable and nourishing). Home cooking with whole foods and lots of vegetables isn’t easy, but can be pretty simple once you rethink the way you approach the kitchen. We also share our top 10 lessons for a lifelong practice of home cooking. A few samples of easy healthy recipes, including vegan and vegetarian meals, include:
- California Toast with Roasted Almond Butter and Berries
- Quick Fix Pinto Bean Tacos
- Santorini Bowls
- Red Lentil Coconut Curry with Cilantro Chutney
- “The Best” Veggie Lasagna
- Flourless Chocolate Cake with Macerated Raspberries
What makes your cookbook unique?
Here are a few things that make Pretty Simple Cooking stand out:
♦ It includes 100 new, creative recipes—all vegetarian, but intended for all eaters. The recipes in our book are all new and in our signature style: beautiful + creative, yet functional + accessible for the everyday home cook. A large portion are also gluten-free and vegan recipes. People tend ask us, How can I eat more vegetables? Here’s 100 of our favorite recipes, printed on paper for easy use. (A physical book! What a novel idea.)
♦ There’s a full-color photograph for every recipe. Confession: we rarely make something from a cookbook if it doesn’t have a photograph. From an informal survey of friends and family, we found most people feel the same.
♦ We share our top 10 “secrets” to surviving and thriving in the kitchen. People ask us how we do it all the time. And we say things like: We slowed down and prioritized cooking. We almost always cook for or with people. We learned to enjoy the journey. These “secrets” are what keep us going in the kitchen, and what we wanted to share about in our cookbook.
♦ Each “secret” has a beautiful watercolor illustration! Ashley Rodriguez is a brilliant cookbook author and blogger, and we found out that she just started dabbling with watercolor. We commissioned 10 custom drawings to add a unique flair to the book.
♦ Simplest and quickest recipes are easy to find. Have you ever tried to find something quick and easy in a cookbook, but it’s impossible to find? In our book, each chapter starts with the simplest recipe. As you page along through the chapter, the recipes get more involved. This way, you know if you start with a recipe in the beginning of a chapter, it should be relatively simple.
♦ The book has personality, written by two real people. The first cookbook I really read was by Julia Child. I was blown away because her personality leapt off the pages, encouraging me that if she could make an omelette, I certainly could! Where some cookbooks are generic books written by companies, Alex and I prefer cookbooks written by personalities, where you can understand more about who the person is and how they navigate the kitchen. Because food is all about connecting people with people.
♦ The recipes actually work. Why do cookbooks still exist when the internet is full of free recipes? Well, on the internet, you never know what you’re going to get. For this cookbook, every single recipe was made countless times by Alex and me, and then sent off to recipe testers (friends, family, and readers), who helped us hone them even further. These recipes have been tested in hundreds of real kitchens around the country.
Above☝ is one of the “lessons”. How gorgeous is this custom drawing by @ashrod?
What’s the story behind the book?
This book has been in the works a long, long time. As a child, I grew up writing and illustrating my own books with cardboard, paper, and markers. The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was “author”. And Alex, who grew up constantly painting and drawing and photographing, had always envisioned “artist”.
So how did these little dreamers grow up to one day be listed as author and photographer on Amazon? Well, it’s a long and winding story for another day. But the short version: these babies grew up and met in college, on the first day. He asked her out, she said no. Eventually she gave in, and they got married. They challenged each other to start eating better. In a matter of months, they went from eating fast and frozen food to regularly cooking vegetarian meals from scratch, in the process finding more energy, health, and overall happiness. In 2010, they started a website to document the recipes they were eating. It evolved into a creative outlet and business where they share original recipes they’ve photographed together. It caught the eye of a book agent in 2015, and rest is history. (Kind of.)
Coming up, we’ll let you know a bit more about the “making of” Pretty Simple Cooking—how our draft was due 2 weeks after our son was born, how our recipe testers became friends and encouragers, and how tears were shed over a photo of huevos rancheros. For now, suffice it to say it was an uphill battle, but we’ve had incredible support every step of the way (THANK YOU to all of you). And it brings me no end of joy to bring our book baby into the world, almost exactly one year after our human baby, Larson.
Where can I order Pretty Simple Cooking?
Pretty Simple Cooking is available on Amazon here. with a best price guarantee
Above☝ is us and our human baby, Larson.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.