forks over knives

In the Forks Over Knives documentary, Dr. T. Collin Campbell, PhD and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, MD make a clear and persuasive case for a whole-foods, plant-based diet. The Forks Over Knives Cookbook helps folks embrace this lifestyle by serving up a variety of recipes featuring fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tubers, and legumes

The first 20ish pages of the book reinforce key messages from the documentary while providing useful tips for outfitting the kitchen. It’s well worth giving this section a close read. Then there are 321 recipes to explore (of which we sampled 241).

Forks Over Knives was the fifth whole-foods, plant-based cookbook that my husband and I explored. It did not turn out to be our favorite. I suspect that in creating such a large compendium, the cookbook was bound to include a lot of recipes that we found less than dazzling. And in fairness, we’ve become far more discerning now that we’ve sampled over 1,200+ recipes on our cooking journey. That being said, we may include 30-40 offerings in our “repeat” file once we stop working our way through cookbooks.

One interesting note: We were tempted to skip the dessert section as we’re watching our waistlines. But we decided to give them a go anyway. It turns out that it’s one of the best sections in the book!

I’m a bit of a hard sell when it comes to breakfasts. I’m quite content with my protein drink, bowl of cold cereal, or hot oatmeal. But it was nice to stretch our palates a bit with these selections.

Fruits and Smoothies

Fruit Salad
Fruit Salad
Mean Green Smoothie and Spicy Tropical Green Smoothie
Mean Green Smoothie and Spicy Tropical Green Smoothie
Very Berry Smoothie and Banana Cranberry Smoothie
Very Berry Smoothie and Banana Cranberry Smoothie
Strawberry Peach Smoothie and Chunky Monkey Smoothie
Strawberry Peach Smoothie and Chunky Monkey Smoothie
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and Gingerbread Smoothie
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and Gingerbread Smoothie

Granola and Muesli

Stove Top Granola
Stove Top Granola
Basic Baked Granola
Basic Baked Granola
Banana Almond Granola
Banana Almond Granola
Banana, Date, and Coconut Muesli
Banana, Date, and Coconut Muesli
Apple Cinnamon Muesli
Apple Cinnamon Muesli
Banana Granola Parfait
Banana Granola Parfait
Cherry Pecan Granola Bars
Cherry Pecan Granola Bars

Hot Cereals

Basic Oatmeal
Basic Oatmeal
Slow-Cooked Steel-Cut Oats
Slow-Cooked Steel-Cut Oats
Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal
Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal
Breakfast Quinoa with Apple Compote
Breakfast Quinoa with Apple Compote
Congee with Dates and Spices
Congee with Dates and Spices
Brown Rice Breakfast Pudding
Brown Rice Breakfast Pudding
Polenta with Diced Fruit Compote
Polenta with Diced Fruit Compote
Polenta with Pears and Cranberries
Polenta with Pears and Cranberries
Fruited Barley
Fruited Barley

Hearty Breakfasts

 

Breakfast Rancheros
Breakfast Rancheros
Portobello Florentine
Portobello Florentine
Egyptian Breakfast Beans
Ful Medames (Egyptian Breakfast Beans)

Though we generally aren’t big salad eaters, we enjoyed exploring variations on this theme. Our favorites centered around four ingredients: quinoa, black beans, mung bean sprouts (of which I am a recent convert), and leafy greens.

Grain Salads

Curried Rice Salad
Curried Rice Salad
Rice Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Chickpea
Rice Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Chickpea
Quinoa Arugula Salad
Quinoa Arugula Salad
Israeli Quinoa Salad
Israeli Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Tabbouleh
Quinoa Tabbouleh
Spicy Asian Quinoa Salad
Spicy Asian Quinoa Salad
Quinoa, Corn, and Black Bean Salad
Quinoa, Corn, and Black Bean Salad
Lima Bean and Quinoa Salad
Lima Bean and Quinoa Salad
Fruited Millet Salad
Fruited Millet Salad

Bean Salads

Italian-Style Stuffed Tomatoes
Italian-Style Stuffed Tomato
Tomato, Corn, and Bean Salad
Tomato, Corn, and Bean Salad
Mango Black Bean Salad
Mango Black Bean Salad
Grilled Vegetable and Black Bean Salad
Grilled Vegetable and Black Bean Salad
Fava Bean Salad
Fava Bean Salad
Soccotash Salad
Soccotash Salad
Lentil Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs
Lentil Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs
Mung Bean Sprouts and Spinach Salad
Mung Bean Sprouts and Spinach Salad
Chickpea Avocado Salad
Chickpea Avocado Salad
Taco Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Taco Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Hearty Vegetable Salads

White Bean, Potato, and Asparagus Salad
White Bean, Potato, and Asparagus Salad
Asian Vegetable Salad
Asian Vegetable Salad
Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing
Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing
Autumn Mixed Green Salad
Autumn Mixed Green Salad

This cookbook offers a lot of options for those who enjoy a hot bowl of soup on a cold fall or winter day. Our favorites were Summer Vegetable Soup, Tomato and Red Pepper Soup, Thai Vegetable Soup, and Thai Hot-and-Sour Soup.

Singles Soup
Singles’ Soup
White Bean Gazpacho
White Bean Gazpacho
Summer Vegetable Soup
Summer Vegetable Soup
Potato, Corn, and Bean Soup
Potato, Corn, and Bean Soup
Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
Minestrone
Minestrone
Creamy Asparagus Soup
Creamy Asparagus Soup
Spinach Vichyssoise
Spinach Vichyssoise
Zucchini Bisque
Zucchini Bisque
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Curried Cauliflower Bisque
Curried Cauliflower Bisque
Curried Potato Soup with Corn and Red Pepper
Curried Potato Soup with Corn and Red Pepper
Corn Chowder
Corn Chowder
Lotsa Vegetable Chowder
Lotsa Vegetable Chowder
Fall Harvest Vegetable Chowder
Fall Harvest Vegetable Chowder
Sweet Potato Bisque
Sweet Potato Bisque
Savory Squash Soup
Savory Squash Soup
Curried Squash and Apple Soup
Curried Squash and Apple Soup
Chestnut Soup
Chestnut Soup
Mushroom Barley Soup
Mushroom Barley Soup
Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Split Pea Soup
Split Pea Soup
Lentil Soup with Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Squash
Lentil Soup with Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Squash
Egyptian Fava Bean Soup
Ful Nabed (Egyptian Fava Bean Soup)
Miso Soup
Miso Soup
Thai Vegetable Soup
Thai Vegetable Soup
Thai Hot-and-Sour Soup
Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot-and-Sour Soup)

There are few things better than a hot stew on a cold and rainy Oregon day. Our favorite recipes in this cookbook were the Lentil Chili and the Bean & Mushroom Chili.

Quick and Easy Thai Vegetable Stew
Quick and Easy Thai Vegetable Stew
Spicy Thai Sweet Potato Stew
Spicy Thai Sweet Potato Stew
Adzuki Bean Stew with Miso
Adzuki Bean Stew with Miso
Chilean Bean Stew
Chilean Bean Stew
Spanish Chickpea Stew
Spanish Chickpea Stew
Indian Zuppa with Tomatoes and Fava Beans
Indian Zuppa with Tomatoes and Fava Beans
Pinto Bean Stew with Hominy and Spicy Cilantro Pesto
Pinto Bean Stew with Hominy and Spicy Cilantro Pesto
Lima Bean Stew
Lima Bean Stew
Pumpkin and Anasazi Bean Stew
Pumpkin and Anasazi Bean Stew
Tzimmes
Tzimmes
Millet Stew
Millet Stew
Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Autumn Vegetable Stew with North African Spices
Autumn Vegetable Stew with North African Spices
Lentil Stew with Avocado Salsa
Lentil Stew with Avocado Salsa
Lentil Chili
Lentil Chili
Bean and Mushroom Chili
Bean and Mushroom Chili

We sampled a few of the recipes in this section (and several similar recipes in other cookbooks). Bottom line: We just don’t like wraps enough to make them a staple in our diet.

Lettuce Wraps

Hummus and Tabbouleh Wrap
Hummus and Tabbouleh Wrap
Stir-Fried Lettuce Wrap with Hummus and Fresh Herbs
Stir-Fried Lettuce Wrap with Hummus and Fresh Herbs
Portobello Wraps
Portobello Wraps
Thai Portobello Wraps
Thai Portobello Wraps

Tortilla Wraps

 

Portobello Mushroom Tacos
Portobello Mushroom Tacos
Veggie Fajitas
Veggie Fajitas

We prepared a smidge over half of the available recipes in this section. The stand-outs include: Spring Pasta Salad, Macaroni Salad, Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, and Peanut Noodles with Broccoli. That being said, many of the dishes were a bit pasta- or noodle-heavy for our taste.

Pasta and Noodle Salads

Spring Pasta Salad
Spring Pasta Salad
Macaroni Salad
Macaroni Salad
Ponzu Noodle Salad
Ponzu Noodle Salad
Indonesian Noodle Salad
Indonesian Noodle Salad
Mango Pasta Salad
Mango Pasta Salad
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad with Pineapple Chutney
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad with Pineapple Chutney

Warm Pasta Dishes

Spaghetti with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Penne with Chickpeas and Spinach
Penne with Chickpeas and Spinach
Penne with Broccoli Rabe
Penne with Broccoli Rabe
Pesto Pasta with White Beans
Pesto Pasta with White Beans
Rigatoni Antipasta
Rigatoni Antipasta
Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Penne with Spicy Eggplant
Penne with Spicy Eggplant
Mushroom Stroganoff
Mushroom Stroganoff
Pasta with Peas and Curried Cream Sauce
Pasta with Peas and Curried Cream Sauce
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and “Meatballs”

Warm Noodle Dishes

Stir-Fried Noodles with Spring Vegetable
Stir-Fried Noodles with Spring Vegetables
Udon Noodles in Kombu Broth
Udon Noodles in Kombu Broth
Peanut Noodles with Broccoli
Peanut Noodles with Broccoli
Udon Noodle Stir-Fry
Udon Noodle Stir-Fry

We sampled most of the vegetable recipes and found that our tastes tended toward simpler fare –Basic Vegetable Stir-Fry and grilled vegetables. We also liked the Baked Spaghetti Squash with Swiss Chard; it’s a tasty way to take in some leafy greens.

Stir-Fried, Grilled, and Hashed Vegetables

Basic Vegetable Stir-Fry
Basic Vegetable Stir-Fry
Stir-Fried Vegetables with Miso and Sake
Stir-Fried Vegetables with Miso and Sake
Miso-Glazed Squash with Spinach
Miso-Glazed Squash with Spinach
Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Grilled Cauliflower Steak with Spicy Lentil Sauce
Grilled Cauliflower “Steaks” with Spicy Lentil Sauce
Grilled Eggplant Steaks
Grilled Eggplant “Steaks”
Ratatouille
Ratatouille
Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Eqqplant
Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Eqqplant
Eggplant Dengaku Stir-Fry
Eggplant Dengaku Stir-Fry
Indian Spiced Eggplant
Indian Spiced Eggplant
Spiced Green Peas and Yams
Spiced Green Peas and Yams
Braised Red Cabbage with Beans
Braised Red Cabbage with Beans
Mixed Winter Vegetables with Spicy Poppy Seed Sauce
Mixed Winter Vegetables with Spicy Poppy Seed Sauce

Stuffed and Baked Vegetables

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Swiss Chard
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Swiss Chard
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Lentil Sauce
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Lentil Sauce
Quinoa-Stuffed Tomatoes with Spicy Cilantro Pesto
Quinoa-Stuffed Tomatoes with Spicy Cilantro Pesto
Poblano Pepper with Chipotle Black Bean Sauce
Poblano Pepper with Chipotle Black Bean Sauce
Southwestern Twice-Baked Potatoes
Southwestern Twice-Baked Potatoes
Millet-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Millet-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Asian Stuffed Mushrooms
Asian Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffed Eggplant
Stuffed Eggplant

If you’ve opted for a whole food plant-based diet, you’ve pretty much signed on to revel in the wholesome goodness of beans. Recipes worth repeating from this cookbook include Black Beans and Rice, Cuban-Style Black Beans, and Chickpea Caponata.

Bean, Corn, and Summer Squash Sauté
Bean, Corn, and Summer Squash Sauté
Cannellini Bean Ratatouille
Cannellini Bean Ratatouille
Black Beans and Rice
Black Beans and Rice
Jamaican Black Beans
Jamaican Black Beans
Cuban-Style Black Beans with Cilantro Rice
Cuban-Style Black Beans with Cilantro Rice
Refried Beans and Tomatoey Rice
“Refried” Beans and Tomatoey Rice
Texas Caviar
Texas Caviar
Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Stew
Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Stew
Lentils with Rice and Macaroni
Koshari (Lentils with Rice and Macaroni)
Lentils with Rice and Carmelized Onion
Mujadara (Lentils with Rice and Carmelized Onion)
Red Lentil Dal
Red Lentil Dal
Chana Saag
Chana Saag
Curried Chickpeas and Rice
Curried Chickpeas and Rice
North African Chickpeas and Vegetables
North African Chickpeas and Vegetables
Chickpea Caponata
Chickpea Caponata
Spicy Chickpeas and Fennel
Spicy Chickpeas and Fennel

Our household tends to go light on grains. However, we couldn’t resist the Whole-Grain Corn Muffins (which we’ve already made several times), and Polenta Pizza with Tomatoes and Basil, and the Mushroom Barley Risotto.

Rice Dishes

Pineapple Fried Rice
Pineapple “Fried” Rice
Red Curry Fried Rice
Red Curry “Fried” Rice
Stir-Fried Rice with Asparagus and Red Pepper
Stir-Fried Rice with Asparagus and Red Pepper
Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Rice in Garlic Sauce
Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Rice in Garlic Sauce
Sweet-and-Sour Meatball Stir-Fry
Sweet-and-Sour “Meatball” Stir-Fry
Eggplant and Chickpea Rice Pilaf
Eggplant and Chickpea Rice Pilaf
Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Green Chile Rice with Black Beans
Green Chile Rice with Black Beans
Vegetable Biryani
Vegetable Biryani
Wild Rice, Cabbage, and Chickpea Pilaf
Wild Rice, Cabbage, and Chickpea Pilaf
Ethiopian Wild Rice Pilaf
Ethiopian Wild Rice Pilaf

Corn, Polenta, and Millet Dishes

Whole-Grain Corn Muffins
Whole-Grain Corn Muffins
Basic Polenta
Basic Polenta
Creamy Polenta with Wild Mushrooms
Creamy Polenta with Wild Mushrooms
Polenta Pizza with Tomatoes and Basil
Polenta Pizza with Tomatoes and Basil
Polenta Pizza with Pesto, Caramelized Onions, and Potatoes
Polenta Pizza with Pesto, Caramelized Onions, and Potatoes
Cabbage and Millet Pilaf
Cabbage and Millet Pilaf

Quinoa and Other Grains

Orange Quinoa with Black Beans
Orange Quinoa with Black Beans
Spinach, Mushroom, and Quinoa Pilaf
Spinach, Mushroom, and Quinoa Pilaf
Bulgur Pilaf with Chickpeas and Summer Squash
Bulgur Pilaf with Chickpeas and Summer Squash
Bulgur Chickpea Pilaf
Bulgur Chickpea Pilaf
Bulgur Pilaf with Walnuts and Dried Fruit
Bulgur Pilaf with Walnuts and Dried Fruit
Barley and Yam Pilaf
Barley and Yam Pilaf
Mushroom Barley Risotto
Mushroom Barley Risotto