Cookbooks as Holiday Gifts for Runners

by Anouk Booneman

I bought too many cookbooks (nothing new here) this year and didn’t keep my 2022 resolution to end the year with less books than more. I can always try again next year. Cookbooks make great gifts and not just for food lovers. Athletes and in particular runners interested in their health will appreciate these too. They are also easy to wrap, which I find a big plus. The following recipes from these books are good for holiday get togethers. They are either plant based or vegan and obviously have no meat. I highly recommend these books!

*I just ordered Deb Perelmans new cookbook.

Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files: A Cookbook It’s not New Year yet so there are no “ I will not buy any more cookbook” resolutions to keep yet. Deb Perelman is the author of the blog “Smitten kitchen”, that I have been following for years. One of her recipes, a massaged kale salad, has become a signature dish at our cooking workshops. In a recent interview, she mentioned that she gets her ingredients first, then figures out what she will do with it, which is exactly the way I cook. Her recipes are relatively easy to follow and don’t have too many ingredients. 

The following recipe is a winter fruit salad, that I plan to make soon, since I have most ingredients available. Use with yogurt, oatmeal or bring to a holiday brunch. In the winter I mostly purchase oranges, apples, bananas, and dried fruit. Pomegranates are also available again and not too expensive. Use the seeds, that are packed with nutrients on top of salads, juice them, or add to a winter salad.

Winter Fruit Salad (Smitten Kitchen Blog, Deb Perelman)

3/4 cup sugar
3 star anise
1/2 of plump vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
8 dried Turkish apricots, cut in half
4 dried figs, quartered
4 2-inch long pieces lemon zest (peeled with a vegetable peeler) from a Meyer lemon if you can find one
Juice of the zest lemon
3 firm Bosc pears
1 firm tart apple
Seeds from half a pomegranate

1. Fill a medium saucepan with 4 cups water. Add the sugar, star anise, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, and cook until all the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool for just a few minutes (it should still be hot) and then stir in the dried figs and apricots. Let it cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, peel and core pears and apple. Slice thinly lengthwise and place in a large bowl, and toss with the lemon juice.

3. Once the syrup with dried fruit has cooled, pour it over the apples and pears. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.

4. The next morning, using a slotted spoon, ladle the fruit into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and serve. Remove the vanilla beans (you can rinse and save what is left of them for another use) and lemon peels if you wish, or leave them in for decoration.

Do ahead Syrup can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a day or two. Hot syrup can be poured over the dried fruit and kept in the fridge for a day or so. Prepared salad keeps in the fridge for a day or two, but is best fresh.

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things: Bold, vegetable-forward recipes plus homemade sauces, condiments, and more to build a flavor-packed pantry: A Cookbook

by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi 

Since I am a big fan Ottolenghi fan, I don’t think twice, when he comes out with a new book. I count now eleven books on my shelf. This year I was able to go to his restaurant, that lives up to the hype. I hope to go back again next year.  

At this point, I look at the ingredients to make my own adaptation of his dishes. The following recipe is straightforward and easy to make. During the winter, I always have carrots. The dressing can be made ahead. Reheat gently to melt the butter. It can be used over roasted broccoli, any other roasted root and blanched greens. This would be good with roasted cauliflower as well. 

Whole roasted carrots with sweet and sour dressing

2 pounds carrots
1.5 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds toasted (I always use powder instead)
1/2 cup gold raisins
3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP maple syrup
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter (use Miyoko to make vegan)
1/2 cup almonds

Preheat oven to 450. This is the temperature for roasting vegetables. It gives them that crispy exterior. 

To make the sweet and sour dressing. Put the golden raisins, vinegar and maple syrup into a medium heatproof bowl and allow to plump for about 20 minutes.

Peel the carrots. If using carrots with tops trim the top but leave some of the green stems attached. If using regular carrots cut in rounds.

Spread the carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Depending on the thickness they might need more or less time. 

To finish the dressing put the oil, butter and almonds in a small frying pan on medium high heat. Cook stirring occasionally until the almonds are nicely browned. Pour the hot mixture directly into the bowl of raisins along with 1/4 tsp of salt.

Spread the carrots on a plate. Sprinkle with the toasted spices, and pour the dressing on top.

*Another book that I purchased this year was Vegetable Kingdom from Bryant Terry. Bryant Terry is a James Beard & NAACP Image Award-winning chef, educator, and food activist. I had listened to an interview with him after his book 

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora [A Cookbook] came out in 2021, and was very impressed by his views on food and society. When checking my cookbooks I realized I had one of his other cookbooks as well. Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine

The following recipe is a simple and very flavor full winter salad. I will have plenty of cabbage and kohlrabi this winter. This salad will hold for a few days. I massage the cabbage in advance with the dressing and let it stand for a while. I don’t use the colander method that the author uses in this recipe. This is a great winter salad to balance out heavier dishes.

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes

by Bryant Terry 

Apple and kohlrabi coleslaw

1 cup shredded napa cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
2.5 kosher salt plus more as needed
2 cups kohlrabi matchstick ( I grate it to save time)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley plus 1/4 cup whole leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce (the recipe asks for shoyu, use that if you have it)
1 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil


  1. Combine the cabbages in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. With clean hands, massage the cabbage until soft and wilted, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Transfer the cabbage to a colander set in the sink and rinse the bowl. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weight it (a 28-ounce can of tomatoes works well for this). Let sit for 1 hour. Rinse the cabbage in cold water and let drain for 20 minutes. Wipe the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. 
  3. Return the cabbage to the bowl and add the kohlrabi, apples, and minced parsley. Toss well to combine. Set aside. 
  4. In a blender, combine the lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. With the blender running, slowly pour in the safflower oil through the hole in the lid and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. 
  5. Pour enough of the dressing over the salad to lightly coat, toss, and garnish with the parsley leaves, then serve.

*Another recipe I will make this month is from the recently acquired Speedy BOSH!: Quick. Easy. All Plants. by Ian Theasby and Henry David Firth. I have a few of their books. Check out this dynamic duo. They have a lot of fun videos and a website with tons of recipes on The following recipe is perfect for a winter meal, and I know I will have plenty of access to butternut squash and greens. Chickpeas and peanut butter are always a staple in my pantry. 

Ivory Coast squash &peanut stew

1 onion
1 butternut squash
1 tsp coconut oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp coriander seed (I use powder)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp round all spice
1 tsp ginger
1 TBSP smooth peanut butter
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can chickpeas
4 large handful of kale
1/2 orange
1 tsp salt
dash of apple cider vinegar

Peel and roughly chop the onion. Halve the squash, remove any seeds and roughly chop, no need to peel. Remove the stem from the chili. Place the onion squash and chili into a large food processor and pulse until chopped into very small chunks.

To make the stew heat the coconut in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the veggies and stir to coat. Add the garlic and the yeast. Add the spices. Stir well. Add the peanut butter, stock and drained chickpeas. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. To finish the stew remove the stem from the greens, juice the orange and add both to the stew until thickened About 3 to 4 minutes.

Top with peanuts if desired. Serve with naan bread, or any desired grain.

* * * * *

Holiday footnote. We had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends, cats and too much food. After one week, we are almost done with the leftovers, ready to move on to dishes that don’t include pumpkin puree, wild rice or cranberries. Apparently it’s that time to work on my cookies strategies and tasteful Christmas decorations. I am already on holiday overload though, and will use the strategies from previous years. Decorations are kept to a minimum (I have a pop-up carton Christmas tree that will fool everyone if the picture is taken from the right angle). We have skipped family presents for years and take a trip instead, and I secured an invitation for the 25th. I love Christmas decorations but have acquired a preference to sit next to a tree that someone else decorated. This month I will be in bed by 8pm (which will feel like 12 anyway) and cook simple stews, soups and winter salads that keep for days. I will also try to avoid those dreadful sugar cookies, that seem to appear everywhere I go.

Wishing you safe and peaceful holidays.

AnoukEnd.jpgAnouk Booneman
Anouk is co-founder of Spring Into Health, was a baker at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies and a language teacher before moving to Clifton Park. She believes that industrialized eating has created major health crises all over of the globe and that food can be the strongest medicine. She is also a yoga instructor. Click on her picture for her articles.

Loading Conversation

Partner Clubs

Partner clubs offer group runs and local races to the Capital Region running community

Create Account

Log In Your Account