Ali Slagle works in the Marketing and Publicity departments at Ten Speed Press and is a regular Recipe Club contributor. She is currently studying in Berkeley, with more cookbooks than textbooks in tow.

I spent a lot of time staring at a blank screen before writing this—not because I had nothing to say, but I simply had too much. I wanted to write as eloquently about The Sprouted Kitchen as the author Sara Forte does in the book itself, and get across just how meaningful and moving this book is. It is so much more than a cookbook: it’s a splendid homage to whole foods, an inspiration to share and eat with the people we love, and a memento of a gracious couple who make gorgeous art—one in the form of food, the other photography.

Their book trailer is infectiously precious, and I have watched it more times than I should admit. So, it seems most fitting simply to say thank you. Thank you Sara and Hugh for creating a beautiful book that I and surely countless others will cherish.

The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte

The best sort of overwhelming is when you can’t flip through a cookbook fast enough because each page holds something spectacularly irresistible for the eyes, soul, and taste buds. Overcome by such excitement, I cannot be especially graceful in discussing The Sprouted Kitchen, for, as Sara says in the introduction to her book, it is at times challenging to put words to instructions or sentiments. Sometimes, it’s best to start cooking, which I just had to do.

Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad

Two dishes — the Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad and Peanut Butter Pretzel Tartlets–were part of a welcome home dinner for dear friends. The genius of these recipes is they are more creative, inspired versions of dishes I eat on a normal basis.  I greedily made much more of the crunchy, wholesome Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad than necessary and gladly snacked on it throughout the night. And the Peanut Butter Pretzel Tartlets seemed to be suited for home cooking conundrums, as I froze the tartlet shells until my broken oven was up and running again. When I finally did get to make them, though, they were gobbled down by friends and greeted with exclamations of, “these are SO good!”

So, Sara, thanks for making some of my past and many future meals soo good. You have inspired me to cook with creativity, color, and conviviality, and I can’t wait for others to get a taste of your book too.

Asian Tofu Tacos

In the book trailer above, Sara splendidly makes the Asian Tacos with Hoisin Slaw from The Sprouted Kitchen. This more wholesome version of a food truck taco Sara tasted is spicy, tangy, and sweet with crisp Asian pears, pungent Chinese five-spice powder, and loads of fresh produce. For more recipes (I can’t wait to try the Almond Meal Coconut Cookies!), see the excerpt below.

asian tofu tacos with hoisin slaw

from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte and Hugh Forte

(Ten Speed Press, August 2012)

Serves 4

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu

3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 Asian pear

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

5 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped

21/2 cups finely shredded green or napa cabbage

8 small whole grain or brown rice tortillas

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and set on a plate lined with a few paper towels. Set aside to drain for at least 15 minutes, up to a few hours in the fridge.

In a bowl, stir together the five-spice powder, 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar, the garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Pat the tofu dry. In a shallow dish, gently toss the tofu in the spice mixture. Let it marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

While the tofu marinates, core the pear and thinly slice. In a large bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, yogurt, and the remaining 
1 tablespoon of vinegar. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 of the green onions (setting the rest aside for garnish) and the tofu mixture and all its marinade into the pan. Sauté until the edges of the tofu are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Toss the cabbage in the hoisin mixture to coat. Heat the tortillas over the stove flame. To assemble the tacos, fill each of the tortillas with some of the dressed cabbage, a few slices of pear, and some of the tofu mixture. Garnish with the remaining green onions and serve.

Recipes and Excerpt from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte and Hugh Forte