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November 18, 2014
Yotam Ottolenghi made vegetables sexy. Now you can too.

We were more than a bit skeptical about a simple pot of beans that takes a whole five hours to cook.

But when the instructions come by the way of chef (and vegetable guru) Yotam Ottolenghi, we’re inclined to shove our prejudices to the side.

Ottolenghi is the man behind the new Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi ($35). It’s a follow-up to his 2011 stunner, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. This most recent book is set to be just as much of a phenomenon: it was sitting pretty as the #1 bestseller in Amazon’s Vegetarian Cooking category before it was even released. If any man is responsible for sexying up vegetables in the past couple of years, it’s him.

We think Ottolenghi’s secret rests in his deep dive into Middle Eastern flavors and his commitment to serving vegetables, grains and legumes every-which-way. He will blow the doors off your senses with recipes like a pink grapefruit and sumac-spiced salad; a saffron, date and almond rice; and a brussels sprout risotto.

Plenty More chickpea recipe

Scroll down to try this slow-cooked chickpea recipe (Photo credit: Jonathan Lovekin)

His wholly original approach also applies to this bean dish, with a paste of tomatoes, cayenne pepper, paprika and a poached egg served on the side. Besides the cooking time, it’s a completely low maintenance dish—try it on a quiet weekend where you can soak the chickpeas the night before and let a pot simmer away on the stove the next day.

He says, “The result more than won over my fellow recipe testers—the chickpeas are impossibly soft and yielding and the flavor is rich and deep in a way that only slow cooking can bring about.”

Ottolenghi also helpfully notes that, “It tastes fantastic the next day and the day after that, so you might want to double the quantities and keep a batch in the fridge. A spoonful of Greek yogurt can be served alongside each portion, if you like.”

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