The Pollan Family Wants You to Eat ‘Mostly Plants’ With Their New Cookbook
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” With those seven simple words, Michael Pollan, the brother of Tracy, Dana and Lori, and son of Corky Pollan, started a national conversation in his book In Defense of Food about how we should eat for optimal health and the health of the planet. Eating mostly plants has revolutionized the way the four siblings cook and eat.
For the Pollans, “eating right is not about following the rules of a ‘diet’—rather, the key to healthy eating is choosing good-quality foods, lots of vegetables, whole foods and home-cooked meals whenever possible.” And they should know, as their family influence in the food and wellness space is vast and wide: Emmy-nominated actress Tracy is the wife of well-known actor Michael J. Fox, and is on the board of his foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Dana Pollan and Lori Pollan are the co-founders the acclaimed Pollan-Austen Fitness Center. Dana has a background as a fitness specialist and instructor, and has been cited as an expert voice in the fitness and wellness space in publications that run the range from Seventeen to the New York Times. Lori—also a former fitness expert—has a certification as a Life Coach with a focus on health, wellness and stress management. Their affinity for the health space clearly comes from mom Corky, whose career in magazines includes work for New York Magazine, Gourmet and more.
In their new book Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family, the Pollans have created plant-centric recipes that are not only good for keeping the body healthy and lean and the mind sharp, but they’re also highly accessible—many of them can be thrown together in 35 minutes or less (which kind of feels like a necessity in our current culture of meal delivery services and Uber Eats).
With vegetarian and veganism still on the rise, it’s a great time to adding more vegetables into your diet. Accessibility has also increased in recent years, with Wal-Mart and Target offering more fresh, organic produce, and farmers’ markets becoming more of a staple in urban areas.
What stands out about Mostly Plants is that it’s actually about being practical, realistic and inclusive. The book includes a mix of vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free recipes, as well as dishes that feature seafood, poultry and meat. Each recipe includes a symbol that denotes which camp the dish belongs to and includes adjustments you can make to the recipes to accommodate various dietary needs.
Every recipe includes a “Market” and “Pantry” list with a breakdown of all the ingredients you will need to prepare it. Plus, the book gives a few guides on home cooking in general, including the Pollans’ favorite hacks, techniques and time savers.
With that in mind, we asked the Pollan family to share one of their favorite recipes with us. Keep reading for their recipe for Crispy Kimchi and Scallion Pancakes.
Crispy Kimchi and Scallion Pancakes
“We grew up eating Chinese take-out every Sunday night,” say the Pollans, “and one of our staples was scallion pancakes. In updating this typically heavy, greasy classic, we add our go-to flavor booster, kimchi, to our version, and the end result is flaky, crispy perfection. These are wonderful both as an appetizer when entertaining or as a main with a side of greens.”
Makes 4 to 6 servings. Approximately 40 minutes to prepare.
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon chopped dried red chile pepper
- 1 teaspoon thinly sliced scallion
FOR THE PANCAKES
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 1⁄2 cup rice flour Kosher salt
- 1 large egg, beaten 1 cup cold seltzer 1⁄4 cup kimchi liquid (reserved from draining the kimchi)
- 1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh medium-spicy red chile pepper (such as Thai bird or cayenne)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons organic canola oil
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, dried chile pepper and scallion with 2 tablespoons water and stir to combine. Set aside.
FOR THE PANCAKES
- Preheat the oven to to 300°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the two flours, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the egg, seltzer and kimchi liquid and mix well to incorporate. Add the kimchi, scallion whites and fresh red chile pepper and stir to combine.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1⁄2 tablespoon of the canola oil until shimmering. Ladle about 1⁄2 cup of the batter into the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook until the second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter, making six to eight 8-inch pancakes.
- Remove the pancakes from the oven and slice into quarters. Garnish with the scallion greens and serve with the dipping sauce.
From the book MOSTLY PLANTS. Copyright © 2019 by Old Harvest Way, LLC. Published on April 16, 2019 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.