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Healthy Green Kitchen Herbivoracious Cookbook Review and Giveaway (plus a Recipe for Sabich)
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If I had to describe Michael Natkin’s new cookbook Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes using just one word, it would be impossible. Because “creative”, “inspiring”, and “exciting” all come to mind, and they all describe the book perfectly. Good thing I can use as many words as I like ;)

I’ve long admired Michael: in addition to having a family and a full-time job, he’s so passionate about vegetarian cuisine that he works his butt off to write an excellent blog- and now a cookbook- in his spare time. Oh, and he took all the (beautiful!) photos for the cookbook, too…talented, much?

Michael’s been a vegetarian for many years and though he never attended culinary school, he’s clearly one heck of a cook. I love his bold flavor combinations, and how he utilizes ingredients from around the globe. Back when I first heard Michael was writing the book, I signed on to test one of his recipes; I absolutely loved it, and I’ve been looking forward to the book’s publication ever since.

The Harvard Common Press sent me a review copy of Herbivoracious several weeks ago, and here are five of the recipes that caught my eye when I first flipped through the book:

Chanterelle Banh Mi Bites
Kimchi Stew with Shiitake and Daikon
Watermelon Radish and Watercress Salad
Cool Tomato and Buttermilk Soup
Caramelized pear and ginger scones

Oh, and I am kind of obsessed with the Sauces, Condiments, and Basic Recipes chapter: I plan to make just about everything in it.

So far, I have tried the Brown Butter Cornbread, the Persimmon, Parsley, and Olive Salad (this was the recipe I tested), and the Sabich, an Iraqi-Jewish pita sandwich (the recipe for which you’ll find below). Everything has been great, and I will be coming back to this book again and again.

Though I could say something like “the recipes in Herbivoracious are so packed with flavor, you will never miss the meat”, I am not going to do so. Why? Because Herbivoracious is a great cookbook, not just a great vegetarian cookbook.

Michael recently left his day job and is planning to open a restaurant…I’d like to congratulate him on the release of his book, as well as this new endeavor! I hope I can get out to Seattle some day and eat at what’s sure to be a fabulous place.

fried eggplant sandwich

Michael Natkin's Recipe for Sabich (Iraqi-Jewish Eggplant Sandwich)

Yield: 4 sandwiches

I've never had it before trying this recipe, but in his headnote, Michael says Sabich is a popular Sabbath food for Iraqi Jews. Though I left out the parsley and the amba, I still thought it was a really amazing sandwich.


*2 plus tomatoes, finely diced
*Half an English cucumber, finely diced
*juice from 1 lemon
*Kosher salt
*1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
*1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into generous 1/4-inch slices
*4 large eggs, hard cooked, peeled and sliced (omit for vegan)
*1 cup pre-seasoned tahini (sesame paste, also known as tehina or tahina) or 1 cup plain tahini seasoned with 1 clove minced garlic and lemon juice to taste)
1/2 cup loosely packed flatleaf parsley leaves
Half a small white onion, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced or diced dill pickle
Amba (pickled mango; or use a little harissa or other hot sauce)
4 pita breads (omit and serve as a salad for gluten-free)


1. In a small bowl, make a simple salad of the tomatoes, cucumber, and lemon juice, adding salt to taste. (I added some crumbled feta cheese, as well.)

2. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant in batches until completely tender, turning to brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total; drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. (You can also grill the eggplant instead of frying for a different, lighter taste.) Transfer to a serving dish.

3. While the eggplant is frying, put the eggs, hummus, tahini, parsley, onion, dill pickle, and amba in small bowls so diners can build sandwiches to their own specifications.

4. Toast or grill the pita bread.

5. Serve it forth, preferably with a cold beer, and encourage everyone to make a gigantic sandwich.

Reprinted with permission from Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes by Michael Natkin. Copyright 2012 by The Harvard Common Press.

recipe for sabich

Herbivoracious won’t officially be available until next week, but the folks at The Harvard Common Press are so wonderful…they’ve offered to send one of my readers a copy of the book. If you’d like to be entered to win, please leave a comment below by Monday, April 30th, 2012 at midnight EST. I will pick a winner via random.org sometime on May 1st, 2012. This giveaway is only open to US residents and I must have your email in order to notify you if you win. Good luck!


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  1. 1

    BA — April 23, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    This cookbook sounds amazing. And the sandwich looks delicious. Too bad I’m stuck at work for 2 more hours….

  2. 2

    Julie @BananasForBourbon — April 23, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    Eggplant and hardboiled eggs? Why have I never done this?!

  3. 3

    Jessica — April 23, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    This cookbook sounds unbelievable! I’ve been trying to make the transition to eating less meat, and would love to try out some more exciting recipes like the ones that seem to be in this book.

  4. 4

    Amanda — April 23, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

    I would love this cookbook! I try to only use meat once a week and my mom is vegetarian so when she visits I like to always make new dishes for her.

  5. 5

    Sarah | The Cyclist's Wife — April 23, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

    This book looks incredible! I love vegetarian food but I often feel a lack of creativity, this book looks like it would be helpful. :)

  6. 6

    shelley s — April 23, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    that eggplant recipe has me drooling .. need to get a few more ingredients . would LOVE to win this book!!

  7. 7

    Kristin N. Hamm — April 23, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    I survived a brain aneurysm and several brain surgeries a few years ago. The entire experience sapped my strength and my energy and on the way out of 2011, I decided to do something about my second chance at life. My New Year’s Resolution this year was to finally start working on getting myself feeling healthier, more fit and more energetic and that included becoming vegetarian. Having been a vegetarian only since the start of the year, I am still constantly looking for new recipes to add to my vegetarian stash and also really clever and delicious ones that I can feed to my little family. This book looks amazing!! I would absolutely love to win it, but I will probably purchase it if I don’t. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  8. 8

    Jenni — April 23, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this on The Cookbook Junkies. I’m a huge Michael Natkin fan–he’s so talented and such a nice guy, too. We eat mostly meatless, or use meat more as a seasoning than our main protein, so I’d love a copy of his book:)

  9. 9

    Beth C — April 23, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    Sounds like an interesting Cookbook!

  10. 10

    Kristin — April 23, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    I love his blog and I’m sure I would love the book! I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I lean further in that direction every day. Vegetables offer so many more wonderful flavor combinations than meats!

  11. 11

    Carla — April 23, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

    Love eggplant. Can’t wait to make this delicious looking sandwich! The cookbook sounds amazing. Wish someone would open a restaurant like this in Madison.

  12. 12

    Jenna — April 23, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

    I’d love a copy of the book! The recipe looks delicious!

  13. 13

    Larissa Velez — April 23, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

    Would love to cook from the book!!

  14. 14

    Laurie — April 23, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

    The pictures look delicious. I would love to try some of his recipes.

  15. 15

    Letty — April 23, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

    This sandwich looks AH-MAZ-ING! I will definitely bookmark this recipe to try in the near future! I have been trying to have at least one meat-free day a week, with a goal of working up to 3 to 4 days/week by the end of the year. Gotta check out the other blog, as well as the book. Thanks for sharing!

  16. 16

    Sara — April 23, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    This book sounds fantastic! I will check it out.

  17. 17

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — April 24, 2012 @ 12:12 am

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I definitely tend toward a plants-based diet, so this cookbook sounds like a great resource!

  18. 18

    Emily — April 24, 2012 @ 12:28 am

    That recipe looks delish & the book sounds great! My fingers are crossed!

  19. 19

    Elisa — April 24, 2012 @ 12:48 am

    Looks amazing! : )

  20. 20

    Juvenia — April 24, 2012 @ 12:50 am

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try this!!

  21. 21

    Jo Ann Buller — April 24, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    i would love to get this cookbook it looks amazing. sign me up.

  22. 22

    Tanya — April 24, 2012 @ 12:52 am

    YUM! Love cookbooks…

  23. 23

    Christine — April 24, 2012 @ 12:55 am

    DROOL, I’d love to win this book and start cookin!

  24. 24

    wendy (healthy girls kitchen) — April 24, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    I have wanted this cookbook ever since I found out about it! You’ll get a kick out of this WInnie, my sister-in-law is an Iraqi Jew, and she makes the most amazing food.

  25. 25

    Jane — April 24, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    This cookbook sounds fabulous, I’m always happy to add to my vegetarian collection! And the sabich looks delicious! I love eggplant and tahini, so this sounds perfect!

  26. 26

    Michele P. — April 24, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    Slowly making our way to being a mostly meat free household and would love a copy of this book for inspiration!

  27. 27

    Mason — April 24, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    I have been waiting for this cookbook to be published since it was announced on herbivoracious! Everything in it looks delicious!

  28. 28

    Mason — April 24, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    I have been waiting on this cookbook to be published since it was announced on herbivoracious! Everything looks so delicious!

  29. 29

    susie — April 24, 2012 @ 8:14 am

    have been a big fan of michael’s for years and read his blog regularly. excited for this cookbook and would be THRILLED to have my own copy!! thanks for the great give-away.

  30. 30

    Deborah — April 24, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    Never can have enough cookbooks.

  31. 31

    Tina Hoerauf — April 24, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    I am SO looking forward to Farmer’s Market season and am right now working on eating healthier with more veggies in my meals. Another vegetarian cookbook would be wonderful to get more recipes and idea’s!

  32. 32

    heather — April 24, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    This is a sandwich I’ve never heard of, but am anxious to try with homegrown eggplant. If this one recipe is indication of the entire cookbook, I’m anxious to see that as well!



  33. 33

    Trisha — April 24, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    This sounds like an incredible book to supplement my gluten free diet!

  34. 34

    Phyllis — April 24, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    This sandwich sounds really appetizing! I always love new cookbooks! Definitely a cookbook junkie!

  35. 35

    Kim Foster — April 24, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    If you say this is a must-read book, then I believe it. Love to get this one! xoxo

  36. 36

    Laurie Jesch-Kulseth @ Relishing It — April 24, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    This book sounds fantastic! Even though we eat meat, we try to do so sparingly. Vegetarian cookbooks, especially during this time of year, are always welcome in my house!

  37. 37

    Melissa C. — April 24, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    This kind of food makes my heart sing!

  38. 38

    Samantha — April 24, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    I would love this book. I can tell by this recipe. Eggplant is an obsession of mine!

  39. 39

    Susan — April 24, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    This sounds like it’s a really good cookbook. I would love to win it.

  40. 40

    Kristin — April 24, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    The caramelized pear and ginger scones sound delightful!!!

  41. 41

    Deb — April 24, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    I will try this recipe soon, we are a family of eggplant lovers. What a delightful cookbook!

  42. 42

    Heather V — April 24, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    That sandwich looks delicious, and I love the sounds of some of the recipes! Great flavor combinations + ingredients from around the globe = right up my alley.

  43. 43

    Hannah — April 24, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Sabich is my favorite sandwich! I first had one in Israel and eat them any opportunity I can get. I look forward to making them at home. I’m also excited for Michael Natkins restaurant to open here in Seattle Thanks for sharing a review of his book!

  44. 44

    Louise — April 24, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Looks fabulous!

  45. 45

    bunkie — April 24, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    looks and sounds like a wonderful unique cookbook! great review and recipe!

  46. 46

    Angie — April 24, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    Oooohh!! Pick me! Pick me! Don’t have eggplant at the moment, but at least I can hummus!

  47. 47

    Karla — April 24, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    This cookbook looks so wonderful. I’d love to take a crack at those recipes!

  48. 48

    Urban Wife — April 24, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    Oh my! I would love to snag this amazing cookbook. Sabich brings back memories of our trip to Israel. Sigh.

  49. 49

    Stacy — April 24, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    Would love to try out some of the recipes from this book. Thanks!

  50. 50

    Rebecca — April 24, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

    I would love to win this cookbook – I haven’t purchased or gotten a cookbook in so long!!

  51. 51

    gail — April 24, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    thanks for this giveaway!

  52. 52

    kazue — April 24, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    what a cool cookbook!

  53. 53

    Jessen — April 25, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    I need a New Cookbook, but Couldn’t Decide what to get (between 10 different ones – Yikes!) . This is perfect timing!!

  54. 54

    Brighid — April 25, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    This book sounds wonderful! I’m always on the lookout for more vegetarian recipes.

  55. 55

    Natalie — April 25, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    would love to win this

  56. 56

    Prairie Cat — April 25, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

    What a neat giveaway! I am always trying to cook more meat-less dishes, but unfortunately, my creativity is lacking in that field.

  57. 57

    Geri — April 25, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

    With the CSA produce about ready to start rolling in – this is the perfect time for this cookbook. Thank you for sharing!

  58. 58

    Mary B — April 26, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    I have recently been looking to eat healthier and hope that this book will help me live a new way.

  59. 59

    Autumn S. — April 26, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Would love a copy of this book! I’ve recently gone vegetarian and it’s not easy to change without some serious cooking inspiration.

  60. 60

    Lori B — April 26, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

    Sounds like a great new cookbook. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  61. 61

    Danielle — April 26, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

    Would love this book for creative, fun and healthy recipes!

  62. 62

    Gretchen B. — April 26, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

    I’m always up for eggplant recipes and just happen to be off work tomorrow, so I do beleive a yummy lunch is in the making! It would be great fun to explore this cookbook.

  63. 63

    nik — April 26, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

    Brown Butter Cornbread makes me dizzy with cravingness…I’d love to try that one! Many thanks. :)

  64. 64

    One Simple Change: A Look Back | Healthy Green Kitchen — April 27, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    […] have just one more thing to say today…please don’t forget to enter my Herbivoracious cookbook giveaway: the book is really terrific, and you’ll love it whether you’re a vegetarian or […]

  65. 65

    ELLEN — April 27, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    New vege recipes yes! I just convinced my husband to stop eating meat! I could use new recipes. Thanks! :)

  66. 66

    Sarah — April 27, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    My boyfriend is vegetarian, and I try to follow suit, but lately I’ve been in a real veggie dinner slump. I’d love the opportunity to try some recipes from this book!

  67. 67

    Margowhat — April 27, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    Your website inspired me to start making my own cultured foods. The Asian sauerkraut is my first try. This cookbook looks great. Would love to try these recipes out.

  68. 68

    Emily — April 27, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

    I LOVE this website & this recipe!! The cookbook looks like it would be AMAZING!!!! Thanks for the vegan options too!!

  69. 69

    Kathleen — April 27, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

    I am looking forward to exploring this cookbook – whether I win it, or purchase it! Thank you for sharing!

  70. 70

    Nell — April 27, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

    Looks like a wonderful book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  71. 71

    Christine — April 28, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    made this tonight with homemade pita. DELICIOUS! btw i’d love to win the book :)

  72. 72

    alison — April 28, 2012 @ 1:07 am

    this cookbook sounds amazing!! i’m vegetarian and starting to explore herbs in a big way… thanks for the opportunity!!

  73. 73

    Jen — April 28, 2012 @ 4:15 am

    this cookbook sounds amazing – and this recipe looks tasty!! Will have to try to make it soon. Yum!

  74. 74

    Tara — April 28, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    I am feeling really grateful as I just know this wonderful new cookbook Herbivoracious belongs in my new reinvented with love kitchen. I am moving back to California after 3 years and reclaiming my beautiful old home and this would be a delightful addition to start off fresh with the love of my life who has been embracing all the vegetarian, flexitarian, Sagittarius ways of his soon to be bride. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  75. 75

    Annette — April 28, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few years now. I started with highly processed veggie burgers and the like but have slowly graduated to cooking whole, wholesome and of course meat free dishes. I’m always looking for new recipes to try and add to my collection. Thanks for the chance to win this cookbook!

  76. 76

    Mariangela — April 28, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    Thank you form your great site and for your giveaway :)

  77. 77

    dzer — April 28, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Would love the cookbook – should have lots of good recipes for me and my rock climbing friends

  78. 78

    CHAR SLOVENZ — April 28, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    The title alone makes me want it. I love herbs and organic is the way to go.

  79. 79

    Amanda — April 28, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    Looks like a great cookbook! Thanks for the giveaway!

  80. 80

    Rachel M-K — April 28, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

    This cookbook looks perfect!

  81. 81

    michelle — April 28, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    I would love to win this amazing cookbook. The sandwich in the photo looks like what late summer food should look like. Yum. I can’t wait to get digging in the garden. I already have basil started in a pot on my kitchen table. Thanks for offering this giveaway.

  82. 82

    Christina P — April 28, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

    Your posts always get me in the kitchen and for that, my family thanks you! Cant wait to add this one to the recipe box.

  83. 83

    Elaine Bradtke — April 29, 2012 @ 12:26 am

    I realized one day I know how to say eggplant in about five different languages. It’s one of my favorite vegetable. I’d never heard of Sabich before, but now I’ll have to try it.

  84. 84

    Audrey — April 29, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    I’ve been a vegetarian for three months now, I would love this book so I could add in some new recipes! It sounds great!

  85. 85

    Kristen — April 29, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    Delicious looking sandwich! Can’t wait to browse the book!

  86. 86

    Jane Burton Bell — April 29, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    I wanna win! But I enjoy reading your blog too

  87. 87

    Meryl — April 29, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    This sounds like a great cookbook!

  88. 88

    Louis — April 29, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    I’m always looking for new, delicious vegetarian recipes, and this sounds like it fits the bill.

  89. 89

    Rhonda N. — April 30, 2012 @ 1:48 am

    Can’t wait to get the ingredients to make this sandwich which looks so good! I would love to win a copy of this book. I love vegetarian recipes!

  90. 90

    Suzanne — April 30, 2012 @ 6:24 am

    Love your blog. My family goes bonkers over the dandelion salad and I’m talking about carnivorous (bacon doh!) teenaged boys.

  91. 91

    Erin — April 30, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    That looks amazing! I need to try it.

  92. 92

    Erin N. — April 30, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    The photo of this sandwich left my mouth watering! I am an avid herb (now turning vegetable) gardener and CSA supporter, so this book would be a much needed addition to my family’s kitchen!

  93. 93

    Heather — April 30, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    I just discovered your blog through Lagusta’s link to the post about her shop. I will definitely be returning. I’ve never heard of the book you reviewed, but will definitely be looking for a copy – one way or another! :)

  94. 94

    Yazmena — April 30, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try the recipe out.

  95. 95

    H — April 30, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    This cookbook looks amazing! Please pick me!

  96. 96

    TrishB — April 30, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    I have got to make that sandwich, it looks so delicious.

  97. 97

    Lindsey — May 1, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    Oh my gosh, what a beautiful-sounding book!