Jessica Murnane's first book, One Part Plant, shows how a lifestyle change can be done one delicious meal at a time.
The number of cookbooks published each year only seems to grow which can make finding the best ones a bit of task, especially those books that can really add to your life and teach you a thing or two.
Before finding the One Part Plant cookbook, I had never come across Jessica Murnane’s website www.jessicamurnane.com, where she shares, even more, recipes for kid-friendly and fuss-free dishes as well as her weekly One Part Podcast, where she chats about stories of successes & setbacks, sweet motivational secrets with some of the biggest names in food, wellness, business, and design.
Perhaps what’s most interesting about Jessica’s story (and how One Part Plant came to be) is that she suffers from Endometriosis.
In very simple terms Endometriosis is when the tissue that normally lines the uterus, is found growing outside of it and in other places in the body, like the ovaries, the abdominal cavity and more. The menstrual cycles cause this tissue to swell, break down and bleed causing incredible pain, nausea, fatigue among other problems. Women who suffer from it have to undergo extensive surgeries to remove this tissue as it can lead to cyst formations, adhesions and pain. I first heard of Endometriosis when actor Lena Dunham started sharing her story through social media.
Jessica Murnane’s story, which you can read here, is very similar. After years of having a complicated battle with endometriosis, switching to a whole food, plant-based diet helped her manage and eliminate many of the symptoms.
By completely overhauling her diet and avoiding meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, packaged foods and alcohol she managed to substantially alleviate a lot of her symptoms.
Perhaps what’s most surprising is that she doesn’t try to sell an all or nothing type of lifestyle. In her own words, “it’s about working through things one part at a time.”
za'atar swirl bread
🕑 2 hour, 30 minutes
- serves 4
- 2 tbsp ground sumac
- 5 tsp sesame seeds (lightly toasted)
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 120g chickpea (gram) flour
- 250ml warm water
– Start by making the Za’atar mixture by combining the sumac, sesame seeds, thyme, salt and oil together in a bowl. Set aside and let the flavours develop.
– For the batter: Add the flour to a medium bowl and stir a little water at a time until you have a thin batter. Set aside for 2 hours. (We personally tried the recipe both having set the batter aside for 2 hours and baking it straight away and saw no difference, you may want to skip the resting period if you don’t have time to spare!)
– Once you are ready to bake your Za’atar bread, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a round pan with some oil (Jessica likes to use a cast iron pan for this, so we did too!)
– Pour the batter into the pan and start dropping 1/2 teaspoon sized scoops of the Za’atar spice on top of the batter. With a knife or skewer, swirl through the batter from one side of the pan to the other (or in circular motions) to create a beautiful Za’atar pattern throughout the batter.
– Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the dough pulls slightly from the edges. Let the bread cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Thoughts: This bread will not rise, so don’t expect to see any lift. It has a very lovely texture but it sits on the oilier side of the scale. We suggest adding slightly less Za’atar as it really affects the overall texture.
Pistachio Coconut Squares
🕑 25 minutes
- makes 12 squares
- 150g pistachios (shelled)
- 100g rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 60ml good quality maple syrup
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 25g unsweetened coconut flakes
- Honey (optional)
– Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C and lining a square tin or baking tray with parchment paper. If you don’t have a small square tin, the base is easy to mould into any shape you want.
– Add the shelled pistachios, oats and salt to a food processor fitted with the S blade and process for 30 seconds until the mixture becomes a relatively thin meal. Drizzle the maple syrup and olive oil while still processing and the mixture begins to come together into an almost wet dough.
– Press the dough evenly into a tin or baking tray. You can make it round, rectangular or square as long as it’s 5mm thick. Cover with coconut flakes and some leftover chopped pistachios and bake for 10 minutes. You want the squares to be a little soft, so don’t overbake.
– Once the dough has cooled off a little bit, cut into squares and drizzle a little bit of honey over the top for extra sweetness.
– Keep the squares in an airtight container and eat within one week.
Thoughts: These snacks are incredibly easy to overbake, which is why it’s imperative you keep a close eye on them. They are not too sweet, which is great if you are trying to cut back on sugar. The pistachios and coconut flakes can make the snack feel a bit dry, so I have enjoyed eating these dipped in yoghurt or with a very light coating of Orange Marmalade. All in all, they are a fantastic alternative to store-bought cookies, crackers and processed snacks.
Jessica Murnane’s approach to wholesome and most importantly tasty food is an incredible example of how eating well and feeling good is not about how many green smoothies you drink, but taking a new way of understanding ingredients, meals and nutrients and making it work for you.
One Part Plant is a fantastic collection of easy but delicious recipes that are incredibly quick to understand and make.