Power Plates, the new cookbook from Gena Hamshaw is unlike any other cookbook I have ever read. In the 4 years that I have been reading and reviewing cookbooks for Vegan Mos, I cannot recall another cookbook that left me feeling hungry and energized the way Power Plates did. Powers Plates contains something I have never before seen in cookbook: photographs of every single one of the 100 nutritionally balanced, one dish recipes. The exquisite photos by Ashley McLaughlin gloriously capture the sumptuousness of each of Gena’s recipes.

Often when making a recipe from a cookbook, you need to come up with an entire meal using various recipes from the cookbook, or pulling from outside sources. The recipes in Power Plates eliminate that stress, as each recipe is a complete meal unto itself, containing key healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and proteins. The recipes are clearly written and easy to follow.  Moreover, you don’t need any special skills or equipment to make these recipes. The recipes in Power Plates are divided into six chapters: Breakfast, Salads, Soups, Bowls, Skillets and Stovetop, and Bakes enabling you to make recipes from this book for every meal of the day.

Before getting into the recipes themselves, Power Plates contains a section offering guidance on using the book and how to prepare many of the ingredients in advance so that when it is time to make a meal, you are ready to go. Here you learn basic techniques for cooking grains and beans, pressing tofu, and dicing vegetables. Gena also shares which recipes freeze well also with suggestions on how to pack these meals for transportation. Calling on her nutritionist training, Gena demystifies what macronutrients are, what function each one serves, and shows how you don’t even need a formal recipe to get a nutritionally balanced meal. Simply put, you just need a protien (beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh), a fat (oil, avocado, nuts, dressings), and a carbohydrate (whole grains, root vegetables, potatoes). Gena also explains that foods can belong to more than one category, for example beans are excellent sources of both protein and carbohydrates. Finally Gena offers some her favorite combinations for bowls for quick and easy meals such as lentils, avocado, and quinoa.

Gena’s unique voice and gentle spirit can be felt in every word of this book. Gena’s goal in writing Power Plates was to help people to create nourishing and satisfying meals that for the new vegan, the longtime vegan, and even the curious omnivore. I can confidently say that Gena has not only met that goal, she has surpassed it. Look at the recipe below, and I am sure you will agree.

Rice, beans, tofu and greens
Reprinted with permission from Power Plates, copyright © 2018 by Gena Hamshaw. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photographs copyright © 2018 by Ashley McLaughlin









This dish grew out of my tremendous love of rice and beans, as well as my tendency to load up the dish with extras: greens, peppers, sautéed mushrooms, tofu or tempeh, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I love it because it’s fast and filling, and it all comes together in a single pot. I’m the sort of person who can eat plain tofu right out of the package, so adding unmarinated, uncooked tofu doesn’t bother me. If naked tofu is a turnoff for you, feel free to use 8 ounces (225 g) smoked or baked tofu instead.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
11⁄2 cups (270 g) cooked black beans, or 1 (15-oz, or 425-g) can, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oz, or 411-g) can diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1 cup (185 g) white or brown basmati or long-grain white rice
2 3⁄4 cups (650 ml) water
1 (15-oz, or 425-g) block extra-firm tofu, preferably pressed, cut into 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) cubes
1 small bunch collard greens or other greens, stemmed and cut into thin strips
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly squeezed lime juice


Crumbled corn chips, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, hot sauce

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, paprika, and salt, then stir in the beans, tomatoes, rice, and water. Add the tofu and stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring gently from time to time, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes for white rice or 40 minutes for brown rice.

Add the greens, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are wilted. Season with red pepper flakes and stir in lime juice to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve right away, with any additional toppings you like.

Power Plates will be a welcome addition to your cookbook collection. You can get it online at Amazon or most other online retailers. Pick up a copy today, you will be glad you did.