Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky

Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky

by Lois Ellen Frank
Setting: Americas
Genres: Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / Indigenous Food of the Americas, Cooking / Vegan
Published on August 29, 2023
Pages: 304
Format: eARC Source: Netgalley

A celebration of eight magical plants Native Americans introduced to the rest of the world: corn, beans, squash, chile, tomato, potato, vanilla, and cacao—with more than 100 recipes.
When these eight Native American plants crossed the ocean after 1492, the world’s cuisines were changed forever. In Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky, James Beard Award-winning author and chef Lois Ellen Frank introduces the splendor and importance of this Native culinary history and pairs it with delicious, modern, plant-based recipes using Native American ingredients. Along with Native American culinary advisor Walter Whitewater, Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky shares more than 100 nutritious, plan-based recipes organized by each of the foundational ingredients in Native American cuisine as well as a necessary discussion of food sovereignty and sustainability.
 A delicious, enlightening celebration of Indigenous foods and Southwestern flavors, Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky shares recipes for dishes such as Blue Corn Hotcakes with Prickly Pear Syrup, Three Sisters Stew, and Green Chile Enchilada Lasagna, as well as essential basics like Corn Masa, Red and Green Chile Sauces, and Cacao Spice Rub. The “Magic 8” ingredients share the page—and plate—to create recipes that will transform your world.

This is exactly the cookbook for me. Look at that list of eight foods that it highlights – corn, beans, squash, chile, tomato, potato, vanilla, and cacao. Those are all my favorites. My go-to lazy meal is sweet potato topped with salsa, beans and corn. My palate was made for this book.

This is more than a cookbook though. There is a detailed history of each of the foods and their uses in Native American societies. There are also resources to find less common ingredients from Native American companies.

The photography is beautiful. There are photographs of each of the dishes but also of artistic shots of the various ingredients.

All of the recipes are vegan. I like the organization of the book. The recipes are arranged by ingredient instead of by meal type. I’d usually list a few recipes that I’m interested in trying but in this book I can’t pick.



Recipes for corn range from tortillas, to breads, tamales, stews, pastas, pancakes, and desserts.


There are salsas, spreads, stews, tacos, and pots of beans of various flavors.


Learn to roast, grill skewers, make salads, and bake with all kinds squash


What can’t you make with chiles? There are basic red and green sauces, stuffed chiles, stews, casseroles, enchiladas, and desserts.


People forget that Italians learned about tomatoes from the Native Americans. The recipes here highlight fresh and light salads, soups, and casseroles.


There are so many ways to cook potatoes. That could be a whole other book. There are roasted, mashed, and pureed recipes here. Add potatoes to burritos, tacos, and tamales.


The vanilla recipes are mostly desserts but range from sorbets to dessert tamales to skillet cakes along with more common baked goods.


There is a nice introduction to moles if you aren’t used to making them. After that it is on to desserts like in the vanilla chapter.


This book doesn’t come out until the end of summer but I am definitely going to preorder a hard copy. (I got an ARC from NetGalley.) This is a great resource.