Here come the 2024 cookbooks…starting with Come Hungry

I’m finally done with the “Best of 2023.”  Today I start with reviews of 2024 published cookbooks.

About the book:

From Melissa Ben-Ishay—the co-founder of Baked by Melissa and creator of the viral Green Goddess Salad—comes an irresistible, veggie-packed cookbook with over 100 flavorful, nourishing recipes to inspire you to eat delicious meals that make you feel great.

When Melissa Ben-Ishay, the co-founder and CEO of bite-size cupcake empire Baked by Melissa, posted her vegan Green Goddess Salad on TikTok, it became a viral sensation. The recipe exploded online, gaining over 25 million views, landing Melissa on the TODAY Show, and inspiring fans like Cardi B and Lizzo to make their own version of the salad.

After the success of the Green Goddess Salad, Melissa continued to share her finely chopped, vegetable-focused recipes and inspired millions of fans to eat more greens with her flavorful, fresh creations. The meals all highlight Melissa’s food philosophy: if you get your nourishment from mealtime, you can absolutely indulge in dessert every day, just like she does.

In Come Hungry, Melissa shares her favorite everyday recipes and tips for creating nourishing, delicious meals the whole family will love. With flavorful ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, Melissa encourages home cooks of all levels to cook outside of their comfort zones and reveals her go-to techniques for creating the perfect bite. Packed with colorful, craveable recipes, Come Hungry offers a wide range of simple dishes for any diet, including:

  • Mediterranean Grain Salad
  • Coffee Shop Sesame Chicken Salad
  • Crunchy Ramen Slaw with Grilled Ribeye
  • Green Veggie Pizza
  • Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

From her grandmother’s kitchen in the Catskills to her in-laws’ home on the Mediterranean, Melissa features recipes inspired by meals that have shaped her as a cook and promote a veggie-packed way of eating, from mouthwatering toasts topped with leftovers to filling a pita with flavorful small plates. Ultimately, each and every recipe encourages creativity in the kitchen and invites the reader—as Melissa’s family says to guests on their way for dinner—to come hungry.

What I thought…

Once again, I am so behind when it comes to fads and social media hype.  (I sometimes am very afraid that I will become that elderly woman in North Dakota that gleefully and glowingly reviewed Olive Garden on Yelp like it was a Michelin starred restaurant.  Clueless but cute. I don’t want to be either of those things.)

The Green Goddess salad/dip creation by Ben-Ishay that went viral on TikToK was news to me (but it did sound delicious). I had to look it up. Then had to make it immediately. OMG.

But, I digress…. She mentions this Green Goddess rise to stardom in the opening to Come Hungry. As with any cookbook I review, I carefully read the intro. I love reading intros to cookbooks; they can set the reader up for a joyride of what is to come. (This was especially true with some recent reviews: Baz’ More is More and Hollis’ Baking Yesteryear.)

Beyond the Green Goddess turn-on, I thought Ben-Ishay’s writing was pretty disjointed but perhaps she was trying to reiterate the many people and kitchens that have influenced her cooking:  her husband’s Israeli heritage, her in-laws’ Mediterranean kitchen, the home of her grandmother in the Catskills, her home growing up in New Jersey, grandparents in Brooklyn and Queens…

I can usually tell from the intro whether or not I will love the recipes. Even though the intro left me wanting, the recipes did not.

The “Small Plates” section included some very simple but delicious sounding salads.  Her Israeli salad combines fresh veggies and herbs. The Tomato Salad is simply tomatoes lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and sweet paprika.  I could keep going here but will just say she uses the best ingredients in a stripped down delicious way.  The same is true of the “Toasts” section—eight simple but elegant dishes. (There is a Green Goddess Toast, too.)

The “Salad” section is big plates and are a bit more complex than what was served up in “Small Plates.”  I was probably most intrigued by the Little Gem & Savory Granola Salad (87-88).

This is a salad heavy book and the next portion is “Grain Salads.” “Quick Dinners & Sides” includes both dinner sized dishes (like Broccoli & Cauliflower Noodles and Soba & Greens) along with more traditional side dishes (Grilled Potato Salad and Grilled Garlic Broccoli).

Her recipes for “Dressings” follows (but I think it would have been better after the “Salad” section).

If you’re a serious and dedicated bread maker, you will appreciate the recipes in “Breads.”  Most all (from the Challah to the Foccacia) require a leaven, various flours, and sometimes an overnight rise.  All looked delicious.  (I have failed to mention that every recipe in the book has accompanying photos.)  If you’re also a sourdough aficionado, you can find some recipes here to use your starter.

The recipes in “Desserts” are homey and familiar but with twists:  Cheesecake-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cookie Butter Blondies, Peanut Butter Banana Bread, and Double-Chocolate Zucchini Bread.  There’ were more inventive sweets and I almost named them all here.

Unlike most cookbooks, Ben-Ishay includes “Kitchen Basics” (kitchen tools, chopping basics, teach your kids to cook, and pantry staples) in the back of the book.  As practical approaches she also has a DIY section on how to make spices, pickled veggies, vanilla, and grow sprouts.

While this might not be the most exciting cookbook I’ve read recently, it is practical (and healthy).

I’m off to pop some quinoa and make savory granola!

Back the the 2024 review theme.

I’ll be taking a lot of direction from Food & Wine which recently published their “Best Food and Drink Books of Spring 2024.”  I’ll also be throwing in some of my own recommendations (like this one).

Stay tuned.


I’m linking up with April’s Foodies Read.


3 comments to Here come the 2024 cookbooks…starting with Come Hungry

  • mae

    The ability of TV and Social Media stars to claim to have invented everything this year is mind-boggling. Green Goddess salad/dressing was invented in 1923, named for a then-popular Broadway play, and it’s been around ever since. But history is more-or-less bunk, I guess (that’s a quote from Henry Ford — if I were a media star I would claim that I invented it).

    In any case, I enjoyed your review and I’m glad you are looking at new cookbooks.

    best, mae at

  • I’m looking forward to the reviews of cookbooks this year. I’m sure they will be great as you are following the F&W list.

  • Savory Granola sounds interesting. I’ll get this one at the library first and see what I think. Too many cookbooks, not enough time! I hear you on the social media thing. For me it’s difficult navigating Instagram, and wouldn’t at all if not for seeing pictures of the great and grandkids.