The Magnolia Table is going to change the way you treat yourself—and guests, too.
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Credit: Photo: Zee Krstic.

Our favorite HGTV star has finally released her very first cookbook, and honestly, we couldn’t be more excited. The Fixer Upper star dishes on her style in the kitchen and more than 125 of her favorite recipes with fans. Magnolia Table covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, and appetizers, plus one heck of a dessert section.

We took an early look at Gaines' new cookbook, which is available for purchase today and available wherever books are sold. We weren't too shocked to see that Magnolia Table relies heavily on ingredients that aren't regularly in our arsenal, as it's not a diet companion, but we were surprised to see how Joanna incorporated some of her lighter recipes into her cookbook.

Joanna's recipes and gorgeous photography feel home-cooked, farm-raised, and restaurant ready all at once—we couldn't help but stop at the book's introduction, where Gaines lays out a list of kitchen staples and gadgets she keeps on hand.

Born in Kansas and now famously residing in Texas, Gaines is deeply rooted in her Southern culture—and Magnolia Table's recipes truly illustrate that identity.

But these Southern classics get an ingenious Fixer Upper-like twist. Fried green tomatoes are topped with a creamy, quick rémoulade sauce, and "1919 Pimento Cheese" is a popular dish at the Gaines' Waco, Texas restaurant, also called Magnolia Table. The name is a nod to the restaurant space's previous occupant, the Elite Cafe, which opened in 1919.

Tucked away behind these indulgent, mouth-watering pages of buttery biscuits, cheesy casseroles, and sweet jams, are some healthier meals we can definitely get behind.

Dinners like grilled salmon with Meyer lemons and creamy cucumber salad, grilled raspberry-chipotle pork tenderloin, and perfect roast chicken feel perfect for summer menus. And we can't help but eye dishes like white bean hummus and peach caprese, which make any backyard barbecue that much better.


What's more, Magnolia Table goes beyond Joanna's obvious Southern heritage—the book surprised us with a collection of dishes that paid homage to Joanna's extended family history. Dropped in between pages of American classics like apple pie and mashed potatoes are "Syrian Donuts, "Mom’s Bulgogi," and "Jo’s Fatayar." These recipes represent her Korean and Lebanese background, and are a welcome departure from the other dishes within the title.

While we wish we could convince Joanna to pay more attention to nutrition in the future, Magnolia Table doesn't list calorie counts or other nutritional info in its pages. Nevertheless, I wanted to try one of the more healthy-ish dishes to really taste the flavors that have Magnolia Table so famous.

As soon as I stumbled upon the stunning image attached to blackened fish tacos with red cabbage and mango slaw, I had found my test subject.

Credit: Arielle Weg

Though I substituted a bag of coleslaw mix in for the red cabbage, I followed the directions to a tee (nearly, anyway). This particular recipe was fairly straightforward and easy to follow, and I think that any home cook should be able to tackle Joanna's recipes with ease.

The final product was fairly tasty. I was slightly disappointed that the book's photograph included avocados and the intro mentioned them...but they weren’t included in the ingredient list. The recipe definitely needed a tad more of a creamy element, so my pro tip, should you make Joanna's tacos yourself, is the finishing touch of everyone's favorite fruit.

Overall, I found the book is worth its weight in gold—if you’re looking for some simple classic meals, and for a wholesome way to splurge once in a while in your own kitchen. Joanna Gaines isn't trying to shine in the health space, sure, but I'm a big fan of cookbooks that I feel like I'll actually use. And this is one that any cook will turn to, again and again.

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering is on sale April 24.