REVIEW: Vegetarian: Good Food Made Simple
Vegetarian: Good Food Made Simple by Parragon Books and Love Food Editors is a beautiful and simple book that will easily influence a plant-based lifestyle. The bright lime-green cover drew me in, initially. As an owner of too many cookbooks, the recipes with their simple ingredient lists and gorgeous photos made me buy yet another vegetarian cookbook. Luckily, this one will become a favorite in my kitchen.
The first few pages describe what it is to be vegetarian or vegan, along with simple instructions on how to cook for one. I enjoyed the two pages on maintaining a balanced diet because it wasn’t overly instructive, allowing a common-sense approach to prevail. There’s also a page on other essentials, such as how to ensure enough Vitamin B, iron and zinc, and which foods contain them. There’s a small paragraph on combining foods for complete proteins which I believe is now considered a myth, but that’s the only outdated information I came across.
The sourcing and substituting section was well thought out, including something I learned this year from a vegan friend of mine about rennet in cheese. Because this book doesn’t take a hard line on vegetarian or vegan, it’s the perfect place to start for someone who just wants to add more plant-based foods into their otherwise omnivore eating plan. As a Flexitarian, who leans heavily toward lacto-ovo vegetarian (one who eats plant based as well as includes dairy and eggs), I found this book’s intent refreshing. Flexibility is key in anyone’s success with a lifestyle change. None of us need lectures to convince us one way or another. I would suspect that most of us are savvy to how our food gets to us. And, if we’re not, this isn’t the book that will go into all the controversy.
This book is a simple approach to trying a lifestyle that you think may appeal to you. I found it to be enticing and encouraging without too many ingredients to make it overwhelming. It has just enough of the unusual to set it apart from many vegetarian cookbooks I’ve read, as well as easy to find ingredients prepared in a way to enhance them.
There were a couple recipes that made my eyebrows rise, such as Asparagus and Egg Pastries or Pancakes and Baked Mushrooms. Those won’t be landing on my table. 🙂 But, those two were insignificant, as most of the recipes in this book had me ready to seek out the ingredients.
What I’m especially excited about are the recipes that contain ingredients from the farmshare we live on half the year that I’m often debating. The Grilled Mozzarella Eggplant Bagels made me actually wish I had one of the purple offenders available. Feta Lemon and Herb dip may be one of the first things I make. Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes and Rosemary is high on my list of excitement. Tomato Rice is so simple that it will be made quite soon. Vegetable and Hazelnut Loaf and Crispy Crepes with Ratatouille are in my dreams. Finally, the Tomato Tart looks like the perfect answer to an overrun of cherry tomatoes that we face from our own garden yearly.
Vegetarian: Good Food Made Simple will become a staple in my kitchen. So many times, I buy cookbooks and use them only as idea launchers for my meals, as I’m too impatient and bossy to follow a recipe. I don’t see that happening with this one. The ingredient lists are low and mostly what I have on hand. The photos are gorgeous and enticing. The food is so appetizing and what I want to eat that I keep finding new favorites. If I only had some fennel I’d be making the Broiled Cheese Kabobs on Fennel and White Bean Salad tonight. And don’t even get me started on the bread and dessert recipes I found. I can see some serious baking coming up in the following months.
If you want to try to eat more plant-based foods, do yourself a favor and grab this cookbook. You’ll have more ideas than you can shake a stick at and never go hungry. Vegetarian: Good Food Made Simple by Parragon Books and Love Food Editors is one of the best cookbooks I’ve purchased in the last couple of years for concise and inviting vegetarian recipes I’ll actually try. That probably equates to number one out of at least twenty to thirty cookbooks.
P.S. – I’ll update this blog post with pictures of what I make in the future. I can’t wait!
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Print copy purchased.
Vegetarian: Good Food Made Simple by Parragon Books, Love Food Editors
Publisher: Parragon Books (July 5, 2013)
Rated 5 out of 5 – Recommended!