New York: Clarkson Potter, c2013.
This is a great compilation of recipes for anyone considering the idea of going vegetarian, even if just for Meatless Mondays! It is from Martha Stewart Living, so it is big and colourful, with many gorgeous pictures to get your taste buds excited. And while I think "very best" in the title may be a bit of hyperbole, it is still a good resource.
It's broken up into eight sections, like salads, pasta, side dishes, casseroles etc. and also includes a guide to the basics of a vegetarian pantry, and some suggested menus. It also has quite a good index with symbols to indicate recipes that are vegan, gluten-free, or "special diet". Most of the recipes that I've looked at so far include dairy or eggs, so it certainly isn't wholly vegan. However, I think its strength is that the recipes are not too far-fetched for people who are just beginning to incorporate vegetarian meals into their eating habits -- the concepts are familiar, ie: salads or pastas or burgers, while the actual execution (being Martha Stewart) can get quite fancy with extra ingredients or techniques.
I actually really liked the side dishes sections, with some new ideas on how to prepare vegetables like kohlrabi or broccolini that I don't think of eating, generally. Also, roasting common vegetables like cabbage or cauliflower makes them look very tasty, I must say. There are a few recipes that stood out for me, ones that I'd like to try shortly. The sautéed kohlrabi is one, roasted pumpkin with pasta another, avocado-chipotle sandwiches yet another. It'll be fun to go through and try things that are new to me, whether in ingredients or techniques, even though I've been vegetarian for 21 years.
Something I found interesting with this book is the introduction of a basic recipe like pesto, which is then followed up with six variations using different ingredients -- like arugula, or spinach, or walnut-sage. There are also similar suggestions for alternatives to the basic grain salad, or other staples. It shows how recipes can be tweaked and altered, and opens up possibilities for any cook.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes to cook and wants to branch out a bit. A brand-new vegetarian could probably find better books aimed at being wholly vegetarian, but this will be a nice addition to my already stuffed shelf of veg cookbooks!
Get some free recipes and images from the book at Martha Stewart's website (it includes the recipe for portobello-zucchini tacos which look so good!)
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