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Carlovski

Vegetarian cookbooks

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I'm in need of a good vegetarian cookbook for a Christmas gift. Basically no meat, but I don't think she's restricting herself in dairy or anything. She's a reasonably accomplished cook, so something with good, fresh ingredients is a good place to start I think. Any ideas for the best one out there?

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You might want to check out Field of Greens by Annie Sommerville. This is one of the cookbooks from the Greens Restaurant mentioned above; and to me, the best of the bunch. I've been happily cooking out of it for over ten years as a non-vegetarian that eats non-meat based meals regularly and sometimes cooks for vegetarian friends. Unlike some cookbooks, vegetarian or not, the recipes are still fresh to me and do not appear dated in style or ingredients. All the recipes are listed in front in the Table of Contents so you can get a quick overview of the recipes and style if you have a chance to look at it. The soups, pizzas and turnovers are particular favorites of mine.

edited to add: I think I already mentioned this book in Carlovski's original thread but am not shy to mention it again...

Although it is not a vegetarian book, I also really like the Chez Panisse Vegetable cookbook. The design, woodcut illustrations and layout are very pretty so it is nice in that sense also for a gift. I turn to it often for inspiration when bringing home something seasonal from the farmer's market and I cook from it often.


Edited by ludja (log)

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I've been a vegetarian now for pretty much 14 years and I can say that my absolute favourite cookbook is "Moosewood's Low-Fat Favourites". I've used it over and over and over again. I've tried many different cookbooks over the years but this one never lets me down. I've probably made ~40% of the recipes from it over the past 5 years...which I think is a lot from one book.

As for Moosewood, I don't find their recipes bland as someone said above. All of their recipes have a reasonable amount of ingredients that are all fairly easy to find in your local grocery store. I also enjoy how they suggest menus to go with each dish.

I feel within the label "vegetarian" there are a number of different types (those that eat fish, the very health conscious, the animal lovers and those that just don't like the taste of meat or any substitute). Each type of vegetarian is looking for a certain kind of cookbook to cater to their needs. I think you have to keep this in mind when buying for someone. I know I've received a lot of vegetarian cookbooks in the past that I have just given away because I knew I would never use them. Personally, if I were your giftee, I would appreciate to be asked what I wanted. If she is a vegetarian who likes to cook, I'm sure she's had her eye on a few at her local cookbook store!

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Perhaps vegetarian is too broad a label. She has had to cut meat out of her diet due to colon issues, but is happy to consume other things, so I'm looking for meatless recipes. If that makes sense.

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Reminds me of the funniest thing I ever read in a vegetarian cookbook - because there are more varieties of plants than varieties of meat vegetarians have many more options available to them when it comes to eating than meat eaters do.

I was a vegetarian for 7 years, and 95% of the vegetarians I knew were under 25 - all had parents who weren't vegetarians. I think this is one of the reasons that vegetarian cookbooks are such crap usually.

Imagine what regular cookbooks would be like if they were all purchased by people in there early 20s trying to make food they weren't brought up on.

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Perhaps vegetarian is too broad a label. She has had to cut meat out of her diet due to colon issues, but is happy to consume other things, so I'm looking for meatless recipes. If that makes sense.

Hi Marlene:

What does "meatless" mean?

I'm very familiar with the term

vegetarian (=no dead animals in the food and yes fish is an

animal so those who eat fish are not vegetarians

and I wonder why they want to call themselves vegetarian?

no animal stocks etc. Eggs and dairy sometimes OK or not depending

on religion, allergies, health, whatever).

and

vegan (=nothing of animal origin, including honey, and also

nothing animal in other areas of life e.g. no wool, silk, leather, etc clothes).

but not familiar with "meatless"..... is it the same as vegetarian?

In any case, the best strategy as someone pointed out is to ask

her what cookbooks she may like - there are ways of asking indirectly...

And there's myriad excellent veg. cookbooks out there that

appeal to many different tastes / requirements, as the discussion

upthread showed, so why would none of those work for your friend?

Have you considered any of those?

Milagai

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Marlene, read the related thread (begun by same person who started this one) if this thread isn't sufficient. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone gets my vote. It's Bittman, Joy of, Gourmet, NYTimes, Waters, Beard all rolled into one except without the meat. Designed to be the only thing you'll need. I've made at least 50 dishes over the years from this to buttermilk pancakes.

If you're more inclined to introduce possibilities from "non-Western" cuisines, cf. Miz Ducky on Madhur Jaffrey.

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Take a look at Mark Bittman's new vegetarian cookbook, as well as the truly amazing "Veganomicon."

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I highly recommend Jack Bishop's "Complete Book of Italian Vegetarian Cooking." Full of great recipes, no weird ingredients.

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I highly recommend Jack Bishop's "Complete Book of Italian Vegetarian Cooking."  Full of great recipes, no weird ingredients.

I second that! It's one of my most used cookbooks. Even my dear husband, the carnivore, has been enthusiastic about everything I've made from it.

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Funny, there's been a lot of Moosewood bashing all over eGullet lately. I have the Moosewood and the unfortunately named Enchanted Broccoli Forest, which I got for a dollar in one of those Book-of-the-Month-Club 4-for-a-dollar specials they don't run any more. I really like many of the recipes from the Moosewood. The Gypsy Soup, for one. I suppose there are better versions of everything out there, but the recipes are reliably tasty.

I own this one, and I don't really cook from it because I go to the restaurant.

Angelica Kitchen

I was given the Brown Rice Gravy recipe by the chef when the book was being written. Really ungodly good stuff.

Dolores Casella's Vegetable Book (out-of-print) is not vegetarian, but it's a good vegetable book.

And I second Chez Panisse Vegetables and Deborah Madison. Try the Moroccan carrots in Chez Panisse. Your guests will love you for it. You'll love yourself for it.


Edited by Lindacakes (log)

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I'm in need of a good vegetarian cookbook for a Christmas gift.  Basically no meat, but I don't think she's restricting herself in dairy or anything.  She's a reasonably accomplished cook, so something with good, fresh ingredients is a good place to start I think.  Any ideas for the best one out there?

Hey Marlene,

One book I haven't seen mentioned in Pure Vegetarian by Paul Gayler. He is a British chef who is not vegetarian, but created this cookbook of really unusual, complex vegetarian recipes. My husband and I particularly love the mushroom buns (like chinese pork buns but with mushrooms, sesame oil and a little peanut butter inside). Also the pics are gorgeous. If she's a foodie, she might like that one a lot. Most people haven't heard of it so she is unlikely to already have it.

As far as generally solid all-around vegetarian cookbooks, I like Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers. It's not as comprehensive as Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone but the recipes are a little more complex and the focus is on creating whole menus, rather than individual dishes. I also think the recipes in Suppers are a little more flavorful and sophisticated. Has anyone else tried it?

Finally - although it's not a vegetarian cookbook I love the vegetarian recipes in Mangoes and Curry Leaves. There is a tamarind-flavored dal that is out of this world, not at all your usual lentil mush, and a lot of interesting veggie dishes.

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A bit late for the OP, but I thought I'd mention some of my favourites.

Number 1 is Leith's Vegetarian Bible (Polly Tyrer). It's a huge tome which will take me years to work through. So far there hasn't been one dud recipe. Plenty of simple options, but tons of more difficult ones when I feel like a challenge. Meat substitutes are barely touched on, and the recipes are well balanced and appetising (there isn't a heavy reliance on soy sauce or cheese). It's simply a great cook book that just happens to be vegetarian, and a constant source of inspiration.

In Britain, The Vegetarian Epicure 2 by Anna Thomas is called 'From Anna's Kitchen '. I'm also rather fond of this book as a source of hearty comfort food and as a basic introduction to Mexican cooking (ingredients for which are particularly hard to source in the UK).

I guess it helps that I'm not really a vegetarian (I was for nearly a decade but reverted to eating fish some time ago). Quite a few of her recipes feature Worcestershire sauce (which has anchovies) and then there's the infamous 3 pages written by her husband, Greg Nava, (see the scathing reviews in US Amazon) where instructions are given on how to spit roast a Turkey that "even 'vegetarians' want to try" :rolleyes:. I think it's strange that so many Amazon reviewers fixated on these pages rather than comment on the inclusion of Worcestershire Sauce as a vegetarian ingredient, a potentially much more serious issue. (I'd suggest instead using a little marmite, or miso, or/and a dashi/porcini concentrate). Still a book I enjoy and can recommend.

The third book I use and love isn't written for vegetarians. Nevertheless, it's been of enormous help to me in introducing new vegetables to my diet. I purchased it because I get a box of organically grown vegetables delivered weekly (mostly grown in the UK) and this forces me to confront vegetables I took an aversion to as a child, or which I'd just never cooked with before. Sophie Grigson's 'Vegetables' has become a real friend in the kitchen, helping me get the best out of familiar and unfamiliar ingredients (the Heston Blumenthal recipe she includes for cooking calabrese is sensational, yet very simple.) She's been instrumental in turning a vegetable I absolutely loathed to one I now love... passionately. I only bought this book a year ago, but I can now state that I like vegetables even more now than I did before I started using it.

If you don't mind skipping (or adapting) the few recipes and tips that involve meat and fish, this really is an excellent resource.

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I started the "poor, vegetarian student" thing in the '70s, and of the vegetarian cookbook authors of that time, Anna Thomas was by far my favorite.

There's a book called "Vegetarian Sandwiches" by Paulette Mitchell which sounds interesting - does anybody know if it is?

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Authentically vegetarian Japanese food can be found in Ikuko Hisamtasu's "Tsukemono, Japanese Pickling Recipes".

Out of the 73 recipes, about a dozen call for non-vegan ingredients, and around half of these are for dashi or bonito shavings which can be easily substituted (i.e. shitake/porcini stock or shavings, miso even marmite).

Japanese 'Pickles', for those not familiar with them, can be very different from those in Europe. Many involve vegetables which are lightly braised, or marinated for between 30 minutes and an hour, only a few are made with vinegar. They are an important part of any Japanese meal.

This is an excellent source book for delicious Vegan dishes, especially suited for those with access to Asian groceries (if you can grow your own perilla/shiso leaves, all the better)

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Was shopping couple of weeks ago for a present at Half Price Books (one of the seven wonders of the world, IMO) and came across a copy of Donna Klein's "Vegan Italiano" for $5, so I snatched it up.

Have only made one thing from it, and on first look it almost appears that most of the recipes are things that other Italian cookbooks have covered ad nasuem. But in perusing it a bit closer I found a number of bean-centered dishes that don't often show up in other Italian cookbooks. All in all, it's a nice book to have for convenience - I do lunch for a small coffeehouse with some vegan customers, so it's nice to have one place to go for vegan recipes.

Mostly what we make for vegetarians/vegans are soups however, and for that I use my Deborah Madison soup book frequently for inspiration.

On the bulgar in veggie chili - I'm not a big fan of fake meats either, but TPV works extremely well for a "meaty" bite. I've also used farro and quinoa in place of bulgar.

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Yes, and also his "A Year In The Vegetarian Kitchen" and, if you can find it,Bishop had an excellent vegetarian pasta book "Pasta e Verdura". Another book we use often is Didi Emmons "Vegetarian Planet".

I highly recommend Jack Bishop's "Complete Book of Italian Vegetarian Cooking."  Full of great recipes, no weird ingredients.

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Take a look at "Olive Trees and Honey" by Gil Marks. It is a huge book of vegetarian, Jewish recipes from all over the world. Because the recipes are kosher, it will meet the needs of someone who needs to avoid dairy, and it also does not use a lot of "artificial" ingredients. The variety of recipes is amazing, and it is a real favorite of mine. An interesting read, too.

I'm in need of a good vegetarian cookbook for a Christmas gift.  Basically no meat, but I don't think she's restricting herself in dairy or anything.  She's a reasonably accomplished cook, so something with good, fresh ingredients is a good place to start I think.  Any ideas for the best one out there?

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I will second the recommendation of DM's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I myself am not a vegetarian although I do love vegetable cookery. I look forward to cooking my way through her book.

ETA that I'm posting from work so I might have some more titles to add later on.


Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)

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Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is my everyday go-to vegetarian cookbook. It won the James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence and the Julia Child's book of the year award. It has many gems of recipes as well as basic information on vegetarian foods. It was published in 1997 and remains a great book on vegetarian cooking.


Edited by Carole Grogloth Hawaii (log)

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My favourite for everyday cooking is the River COttage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Other good basics are Delia's Vegetarian Collection and Leith's Vegetarian Bible. For something more 'fancy' ie dinner party cooking the Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia is very good. I also love The Accidental Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer.

Andrew

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I am a Madison fan, so thanks for the heads up. I hadn't heard about Vegetable Literacy but the description on Amazon is interesting. It "reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families." Carole Grogloth, Hawaii

Have the Deborah Madison fans checked out the previews of her about to be released new book Vegetable Literacy?

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Totally agree on Madhur Jaffrey, World Cafe Cookbooks and Sophie Grigson's vegetable book!

Not mentioned yet is Yamuna Devi's The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. Yes, it comes from a spiritual background, but not in a overbearing way. Won several prices.

If you want try vegan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz has written several books next to Veganomicon, covering a wide variety of dishes. On http://www.theppk.com, you'll find her blog with recipes to give you an idea.

UK mag Vegetarian Living is also digitally available, http://www.vegetarianliving.co.uk/. Although it does present itself more as a life style mag and raises some health and environmental issues, I don't get an unshaved and smelly armpits, while wearing goat's hair socks in ugly sandals feeling about the recipes.

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Really enjoy Chez Panisse Vegetables, which is not vegetarian, but has some great vegetarian options.

Personally not a big fan of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Bittman or anything by Madhur Jaffrey or Deborah Madison. I do really love Fuchsia Dunlop's newest -- Every Grain of Rice -- which, while not vegetarian, has somewhere around 70% vegetarian or easily convertible to vegetarian recipes. It's a bit less region specific than her other books, and shows a side of Chinese cooking that's not often written about, which is home style cooking.

I've found that I get the most inspiration from non-vegetarian cookbooks overall.

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