Friday, February 25, 2011

Jen Reviews a Vegetarian: Create Great-Tasting Dishes Through The Seasons

Title: Vegetarian: Create Great-Tasting Dishes Through The Seasons

Authors: Ting Morris, Carla Bardi, Rachel Lane

Published: Reader's Digest, 2010

How I Got It: Purchased myself


I've been a vegetarian since I was eight years old.  My mom said that one day I came home from school and announced that I wasn't going to eat meat anymore.  She thought it was just a phase and eventually I'd grow out of it.  I guess it's been a pretty long phase since I'm twenty-four and I still don't eat meat.

Since being a vegetarian cuts out an entire food group I've had to learn to be creative when going out to eat.  During the summer most people love going to cookouts.  I hate them.  I always eat before I go and stash granola bars in my purse.  Why?  Hot dogs and hamburgers galore.  Not veggie friendly.  I usually munch on chips and hog the veggie tray.  Oh yeah, and eat most of the cookies.

I'm always on the lookout for a good vegetarian cookbook.  The verdict:  I'm still looking.  Cookbooks are fairly personal.  Everyone's taste-buds are different and it can be hit or miss. This particular cookbook was a miss for me.  There's just too many dishes that I wouldn't try.  Things like Dandelion and Garden Flowers with Quail Eggs or Cauliflower and Pea Samosas.  But some of the recipes don't sound too bad, like Corn Fritters, Pumpkin Fritters or Spinach Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce.  Cookbooks are so subjective.

Even though not all of the recipes in this book appeal to my palate there were still a few things that I loved:

  • The gorgeous pictures of the food.  The presentation is excellent.
  • Every recipe has a picture of the finished meal.
  • Simple recipes.  All of the ingredients and directions fit on one page.  (Side note: I hate complicated recipes)
  • Font size, it's fairly large in this cookbook so no squinting while you're preparing a recipe.
Do you have a favorite cookbook?  If you want to try something new where do you usually go to find a new recipe?


  1. I'm trying to find a cookbook with some good vegetarian recipes despite me not being a vegetarian. I just want to cut out a little meat out of my diet.

    I hate when cookbooks have redonkulous recipes that you would never reallyyy cook or ever find the ingredients for it. lol.

    I might have to browse this one at B&N to see if it has enough recipes I'd eat to actually buy it.

  2. Wow, the dandelion flowers one does sound pretty bizarre. Anyway just wanted to say, yay for being vegetarian! I totally know what you mean about cookouts, it's always awkward for me at barbecues because all the food is so not vegetarian-friendly (either that or they have vegetarian hotdogs or whatever that they want to cook on the same grill as the meat, and I'm picky about that).

  3. Oooh pumpkin fritters and spinach gnocchi! Sound delicious! For good vegetarian food, you should check out Moosewood Restaurant's cookbooks. They have a bunch of them with lots of different types of food. (And if you ever find yourself in Ithaca, NY, the restaurant itself is fantastic!)

  4. i've been vegetarian for about five years now and you're right, it does teach you to be creative when you're eating, or cooking. it wasn't until i stopped eating meat that i got brave enough to begin experimenting in the kitchen and actually learned to cook.

    have you tried mark bittman's vegetarian cookbook? it's by far the best i've ever found, and is sort of my cooking bible. the best thing about it is that he includes variations on each recipe and really stresses that recipes should be adjusted and played with to suit your tastes.

    -- ellen

  5. Thanks for the review - I'm always on the lookout for veggie cookbooks! :)

  6. I promise I'm not just link-dropping here (just ask Jamie), but I have a book blog and just started doing some vegetarian posts, also hoping to find great cookbooks. Check it out here ( and I hope the information I provide is useful to you.

  7. Jamie: There are some really good recipes in the book but the majority of recipes are things that I'd never try (but I'm also a super picky eater).

    danya: Yay! Someone who understands! :) I've never been to a cookout where they also had veggie burgers/hot dogs, but I wouldn't want it cooked right next to the meat.

    Natanya: I will definitely browse through the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks next time I'm in a bookstore! Thanks!

    ellen: I've never tried Mark Bittman's cookbook but I just added it to my list of cookbooks to try! Thanks so much!

    Leanna: Glad to help!

    literarywife: Thanks for the link! I'm glad to know that there are others out there looking for amazing vegetarian cookbooks!

  8. I am SO excited about this book! My husband is a newly minted vegetarian, so I am on the lookout for great veggie cookbooks! XO

  9. Hey, hey....I'm giving away the arc of DIVERGENT I won on Veronica's blog if you're still interested! The book is awesome!


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