Saturday, September 10, 2011

REVIEW: The Vegetarian Bible by Publications International Staff


Whether you are a long-time vegetarian or vegan, or you just want to add more meatless meals to your diet, The Vegetarian Bible can help you in the kitchen. The 256-page cookbook offers more than 130 recipes that provide flavor, variety, and satisfaction without meat. Here is a closer look at the various sections in The Vegetarian Bible:

• Soups. Includes recipes for Zesty Vegetarian Chili, Oven-Roasted Beet Soup with Orange Cream, and White Bean and Escarole Soup

• Pasta and Noodles. Includes recipes for Cheese Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce, Tofu Rigatoni Casserole, and Three-Pepper Fettuccine

• Grains and Legumes. Includes recipes for Barley and Swiss Chard Skillet Casserole, Lentil Stew over Couscous and Barley, and Bean and Corn Frittata

• Additional chapters for salad and sandwich recipes, and party and special occasion recipes, including light and lively party dishes like tortes, hummus dishes, and wheat gluten skewers

The Vegetarian Bible starts with a 24-page introduction to vegetarian cooking. A color photograph of the completed dish accompanies most of the recipes.

My Thoughts

This book begins by talking about vegetarianism: what it is, the different variations (ovo-lacto), how it's gone mainstream.Then there is a list of pantry ingredients you should keep on hand in a vegetarian kitchen:
  • Asian noodles: rice noodles, soba
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Cornmeal
  • Lentils
  • Pasta
  • Rice: long grain, brown, basmati, jasmine
  • tomatoes: canned whole and diced
  • Beans: a variety of canned or dried
  • Chickpeas
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Oils: extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Quinoa
  • soy sauce
  • Vegetable broth
The book then discusses some special concerns to vegetarians, and how to ensure that they get the nutrients they need that may be difficult to obtain when not taking in animal products. This is followed by info on keeping produce fresh, how to store produce and for how long, an introduction to less common produce, grains and beans, and an intro to soy.

Then come the recipes. There's super soups like White Bean & Escarole Soup and French Lentil Soup. "Small Plate" dishes like Veggie-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and Spinach Souffle. "Asian Influence" entrees like Buddha's Delight and Thai Seitan Stir-Fry. Pasta dishes including Lasagna Florentine with Provolone & Portobello Mushrooms and Cheese Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce. Good grains like Barley & Swiss Chard Skillet Casserole and Wheat Berry Apple Salad. "Hot & Hearty" dishes like Eggplant Parmigiana and 7-Layer Meatless Tortilla Pie. "Salads & Sandwiches" including Portobello Provolone Panini and Quinoa & Mango Salad. "Party Perfect" delights like Eggplant Crepes with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Barbecue Seitan Skewers.

Here is a "Party Perfect" recipe for Layered Mexican-Style Casserole:

2 cans (about 15 ounces each) hominy, drained*
1 can (about 15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (about 14 ounces) diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 (9-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 cup black olives

*Hominy is corn that has been treated to remove the germ and hull. It can be found with the canned vegetables or beans in most supermarkets.

Slow Cooker Directions
  1.  Prepare foil handles (see below). Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine hominy, beans, tomatoes, salsa, tomato paste and cumin in large bowl.
  3. Press 1 tortilla in bottom of slow cook. (Edges of tortilla may turn up slightly.) Top with one third of hominy mixture and one third of cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortilla and hominy mixture; set aside remaining cheese.
  4. Cover; cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Pull out tortilla stack with foil handles.
 Makes 6 servings

Foil Handles:  Tear off three (18x2-inch) strips of heavy-duty foil or use regular foil folded to double thickness. Crisscross foil strips in spoke design and place into slow cooker to make lifting of tortilla stack easier.

I love pictures in cookbooks, and this one has a picture for nearly every recipe in it. Simple recipes with simple ingredients, many of which I would normally have on hand in my pantry. This is a decent cookbook, and a good addition to the vegetarian kitchen.

My Rating: 7 out of 10 

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