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Almost Vegetarian: A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken & Fish Some of the Time, & Altogether Well All of the Time Paperback – October 25, 1994

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shaw (Vegetarian Entertaining) targets a wide audience with this collection of 170-plus recipes featuring ingredients that are mostly vegetarian and low in fat. Picking up on a major motivation for the population's move away from red meat, the author focuses on dishes that offer flavor without a high fat content, emphasizing salads enlivened by a liberal use of herbs, soups and casseroles whose taste and richness are deepened by long, slow cooking. Nutritional counts per serving are included. While many of the vegetable dishes, which can be main courses or side dishes, highlight produce associated with Mediterranean-style cooking, dishes built around such winter vegetables as hard squashes and potatoes are particularly interesting. A chapter on pastas and risottos and one on desserts merit special mention. Shaw's prose is breezy and personal, occasionally becoming verbose, bordering on arch. The page design, with boxes, tips and other asides, is attractive, though busy and sometimes distracting. Lengthy introductory material includes brief descriptions of cooking methods, a directory of fresh vegetables, legumes, seasonings and flavorings; a bibliography and list of mail-order sources are also provided. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

"Almost vegetarian" is a good description of the way more and more people are not quite giving up meat but no longer eating it every day, and this book should have broad appeal. Shaw, author of Grilling from the Garden (LJ 8/93) and two other strictly vegetarian cookbooks, does not include red meat in her latest book, but there are fish and poultry entrees and other dishes this time around. Most are low-fat and high-fiber. The recipes are an eclectic collection, though not, perhaps, quite as interesting as those in Grilling, with lots of variations and boxes on tips and techniques. A few quibbles aside (e.g., how many cooks will be able to find baby artichokes with 4-inch stems for soup?), this is recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Stated First Edition edition (October 25, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 051788206X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517882061
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Remember when growing up as a child you abhored vegetables? Moms across the nation have spent vast hours in cajoling their little darlings into eating those "things" that were good for them. Now as an adult we're told that we need to eat more vegetable if we care about our health. Sigh. We reluctantly acquiese but still we hate those green (or not so green) things.
Hate no more as I have done in coming across this delightful cookbook. If you still love meat but need more veggies in your diet please explore this text. Inside you will come across mouth watering recipes that are easy to make. And the vegetable dishes taste fantastic. You don't have to commit to vegetarianism in order to enjoy the varied meals presented which also include chicken and fish.
Almost Vegetarians isn't preachy like Mom in trying to convince you to eat vegetables. It is a sensible guide which offers a variety of ways in which those things can be made delicious for our palets. It also contains advice on purchasing the proper cookware, buying mail order and a great bibliography. If you weren't sold on vegetables before, you will be with this book. Have a great meal!
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Format: Paperback
I have tried several of the recipes in this book and found all of them to be delicious. Most selections are relatively low fat with lots of flavor. It's perfect for individuals who eat meat occasionally. All recipes that call for poultry or fish also have suggestions for keeping it vegetarian. Sorry, this doesn't have many vegan recipes, although the vegans I know are pretty clever enough to make substitutions
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Format: Paperback
Before making any one of these dishes, one should read through the recipe to make sure it makes sense. For example, the recipe for "Chicken Stewed with Fennel, Tomatoes, and Saffron" calls for major amounts of vegetables, plus 4 chicken legs with thighs. One is supposed to put all the ingredients in a glass bowl to marinade overnight. Please note, only one cup of liquid is used. How can one marinate all these ingredients in one cup of liquid? That's what I asked myself when I ended up with a huge bowl of ingredients and miniscule amount of liquid. Another questionable recipe is found on page 197, "Couscous with Vegetables." Here again, the recipe calls for sauteing a large amount of vegetables and seasonings with just one tbl. of oil and 2 tbls. of liquid. I would not recommend this book nor would I buy another book by this author.
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Format: Paperback
I never really bothered to learn how to cook. My extended family does it -- and does it well -- almost as second nature, but for some reason, the love (and the know-how) of preparing wonderful food never made its way down to me.
Then I started broadening my tastes, and then I got engaged. Suddenly, I wanted to learn how to cook. I made peace with the kitchen over the course of a summer, and then I decided we'd need to be friends. I borrowed my mom's cookbooks and flipped enthusiastically through the pages, but everything was meat, and everything contained words like broil, blanch, and braise, and I didn't even know what those words meant, let alone how to do them.
I found Diana Shaw's ALMOST VEGETARIAN in a used book store for [just a little money]. I loved the format, the nutrition information, the glossary of terms, the how-to boxes (ex: how to clean a leek), the appendecies on how to select fruits and vegetables for best taste, etc. I flipped through it, and right away I saw ten recipes I wanted to try. With my fiance, I got to work immediately, and we have both loved the results so far. Many of the recipes take a long time to make, and some call for specialized ingredients, but there are time saving do-ahead tips for each selection, and exact instructions on how (and how long) each can be preserved (before or after completion) and where to find some of the more obscure ingredients.
If you're vegetarian, mostly vegetarian (like me), or you just want to cook more with fruits and veggies, try this book. Some recipes may take longer than expected, especially the first time you make them, but the vast majority are worth the wait. Kudos to Diana Shaw!
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Format: Paperback
I have now made several of the recipes in this book, and have found many of them to be lacking in some way. Most take WAY more prep time than is quoted. Many of the recipes end up bland tasting. I've taken to having my mother, who is a great cook, review the recipes and give me spicing hints. Also, I'd like to echo the person who said the recipes lack liquid. The Minestrone Soup turned out like a stew; hardly any broth. The Chicken and Lentil Stew had NO liquid. Beware: if you make the Stuffed Grape Leaves, you'll need double the amount of leaves quoted to use all your stuffing.

On the plus side, some of the recipes turned out great and very tasty. The Pumpkin Risotto was excellent and the Chicken and Lentil Stew was tasty even though it wasn't really a stew. I love all the cooking definitions and the vegetable guide. Those were really useful.

Overall, don't make these recipes for the first time to impress someone. The recipes are great bases, but you'll need to make it more than once to figure out what to add and do differently. Don't buy this if you don't know how to adjust recipes. The guides and tips throughout the book were very helpful to a relative newbie in the kitchen like me.
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