Most helpful positive review
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Easy for beginners with enough depth for the more experienced
on January 19, 2013
After looking through a number of cookbooks online and at the local library, I bought the Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Cookbook and the three Happy Herbivore cookbooks. I've been a completely plant-based eater for about a year and vegetarian for a year before that for health reasons and I'm very happy with all 4 of the books, but the family members who aren't vegan prefer this one.
The recipes i've tried so far have been easy and delicious. Unlike other "Fix-It and Forget-It" books, this one isn't JUST slow cooker recipes, since not all veggies do well in the slow cooker, but all the recipes require minimal time in the kitchen. Many are also good "transition" dishes that the omnivores in my family liked just as much as the vegetarians and the totally plant-based eaters did.
I found the separate index of vegan recipes very helpful, though some who identify as vegan for ethical reasons won't appreciate the use of honey in some recipes marked "vegan." Many of the vegetarian recipes also convert easily to vegan with one or two simple substitutions. The main index includes lists of recipes by ingredient, which is very helpful when there's a good sale or when the garden overflows!
This cookbook is budget-friendly, too. Most recipes use low-cost ingredients that can be found even in smaller rural grocery stores, at least in the U.S. Most recipes make 2-6 servings, though some make enough to feed a crowd. Ingredient lists are generally short and the preparation is broken down into 2-7 steps. Many recipes require no kitchen appliances beyond a stove or slow cooker, though some use a blender, food processor, or microwave. Beginning vegetarians and beginning cooks may find the 50 suggested menus helpful for meal planning.
Cons: While many recipes are very healthy, some are a little heavy on the salt, sugar, or fat for my tastes. Often this is easy to fix, such as by cutting back on added salt or sugar and using fresh or no-salt-added packaged ingredients (tomato sauce, etc.). Some recipes with dairy ingredients would be harder to "healthify" without making major changes, as would those that are fried. As usual for the "Fix-It and Forget-It" series, no nutrition information is given for any of the recipes and no photos.
Bottom line: if you're looking for a gourmet cookbook or you need the nutrition information for health reasons, this probably isn't for you, but it's a great basic cookbook for a couple or family. There are lots of recipes (565!) and a variety of flavors to please most palates from ethnic dishes (Italian, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Moroccan, Nepalese, Israeli, Jamaican, Chinese, etc.) to regional American cooking to meatless versions of family favorites. I love it!