329 of 334 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2001
This cookbook is the antidote for the question often posed by well-meaning non-vegans: "don't you find a vegan diet limiting, with only vegetables and tofu?"
I've cooked several of the dishes, all of which have been hits with vegan and non-vegan eaters - satisfying even to my meat-eating friends who believe only meat makes a meal! I served the squash gnocchi recently at a dinner party, and my guests were bowled over by it (it was worth every minute of effort). A cold cauliflower salad with a dressing involving capers was outstanding.
What I most enjoy about the book is its quintessentially mediterranean nature: simple, fresh, uncomplicated, and absolutely delicious. Having grown up in an Italian family, I've hungered for vegan recipes with mediterranean roots that are not the usual pasta and sauce fare. This book has this and more.
While I enjoy cooking with and eating soy products, this book takes a creative approach that doesn't rely on this as many vegan cookbooks do. It also has recipes appealing to every level, from the person wanting only a few ingredients and easy prep to the experienced cook willing to invest a good amount of time. Buy this book - you won't regret it!
127 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2001
My husband and I tried two recipes from this book...the Marinated Lentil Salad (pg 87) and the Roasted Green Beans with Slivered Almonds (pg 147). Both were excellent (note: while I am a vegetarian, my husband is definitely not, and he declared that these were both "make it again" recipes). In fact, the lentil salad was the best we've ever eaten. I'm going to try one of the other bean salads tomorrow.
I bought this book because it contained recipes that did not contain soy replacements, but instead relied on good, honest combinations of "real" ingredients. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of wonderful soy substitutes out there, and we enjoy many of them (except for the soy cheese-substitutes, which are uniformly too strong and strange-tasting). But when I found myself using miso in a Mediterranean dish as a substitute for anchovies, I knew things had gone too far! I happened upon this book quite by accident, but by the time I finished reading the author's introduction, I knew it was a book for me.
I am also a weight watcher and this book contains nutritional information with each recipe (sufficient enough to calculate POINTS, if you are a member of WW). While the recipes are not all lowfat, many are -- simply because of the lack of dairy and meat. Some recipes seem to be a little heavy-handed with olives, olive oil, and nuts, but it will be easy to use a lighter hand when I make some of those dishes.
I heartily recommend this book to vegetarians of all types, and also to omnivores who want to incorporate a few meatless meals into their lifestyles. Even if you are not a vegan or a vegetarian, do not shy away from this title. You won't be disappointed. Way to go, Ms. Klein! I'm looking forward to your next vegetarian cookbook.
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book when I started what I call "my trip towards vegetarianism". When I decided to start decreasing my intake of animal products, I decided to experiment new ways of cooking veggies: I love cooking and I enjoy eating good food, and I was not going to make my meals boring or lacking in taste because I decided to eat healthier, no way! This book shows how simple it can be to eat healthier while still enjoying your meals fully and not feeling deprived. As an Italian, I found here recipes that I absolutely love, as they use spices and tastes very familiar to me. But this book also contains recipes from Spain, Greece, France, and other Mediterranean areas. You'll fall in love with this book! Since I started preparing the dishes in this book my husband told me I didn't need to make meat for him anymore at home, as he loved my veggie dishes.
Being a vegetarian/vegan has never been so easy!
156 of 170 people found the following review helpful
Okay, I admit it, I think a day without cheese is a waste of time. That said, I have to confess I'm really impressed with this book and its wealth of vegan recipes which literally made my mouth water as I read through them. The range of cuisines is quite good, and while there are a lot of ingredients and techniques in common, the variety here is quite wonderful. The recipes are clear and concise, and nothing seems outrageously difficult or time-consuming. These are recipes you'll use. The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because I really do like a few illustrations. It's nice occasionally to know what a dish is supposed to look like. Even if you're a meat-eater, give this one a shot; at the very least you'll find a raft of side dishes guaranteed to enhance any meal.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2003
A lot of times people make vegan recipes that taste awful and that try to replace non-vegan dishes. Since trying to be vegan I have realized that it is easy to make good vegan dishes that taste good naturally and without having to do a lot of weird stuff (use ingredients that are impossible to find or to even know what they are). I lived in the Mediterranean for 9 months, and many of the recipes I see here remind me of the foods I ate there. I have already made the focaccia bread and it turend out fabulously, and I am already planning on making many of the other recipes soon.
If you are vegan or trying to be vegan or trying to be more healthy, or if you just plain love Mediterranean food you will NOT be disappointed. I have eaten dairy almost all of my life, so switching to vegan has been a challenge. But when you eat this kind of food you won't even realize that anything is missing--because NOTHING IS MISSING. These recipes are the same ones meat-eaters and dairy-eaters eat every day in Europe.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2001
In my opinion, this is how all vegan cookbooks should be. This book is simply perfect. Many vegan cookbooks have lots and lots of recipes, but one ingredient--soy. This book breaks from that tired old template and provides a unique and fresh cookbook using no mock food (soy this and that and this and that.)
From Garlic Soup, Baba Ghanouj and Italian minestrone, to poor mans Pesto, you name it, the flavors in this book are sure to amaze.
This fantastic whole food cookbook is genius. Buy it now.
69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2002
I love this cookbook. All the dishes are made from real food. I have other cookbooks that use tofu and other ingredients to "make up for" not using meat and dairy. It gets really old buying all the ingredients that they say are so good and when you try them you end up throwing them out because they are so awful. It is a real delight to open up a vegan cookbook and see normal good tasting foods in the recipes. It is wonderful to have recipes that you can really enjoy. If you want to eat vegan but you can't bring yourself to give up your favorite unhealthy dishes you can try the "fake" dishes that you usually see in vegan cookbooks, but there is a good chance that you won't like the recipes and you'll go back to your old eating habits. However, if you want to try new dishes which taste great and will replace your desire for the less healthy foods then buy this book. I have tried some recipes in this book that are great, others are okay. But even the okay ones have given me ideas and taught me things so that I can change the recipes just enough to make them more palatable to my own taste buds. If you are a tofu, miso, tahini person buy another book, but if not, this one is for you.
69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2001
Thank you, Donna Klein, for writing the vegan cookbook I've always wanted! These are real, authentic, naturally vegan recipes from the different Mediterranean nations, not imitations that rely on faux meats or obscure Asian condiments (tasty as those things can be in the right context).
You'll find some old favorites here, like a variety of bean- and tomato-based crostini toppings or minestrone, as well as some interesting treats--my personal favorite is the rich and moist currant cake, made with light olive oil. Many of the recipes are Italian, but a good number are from less well-known cuisines, such as Catalan and Provencal. There are relatively few Middle Eastern or Greek recipes, but these cuisines are already well-represented in so many other cookbooks, that I didn't miss them.
Klein gives a lot of helpful hints along the way: nutritional information about each recipe, cook's tips, menu ideas, and substitutions for the few fresh vegetables (e.g., fava beans) and other ingredients that may be hard to find outside of major cities.
This is a cook-your-way-through cookbook! Enjoy!
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2002
I don't buy a lot in the way of cookbooks, but I really wanted some new ideas. I am a vegetarian, but my boyfriend and I don't like to use a lot of dairy. I love mediterranean food and this book was exactly what I hoped for. I recently bought "Simply Vegan" by Debra Wasserman and was dissapointed by the fact that most recipes were "regular" recipes and just substituted a soy product for the animal ingredient. The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen is nothing like that. The basis for these recipes is real ingredients, not imitation meat and imitation dairy. Every recipe I have tried has been delicious. Even my meat eating friends have been satisfied by these recipes! I wish there were more cookbooks like this!
176 of 196 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2005
After reading the rave reviews for this book, I decided I just had to have it to experience it for myself. This book garners mostly praise from me albeit with some reservations. The book is very good overall. The recipes are innovative, plentiful and beautifully laid out and the entire book is chockfull of what appear to be delicious and faily easy to follow recipes. The author apparently went to a great deal of effort with her material and I applaud the absence of the usual meat analogues, tofu and the such that so many vegan authors succumb to using. The real problem I had with this book lay mostly in the quality of the ingredients recommended and the cooking methods employed. The ingredients ranged widely from healthful to down right bad for you and a lot of frying and sauteeing is suggested. Some examples are that most of the dessert recipes call for refined white sugar and even hard liquor, and white refined flour products are suggested in many of the appetizers. I understand the author's intentions to present authentic recipes from a particular region but at what price to your health? Especially in a book that is promoting the "healthiest diet under the Sun." Certainly in this day and age with all the natural sugar substitutes, whole grains and modern food preparation methods available, modifications could have been easily made that would have retained the natural flavors of this cuisine. It did make me question whether the author meant to promote a healthy diet or just a delicious one. I believe you can have both. But on this, the reader will have to judge for himself or herself. A very good attempt at bringing whole foods to a vegan diet, however this reviewer suggests looking at healthier alternatives for some of the ingredients and cooking methods suggested. A vegan diet can be very delicious and promote good health at the same time.