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The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well With 700 Foolproof Recipes Paperback – March 1, 2015
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About the Author
America’s Test Kitchen is well-known for its top-rated television shows with more than 4 million weekly public television viewers, bestselling cookbooks, magazines, websites, and cooking school. The highly reputable and recognizable brands of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country are the work of over 60 passionate chefs based in Boston, Massachusetts, who put ingredients, cookware, equipment, and recipes through objective, rigorous testing to identify the very best. Discover, learn, and expand your cooking repertoire with Julia Collin Davison, Bridget Lancaster, Jack Bishop, Dan Souza, Lisa McManus, Tucker Shaw, Bryan Roof, and our fabulous team of test cooks!
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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****The book itself: quite heavy for one of their paperback cookbooks. It's got to be at least as heavy as the many of the hardcovers. The binding isn't that great. Although I am super gentle with my cookbooks, I anticipate that this one will have a crack down the spine. It's about 450 pages and I don't see any full-page pictures, most are a quarter page or so. Its layout is standard America's Test Kitchen style, with sidebars and boxes that highlight certain techniques and ingredients.
This book is divided into eleven chapters:
Chapter 1--Hearty Vegetable Mains
Chapter 2--Soups, Stews, and Chilis
Chapter 3--Pasta, Noodles, and Dumplings
Chapter 4--Rice and Grains
Chapter 5--Beans and Soy
Chapter 6--Salads Big and Small
Chapter 7--Vegetable Sides
Chapter 8--Savory Flatbreads, Pizzas, Tarts, and More
Chapter 9--Sandwiches, Wraps, Burgers, and More
Chapter 10--Eggs for Breakfast and Dinner
Chapter 11--Small Bites and Savory Snacks
Note: The cover states that of the 700 recipes, 250 are vegan and 500 are gluten-free. At the beginning of each chapter, the recipes are listed and identified as vegan, gluten-free or fast (less than 45 minutes from start to finish.) Just scanning through the recipe lists, I see some repeats from other cookbooks in each chapter as well as ones that I don't recognize.
****What I don't like about this cookbook:
--Each recipe begins with a small "Why this recipe works" paragraph. I will confess that I love the long articles written by the recipe developers that are included in the annual ATK editions. The little blurbs at the beginning are disappointing to me. I am not a super chef, so I enjoy reading how the recipe was tested. Then I read through the whole recipe. For me, it is kind of like mental imagery that an athlete might do. So by the time I have gone through all that, I feel as if I'm prepared to cook the recipe. I don't enjoy this mini description as much.
--Many of the recipes sound too adventurous for me (Homemade Tofu, Israeli Couscous with Carmelized Fennel and Spinach, Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Peaches and Pecans). Some people may enjoy these kind of recipes, but I will probably never attempt them. NOTE: this is why I gave the cookbook only four stars.
****What I like about this book:
--I feel like I can count on ATK to deliver a consistent, reliable finished recipe. They have taste-tested and honed the recipe to what they believe is the best it can be. I may not always think a recipe sounds great, but the ones that do sound great to me, usually turn out tasting great to me, too.
--This cookbook includes plenty of helpful sidebars, which I always enjoy going through. The beginning includes a section about prepping vegetables--very handy for people who haven't learned all that yet. (i.e., I had never bought or prepared bok choy until I made a recipe from this cookbook, and the vegetable guide was quite useful to me.)
--I have read complaints about other ATK indices, so to briefly test the index in the back, I looked for "Garlic Mashed Potatoes" under Garlic, Mashed and Potatoes and was able to see an entry for the recipe under each of them.
UPDATE: So far I have tried: smashed potatoes, quinoa and vegetable stew, avocado toast with fried egg, curry-yogurt sauce with cilantro for steamed or roasted veggies, cranberry-orange overnight steel-cut oatmeal, and coconut-rice with bok choy and lime. They all turned out well, with the exception of the curry-yogurt sauce. However, I did use a brand of yogurt that I hate--I think it ruined the whole thing. Lesson learned. My family's favorite so far was the Coconut Rice with Bok Choy and Lime, which I served with chicken breast in Trader Joe's Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce.
I will update as I cook through the recipes further!
Too many recipes require 15 ingredients or more. I’m a single working person. Cooking can’t consume my free time or my food budget.
Too many recipes require ingredients I can’t find in my rural supermarkets and are too expensive to order online.
Too many recipes require small additions of ingredients. I can’t buy a $4 carton of heavy cream to use 3 tablespoons in one recipe. I can’t fill my cabinets with herbs and spices to use ¼ teaspoon in a recipe.
These recipes may be delicious for all I know, but they aren’t practical for my lifestyle or my budget. Like other reviews, I'm also disturbed by the lack of nutritional information and I find the layout and design hard to read and follow.
As I now crawl off of my high horse, the vast majority of these recipes are great! The footnotes in this book regarding the preparation and variety of the ingredients are what really take it over the top. I pretty much ended up reading the book cover-to-cover for the extra notes (and to drool over the food pictures, of course).