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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food Hardcover – October 15, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,544 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author of a dozen bestselling cookbooks and beloved columnist for The New York Times ("The Minimalist"), Chef Mark Bittman bookends his award-winning modern classic, How to Cook Everything, with How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian the ultimate one-stop resource for meatless meals. Refreshingly straightforward and filled with illustrated recipes, this is a book that puts vegetarian cuisine within the reach of every home cook. You'll want to spend countless days in the kitchen with Bittman's latest culinary treasure.

Recipe Excerpts from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Spinach with Chiles
Chickpea Fries (Panelle)
Braised Tofu with Eggplant and Shiitakes
Amazon-Exclusive Crunchy Corn Guacamole


5 Questions for Mark Bittman

Q. What motivated you to write a comprehensive cookbook of vegetarian recipes right now?

A: What motivated me--several years ago--was seeing the handwriting on the wall: That although being a principled, all-or-nothing vegetarian was not a course of action that would ever likely inspire the majority of Americans, the days of all-meat-all-the-time (or, to be slightly less extreme, of a diet heavily dependent on meat) could not go on. Averaging a consumption of two pounds a week or more of meat (as Americans do) is not sustainable, either for the earth or our planet. And, as more and more of us realize this, I thought it was important to develop a cookbook along the lines of How to Cook Everything, but without meat, fish, or poultry. Needless to say, there’s plenty of material.

Q: In the course of writing How to Cook Everything Vegetarian did your approach to food shopping, cooking or dining change significantly?

A: Completely. The more I tried new ways of cooking with vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, the more I enjoyed them. I probably eat sixty or seventy percent fewer animal products than I did three years ago.

Q: Because meatless cooking isn't limited to a single cuisine, your recipes introduce the flavors and techniques of many different cultures and cuisines. How did you manage to cover so much ground? Seems like a daunting task.

A: It’s what I do.

Q: Out of the more than 2,000 recipes in the cookbook do you have a favorite dish or dessert that you turn to again and again?

A: No. There are hundreds I wish I could cook all the time, but one can only cook and eat so much. But in the last week, for example, I’ve made Fava Bean and Mint Salad with Asparagus; Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes; Cornbread Salad; and Red Lentils with Chaat Masala.

Q: Why is simplicity so important in cooking? What does the novice home cook need to know to cook and eat well?

A: Simplicity is only important because it’s the way to learn to cook; it’s very difficult to start cooking with complex dishes. For people to learn to cook, they must start simply--the way everyone used to cook. And, for most of us--including me--there’s no reason to carry things much further. Even the simplest cooking is rewarding, enjoyable, and--obviously--the healthiest and best way to eat.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Marking how mainstream vegetarian cooking has become, the next must-have for the vegetarian cook's shelf comes from New York Times Minimalist chef Bittman, an avowed meat eater. And that ensures one of this massive compendium's many attractions: a wealth of recipes that don't scream vegetarian and plentiful guidelines to make cooking vegetarian as intuitive as cooking with meat. Like his now classic How to Cook Everything, this book opens with terrifically useful, straightforward discussions of essential ingredients, appliances and techniques, which Bittman builds on throughout in to-the-point sidebars and illustrated boxes. The recipes flow thick and fast in his theme-and-variations style: Green Tea with Udon Noodles is followed by concise instructions for making it 17 different ways, while Coconut Rice gets five additional takes and Kidney Beans with Apples and Sherry four; other lists (six Great Spreads for Bruschetta or Crostini, 10 Garnishes for Pozole with Mole) abound and inspire. New vegetarians and vegetarians cooking for omnivores will appreciate Bittman's avoidance of faux meat products in favor of flavorful high-protein dishes like Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce and Bechamel Burgers with Nuts. Even owners of the original book will find much new to savor while benefiting from Bittman's remarkable ability to teach foundational skills and encourage innovation with them, which will help even longtime vegetarians freshen their repertory. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Bonus Recipe Excerpts
Mark Bittman brings vegetarian cuisine within reach with meatless meals such as Spinach with Chiles, Chickpea Fries (Panelle), Braised Tofu with Eggplant and Shiitakes, and Amazon-exclusive Crunchy Corn Guacamole

Product Details

  • Series: How to Cook Everything
  • Hardcover: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764524836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764524837
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,544 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Denise Patterson VINE VOICE on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by saying I'm a busy working mom of two. I grew up eating Hamburger Helper and hot dogs, so I didn't learn to cook until I was an adult. My dad's had triple bypass and my mom's having gastric bypass, so we're trying to learn from their mistakes and eat not entirely vegetarian, but definitely a more plant-based diet. I'm sure all this sounds familiar to a lot of people!

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is exactly the cookbook I've been trying to find for a long time. It has the simple, everyday recipes that I sometimes need, combined with a LOT of wonderful vegetarian dishes from ordinary supermarket ingredients. How about Peanut Soup, Senegalese Style? Or Korean-Style Noodles in Cool Bean Broth (in less than 20 minutes for when the kids are whining for dinner) Mustard Cheese Fondue?

This book is written in Bittman's typical `theme and variations' style, with a basic recipe (like for waffles) and then a sidebar or list following the recipe that gives variations (like a list of things you can add to waffles for flavoring). The great thing about this is that it means you rarely have to reject a recipe because you don't have the exact ingredients, just go with a variant. The only quibble I have with it is, it's sometimes difficult to keep track of what you are supposed to sub out & sub back in when you have a crying toddler on your ankle.

A basic cookbook should also walk you through basic techniques and ingredients. I was a little surprised to see the vegetables chapter was nearly 200 pages. Then I looked through it and realized a lot of that is guidance on how to select and prep the various vegetables.
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Format: Hardcover
"How to Cook Everything" is one of the more useful cookbooks I've owned. Each type of food has a "Basics" section that includes lots of preparation tips. The recipes themselves are detailed enough for beginners, and not so esoteric that you have to make a trip to a specialty grocery store every time you want to cook something. Especially helpful are the suggestions for expanding on each dish. For example, after the basic Chicken Kebab recipe, there are four modifications, including Chicken Kebabs in Yogurt-Cumin Sauce.

I'm relearning the way I prepare even the most basic things, like sandwiches and scrambled eggs. Who would have thought scrambled eggs could be so good? And the Pan-Grilled steak has weaned me from the backyard grill forever. No other cookbook would warn you that "clouds of smoke will instantly appear; do not turn down the heat." That bit of fear that your fire alarm will go off at any second just adds spice to the whole cooking experience.

The breadth of this book is amazing. Besides having nearly every type of Western cooking you can imagine, it also has recipes from Japan, India, Thailand, and... you get the idea.

There is one drawback -- this book has no photos, just a few hand-drawn illustrations. However, the book is so big that if it did have photos, it would cost much more.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a vegetarian of 15 years (with a meat-eating but open minded fiance) and an avid home cook. I got this book for Christmas and have slowly been exploring it. It's an interesting book and there are a lot of recipes that I'm tempted by, but it's the same problem I have with "How to cook everything": something is always wrong with the recipe. For example, his kosher pickles: the first time I tried making them with his measurements, the pickles were inedibly salty (and I love salt!) I'm now working with about a third less salt than he recommends and it's getting better. And that's what I always find with his recipes: they give you a promising start but require some major tinkering before they are really good, and I don't usually feel up to committing to that sort of trial and error. I am a passionate fan of Debbie Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." As an example of the difference, this week I had a dinner party and I made her cauliflower salad with green olives and capers even though I'd never tried it before, and it was a hit. Having used her book so much, I trust her recipes to be at least decent right out of the gate. I would never serve a Bittman recipe that I hadn't made before to guests because there are pretty good odds that the initial recipe needs some changes.
That being said, I'm certainly not sorry that I have this book. It has a good section on condiments that I'm sure I'll make use of fairly often, and it's a good cookbook to have on hand if you're tinkering in the kitchen and want some perspective on your technique. It's really more of a reference book than an book of recipes, and in that it is useful. But if you want ideas for delicious, satisfying vegetarian food, get "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone."
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Format: Hardcover
I got my copy of the new edition of How to Cook Everything the other day and am beyond thrilled. I own the old yellow edition and have cooked from it far more than any other book, so I knew the new book had a lot to live up to. Well, it by far exceeded my expectations. While the book still feels familiar, it also feels new and improved. The essential recipe sections beginning each chapter are a great way to find the basics. But even the basics have changed. For example, Mark's roast chicken recipe, which I've used and liked in the past (though I still love Barbara Kafka's) has changed. He suggests you heat the pan before putting the chicken in and placing the chicken breast side up (instead of side down as he suggested in his old book). The heat of the pan helps cook the thighs faster so the breasts don't dry out. It worked perfectly the first time I tried it. Beyond the basics, there are just so many new recipes in here. The variations, lists, and charts that Mark is famous for seem even more plentiful than before, and there are tons of beautiful new illustrations. I'm so excited to cook with this new edition and foresee a day when it's pages will be stained with grease and flour just like the old edition. But I still can't get rid of the old one. It's like a good friend. I'll just put the new one on the shelf right next to it, red by yellow, and know that I can always count on them.
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