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New Vegetarian Paperback – October 28, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Robin Asbell is the author of three books about cooking with whole, natural foods. Her first book, The New Whole Grains Cookbook, is filled with flavorful, beautiful food that just happens to be whole grain. Her second book, The New Vegetarian Cookbook, explores delicious meatless cuisine that even meat lovers will enjoy. The follow up is Big Vegan: Over 350 meat-free and dairy-free recipes from the author of New Vegetarian and New Whole Grains (Chronicle Books Fall 2011).She also writes for many national magazines, such as Clean Eating, Better Homes and Gardens, Taunton's Fine Cooking, Vegetarian Times, and Real Food.
Asbell has many years of experience creating fabulous food in restaurants, and in the homes of private clients. Specializing in natural, healthy food, she works with special diets of all kinds, from gluten free to omnivorous, vegan to over-the top decadent. All those experiences feed into the books she writes and make her food exceptional. She keeps busy traveling the continent, teaching to spread the word about delicious real food.
Yvonne Duivenvoorden is a Toronto-based food, garden, and lifestyle photographer.
Top customer reviews
The author, Robin Asbell, notes that the book is designed to provide really tasty dishes. As noted early on (Page 10): "In this book, I share recipes that I have served to passionately omnivorous people who enjoyed them thoroughly." Asbell does note the advantages of vegetarian versus meat-based diets. I leave the resolution of that debate to others, but I do note that the author joins this issue. Before the recipes begin, there are discussions of the different practices of vegetarianism (e.g., Ovo-Lacto versus Vegan versus. . . .). Where do you get the complement of vitamins and protein?
Then, the recipes. The book is divided into several sections (not atypical of standard cookbooks): Appetizers and light meals, salads, soups, main courses, and desserts. Let's take a look at a few examples to illustrate the craft manifest in this work.
Mushroom pate de campagne. Ingredients aren't that difficult--olive oil, shallots, Portobello mushrooms, garlic, thyme, pepper, cognac, pecans, salt, and pistachios. You need a skillet and a food processor to create the dish. It is doable and looks awfully yummy!
Thai red curry deviled eggs. Ingredients: eggs, mayo, coconut cream (yuck), red curry paste, lime zest, salt, ginger, scallion, chestnuts, and a red chili. Pretty straightforward instructions.
Garlicky roasted potatoes. Ingredients: new potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, spinach, garlic, olives, lemon juice, and pine nuts. Once more, the instructions are pretty direct and easy.
A couple other quick examples: Roasted fennel, red pepper, and arugula pasta; mac and cheese with hidden veggies.
So, despite some questions, overall I think that this is a useful vegetarian cookbook.
Yes, the recipes have a bunch of ingredients. It isn't a throw-it-together-in-five-minutes kind of cookbook. But honestly, I don't see the point of most of those. I mean, I have a cookbook with a PB-and-banana sandwich in it. Come on. I don't need to buy a book to tell me how to make sauteed veggies or a smoothie.
I'll admit that I have not used all the recipes to the letter. I've subbed simpler ingredients when I couldn't find the fancier stuff at my local grocery store or subbed eggplant for faux meat. Still fantastic.
Though I am not a vegan, I do limit my egg/cheese/milk intake, so I like this book can be used by vegans (non-vegan things are easy to sub). I find that many vegetarian cookbooks smother things in cheese as a crutch, which gets old and isn't particularly healthy.
If you're looking for an inventive cookbook that inspires you to eat a wide variety veggies and grains, without the bland "dud" recipes found in most vegetarian cookbooks, this is it.
That said on the positive side, the goat cheese gnocchi in this book are really exceptionally delicious and the book's directions to make them are helpful and straightforward.
Overall, this book was just okay. If I hadn't discovered so many great vegan and vegetarian cookbooks over the years I might have liked this better, but with those as a reference it didn't do it for me.