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Simple Vegetarian Pleasures Paperback – May 3, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson
"Near & Far" by Heidi Swanson
A deeply personal collection of over 120 vegetarian recipes with from all around the globe from a bestselling author who loves to cook and travel. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It would appear that the idea underlying Simple Vegetarian Pleasures is vegetarian food that doesn't require a great deal of labor to deliver big flavors--"simple" as in "not too much trouble." Lemlin also alludes to the simplicity movement, where simple means cutting back to what's really important, gaining both time and quality of life. If one has actually embraced the simplicity movement and has the time and ambience, it remains unclear why there's so little time available to give to the preparation and eating of food, one of the more important elements of daily life.

Ignoring all the simplicity stuff, however, leaves the cook with a cookbook filled with recipes pulling on the flavors of all corners of the world. Fill your pantry according to the master plan, shop wisely, plan ahead, and have at it. This is vegetarian cooking of a sophisticated kitchen and palate (using "sophisticated" in the title would presumably scare off anyone not inclined to struggle with food). Many of the recipes could fall out of cookbooks of various ethnic origins where a mainly vegetarian diet is the rule rather than the exception.

What this book really helps us do is move beyond the notion of vegetarianism as just so much brown rice, ragg socks, hairy legs, and save the whales. That is, Simple Vegetarian Pleasures moves right to the heart of cuisine, of food with soul, and makes the absence of meat an insignificant thing. It's that simple.

Ultimately, that it is simple, and that it is vegetarian, means a lot less than that it is exceedingly pleasurable. Enjoy these lush recipes. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Lemlin (Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures; Quick Vegetarian Pleasures) adds to her meat-free oeuvre with this unpretentious repertoire of quick-to-prepare vegetarian dishes. Without precisely defining "simple," Lemlin uses her introduction to give suggestions for stocking a pantry and a brief rundown on vegetarian nutrition. Recipes are fairly basic, although special touches enliven Mesclun Salad with Dried Apricots and Spiced Nuts; Beer Pizza (the brew's in the crust) and Coconut Lime Rice. Innovative approaches evidenced in such recipes as Tiny Eggplant Turnovers (thin slices of eggplant folded like ravioli around a goat cheese filling) accompany standards along the lines of Kale, Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup; Black Bean and Red Onion Burgers; and Macaroni and Cheese. Chapters like the one on tofu and tempeh dishes (Marinated Fried Tofu and Vegetable Salad with Mesclun, Baked Tofu and Mushrooms Hoisin, Garlicky Tempeh and Potato Ragout) open with useful tips (buy sealed tofu, because the loose variety is a breeding ground for bacteria). The chapter of breakfast recipes and that titled Pizzas, Burgers, Sandwiches, Quesadillas, Etc. brim with good ideas. Lemlin's refreshing, no-nonsense, unproselytizing attitude inspires.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; Reprint edition (May 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060932465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060932466
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have had this book for over three years and I have yet to cook a bad recipe from it! I am not a vegetarian, just someone who likes to offer her family non meat alternatives a few nights a week. Most of the pages are worn and stained. And I find myself coming back to this book over and over again. Even my "carnivore" husband loves the recipes from this book. I especially love the long list of menu suggestions at the end of the book. It is yet another dimension that makes this book stand out from all the other vegetarian cookbooks out there.
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By A Customer on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have a lot of cookbooks, many of them vegetarian, but Jeanne Lemlin's books are the only cookbooks I get "stand-by" recipes from - recipes that I make again and again - and the only cookbooks from which I use lots of recipes, not just one or two. I've made several of the recipes from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures so far with great results, and I intend to continue. Favorites to date are: Sweet Potato Chili; Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Enchiladas; Thai Fried Rice; Couscous Topped with White Beans, Tomatoes and Zucchini; and Chocolate Almond Orange Torte (made for company, who were very impressed).
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Format: Paperback
My college son is a vegetarian, as is the rest of our family. This is his first year of living off campus and he and his two roommates are exploring real food shopping and cooking for pretty much the first time in their lives. They share a love of good food and a concern for eating healthy foods, but must accomplish this on a college budget, and within the time constraints of classes, studying, and holding down part-time jobs!
While shopping at Christmas for a suitable cookbook to add to their small but growing collection, I ran across "Simple Vegetarian Pleasures" by Jeanne Lemlin. The book intrigued me so much that it never got wrapped as a Christmas present because several of the dishes were in-process for our family Christmas dinner! The recipes are simple using ingredients that are easily obtained, yet sophisticated and interesting, drawing from a cross-section of cultures and cooking styles. The information that is presented along with the recipes is very informative even to those of us who have been cooking for a very long time! For instance, I always thought that "Au Gratin" meant "with cheese!" Nope! It means "with crumbs!" The preparation instructions are clear and concise so that everyone can successfully prepare these dishes, regardless of their level of cooking expertise. In fact, in the three weeks that this book was in our home, it affected my own preparation style so greatly, that several of the recipes have already been incorporated into our favorite "quick fixes."
My son left to return to school yesterday - and took this great book with him...so now my high-school age daughter and I need to buy two more copies - one for ourselves and one for my other son and his wife, the king and queen of frozen microwaved dinners! ("Yes, you guys - there IS a better way to eat and you DON'T have to spend all of your spare time in the kitchen DOING it!")
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Format: Paperback
I'm tired of getting cookbooks that have only 2 or 3 great recipes in them, and all the rest are mediocre at best. SIMPLE VEGETARIAN PLEASURES is filled with fabulous recipes; I haven't found a disappointing one yet. This book lives up to the high standards of my other favorite Lemlin cookbook, QUICK VEGETARIAN PLEASURES. Be sure to check out the casserole chapter and try the gratins and tians, and also the best cake I've ever had (in the dessert chapter) "Orange Almond Cake." The helpful thing about Lemlin's recipes, besides being food that you want to cook over and over again, is that you don't have to shop all over town to find the ingredients - they can usually be found in any supermarket. You'll love this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, by the same author, is a real standout. This book is also way above average, but there are a few duds in here too. The spinach couscous soup, for example, is just plain bland. Still, there's alot of good stuff, and for the most part, the recipes have a high reward-to-effort ratio.
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Format: Paperback
One of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks. Nothing fancy, but lots of reliable everyday meals and a few real gems. My favorites are the black bean chili (meat eaters don't realize it's veggie) and the triple rice salad (beautiful and perfect for the holidays). I've given this book as a gift to at least 3 others--none are vegetarians, but they all love this book.
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Format: Paperback
Highly recommended to lacto-ovo vegetarians. Given the entire chapter of egg recipes, the book is obviously not ideal for vegans. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of a similarly down-to-earth and "normal" vegan cookbook. The number of servings in recipes varies, with several serving 2-3, and many others serving 4 or more. I have found the smaller yield recipes extremely helpful for my small (2 person) household.

I have been vegetarian for 15 years and own or have owned an excessive number of vegetarian cookbooks in my day. I really wish that I'd had this one early in my vegetarian life, but am glad to have it now, at least. I have tried a bunch of recipes from the book and so far everything has turned out wonderfully and each recipe has been easy and quick to prepare. It shouldn't be so much of a rarity that every recipe in a cookbook appears to have been tested to perfection, but I have found many modern cookbooks to be filled with typos, unclear directions, and ill-advised and seemingly untested recipes. As an experienced cook, I can often catch the errors ahead of time, but when I first started out books like that caused unneeded frustration. I have no trepidation trying out any recipe in this book because I know it will turn out. I have just ordered Lemlin's other cookbooks and eagerly await their arrival.

The thing that makes me happiest about this book is that it is good, honest food which just happens to be vegetarian. Unlike other vegetarian cookbooks I have, I would feel comfortable cooking any of the recipes in this book for non-vegetarian guests, and when I pack up leftovers for my lunch, I don't need to offer a lengthy explanation of what the heck I'm eating to puzzled coworkers.
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