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Jan 22, 2010 12:13 PM

Favorite Veg Cookbook?

It doesn't necessarily have to be entitled "Vegetarian" but if you had to name one or two that you reach for most, what would they be? Any Cooks Illustrated you'd recommend?

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  1. You should search the boards for this topic; it's a recurring one, and a lot of people may not bother responding with repeat answers.

    My favorite vegetable-based cookbook is an oldie but goodie: the Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash (1982) (Marian had a highly regarded restaurant on Nantucket in the 1980s). It includes meat, but is remains the best thought-out and informative American cookbook organized around vegetables for the home cook. James Peterson's book, Vegetables, might be considered a more professional book (anything he writes is worth checking out).

    Next favorite: Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka

    Mark Bittman's vegetarian cookbook will garner the usual fanfare, as do the books by Deborah Madison. I am not as much of a fan of the much-loved Moosewood Cafe series as others are.

    And, even though I am a CI subscriber and own some of their cookbooks, I would say CI's weak point is vegetables - their repertoire is fairly narrow and underdeveloped. I've written to them about that problem.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      I second Karl's recommendation of The Victory Garden Cookbook, particularly if you're looking for vegetable preparations and recipes (as opposed to "vegetarian" recipes). I've had this cookbook since it was published and have used it constantly since then.

      1. re: janniecooks

        I'll third the VGC. It's always on my list of the top ten cookbooks to begin any collection. Plus I worked for her many moons ago.

    2. I am a big fan of Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a sort of "Joy of Cooking" with a vegetarian focus. Other favorites of mine include Peter Berley's The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen (some rather innovative recipes in there) and Myra Goldman's The Voluptuous Vegan (one of my favorite cookbook covers ever--and it's not even a gorgeous food photo!) Be forewarned--the Goldman cookbook is NOT for your 30-minute meals types. It's definitely got some rather complicated, but good, recipes. I think these 3 are my favorites, though I love reading any Isa Chandra Moskowitz titles (Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance)--they're funny and far removed from the overly precious or overly serious writing that one sees a bit too often in cookbooks.

      3 Replies
      1. re: nofunlatte

        I'm gonna have to disagree with the kudos to "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone," which I find way too rudimentary for most cooks. There's only so many ways you can tell people to blanch vegetables then finish them in butter. And it also has a disconcerting, haughty tone that I find patronizing.

        However, "The Greens Cookbook" and especially "The Savory Way" were my bibles during my 17 years of following the vegetarian cult, er, lifestyle. In fact, I'd say "The Savory Way" is the book I consult most after "Joy" and "How To Cook Everything." It has show-stopper after show-stopper. I've never cooked a dud out of it.

        1. re: dmd_kc

          My problem with Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is how badly edited it is. A seasoned cook can usually figure out where the mistakes are and work out the recipe, but I would never give it to someone just learning to cook. That said, I use it fairly often and enjoy the recipes.

          Flexitarian Table isn't strictly veg. (he gives you a recipe for a meat eater, and then another for a veg that can be made together) but it is really wonderful and worth a look.

          1. re: dmd_kc

            Yes, Madison's books are not my favorites (but I acknowledged they are of others).

        2. Anything by Deborah Madison.

          1. ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure and Sort-Cut Vegetarian by Lorna Sass to name a few. Lots more if you're interested.

            1. The Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. It does not contain a single miss- every recipe is amazing. They range from super-simple to quite complex. Standouts include Painted Dessert Salad (leafy greens, roasted peppers, smoked cheddar, avocado and pinenuts with a smoky chipotle vinaigrette), Greek Red Lentil Soup (with lemon, feta and rosemary) and the Rebar Appetizer (crostini with cashew-ginger hummous, tomato-ginger chutney and roasted garlic).