Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 8, 2010 03:40 AM

Cooking from Ottolenghi's new vegetarian book Plenty

This is the thread for those cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's new vegetarian book Plenty.

Link to previous discussion (initiated by Jen Kalb, thank you!) about the recent release of the book:

Link (provided by greedygirl, thank you!) of sample recipes in the Guardian:

Link to Candy's thread on Ottolenghi's eponymous first book:

Link to Ottolenghi COTM thread:

I will be out of commission cooking-wise for several days, so, I won't be able to join in the cooking at first, but I love this book--just reading from it-- and can't wait until produce season hits so I can start really playing with it. (Seems like our beatiful produce might be somewhat delayed: we just got more snow!. Mother Nature is a heart-breaker).

Here are some recipe reports from oakjoan and mebby buried in Jen Kalb's thread:

Happy cooking!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Before I sent my husband home with PLENTY, I copied out a few recipes that have ingredients that I can get in Cairo. It is a pretty small number of recipes, which is why I sent the book back to NY. Tonight I made the Beetroot, Orange and Olive salad. It was absolutely delicious even without the red endive (I assume he means radicchio) and the oil cured olives. All I could find were kalamata olives, so I used those. However, I can imagine the salty/bitter taste kick that those olives would add. I served it with a simple grilled veal chop (which my husband brought from NY frozen in his suitcase along with two racks of BBQ ribs and some prime beef -- and it stayed frozen!) . My son declared the salad 'very refreshing,' and it was really one of his first exposures to beets. I look forward to making this again when I can get the olives and the radicchio. I think the bitter tastes would further enhance this delicious dish.

    7 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      thats interesting that you cant find the oil cured olives in Egypt - is there any place or market in Cairo where moroccan stuff is available?

      1. re: jen kalb

        I haven't seen a market for Moroccan stuff. There is a little market across the street from where I live and they have barrels of olives -- mostly Kalamata type, but also barrels of sliced green olives. I have to say that these don't look that appetizing, and with the Egyptian penchant for dishing everything into flimsy plastic bags, I haven't been tempted to try these. But I have been longing for oil cured olives and have not seen any. Next week I will be in Italy for 4 days (oh bliss!) and maybe I will bring some back. There's a great bit in Justine, the first book of the Alexandrian Quartet where the narrator spends all the money he has just made for giving a lecture on a tin of olives, being suddenly acutely aware of being on the "wrong side" of the Mediterranean. I feel that way a little.

        1. re: roxlet

          That is strange (no oil-cured). Isn't it Lawrence Durrell who said olives had a taste as old as water? Love that line.

          1. re: buttertart

            Great line! I don't know if it was Lawrence Durrell or not. I reread Justine when I went to Alex for the first time, and I have to say that I did not love it as much as I did when I first read it in college. I loved the wrong side of the Mediterranean line though, because it's how I feel here.

            1. re: roxlet

              It's one of the novels (trilogies) on my one of these days list!

              1. re: buttertart

                Well, I certainly think that they are worth reading, but it's actually a quartet, not a trilogy. The first three books tell the same story from three different characters' perspectives, and the fourth is a progression, I think Durrell termed it -- what happened afterwards.

                1. re: roxlet

                  Oops sorry, of course, the Alexandria Quartet. Silly me!

    2. He means red Belgian endive, which I've actually never seen! I imagine radicchio is a good substitute.

      3 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        Thanks gg! I don't believe that I have ever seen that in the market -- even in NY. I would just substitute regular green endive I guess. As you can imagine with beets, everything just turns red anyway!

        1. re: roxlet

          Here's a photo of red Belgian endive, which looks quite similar to Treviso variety of radicchio, and is actually related to radicchio, as a member of the chicory family. Radicchio is a bit more bitter than endive, imo and I would sub the white endive for the red. I've not seen it in NY either:

          Red Belgian endive and also see gg's photo link above:


          1. re: roxlet

            Trader Joe's in Brooklyn at least has had a package of 2 white with1 red endive recently, and I would have expected them to have it at Fairway?

        2. Green Couscous
          I thought that this recipe was really delicious, despite the fact that I could not find a couple of the ingredients. First, you soak some couscous in hot water, and fry a thinly sliced onion until soft adding 1/4 tsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of salt. You stir this into the fluffed couscous along with three thinly sliced green onions. About 1/2 c of shelled pistachios are toasted and chopped and added. I could not find rocket in the market today, so I omitted that. You then make an herb paste of parsley, cilantro, dill, tarragon, mint and lemon juice, and then mix with the couscous. I couldn't find tarragon or dill, but the resulting flavors were very fresh, as was the whole mixture. I could eat an entire bowl of this, it was that good and a lot like my favorite tabbouli, though less lemony and distinctly parsley-ish. I could see putting finely chopped tomatoes in this too.

          15 Replies
          1. re: roxlet

            How did you make the herb paste, pureed or just minced together?

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I have a stick blender and I put all the herbs in the jar with the lemon juice and pressed 'go.' It was a paste. The recipe says to put the ingredients in and blender, but I don't have one of those, and I think this actually works better for this application.

            2. re: roxlet

              This sounds sensational. Is it served warm or cold? I've been making a lemony couscous salad with garbonzo beans, vegies, lemon juice and zest and lots of chives and it's become a summer staple for us.

              This sounds like a really good variant. And we have lots of herbs to use in our garden. Can I prevail on you for the proportions?

              1. re: karykat

                I will have to call on my fellow Ottolenghi lovers to help out here. I had copied this recipe from the book, sent the book home with my DH, and now the piece of paper where I had the recipes written has gone missing.

                BTW, I served this room temp. I don't think you'd want to serve it hot, but it was very good cold when I finished it the next day.

                1. re: roxlet

                  Green Couscous

                  I also thought this was really nice. I had everything but the green chile and the dill - no one had dill, for some reason! So, couscous, onion, cumin, salt, scallions, the herb paste of parsley, cilantro, mint, tarragon (dill), and olive oil, and I used pine nuts instead of pistachios because I had them on hand. I added them to the skillet with the onion for the last couple of minutes, to toast them. I also stirred some crumbled feta into it all, as he suggests in the headnote.

                  roxlet's report made me run to look at the recipe in the book just now, thinking, "how could have forgotten lemon juice?" In fact, there is no lemon juice in the recipe, but I think it would be an excellent addition, and will add a bit next time. I'll make sure I have the fresh green chile called for, too, as I think the acid and spiciness will be welcome.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    I made it again the other night, and I thought that it was delicious the 2nd time around too. This time I had dill, but I did not think that it made a notable difference. I liked the arugula, though, which made it more substantially salad-y. I know I said lemon the first time around, but I can't remember if I added it or not. I believe I meant to say olive oil, which I didn't mention. I definitely didn't add lemon the second time. The first time, it was a recipe I copied from the book, so maybe I made a mistake. This time I used whole wheat couscous, which worked well with this.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Oh yes, I forgot to mention the arugula in my post above. I liked the arugula in it, too. I used little baby "wild" arugula (with the serrate leaves), which I bought in bulk from a local store that has a great variety of (cheap!) bulk organic baby greens.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        And where, pray tell, is this store? And what is its name?

                        I got some of that "wild" arugula yesterday at the Bowl but it was something like $4.95/lb. That's not much when you realize that a pound of arugula would be about 6 plastic bags full.

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          Oh, you must know I was talking about the Bowl, OJ. Really, when you consider that other markets charge upwards of $7/lb for baby greens, even non-organic ones, Berk Bowl's $4.50 or so for a whole variety is cheap given, as you say, the volume per pound. What amazes me is that 15 years ago, at the original location, they were charging I think $4, and I'm not sure it was organic, and the price has barely appreciated.

                      2. re: roxlet

                        in some of Ottolenghi's recipes I think he overdoes on the herb combos - the many herbs sort of cancel each other out - Im gong to be experimenting with different assortments a bit.

                        ditto on the arugula livening up these salads a lot - surprisingly,the little wild kind I use ( a great garden weed as well as available in those boxes, as Caitlin notes) doesnt disintegrate if a salad sits in the frig for a few days.

                    2. re: roxlet

                      I made this again on Saturday, but this time I added a little lemon. I feel it benefited from the acid, and I would definitely add it again.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        hi roxlet,
                        this sounds delicious! wonddering if you could be more specific about the amounts of all ingredients - i want to make it large for 12 people so want to get the proportions correct. thanks!

                      2. Multi-vegetable paiella


                        A vegetarian friend came for lunch today , so I made this and it was pretty easy and delicious. I did have a problem with the rice though. I made it in a pretty large paella pan, which I think was too big for the amount of ingredients, so some of the rice was a little undercooked. Next time I'd use a large frying pan.

                        I loved the combination of veggies though - fennel, peppers, broad beans, artichokes, cherry tomatoes. Yum. i forgot the olives though. No matter - my friend raved.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Multi-vegetable paella, p. 80

                          I made a few minor substitutions, based on what was on hand. Instead of a Spanish rice, I used carnaroli; instead of the red and yellow bell peppers, I used a jar of roasted piquillo peppers (great price on these at Trader Joe's); instead of broad beans, I used frozen shelled edamame; and instead of jarred grilled artichokes, I used a bag of frozen hearts. I made it in a 12-inch skillet. I added the edamame after sautéing the rice, as they were straight from the freezer, and added the peppers for the last 10 minutes along with the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. I didn't use the foil for the last 10 minutes, as I have a glass lid with a good fit for my skillet. The timing given worked perfectly for me.

                          This is both delicious and beautiful, and has lots of flavor from the saffron, smoked paprika, sherry, and kalamata olives, along with the vegetables (the piquillo peppers were very nice here). Very worthy of a special meal where you want a vegetarian main dish. He says it serves two generously, I say three. I served it with a little salad of field greens and navel orange, dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar.

                        2. Thanks for posting the Guardian link, gg. I had forgotten that so many of the recipes were there. I also found one that I don't believe was in the book, and I made it today. It is his recipe for caponata, and for once I found every single one of the ingredients. It is absolutely delicious, and I recommend the recipe highly if you are a fan of caponata. I made it to serve with some lamb chops tonight, but I have to say that I am having a hard time not eating it now!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: roxlet

                            Friday I made the Puy Lentil Gallettes. They were spectacular and quite easy. The recipe is on p. 30 of the mini-pamphletesque intro cookbook I got from Greedy Girl. I don't know the page number in the actual book since I've promised myself I would NOT buy any more cookbooks for a while.

                            This was just fantastic. We had people for dinner last night and I put a bowl of what was left of the lentil mixture on the table (sans gallettes). People wolfed it down.

                            It's pretty simple - lentils and 2 bay leaves are cooked until done. Meanwhile, , cumin and coriander seeds are toasted and ground. Then a medium chopped onion is sauteed in 1 tbsp of olive oil along with the ground spices and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Lentils and onion mix are stirred together and, after they've cooled, 250 grams of Greek yoghurt is added, along with some 50 g chopped spinach, 3 tpsp chopped cilantro; and 3 tbsp of chopped mint, juice of one lemon remaining olive oil (4 tbsp) and set aside.

                            He says to use "the best quality puff pastry....I used the cheapest (Pepperidge Farms). You can buy them frozen already made into vol-au-vent shapes so they just need to be baked.

                            After the puff pastry shells have cooled, the lentil mixture is spooned into the shells. He says to finish with a dribble of olive oil, but I didn't have any good stuff and so left it off.

                            Absolutely delicious and very easy to make. It also looks tres chic.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Oakjoan, was this dish substantial enough as a main dish, entree? Thanks! I'm trying to figure out an entree "main" type dish--- everything I want to try to cook seems more a side or appetizer. Thanks!