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Dec 29, 2010 09:02 AM

Recommend a beginner's vegetarian cookbook?

I want to buy a cookbook for a friend who is a vegetarian (but eats fish, dairy, eggs). He is a total beginner in the kitchen.


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  1. 3 recommendations

    -Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian
    -Deborah Madison Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone
    -Marian Morash's Victory Garden Cookbook (which, while also garden-based and not vegetarian, is veggie-centric and invaluable for it's extraordinarily practical approach to vegetable-centric eating - Morash used to run a highly regarded restaurant on Nantucket back in the day).

    6 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Great ideas! Thank you. I went with Bittman's Veg Cookbook, as I think it's more basic and this guy -needs- basic.

      By the way, someone on another board recommended the Moosewood books, also a great suggestion.

      1. re: MRubenzahl

        Goot call on the Bittman book: it's one of my go-tos. Not real hot on the two Moosewoods I own, I must say.

          1. re: Karl S

            Make it 3.

            I'd recommend the Madison book (with some reservations - poorly edited but basically good food). Once he's a bit more comfortable in the kitchen I highly recommend Flexitarian Table.

            1. re: LulusMom

              As someone who has had only positive experiences with Madison's book, I'm curious to know how it is poorly edited. Thanks.

        1. re: MRubenzahl

          Bittman was a good choice - that's always my first recommendation. i also second Karl's rec for Deborah Madison's book if you ever want to get your friend another one (or tell him what to get for himself).

          there are some other good suggestions here:

      2. I found the Moosewood cookbook, and the Company's Coming "Meatless Cooking" good starters when I gave up meat.

        1. I dig the Moosewood cookbooks. Also great are books by Anna Thomas (really great reads) and Heidi Swanson. Heidi Swanson also has a great website,


          1. I just got the Bittman and it is definitely GREAT for beginners since it really goes through everything step by step. I also am not a big fan of the Moosewoods; I find most of the recipes somewhat bland. Williams Sonoma has a great veg cookbook which is somewhat short -- majority of recipes are amazing, a few are misses.

            1. After all these years--and cookbooks--I still go to my copies of Anna Thomas' Vegetarian Epicures--Book One and Two--love her mac and cheese. I also use Didi Emmons Vegetarian Planet quite a bit--easy and fun to read. I like the Moosewoods that are from the RESTAURANT--especially the "Sundays at..." with International meals. I cook that vegetarian biryani a lot--yum.