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Recommend a beginner's vegetarian cookbook?

MRubenzahl Dec 29, 2010 09:02 AM

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. Karl S RE: MRubenzahl Dec 29, 2010 09:18 AM

    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
      MRubenzahl RE: Karl S Dec 31, 2010 09:50 AM

      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
        TheSnowpea RE: MRubenzahl Dec 31, 2010 05:22 PM

        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: TheSnowpea
          Karl S RE: TheSnowpea Jan 1, 2011 04:22 AM

          I am also not a Moosewood fan.

          1. re: Karl S
            LulusMom RE: Karl S Jan 1, 2011 08:37 AM

            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
              foodtrip RE: LulusMom Feb 27, 2011 03:02 PM

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

        2. re: MRubenzahl
          goodhealthgourmet RE: MRubenzahl Dec 31, 2010 05:43 PM

          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. im_nomad RE: MRubenzahl Dec 31, 2010 11:07 AM

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

        1. l
          linsysunshine RE: MRubenzahl Dec 31, 2010 05:55 PM

          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, 101cookbooks.com.


          1. arielleeve RE: MRubenzahl Jan 1, 2011 04:58 PM

            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. 3catsnh RE: MRubenzahl Jan 7, 2011 04:01 PM

              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.

              1. b
                Breezychow RE: MRubenzahl Jan 7, 2011 04:44 PM

                Look for any/all of the vegetarian cookbooks written by Anna Thomas. They're WONDERFUL!! Will make a rank beginner look like a 5-star chef - even to meat-eaters. I consider them must-haves on my cookbook shelf.

                "The Vegetarian Epicure"
                "The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two"
                "The New Vegetarain Epicure"
                "Love Soup"

                All great. Oh, & she also has a website - www.vegetarianepicure.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: Breezychow
                  3catsnh RE: Breezychow Jan 8, 2011 08:50 PM

                  Yes, love her new "Love Soup", too! You can't go wrong with her books.

                2. j
                  jsantopietro RE: MRubenzahl Jan 7, 2011 05:00 PM

                  "The Chez Panisse Vegetable Cookbook" is a great one, though not entirely vegetarian. Jane Grigson's Vegetable and Fruit books are great too! They give a nice run through of the vegetables, how to cook them, their seasons, and include some recipes for each.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jsantopietro
                    sushigirlie RE: jsantopietro Jan 8, 2011 09:03 PM


                  2. c
                    chowbunny RE: MRubenzahl Jan 7, 2011 05:47 PM

                    My go-to vegetarian book is "Vegetarian Classics" by Jeanne Lemlin. The soups and pastas are quite good.

                    I also just bought "Veganomicon". Haven't made anything from it so far, but the recipes look good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowbunny
                      pikawicca RE: chowbunny Jan 7, 2011 05:56 PM

                      Be very careful with "Veganomicon." It was not well-edited or proof-read, and is full of errors.

                    2. 3catsnh RE: MRubenzahl Feb 26, 2011 09:49 AM

                      Another good one is Didi Emmons' "Vegetarian Planet".

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