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Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes    by Martha Stewart Living order for
by Martha Stewart Living
Order:  USA  Can
Clarkson Potter, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The dedication of this cookbook, Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living, is 'To everyone who realizes that a balanced diet relying more heavily on vegetable than on animal can result in a longer and healthier life.' Having cut red meat from my diet in the last decade for just that reason, I opened it up with interest.

I immediately appreciated the organization of recipes into: Small Plates to Mix and Match; Stovetop Suppers; Soups, Stews, and Chili; Casseroles and Other Baked Dishes; Substantial Salads; Sandwiches, Burgers, and Pizzas; Pasta and Other Noodles; and Simple Side Dishes. Individual recipes are also tagged with icons V for vegan, G for gluten-free and S for special diet. Right after the Introduction, for those concerned about adequate protein intake without meat, is a list of alternate Protein Powerhouses - from Tempeh to Broccoli.

On to the best part, the recipes! In Small Plates to Mix and Match, my eye was immediately caught by Tortilla Espanola, Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa, and White Bean and Sage Patties with Roasted Tomatoes. Not to mention all kinds of enticing variations on Bruschetta. The simplicity of Stovetop Suppers appeals to me and I plan to try the Brown-Rice Stir-Fry with Marinated Tofu and the Southwestern Hash (made with tempeh) soon. This section also includes versatile variations on Risotto (the pearl barley approach intrigues).

In Soups, Stews, and Chili, Chilled Avocado Soup looks delicious for summer. I also like the look (did I mention that mouthwatering color photos accompany each dish?) of Lentil and Sweet-Potato Stew, Green Vegetable Curry, and Pea and Potato Curry. The versatile variations in this section address vegetarian chilis. Casseroles and Other Baked Dishes are perfect for preparing ahead for a day spent outdoors. The Zucchini-Ribbon "Lasagna" looks well worth trying, as do Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Gratin and Butternut Squash Baked Risotto. At the end of this section are versatile vegetarian lasagnas, yumm!

Substantial Salads make great summer meals - how about Arugula, Potato, and Green Bean Salad with Walnut Dressing or Broccoli Rabe with Chickpeas and Ricotta? Here, guidance is given for versatile variations on Grain Salad. In Sandwiches, Burgers, and Pizzas, we find Mushroom, Spinach, and Scallion Tart, Double-Portobello Burgers with Roasted Tomatoes, and versatile variations on Pizza (I could eat the mushroom and leek pizza off the page!) I knew I'd find something good in Pasta and Other Noodles. How about Spinach Gnudi with Sage Butter or Golden-Tomato and Kale Pasta? Here we learn to make our own variations on Pesto.

Finally, Simple Side Dishes offers gems like Tomato, Squash, and Potato Tian and Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Grapes with Walnuts, plus versatile versions of Mashes and Purees. At the very back of the cookbook are additional sections on stocking and storing The Vegetarian Pantry; Favorite Flavor Booster to have ready; Basics (for example on Toasting Nuts and Seeds); Basic Recipes (for stock, sauces, doughs etc.); a Grain Cooking Chart; and Suggested Menus.

If you're interested in taking your home cooking in a more meatless direction, then this cookbook offers an enticing selection of recipe choices, along with guidance for developing your own versatile variations on many staples of a vegetarian diet. Recommended!

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