By Robin Asbell
Photographs by Yvonne Duivenvoorden
Chronicle Books 2009
Buy it on Amazon
Though it may lack meat, vegetarian food shouldn't have to be lacking in flavor or nutrients, especially when eating local, seasonal produce is currently such a culinary focus (thanks, Alice Waters!). And though the "New Vegetarian" cookbook may have some unexpected flavoring pairings (edamame quesadillas, cabbage omelettes, anyone?), they're headed in the right direction, with an emphasis on fresh produce, protein substitutes and an interesting flavor palate.
See what we tested and whether the book is worth buying after the jump.
Takeaway tips: This cookbook isn't your simple, get-your-toes-wet vegetarian cookbook.
Quality of pictures: As nicely plated as possible, these dishes aren't necessarily the most visually appealing -- with a putrid green color and downright goopy texture, the split pea soup looked like some porridge Oliver Twist might have pushed around in his bowl. Nonetheless, the pictures capture the heartiness of the fare and are nice full-page shots.
What we tested: Easy Split Pea Soup and Baked Creamy Squash Pasta with Arugula
The Easy Split Pea soup had me do a few things that seemed counterintuitive -- rice in a pea-based soup? Plus spinach? Plus canned tomatoes and a mammoth serving of white wine? And though the end product looked like your stereotypical "hippie" vegetarian food, the flavors were pleasantly complex in this souped up split-pea soup.
The squash pasta bake was fantastic -- with a base of fresh roasted squash, tangy white wine and goat cheese and interspersed with arugula and sage, every bite offered a creamy range of flavors. This casserole is a knockout and will be happily devoured by vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike.
Worth the investment: This isn't the book that will get you interested in vegetarian cooking; it's better suited to the already converted. But for those vegetarians looking for unique recipes to spice up your repertoire, this is it.