Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal

| January 10, 2012 | 3 Comments

Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal

Marie Simmons loves bold, imaginative flavors from around the world, and her magically simple combinations have been featured in many magazines, from Redbook to Bon Appétit, where she was a popular columnist, and in her award-winning cookbooks. Over the years, she has come to rely more and more on vegetables and grains, because, as she says, “They taste good and they make me feel better.”

Now, in Fresh & Fast Vegetarian, she offers up more than 150 of her favorite dinners. Most can be m

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  1. S. D. Fischer says:
    65 of 71 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Fast and Fresh with an International Flair, May 1, 2011
    By 
    S. D. Fischer (Washington, DC USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal (Paperback)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    For the most part, author Marie Simmons avoids my pet peeve with some vegetarian cookbooks: an over-reliance on carbs or on meat substitutes. There is a chapter of meals based on breads and a fair number of the other recipes include grains or potatoes, but many are vegetable and/or bean-based. Many of the recipes are vegan (or could be if cheese is omitted).

    As you can see from the list of recipes (below), there are a fair number of ethnic dishes from curries to quesadillas. My pantry is definitely lacking several of the ingredients the author uses (such as Bhutanese red rice, buckwheat, and tamari), but the international section of slightly upscale grocery stores (such as Harris Teeter, Wegmans or Whole Foods) should have most, if not all, of them. The author provides a page of mail-order sources for hard-to-find ingredients (or for cooks without access to a well-stocked grocery store).

    Each recipe includes a brief introduction and suggestions about how to make it a meal by combining it with one or two of other dishes in the book. For example, the author suggests serving the Soba Noodle Salad with Snow Peas alongside either of the shredded Tuscan kale salads or Miso Soup with Spinach, Curried Tofu and Shiitake. Possible substitutions include replacing the snow peas with asparagus, sugar snap peas or green beans as well as replacing the sesame seeds used as a garnish with peanuts, almonds or other nuts. The author sometimes suggests how to tweak the recipe of a recommended side dish to better complement the pair. For example, when she suggests pairing the Red Rice Salad with Edamame, Tamari Walnuts and Ginger with the Cabbage, Pineapple and Peanut Salad along with the Broccoli and Red Onion Stir-Fry with Tamari Walnuts, she recommends omitting either the peanuts in the first dish or the walnuts in the latter dish so as to not feature nuts in all three dishes.

    Many of the recipes also include possible substitutions. Possible substitutions for the Soba Noodle Salad include replacing the snow peas with asparagus, sugar snap peas or green beans as well as replacing the sesame seeds used as a garnish with peanuts, almonds or other nuts.

    The introduction includes a brief overview of techniques (such as soaking vegetables and grating rather than chopping garlic), ingredients (including how to store various herbs and how to make your own spice blends such as Za’atar) and other basics (such as how to prepare hard-cooked eggs and toast nuts).

    Each of the recipe chapters begins with a page or two of tips. For example, the chapter on vegetable sides includes tips on basic vegetable cooking (boiling, braising, roasting, pan-searing and skillet-cooking).

    The first chapter, Soups That Make a Meal, includes recipes for:
    * Roasted Tomato Soup with Avocado
    * Chilled Watermelon and Tomato Soup
    * White Bean and Fennel Soup
    * Tomato and White Bean Soup with Spinach Pesto
    * Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Smoked Paprika
    * Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Toasted Cumin
    * Lentil and Shiitake Soup with Leafy Greens
    * Pureed Black Bean Soup with Piquillo Peppers
    * Curried Chickpea Soup with Summer Vegetables
    * Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup with Baby Bok Choy
    * Leek and Potato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower
    * Winter Borscht
    * Pumpkin and Tomato Soup with Cheese
    * Farro and Kale Soup with Orange Gremolata
    * Miso Soup with Spinach, Curried Tofu and Shiitake
    * Curried Coconut-Squash Soup with Peanuts
    * Vegetable, Black-Eyed Peas and Orzo Soup
    * Easy Basic Vegetable Broth

    The second chapter is on Main and Side-Dish Salads and includes recipes for:
    * Red Rice Salad with Edamame, Tamari Walnuts and Ginger
    * Black Rice, Mango and Sugar Snap Pea Salad
    * Tomatoes and Potatoes with Avocado-Dill Dressing
    * Toasted Bulgur, Tomato and Feta Salad
    * Soba Noodle Salad with Snow Peas
    * Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad
    * Middle Eastern Bread Salad
    * Green Bean, Corn, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
    * Warm Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Mint
    * Spinach, Avocado and Chopped-Egg Salad
    * Shredded Tuscan Kale, Tomato and Avocado Salad
    * Shredded Tuscan Kale Salad with Tamari and Sesame
    * Summer Tomato and Olive Bread Salad
    * Cabbage, Pineapple and Peanut Salad
    * Curried Quinoa and Apple Salad with Dried Cranberries
    * Basic Vinaigrette
    * Japanese Vinaigrette with Ginger

    The third chapter, Topped and Stuffed Breads That Make a Meal, features recipes including:
    * Rosemary-Fennel White Bean Spread
    * Broccoli, Dill and Lemon Spread
    * Chickpea Spread with Pomegranate Molasses
    * Beet and Tahini Puree
    * Braised Swiss Chard with Pecorino Curls
    * Tomato, Avocado and Tarragon Spread
    * Roasted Red…

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  2. robert johnston says:
    15 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    5 reasons to press `buy now’., March 30, 2011
    By 
    robert johnston (Los Angeles) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal (Paperback)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    1. Roasted tomato soup with avocado
    2. Tomato & potato salad with dill dressing
    3. Multi-mushroom pate
    4. Twice baked potatoes with roasted pablano and queso fresco
    5. Broiled eggplant towers with tomato, pesto & mozzarella

    Vegetable dishes and up to full vegetable meals are experiments of trial and error for us. One glance through Marie Simmons recipes in “fresh & fast vegetarian” was interesting. Choosing and using the recipes was far more rewarding.

    As indiscriminate omnivores, vegan meals are not especially appealing to us (me). For the vegan, there are recipe variations to replace eggs and dairy. As a fresh vegetable cook book, this may be the best we’ve discovered. The 5 dishes listed are my non-ordered listing of favorites. The only criticism comes from my better half … calorie counts are not provided. For me, veggie calories are irrelevant.

    Bon appetit!

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  3. Nicole S. Urdang says:
    17 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent and innovative, April 5, 2011
    By 
    Nicole S. Urdang (Western New York) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal (Paperback)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    As someone who has been cooking for decades, and typically doesn’t use recipes, except for inspiration, I know how rare it is to find a truly inspirational cookbook. Fresh & Fast Vegetarian is not only inspirational, it’s fun.
    There are a slew of recipes that made me want to run to my kitchen and experiment. Marie’s book is full of creative riffs on quinoa, farro, Israeli couscous, and a host of other great grains.
    Almost every concept is tantalizing. Just imagine making Red Quinoa with Scrambled Eggs, Asparagus, and Tamari Almonds, Pan-Braised Beets with Pistachio Pesto, or Curried Corn with Sugar Snap Peas and Mint. Her Krispy Kale recipe looks as if it will be a staple in my repertoire, as will the Israeli Couscous with Caramelized Cabbage and Oven Roasted Leeks with Orange and Thyme.
    Her section on spreads was marvelous.
    If you are tired of the same old vegetarian fare, try this book. The recipes are not only inventive, but they will be visually appealing, as well.

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