First of all, a big Thank You to the Meatless Monday Campaigns for sending me a free copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page, and inviting me to review it on my blog. I might have mentioned just a few times that I love cookbooks, and I own quite a few – some might even say too many! One thing I have very few of however, are cooking “reference books”. What’s a cooking reference book, you might be thinking? It’s a resource that helps you to be a better cook, so you can rely on cookbooks less, and on your creative instincts more – and that’s exactly what The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is.
Have you ever wanted to try a new plant food, herb or even cheese but didn’t know what to do with it? How about tofu? Do you have the fear? Mung beans? Kabocha squash? Matcha powder? We’ve all seen them in the store, and quickly passed by on to more familiar carrots and broccoli, or Italian seasoning mix out of fear of the unknown – but this book will answer all of your questions, quell your fears, and have you pairing, cooking and tasting all kinds of fun new vegetarian foods.
Sorry if I’m starting to sound like an infomercial, but honestly, there is so much helpful information in this book, I just have to share. The heart of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible features an A to Z listing of every non-meat food and seasoning you can think of. The author describes what it tastes like, it’s nutritional profile, cooking techniques to maximize flavor, what other foods and seasonings to pair it with, how to serve it, and even what to substitute if you’re out. Wow! This is kind of like the iPhone of cooking resources – A book I never knew I needed, and now can’t live without.
My favorite tips I’ve discovered so far:
Polenta (AKA corn meal) – a grain that I never think to use: gluten-free. Cook it and pour in into a sheet pan to cool. Cut it into slices and then grill and serve with tomato sauce and marinated vegetables. Holy Moses! Genius!
Fontina cheese – kind of bland, and I never know what to do with it: the book recommends pairing it with arugula, red onions, and sun dried tomatoes on a sandwich. Hello. Yes.
Grapefruit – it’s not just for breakfast anymore: Plays nice with avocado, endive, fennel and watercress. I feel a fresh winter salad recipe coming on…
Eating a plant-based diet is so much more than just salads and skipping the meat on your pasta sauce. There’s a whole wide world of vegetarian options out there, and I highly recommend checking out this wonderful resource to help you meet some of them. Keep your eyes open for some new recipes that I’ll be making, and were inspired by this book.
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