I am not vegetarian, but my daughter is. One of my sons has typically not wanted to eat anything ‘vegetarian’ but because he’s also a big Paul McCartney fan, and McCartney has been promoting ‘Meatless Monday’ he’s been willing to have a vegetarian meal once a week.
Dina Cheney’s Meatless All Day provides a very nice selection of vegetarian meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will admit that I haven’t made any of the lunch meals here, and only a couple of the breakfast meals.
Of the meals that I made, we found them all quite tasty. The vegetarian in the family would happily eat any of the meals a second time. The non-vegetarians…? Well, the meals were more-or-less eaten, but timidly, and nothing stood out as being a meal any of the family meat-eaters would request.
What I have found, and this is true for most vegetarian meals and not just Cheney’s book, is that meat ‘substitutes’ don’t satisfy. ‘Meatballs’ and ‘burger patties’ when made from nuts and other ingredients are pale imitations and to cover the lack of flavor in the meat itself they are often filled with spices to create a flavor not quite natural. I recognize that this may be a case where we meat-eaters are too familiar with a flavor, a taste, and eating something that pretends to be similar isn’t likely going to live up to the original. That said, I still would try the spaghetti with white bean balls a second time.
Where I most appreciated the book was with meals that weren’t imitations or substitutes for meat meals, but something unique. Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chickpeas and Moroccan Spices and Greek Stuffed Peppers with Lemon-Thyme Breadcrumbs are delicious dishes, as are many of the others within. But even with delicious meals, there is still a sense that spices are replacing natural flavor rather than complementing them. When this works the results are magnificent. When it doesn’t work as well, the results are still delicious but a reminder of what isn’t in the meal.
I live in a small town, and many of the ingredients were difficult to find. A half hour drive to a town with multiple co-ops and health food stores still didn’t produce all the ingredients for some of the recipes. That did become a little problematic and worth noting for the home chefs looking to make recipes from this book.
Looking for a good book? Whether you are looking to supplement your meals with vegetarian alternatives or looking for new recipes for your meals, Meatless All Day by Dina Cheney is a very good choice.
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Meatless All Day: Recipes For Inspired Vegetarian Meals
author: Dina Cheney
publisher: Taunton Press
paperback, 208 pages