by Sue Spitler
with Linda R. Yoakam, R.D., M.S.
All recipes derive less than 30% of calories from fat Encyclopedic in scope with over 500 entrees, plus hundreds of recipes from appetizers to desserts Icons denote use of egg and dairy products in recipes which use them All recipes have nutritional data and diabetic exchanges Delicious and varied dishes from many cultures and countries All recipes are quick and easy, suitable for family and casual entertaining $19.95 price makes book widely affordable
If you believe "you are what you eat," the U.S. is becoming a nation of eggplants, not to mention squash, onions, quinoa, tofu, rice, and beans. In 1991, Vegetarian Times magazine found that one out of every 12 people in the U.S. was a vegetarian of one sort or another. Another study found that one out of every five meals ordered in a restaurant is vegetarian. It looks like Mom no longer needs to urge us to eat our vegetables ñ in fact, she or Dad should be thinking up plenty of creative meatless entrees for the kids, and for company, too.
Subscribing to vegetarian magazines, scouring newspaper food sections, and visiting veggie websites will bring you a respectable number of recipes, but itís more convenient to have hundreds and hundreds in one place. Sue Spitlerís new cookbook, 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes (Surrey Books, $19.95) is a virtual vegetarian bible with every kind of recipe imaginable.
From the apricot and ginger-flavored Sweet-Spiced Cabbage with Quinoa and the elegant Vegetable Strudel with Wild Mushroom Sauce to the tangy Green Tomato Salsa and humble Lemon Pound Cake, Spitlerís book contains everything from the exotic to the mundane.
There are so many choices, even the most finicky eaters will find dishes they want to make. This 852-page monster cookbook has recipes for over 500 vegetarian entrees, which, the author assures us, "will make you feel like youíve eaten a real meal." In addition, there are appetizers, soups, stews and casseroles, roasted and grilled dishes, pastas, souffles, and sandwiches. There are pizzas, calzones, dinner pies, egg and cheese dishes, bean dishes, grain dishes; vegetable side dishes, and salads. There are breads, sauces and condiments, and desserts.
As a bonus, all 1,001 recipes are low-fat. They wonít widen the waist or narrow the arteries. But arenít vegetables always diet food? "Just because itís vegetarian doesnít mean itís good for you," says Spitler. "We used to eliminate the meat, load on the cheese, nuts, and oils, call ourselves vegetarians, and think we were eating a healthy meal. What we were really doing was increasing the saturated fat and calories in our diet, and negating the health value of the vegetables and starches we so nobly ate."
Spitler makes sure thereís no excuse for not maintaining a healthy and well-balanced vegetarian diet. She marks each recipe with a little symbol indicating whether it uses eggs or dairy products. Registered dietitian Linda Yoakam, who has collaborated with Sue on her other Surrey cookbooks, provides calorie, fat, carbohydrate, cholesterol and sodium counts and other essential nutritional information, and diabetic exchanges.
Spitler and a team of three assistants spent nearly two years concocting, testing, and eventually eating all the dishes in the book. "Many rookies never venture beyond a noodles plus cheese plus salad vegetarian meal," she says. "We tried to include lots of interesting dishes from many cultures and countries ñ Latin America, Indonesia, Asia, India, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and of course our own U.S. favorites. We couldnít leave out a comforting low-fat macaroni and cheese recipe for the die-hards."
If you are already a vegetarian, this book will give you more than a thousand new and delicious low-fat healthy recipes in 16 recipe categories, from appetizers to desserts. If you are interested in becoming vegetarian but are not quite sure how to approach the transition, this book can serve as a recipe encyclopedia to get you started. Youíll also find the book helpful if you are a "sometimes vegetarian," interested in incorporating meatless meals into current family meal patterns for a healthier diet.
There are recipes suitable for every occasion from St. Patrickís Day (Cabbage Ragout with Real Mashed Potatoes), to Thanksgiving (Holiday Sweet Potato Loaf with Apple-Cranberry Relish) with most being appropriate for both casual entertaining and family dining. Knowing that busy lifestyles afford little cooking time, these recipes are streamlined to get you out of the kitchen and to the dining table fast. For convenience, many can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen. The recipes are also easy to follow, requiring no special ingredients, skills or techniques.
Vegetarian or not, what really matters is how food tastes, and these recipes really do taste great. Try one of these for your next healthy meal.
1,001 Healthy Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes
by Sue Spitler
with Linda R. Yoakam, R.D., M.S.
Surrey Books, $19.95
852 pages; June 1, 1997
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