Mostly Vegetables

Recipe: Roasted Barley and Wild Mushroom Pilaf

Stylish Recipes Celebrating the Glories of the Vegetable Kingdom
"A excellent book filled with truly delicious recipes that are easy to execute and a trove of great ideas for any cook who wishes to become mostly vegetarian."
—Madeleine Kamman

Approximately 12.5 million Americans today call themselves vegetarians, although many of these non-meat eaters use the term "vegetarian" loosely-they may periodically eat chicken or fish, along with a staple diet of vegetables. For these self-described "vegetarians," James Beard Award-winning author Susan Costner brings us Mostly Vegetables: Stylish Recipes Celebrating the Glories of the Vegetable Kingdom. Mostly Vegetables, which includes full color photographs by Faith Echtermeyer, provides a delicious, diverse and contemporary collection of recipes for the growing number of people who wish to cook and entertain with healthy, fresh, vegetable-based dishes without resorting to strict vegetarianism.

An "almost vegetarian" diet offers a simple way to cut fat consumption and to meet recommended daily dietary requirements while enjoying the enormous variation of mouth-watering vegetables available today. With over 150 zesty recipes to choose from, Mostly Vegetables can transform any vegetable into the basis for a stylish and unique meal. These recipes, which embrace the flavors of the Mediterranean, Thailand, Mexico, China and India, instruct the amateur "vegetarian" cook on how to invent dishes that make vegetables the star of the meal and use meat as a seasoning while providing the experienced cook with exciting new ideas for creating and entertaining with vegetable dishes.

Try tantalizing appetizers like Escarole-Shallot-Apple Tarte Tatin as a prelude to a springtime luncheon; a delicious one-pot soup such as Minestrone with Rosemary-Chili Pesto; or a scrumptious Salad of Endive and Watercress with Oranges and Fennel as a colorful starter for a summer picnic. Main dishes include tasty creations such as an exotic Cauliflower with Lentils in a Spiced Tomato Sauce, elegant Eggplant Torte with Fresh Tomato Compote, or reinvented classics such as Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding and Vegetarian Cassoulet. For those who wish to add non-vegetable ingredients, there is Grilled Tuna with Saffron Vinaigrette which can be served as either a lunch or dinner dish, or Sea Bass Baked on a Bed of Artichokes, Asparagus, and Shallots. Costner even includes a delectable assortment of desserts, from Orange-Yogurt Cornmeal Cake to Strawberries in Lemon Verbena with Fresh Cheese Ice Cream.

Mostly Vegetables includes useful sidebars with cooking tips and handy information on techniques such as making stocks to add depth and flavor to sauces, soups or stews; cooking with infused oils to heighten the flavor of a recipe; or how to create the perfect simple or complex risotto dish. For those who enjoy impressive entertaining, wine suggestions accompany each recipe, and Costner also includes sample menus to help any cook put together a delicious, balanced, and satisfying meal.

With Mostly Vegetables, award-winning author Susan Costner offers a collection of unique and delightful recipes teeming with scrumptious vegetables that promote a healthy lifestyle—for "vegetarians" and for all who enjoy delicious vegetable-based cuisine.

About The Author:
Susan Costner is the author of four cookbooks and numerous magazine articles on food. Her books include Great Sandwiches, which won the James Beard Award in 1991, Good Friends, Great Dinners, Gifts of Food, and The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook. Her food writing has appeared in Food & Wine, House Beautiful, Self; Redbook, Working Woman and other publications. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Susan co-owned and operated the successful Loaves and Fishes Food Company of Long Island for 6 years. She is currently writing a monthly column called "Clean Cuisine" for American Health Magazine. Susan Costner resides in Napa Valley with her husband and two children.

Roasted Barley and Wild Mushroom Pilaf

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 pound assorted wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 quart homemade veal, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced sage

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the barley and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes or until it turns brown and gives off a nutty aroma.

Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining stock and, when it is almost simmering, cover the pan and cook for 45 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add the salt, pepper, and sage and blend them in with a large fork, fluffing the barley. Serve immediately.


Recipe and text from:
Mostly Vegetables
by Susan Costner
Photographs by Faith Echtermeyer
Bantam Books
Publication Date: June 12, 1996
Price: $25.00/Hardcover
Pages: 288
ISBN: 0-553-09675-3
(Reprinted with permission)

Photograph of Susan Costner by Joshua Greene

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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