I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time – since I was 12, so over 30 years. My husband, though, and my daughter (who is seven), are confirmed meat eaters. As we all love cooking, we have had to figure out a way to all eat well – things that are healthy, tasty, and (at least during the week) easy. Given their need for meat, and my non-need, it’s sometimes a challenge.
The current compromise is that we alternate – we have a non-meat meal, then a meal that includes meat but I take the meat out; sometimes that results in me eating plain pasta or a plate of veggies. They aren’t very exciting. Even my husband will admit the veggie meals are usually tastier and different from the norm – but there is no meat, and he misses that after a few days.
The Flexible Vegetarian takes this problem and offers solutions, delivering a range of tasty, interesting and healthy food that you can eat with or without meat, and not just with the meat added to the side. I have to say I was a little sceptical but it seems to work. We’ve tried two of the recipes so far, both of which were a success, with more to follow this week.
First up was Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup with sweet roast onions. I have always had a love / hate relationship with cauliflower soup in that I once had a bowl in a restaurant and it was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Since then I have hated every version I have tried. To find a good one has felt like a mission and – I am pleased to say – mission accomplished.
This soup was delicious. I cut the recipe the book in half as we didn’t need to make enough to serve 8 and I couldn’t find the nigella seeds it called for as a garnish but other than that I followed the recipe to the letter and enjoyed every spoonful.
Unfortunately, as this was an epub book I couldn’t take photos of the pages (it wasn’t the greatest review copy as the text was all over the pictures) so you’ll have to make do with my photos.
The meat version includes cooking with pancetta but we didn’t do that here as it felt, for me, like I would be eating meat. I did both a non-meat and meat version of the second recipe I tried, seasonal vegetable tart (picking the autumn version as, well, it’s autumn). This meant butternut squash and sage – favourites of mine – with Parma ham added to my husband and daughter’s tart. I think if I’d make this one again, I’d up the sage but there will definitely be an again as this was tasty.
Again, the photo is mine and not he best but it gives you the idea.
Next up is the roasted aubergine and fennel paella or Turkish pide, both of which look delicious and which I wish I could show you photos off but it just isn’t working to try and do this from the computer screen. Trust me though – they look good!
So, will this book be for everyone? No. But for people with a veggie in the family or who want to cut out meat from their diet a couple of days a week, this is a great book and one I can highly recommend.
About the book…
Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, you’ll find this very flexible book filled with delicious and practical recipes for every lifestyle. The Flexible Vegetarian’s beautiful and tasty dishes offer two solutions: they can be served as completely vegetarian meals, or with the addition of a simple meat, chicken or fish recipe, making them suitable for meat-free days and meat-eaters alike.
Recipes cover international flavours, from spiced poke to peashoot and asparagus gnudi, and they are all simple, quick, packed with protein and well-balanced. As well as easy meat and fish additions and hacks for each vegetarian recipe, The Flexible Vegetarian
Publisher: France Lincoln
Published: 7th September, 2017
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads
Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own
A couple of my kids went through periods of vegetarianism, most notably my eldest. Now that he lives in Prague, he doesn’t find enough good veggies there, or so he says. Anyway, it was interesting when he was a teen and young twenty-something, as he cooked really nice stir fries, etc. He still makes a great vegetarian enchilada dish when he comes to visit.
I prefer vegetarian dishes, too, but I’m not really a vegetarian; I like chicken and fish occasionally. And occasionally beef, like in a Shepherd’s Pie.
I loved your photos! They are probably better than the ones the book could have provided. I know what you mean about e-books with photos…not very satisfactory.
Thanks for sharing!
Yes I imagine Prague is hard to find veggie food – we struggled in Germany! I think it’s good to cut out as much meat as you can as you don’t know how it was necessarily raised but if you can find tasty ways to be healthier then great.
Not a vegetarian but do need to eat healthier and have been wondering if combining some veggie options now and then might help. I am curious about cauliflower soup cause well just not sure…lol. Glad this book worked for you.
I know my husband always says he feels better and looses weight when he goes meat free but he could never do it full time. I would say with the soup, you have to try it…it’s sweet and full of flavour. Better than potato soup,
We are nearly vegetarian – we still eat fish, but we no longer eat meat. Our problem is that a lot of vegetarian recipes tend to use cheese and we are both dairy intolerant. I like the idea of your book, but does it also fall back on cheese and cream? And we also have to deal with our vegan grandson…
I love cheese but it is a fallback – as are mushrooms. This doesn’t do that that I noticed. There also aren’t many steps to most…which I like!
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Yes – I have discovered a really tasty vegetarian cheese, but Himself simply doesn’t like the taste, so I can’t use it when cooking a meal with him…
[…] The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt is a cookbook (probably obvious but I like to be clear), one that shows you how to make meatless meat with meat if needed to meet the needs of a variety of tastes. It worked well in my house where I’m the sole veggie. I made two recipes from it, one of which I can safely say was one of the best soups I have ever eaten – making the book a winner for me! […]