If You’re an Herbivore, This is Your Month

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

Eat your vegetables if you want to grow big and strong, at least that’s what our parents and teachers have always told us. Remember: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Our entire lives we’ve been told to eat right to feel right. Some of us have heeded this advice; some of us haven’t. Vegetarians and vegans have taken this advice to heart. October is National Vegetarian Month, and the perfect time to remind ourselves of the variety of eating experiences on offer from the greens, reds, yellows, purples, and other colorful fruits and vegetables available in garden and market.

Vegetarians and vegans are not synonymous. According to Merriam-Webster Online, a vegetarian is someone whose diet is one “consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products.” This type of vegetarian is also referred to as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Vegans, on the other hand, are strict vegetarians who do not consume animal or dairy products. All vegans are vegetarians, but not all vegetarians are vegans.

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just want to eat like one, Manhattan Public Library has a wide selection of the cookbooks you’ll need to help you create a royal feast. If you like to cook outdoors, Grilling Vegan Style by John Schlimm delivers a full plate of meal options. From creative vegetable classics like Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce, to the art of grilling faux meats, this guide fires up 125 recipes for the backyard chef.

Also for grilling enthusiasts, Jolinda Hackett presents 225 backyard favorites in Cookouts Veggie Style. Learn how to make delicious and unique vegetarian dishes such as Crisped Camembert and Mango Quesadillas and Cajun-rubbed Portobello Caps. You’ll never miss burgers and hotdogs again.

For reluctant vegans, try Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin. Featuring mouthwatering photographs, this book explains that the key to good vegan cooking is substitution. Vegan versions of meat-eater favorites include the Avocado Reuben and “Chick’n” Pot Pie.

Former Bon Apetit columnist Marie Simmons begins Fresh & Fast Vegetarian with pages of fast cooking techniques, suggested tools, and lists of favorite ingredients. Only then does this author present recipes for 150 of her favorite dinners. From soups (White Bean and Fennel; Pumpkin and Tomato Soup with Cheese) to salads (Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado) to main dishes (Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Quick Black Bean Chili), this book has it all.

Vegetarian recipes are often a godsend to individuals on a gluten-free diet. Carol Fenster offers quick and delicious dishes for the healthy cook in 125 Gluten-free Vegetarian Recipes. From snacks and appetizers like Baked Kale Chips, to filling dinners like Chili Cornbread Casserole and Eggplant Parmesan Stacks, to decadent desserts like Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse, Fenster makes gluten-free eating fun.

Joy Tienzo draws from a variety of influences to feature a diversity of innovative vegan dishes in Cook, Eat, Thrive. This author uses a series of symbols to indicate which recipes are raw, low fat, soy-free, and wheat-free, as well as recipes you can prepare in 30 minutes or less. Recipes range from well-known favorites (Buttermilk Pancakes) to more exotic dishes (Sage-Ricotta Gnocchi with Spicy Squash Mash).

Many cuisines have a tradition of meatless cooking. Troth Wells takes us on a gastronomic tour of the world with her One World Vegetarian Cookbook. Recipes include Indian Creamy Mixed Vegetable Curry, Greek Cheese Pies, Middle Eastern Baba Ghanoush, and even good old Boston Baked Beans from the U.S.A.

A vegan diet isn’t strictly about fruits and vegetables. Vegans do sometimes like dessert after a meal. Lickin’ the Beaters 2 by Siue Moffat includes a wealth of vegan chocolate and candy recipes to drool over. Presented with useful hints and a handy quick recipe indicator for those who simply cannot wait for their sugar fix, recipes include favorites such as pralines, cookies and cakes.

For the ultimate one-stop vegetarian cookbook, from the author of the classic How to Cook Everything, pick up How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. This is the definitive guide to meatless meals that will appeal to everyone who wants to cook simple but delicious meatless dishes, from health-conscious omnivores to passionate vegetarians.

Manhattan Public Library has an extensive collection of cookbooks for all levels of culinary expertise. Check them out. They’re guaranteed to make you hungry for more.

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column

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