This is the first in an ongoing series about my go-to cookbooks. 

Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food is probably my top go-to cookbook.  The original edition was published in 2007 and the tenth anniversary edition was published last year.  I own both volumes but find myself returning to the original edition on a regular basis, perhaps because I have used it so much.  For me, this book is like one of my mother’s go-to cookbooks where you can tell exactly what she cooked on a regular basis based on the ways the pages look.

Both books are filled with tips and techniques as well as thousands of recipes.  The original edition has black and white drawings while the new edition is filled with beautiful photography.  I go to these volumes for the tips and techniques, however.  The books are filled with information about various foods.  There is information about buying and storing,  best preparation and cooking methods, and how to substitute.  I love the simplicity of this book.  Bittman presents a variety of ways foods can be prepared in simple, straightforward directions.   There are charts that summarize cooking methods and aspects such as flavors that blend well or how to sauce various vegetables.

Recipes are also straightforward and are labeled with icons telling if the recipe is vegan, if it takes less than 30 minutes, and in the new edition if it is a new recipe.    The 10th anniversary edition has updated recipes with new ingredients and adjusted for current thoughts about health and eating.

If you are looking for a book to begin exploring plant based eating, this is a great choice. It provides the basics but also provides a large variety of recipes for experimentation.


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