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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Cookbook Review

Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food
by Mark Bittman

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything, has taken his culinary skills one step further with How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. A self-confessed non-vegetarian, Bittman says he compiled this 1,000-page, 2,000-recipe book, “to convince everyone…to increase the proportion of plant-based foods in our diets.”

As a cookbook for vegetarians it’s not particularly innovative. Most vegetarians know how to chop vegetables, boil eggs and make salads (or they would have expired long ago), as many carnivores surely do, too. There’s a great deal of “back to basics” information in this hard-backed tome, which is divided into chapters ranging from different types of food to equipment and techniques.

Where this cookbook is extremely helpful is in the author's focus on creating vegetarian meals as a whole as opposed to throwing together a few side dishes. He’s also created a list of essential ingredients to have at all times in the house to ensure you can cook great veggie food. Olive oil, pasta, soy sauce and spices are just some of the must-haves recommended, along with a separate list of “more ingredients that are really nice to have on hand,” including capers, miso, sesame oil and frozen vegetables.

This book isn’t going to win any prizes, but it’s not a bad attempt by Bittman to push people to eat more veggies.

Reviewed by Kelly Hartog

(Updated: 12/02/08 SB)

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