Cookbook Review: Quick-Fix Vegetarian

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Quick-Fix Vegetarian
Quick-Fix Vegetarian
by Robin Robertson
2007, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Even if you don’t know Robin Robertson by name, you probably know her cookbooks. She’s responsible for over a dozen cookbooks, including the omnivore favorite Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes, the clever Apocalypse Chow (recipes to make when the power goes out), and the enormous Vegan Planet. Robin’s recipes are accessible yet varied, a testament to her 25 years as a chef, caterer, cooking instructor, and food columnist. Quick-Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked meals in 30 Minutes or Less is Robin’s latest, offering up (as the title suggests), fast and easy meals for those in a rush. All recipes are vegan, even though the title avoids saying so outright.

The chapters are pretty much what you’d expect, covering everything from appetizers to sauces to sandwiches and desserts. There’s also a chapter on slow-cooking and “one-dish wonders.” There are 150 recipes in just under 200 pages, each recipe featuring a one paragraph introduction, something I really appreciate in cookbooks. I like context to a recipe before trying it.

We’ve made a number of the recipes over the last couple of months and they’ve all come out nicely. The Potato “Dosadillas” are an interesting dosa-quesadilla hybrid. We thought they needed a little more spice (which could be because we doubled the amount of peas), but they were surprisingly good and easy. The Curried Couscous and Vegetables is another simple dish that stretches a long way. A few minutes in the kitchen will serve you well for dinner and several lunches thereafter. The Couscous Shepherd’s Pie was also plentiful — the only change we’d make to this one is to steam the tempeh first if you use it instead of veggie crumbles or tofu.

Perhaps the best recipe we’ve made thus far is the Panko-Crusted Tofu Cutlets with Lemon-Caper Sauce. Panko is basically flaky Japanese breadcrumbs and it provides a great crust when fried up on the tofu. And the sour-salty combination of the sauce is wicked good. The only complaint here was that it took significantly longer than 30 minutes to make (we had a similar issue with the Stir-Fried Tofu and Vegetable Teriyaki). That said, it was well worth the effort.

Even if you have some of Robin’s other books, you’ll probably want to take a peek at this one. There are a number of other interesting recipes I’m looking forward to trying: PDQ Pot Pie (the pot pie from Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes is a holiday stand-by around here), Green Onion Hummus with Lime, and Linguine with Edamame Pesto are all on our to-make list.

The book is simply laid out and the recipes are easy to follow, with one per page. The only complaint I have is the same one I’ve had with a few other of Robin’s books: there are no pictures of any recipes. Sure, there are some food pictures, but they’re all stock photos, and that’s no fun. People are inspired by seeing food photos, which is why food blogs are so popular. It’s a shame that there aren’t even a few nice color panels in the middle of the book.

So, thumbs up for Quick-Fix Vegetarian. A few recipes took longer than the promised 30 minutes, but the results have all been quite good so far. I suspect a year from now, this will be a well-worn book on our kitchen shelf.

6 Responses to “Cookbook Review: Quick-Fix Vegetarian”

  1. Cat

    Is it petty to admit that photos are a deal-breaker for me? And it’s a huge pet peeve with veg cookbooks–what, are they too good for a photo shoot? I understand that printing photos is expensive, but I need a little inspiration to get me into the kitchen. I’m weak.

  2. Christina

    I’ve never been an all vegetables person myself, but having moved to a new place (with a number of new acquaintances who don’t eat meat) I’m looking to broaden my repertoire of simple vegetarian friendly food. Problem is, I’ve also moved to a tofu/edamame/black bean free land (so far as I can tell). Would this book still be useful even with a pretty restricted ingredient range?

  3. Tamara

    Mmm, sounds great, thanks for the review. I’m going to go add it to my wish list. :-) The dosadillas sound intriguing – I love dosas but would have no idea how to make them on my own!

  4. Eric

    I had the mixed baby greens with pears, pecans, and polenta strips last night, and it was really good! (p. 64)

    And, Christina, there were no beans anywhere near the dish. :)

  5. Robin Robertson

    Thanks for the great review of my book, Quick-Fix Vegetarian. I thought you’d like to know this book just won PETA’s Proggy award for best new cookbook! I also want to mention that the lack of photos is entirely in the hands of the publisher and since they are extremely expensive to put in books, many publishers don’t bother. Just today, however, I made 6 recipes from QFV in an hour — I needed them for a newspaper interview and I’ve posted photos on my brand new blog: veganplanet.blogspot.com. I hope you’ll take a look.

  6. Triple Doozy Catch-Up Review (and a Giveaway) | The Veg Blog

    […] — the pot pie from Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes is one of my favorites and I really enjoyed Quick-Fix Vegetarian. As it turns out, we just cut back a bit and have enjoyed everything we’ve made from here […]

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