(Step Up to the Plate is running a series of posts to introduce readers to seasonal cooking. We aim to get you through the winter with satisfied taste buds and a head full of delicious recipes. Our second cookbook review is Kim O’Donnel’s Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook.)
O’Donnel tackles the entire year in this cookbook, with recipe options tailored specifically for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Her focus is the whole-menu approach: instead of dividing the contents into ‘soups,’ ‘sides,’ or ‘entrees,’ she groups her offerings into what she thinks will work best as an entire meal. The Hummus-Stuffed Tomatoes are right next to the Fattoush Salad and Seared Halloumi, for example, while the Red Lentil Dal is cozied up with the Individual Flatbreads. There’s a nice balance of uber-simple options (e.g., Wilted Greens in a Skillet Vinaigrette) with the more time-consuming (such as the Gumbo z’Herbs), and she offers plenty of guidance about which recipes are gluten-free, vegan, kid-centric, or convenient for leftovers.
As the book’s the title implies, there’s no fish, poultry, or meat to be found within its pages (and no desserts, either). Some of the ingredient lists might require a quick trip to the grocery — O’Donnel seems particularly fond of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce — but the results are worth it: the stuffed peppers (pictured) would be a welcome side dish at any meal, and the Black-Bean Chili is just the thing for a snug evening by the fire. It’s a great guide for those who are new to seasonal cooking, and the conversational tone and abundant photos make it a handy resource for the beginner chef.