Sunday, 25 March 2012

Book Review - 5 Steps to Healthy Cooking

First up, this book is not vegan. There are two whole sections I ignored, (the meat one and the fish one, and I am fine with doing that) and there are recipes where substitutions would need to be made if I were to make them -for the purposes of this review I didn't really bother much with those. That said, there are a large number of recipes out of the 500 which are already accidentally vegan! and some of the swaps are as simple as using a non-dairy product for a dairy one, and veggie stock for chicken.

The 5 steps themselves are outlined in the introduction, (I won't give them away here!) but I guess I'm not really the target audience for this book as everything I make pretty much meets the 5 steps already (maybe not some of the desserts and treats....) and I think the same would be true for the majority of vegans who eat more than junk food.

However, I feel there is a definite need for a book like this, educating the non-vegan public at large and encouraging the greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, and instilling the norm of making healthier choices everyday - and providing recipes to enable folks to do that. I would recommend this book for people wanting to "eat healthier" but not yet being at the place where they are willing to forgo their meat or dairy - who knows, something like this book may be the first step in someone's road to embracing veganism.

The book itself is quite substantial (500 recipes!), has a nice introduction looking at nutritional terms, and ingredients. Nice. Each recipe has nutritional information (for those of you who like that sort of thing), many have tips, health notes about the ingredients, superfood "spotlights", and storage tips (though these are a little repeated in places). The recipes are generally quick and easy, with few steps and ingredients making this suitable for kitchen novices. There are 2 sets of photo inserts - again some need to be ignored! (if you are vegan)

On to the recipes I made in page number order -

Page 59 - Power Granola

Nice one. Though did lose its crunch a bit after a few days. Not too sweet - ideal.

Page 81 - Chewy Cherry Granola Bars

Though I used Cranberries. Sweeter than I expected, a treat for sure, but (mostly) healthy!

Page 118 - Roasted Beet and Beet Greens Salad

So tasty for something so simple and with few ingredients. Time consuming re the roasting but worth it!

Page 147 - Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Very nice. Quick and tasty - filling and satisfying.

Page 153 - Sesame Peanut Vegetable Noodle Salad

I am a sucker for peanut sauce and peanut noodle salads. This one didn't disappoint.

Page 171 - Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup

Maybe the simplest soup ever. Very tasty.

Page 174 - Classic Tomato Soup

Next time I think I'll add a touch of sweetener as the tomatoes where a little acidic, but simple, quick and nice enough.

Page 183 - French Lentil Soup

Not the prettiest soup but filling, hearty and tasty. Lentil soups never really are that pretty!

Page 207 - Black Bean Chipotle Chili

Better the second day after the spices mellowed and melded.

Page 252 - Chickpea Potato Masala

Stick to your ribs in a tasty way this one. Mellow spices - good combination of flavors.

Page 290 - Basil Coconut Tofu Curry

Bit too heavy on the green beans for my taste preference, and the tofu didn't really absorb the flavor all the way through, nice enough but not a fave.

Page 448 - Wilted Spinach with Garlic

Basic side, quick and tasty!

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