Author: Judith FinlaysonPublisher: Robert Rose (2012)
Beans, lentils and tofu…for most people, seeing these in someone’s grocery cart is a signal that they are a card-carrying vegetarian. After all, why would anyone who ate meat need to pick up these alternative proteins? Well, in 2016, the reasons can be much more than ethical in nature. Economics and health concerns are pushing more and more people away from meat-centric meals, forcing them to confront the previously outré ingredients seen only in Asian restaurants or chili pots. What was missing was a comprehensive guide to making legumes worthy of a dinnertime staple. Judith Finlayson’s book 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes is designed to fill that niche, with meals for all occasions both with and without meat.
Beans, Lentils & Tofu is a library’s worth of inspiration, and whether you’re a bona fide vegetarian or just want to reduce the meat you eat you’ll find something to tempt your palate. Most of the main dishes are hearty enough to satisfy even the most ravenous eaters and generally store and/or freeze well, making eating “on the cheap” even easier. I was pleased to see some of my favourite veggie staples – notably Harira (p. 64) and Caribbean Chickpea Curry with Potatoes (p. 161) – as well as some tempting ideas for the family like Cheater’s Cassoulet (p. 194) and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (p. 230). For the baked bean addicts out there, Finlayson has included no fewer than six variations – five of them containing meat, which was a bit of a disappointment. While I understand the desire to appeal to the greatest audience possible, there are so many hearty, delicious and nutritious meals that can be made completely vegetarian. By giving the book a title such as 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes, I expected the author to place more emphasis on those ingredients for main courses and less of the “well, let’s toss in some lentils to fit the book” approach. Also missing are any legume based desserts – of which there are many, and I expected to see at least a black bean brownie or tofu cheesecake in the pages. However, the meatless recipes that are mentioned sound delicious – and while photos are fairly scarce in the book, if they taste as good as they look readers will be well fed and loving it.
For those new to a life of legumes and who still want to include meat in their diet, 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes by Judith Finlayson is a great place to start. While it’s not a book for the die-hard vegetarian or vegan, for the flexitarian or omnivore each page holds a delightful option for that day’s nosh.
From the publisher:
Everyone knows that beans, lentils and tofu are good for you, but did you know that you can enjoy tantalizing gourmet food using these very ingredients? You absolutely can, and this enticing collection of recipes compiled by bestselling author and editor Judith Finlayson proves it.
These varied and internationally influenced recipes will give you a whole new perspectiveon the humble legume. Bean recipes range from elegantly continental dishes to authentic meals that take you back to the days of the Wild West. You’ll discover appetizing expressions with lentils, which are a staple of Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. And tofu? Sure, it’s not much on its own, but paired with other ingredients, it becomes something magical.
In a single collection, you can enjoy 250 of the best recipes created by the bestselling authors of Robert Rose, along with nutrition information, preparation tips and serving suggestions. These recipes will appeal not only to vegetarians and vegans, but also to the ever-growing number of people who simply wish to eat less animal protein in favor of healthy alternatives. You’ll no longer have to prepare several different meals for one family — everyone, regardless of their leanings, will enjoy this incredibly satisfying food.