Marie Simmons loves bold, imaginative flavors from around the world, and her magically simple combinations have been featured in many magazines, from Redbook to Bon Appétit, where she was a popular columnist, and in her award-winning cookbooks. Over the years, she has come to rely more and more on vegetables and grains, because, as she says, “They taste good and they make me feel better.”
Now, in Fresh & Fast Vegetarian, she offers up more than 150 of her favorite dinners. Most can be made in half an hour or less, and for each one, Simmons provides an equally easy accompaniment. Like Roasted Vegetables and Mozzarella Quesadillas, some are meals in themselves, while others are smaller dishes that can be paired to create a quick but sumptuous dinner. A number of Simmons’s nearly effortless, vibrant recipes are vegan. Each tells exactly how long it will take to prepare. Fresh & Fast Vegetarian also provides hundreds of tips for shortcuts and substitutions.
Featured Recipe from Marie Simmons’s Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup with Baby Bok Choy and Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad “Of all the meals I enjoy cooking, soup is my favorite,” Marie says, “Soup-making techniques are not etched in stone. The experience can be fluid, generous and spontaneous. You can follow a recipe or not.” Here are some quick tips to get you started: A large (5- to 8-quart capacity) wide pot with two opposing handles, often called a Dutch oven, works best for soup. The fresher the ingredients, the better the soup. Relegate limp and tired vegetables to the compost bin. If you have a mishap and the vegetables turn black, throw them out. All the spices in the world can’t mask burned vegetables. Take a deep breath and start over. Warm spices in olive oil over low heat, 1 to 2 minutes, perhaps with the garlic, if using. Warmed, lightly toasted spices release their flavor and add a full, complex taste to the soup. Dried herbs are twice as strong as their fresh counterparts and should be used sparingly. Add them to the hot broth or other liquid, where they will slowly rehydrate. Add fresh herbs at the end of the cooking time so they retain their bright, fresh taste. Stir half of them into the soup and use the remainder to sprinkle on top as a garnish. If your soup is a little blah, it may simply need a squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice, an extra shower of finely chopped herb, a drizzle of olive oil or a swirl of yogurt. Tips for pureed soups: Pureeing is a snap with a lightweight handheld immersion blender. This handy tool allows you to puree the soup directly in the pot, eliminating the need to transfer the soup back and forth and saving messy cleanup. Cool the soup slightly before pureeing in a blender or food processor. A boiling hot soup can expand and spill over dangerously. Be careful not to overfill. If the soup is warm, hold the lid down with a folded towel. An old-fashioned food mill will remove seeds and skins and produce a thicker-textured soup than a blender.CARROT, SWEET POTATO AND GINGER SOUP WITH BABY BOK CHOY Carrots and sweet potatoes make for sweet silkiness in this smooth, creamy, dairy-free soup. Hefty additions of fresh ginger and jalapeño contribute the right hit of heat and create a sophisticated flavor profile. To keep the juicy crunch of the bok choy, add it just before serving. Cook Time: 35 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound carrots, sliced (½ inch), about 3 cups 1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on and cubed (½ inch), about 3 cups 1 pound carrots, sliced (½ inch), about 3 cups 1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), sliced (about 1 cup) ½ cup chopped celery 1 garlic clove, grated 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh gingerCoarse salt 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro1 tablespoon fresh lime juice1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper, or to taste6 ounces baby bok choy, stem ends trimmed and sliced (½ inch), about 2 cups lightly packed 1. Heat the oil in a soup pot until it is hot enough to sizzle a piece of vegetable. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, scallions, celery, garlic, ginger and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until lightly browned and softened, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 2. Ladle out about 2 cups of the solid vegetables and set aside. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool slightly, transfer it to a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. 3. Add the reserved vegetables, lime juice and jalapeño. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Bring the soup to a boil. Stir in the bok choy and cook for 30 seconds. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Shortcuts: If you can find real baby carrots, use them. Leave the thin skins on and cut the carrots into 1½-inch pieces. Instead of peeling the sweet potatoes, scrub them with a stiff brush. Their skins soften when cooked. TOASTED QUINOA, CORN AND AVOCADO SALAD The nutty taste and irresistible crunch of toasted quinoa make it a natural for a refreshing, yet hearty, main-dish salad. Here I dress it with a favorite dressing of toasted ground cumin and lots of lime juice. Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish Ingredients 1 1–2 cups quinoa 1 tablespoon mild-flavored olive oil or other vegetable oil For the Jalapeño Dressing 2 teaspoons ground cumin 5 tablespoons mild-flavored olive oil or other vegetable oil ½ cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper, plus more to taste 1 garlic clove, grated 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)1 cup diced (½ inch firm, ripe plum tomatoes½ cup thin-sliced (¼ inch) scallions (white and green parts)1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced (½ inch)½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible. 2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is a light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and appears to be uncoiling, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, until cool, about 10 minutes. 3. To make the dressing: Sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet and toast over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic and salt. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk to blend. 4. Add the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes and scallions to the dressing and toss to blend. Spoon the salad onto a large platter and sprinkle the avocado and cilantro on top. Shortcuts: You can toast a large batch of quinoa ahead of time. Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container. It will keep for 3 or more months. Use in main dishes, side dishes or other salads. Make a Meal Serve with Tomato and Mint Salad or with a platter of thick-sliced tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt.
Tonight I made Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Black Bean Chili on top – garnished with cilantro, avocado and sour cream (the recipe called for plain yogurt) This was a home run! Each recipe has suggestions on what to serve with it (I LOVE THAT FEATURE) – I made a cabbage, pineapple and peanut salad with fresh cilantro. That was amazing! I could not believe that I made this meal. I never had fresh ingredients as a kid and that carried into my adulthood. I’m just now exploring these tastes and way of cooking. The flavors work so well together, that I can’t wait to try more!! I bought this book because I was looking for a book on nutrition and I saw this cookbook had 15 five star reviews. Nothing lower. So I had to give it a try. They were right! There is an excellent section in the front of the book of favorite ingredients. This taught me how to store fresh herbs. In the back of the book are some internet links to some special spices. I checked the cost of these ingredients between the websites listed and Amazon and I found they were both pretty high. I went to retailmenot.com to find a website with a promotion for spices. I found a more affordable place. I would name that site, but I haven’t received the items yet. Thank you Marie Simmons… I love your cookbook.
I’m a meat eater who raised a vegetarian daughter so I spent years makinfg dishes that could make both carnivores and vegetarians happy, such as pasta that can have meat added separately, or chilli with lots of beans, peppers and onions, but then a separate pot so meat could be added to half the batch. Recently I’ve decided to veer more into recipes that were always intended to be vegetarian, not adapted to become vegetarian. Let me tell you there are some delicious vegetarian dishes in this book. I am especially in love with the Tomatoes and Potatoes Salad With Avocado-Dill Dressing. Even the confirmed meat eaters in my circle have eaten this salad and said “Man that salad was incredible!”. Also getting good reviews from my family are a number of the grain, nut, egg dishes. Everything I’ve made from this book I’ve been happy with. I like flavorable meals with lots of seasoning and zip. I’ve been happy with everything in this book without feeling the need to add more seasoning. My only complaint is that each recipe doesn’t have a photo. There is a photo section with 22 pictures but it would be much easier to get the idea of each dish if there was a photo placed with each recipe. Also there is no nutritional info for the recipes. But I do like that the estimated start-to-finish time is included for each recipe, and there are suggestions of which recipes to combine to make a complete meal. The only reason I’m giving this book four stars instead of 5 is the lack of photos. As for the recipes themselves, it’s definitely a five star product.
This book, full of unique and delicious recipes, is getting increasing use as I look forward to each surprising and healthy taste treat. Time planning is key however because while cooking may be relatively short, preparation can take longer with some of the recipes. Recipes that get my A+: Lentil and Shitake Soup with Leafy Greens Spinach, Avocado and Chopped Egg Salad Winter Vegetable Stew with Moroccan Flavors Pan-Seared Tofu with Eggplant and Curried Tomato-Mint Sauce, using diced, but not pureed tomatoes and pre-cubed tofu.
- Title: Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal
- Autor: Marie Simmons
- Publisher (Publication Date): Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 7, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: | 0547368917
- ISBN-13: | 978-0547368917
- Download File Format: EPUB, PDF