Believing that making veggies taste extra great would encourage more people to eat them, author Raquel Pelzel present 75 vegetarian recipes that use foods high in umami to boost flavor. The best way to describe umami is “the yum” factor and it can enhance any food. Pelzel divides the recipes into chapters that devoted to one umami ingredient: aged cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, miso, carmelized onions, smoke, and nutritional yeast. In addition, she includes one chapter devoted to fish and shellfish because they are loaded with umami, and besides, she is a pescatarian. The recipes offer vegetarian or vegan dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and include snacks, salads, soups, main courses, and desserts.
Each chapter begins with an explanation of what gives the target ingredient its umami characteristic and then presents 7-12 recipes using that ingredient. Some of the most interesting recipes are the breakfast pasta made with aged cheese, chocolate cake with icing heightened with soy sauce, roasted tomato tart with pesto and goat’s milk cheese, mushroom breakfast porridge, eggplant meatballs, French onion gratin, and smoky grilled banana splits. Each recipe is introduced with tips on making or serving the dish, and has a boldface ingredient list on one side the page and the directions on the other. Almost all of the ingredients can be found in good grocery stores but the few that aren’t can be bought on line. Many of the recipes are simple and can be made fairly quickly while ares require more time. The majority of the recipes include a picture of the finished dish and tips and notes are scattered throughout. A unique approach to plant-based cooking!
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