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Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein

I've have had this book for ages and not really made an effort with it save for glancing through it every so often thinking "I really must make something out of this".  Good for everyday veggies and cupboard ingredients.  Anyhoo, last night I made:

Zucchini Lemon Couscous
I was given two massive zucchinis last week :o and made this using barley couscous.  I "zuched" it up by adding a lemon and herb mix to the broth and chili flakes, fried onion (just love the texture of fried onion in things like couscous and rice) and a few discs of fried zucchini strategically placed on top when plated - it was glorious.  It made a ton, so that's me sorted for lunch for the next coupla days!

I wonder if anyone has any tried and true recommendations?

Run do not walk to the farmers' market to get an eggplant to make the pita with eggplant salad. You need a couple of different fresh herbs for the recipe and it is slightly a pain to make but it is worth it. Do not chintz on the ingredients.  I haven't stuffed it in pitas in advance as suggested--I just keep it in a container and spoon it onto bread.

I also highly recommend the fettucini with green beans and tomatoes--the sauce is very delicious and can be made in advance.  We like the vermicilli nests as well as the conchiglie with black-eyed peas and green peas.  In cooler weather I often make the lentil soup (the one with the tomatoes and brown rice).   (The zucchini cous cous, the lettuce with peas and mint, the chickpeas with green bean salad and the chunky chickpea salad all come to mind.  They were okay but my children didn't like them enough to bear repeating.) Oh, the squash gnocchi are also delicious but my family did not care for the walnut sauce (it was bitter and I have other recipes we like better).  The tuscan white beans with sage were okay but not as amazing as I had hoped and the persian soup has gotten mixed reviews twice now so I'll probably not be making that again.  I also remember there was a greek stew with potatoes and string beans that I didn't find so amazing either and I haven't made again.  I have to say, though, that there isn't a recipe in there that I have found to be gross throw out terrible.  The worst I can say about any recipe in that book was that it was just okay.

The ingredients are simple so except for the soups I find I cook from it mainly in the summer because I can get the best tomatoes and other produce.  I have found that the recipes come out with much better flavor if I use a very good quality olive oil.

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This is one of my favorite cookbooks because you don't need any "vegan" ingredients. The recipes just happen to be vegan. Here's what we like out of it so far.
-Garlic Soup with Potatoes
-Tuscan Bread Salad
-Linguine With Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans
-Orzo Pilaf With peas, Pearl Onions, and Roasted Red Peppers
-Roasted Green Beans with Slivered Almonds-THE BEST!!!
But don't make the couscous with lettuce, peas, and mint. It's gross, sorry.

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The only thing I've made from this book is the Provencal Eggplant Caviar and I did not like it at all.  It had a weird sweet flavor and nobody who tasted it liked it.  A disappointing start. :(

Thanks for reminding me that I have this book though.  I was waiting for summer to make some of the tomatoey-basily things.  They can't possibly be bad.

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The tomato basil bruschetta (don't remember if that is the exact name or not) is also really good

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3077/2552088583_58906093ce.jpg

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I had a big bag of spinach that needed using up and, with a tin of chickpeas from the cupboard, I made the bouillabaisse of spinach and chickpeas with potatoes .  It was super tasty.

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Last week I made the Lentil and Escarole Soup.  I used the small green French lentils and soaked them overnight.  I knew my children wouldn't eat big pieces of wilty escarole in the soup, so I chopped the raw escarole very fine in the food processor before adding it.  No one complained.

The soup tasted better the next day.  The only change I would make would be more boullion or broth powder since the taste needed a bit more depth.  And we topped each bowl with a couple of drops of good EVOO.

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Everyone requests the recipe after trying the italian bread salad. Not the fattoush, the other one. Delicious and REALLY easy. I'd reccomend doubling the dressing, but it's an absolute favorite in our house and with company. (I haven't made the fattoush but it's probably great too.) There hasn't been anything I made from this cookbook that I haven't liked.

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Everyone requests the recipe after trying the italian bread salad. Not the fattoush, the other one. Delicious and REALLY easy. I'd reccomend doubling the dressing, but it's an absolute favorite in our house and with company. (I haven't made the fattoush but it's probably great too.) There hasn't been anything I made from this cookbook that I haven't liked.

Me too! That's what I like about this book. Pretty much everything I've made has been tasty and doesn't require a trip to the health food store for fake ____. All the food's pretty healthy, and since I live in socal, almost all the ingredients are local.

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