I clearly remember the day when my daughter, Alexis, announced she would no longer be eating meat. She had just questioned the contents of a dinner I served her—a delicious small lamb chop, medium rare, the animal organically raised in our own backyard. I fibbed, telling her it was a pork chop, not wanting her to be upset that the pet sheep, Plantagenet Palliser, had been butchered and served at our family table. She made an educated guess, was right in her calculation, and declared, “No more meat, maybe fish.” She was twelve at the time.
My diet had no such abrupt refining, but a gradual trending toward less and less meat, even less and less fish, until now I rely so much on other sorts of protein, on many vegetables, most of them farm raised, and on fruits and pastas. My shift has been the result of many things—books like Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals
, films such as Food, Inc.
, and my very own observations of factory farms, feed lots, fish farms, and the condition of the meats and fish sold in many of our supermarkets. My own backyard has become my personal experimental laboratory for growing, organically, most of the vegetables and fruits that I consume, and I have built a large greenhouse and cold frame where I can now grow most of what I need even in the colder months of the year. I raise my own laying hens for delicious eggs for me and my family and friends, and I keep bees for pollination as well as for honey. I am waiting to build a small dairy until I have enough time to milk and make butter and cheese.
Encouraged by so many friends and colleagues who have made the shift to a more vegetable-based diet, and by Alexis and the extraordinarily good meals she makes for herself and her two small children, my colleagues and I have now published this book of vegetarian recipes. With the hard work and intelligent approach of our industrious Whole Living
magazine editors, and the wonderful creative cooks in the kitchens at Martha Stewart Living
offers a wide range of recipes that will tempt even the most diehard meat eaters to expand their cooking repertoires to include more vegetable-based meals. Our more frequent trips to the farmer’s markets and organic sections of the grocery stores will be more productive if armed with a recipe or two from these pages. With a recipe such as French Lentils with Caramelized Celery Root and Parsley, for example, you will not pass by those knobby, weird celeriac roots ever again wondering, “What could I possibly make with one of those?” And why not eliminate the sausage topping for your homemade pizzas and add instead flavorful broccoli rabe or thin slices of delicious, nutritious butternut squash?
Each recipe is illustrated with a photograph that will tempt you to try combinations of grains, nuts, vegetables, and seasonings you may have never thought of. And each recipe proves, in both large and small ways, with bold or sophisticated or simple combinations of ingredients, that Meatless
can be an exciting and healthy and beneficial addition to your shelf of must-have cookbooks, and that Mother’s age-old directive “Eat your vegetables” is still a very “Good Thing”!
THIS COOKBOOK IS FOR EVERYONE: everyone who loves food, and everyone who would like to eat more vegetables and less meat. The recipes cover every season, every major world cuisine—every craving. The Black-Rice Stir-Fry (page 93) and the Kale, Apple, and Beet Salad (page 224) would be at home in the best vegetarian restaurants in the country. The Lighter Macaroni and Cheese (page 152) and the Beans-and-Greens Tacos with Goat Cheese (page 259) are comfort food at their healthiest and best. Yes, the book is called Meatless
. But funnily enough, it’s not about getting less, but gaining more: more seasonal produce, more whole grains, more protein-rich beans, and more flavor.
There are many reasons to forgo meat and reach for plant foods, whether you dabble in such a diet occasionally (the Meatless Monday trend is growing rapidly) or you’re a vegetarian every day of the week. Foremost among them, for many of us, are the health benefits that accrue with such a diet; the evidence that eating less meat protects against heart disease, cancer, and several other diseases is more and more compelling. And for all the dietary confusion we face, nutritionists have yet to say a bad word about vegetables. For some of us, it comes down to ethical concerns about animal welfare and the deplorable aspects of factory farming. For others, it’s a matter of the environment: Raising animals for food on a large scale has involved the wholesale clearing of rain forests and the profligate consumption of water; it also continues to be a major contributor to greenhouse gases. For many, the decision to forgo meat is a combination of all of the reasons above.
And yet, when we sit down to eat, those reasons fade into the background. Any diet that’s worth keeping has to make sense to our taste buds, not just our heads. The plate is the place to celebrate plant foods in all their delicious glory—their colors, flavors, textures, and versatility. (For identification, we’ve included the icons for “vegan,” for “gluten-free,” and for “special diet”—no dairy, wheat, soy, or nuts.) This cookbook is designed to provide page after page of options and inspiration for creating and enjoying meatless dishes. I’m so happy you’re here to join me at the table.
Editor in Chief, Whole Living
Copyright © 2013 by From The Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.