Review of Plenty, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi


Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi

July 22, 2011

Chronicle Book

Blurb: The cookbook that launched Yotam Ottolenghi as an international food celebrity

If you are a fan of Plenty More, Forks Over Knives, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, or On Vegetables,you’ll love this Ottolenghi cookbook

A vegetarian cookbook from the author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook and other Ottolenghi cookbooks:
 A must-have collection of 120 vegetarian recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi featuring exciting flavors and fresh combinations that will become mainstays for readers and eaters looking for a brilliant take on vegetables.

Mastering the art of French cooking the Yotam Ottolenghi way: One of the most exciting talents in the cooking world, Yotam Ottolenghi’s food inspiration comes from his Cordon Bleu training, Mediterranean background, and his unapologetic love of ingredients. “My approach can be the opposite to traditional French cooking, where everything is a little bit uniform and you work hard to process a sauce into the most fine and homogenous thing. I go the other way and use spices, herbs and other ingredients to create a sense of surprise.” Not a vegetarian himself, his approach to vegetable dishes is wholly original and innovative, based on freshness and seasonality, and drawn from the diverse food cultures represented in London.

The Plenty cookbook:Plenty is the cookbook that launched Yotam Ottolenghi from a fabulous chef, London restaurant owner, and British newspaper columnist to an international food celebrity. In the Plenty cookbook, Yotam puts a spotlight on vegetarian restaurant-caliber recipes that every home cook can make. A vibrant photo accompanies every recipe in this visually stunning Ottolenghi cookbook. Essential for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike!

Plenty is an indispensable cookbook for every home library.

Buy Links:

Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

A couple of years ago, I happened to hear Yotam Ottolenghi on The Splendid Table. Now I can’t tell you the details of that show, but the result was that I went home, googled “Ottolenghi,” and found his articles in The Guardian. The very first dish of his I prepared was Crush Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin. The dish was a hit. Subsequently, I’ve bastardized the recipe for time management and taste–can you ever have too much tahini and cumin? My thought is “no.” 😉

So why has it taken me so long to seek out Ottolenghi’s cookbooks? I don’t know. We’ll put it down to incentive. My regret is that I didn’t look for them sooner.

Yesterday, I read both Plenty and Jerusalem. While Jerusalem has a nice section of vegetarian recipes, I was underwhelmed after having enjoyed the vast quantity of very tasty sounding recipes in Plenty.

The recipes are arranged by vegetable: Roots; Mushrooms; Zucchini and Other Squashes; Peppers; Brassicas; Eggplant; Tomatoes; Leaves, Raw and Cooked; Green Things; Pulses; Grains; Pasta, Polenta, and Couscous; Fruit with Cheese.

While most of the recipes probably won’t join any Quick and Easy cookbook, they most definitely will be part of the tasty. The first recipe I’m going to start with is Brussels sprouts and tofu, which may sound bland but the sauce is comprised of sweet chile sauce, soy, toasted sesame, rice vinegar, and maple syrup. Just the thought has my taste buds roaring. This is one of the recipes that I can recommend for vegans. Unfortunately, there aren’t many unless you are willing to use vegan cheeses and vegan dairy substitutes. Ottolenghi loves his cheese (which I can identify with).

The mushroom lasagna is also on my list. Why is it so hard to find a decent, tasty vegetarian lasagna? Do you have one?

Some of the complaints I’ve read about this cookbook regard the ingredients, which makes me think that the individual didn’t really read the recipes as Ottolenghi provides a source for some of the non-everyday ingredients. I’ve checked out the source and, yep, the ingredients are there.

And, yes, there are pictures. Lots of pictures, which was even a complaint on Amazon, which just goes to prove you can’t make everybody happy.

So, if you’re vegetarian who is looking for some new dishes to add to your rotation, check out Ottolenghi’s website and his recipes in The Guardian. And, if you like what you see, you definitely have to check out Plenty. I don’t really buy cookbooks anymore just because of storage issues, but this one is going to become part of my library.

I obtained Plenty electronically through my library.

5 out of 5 butterflies

5 thoughts on “Review of Plenty, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

    1. I have heard that the Okinawans have one of the healthiest diets. I should make it a point to check it out. I do like to try new dishes. And congrats on being veg so long. I’ve only been for 11 years–time that has passed very quickly. 🙂

    1. Wow. As they say, learn something new everyday. I would not have thought that sweet potatoes would have been their staple. It is healthy. I’m still trying to add it to my diet. I think I have a mind block because of many holiday sweet potatoes with marshmallows and pineapple. 🙂 I heard of recipe with sweet potatoes steamed with a soy glaze. It sounded pretty good. I’d forgotten about the rice issue, but I’ve never eaten much rice.

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