Looking for best cookbook for "light" cooking...
April 14, 2005 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I need to start eating at home more often but I inevitably start making "comfort" foods...mostly because I lack the knowledge and to make lighter foods...what cookbook do you recommend for light and delicious recipes? I don't care if the recipes are easy or not...just want good, fresh, "light" food....
posted by stevyb to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Fields of Greens
by ANNE SOMERVILLE is really great. You do not have to be a vegetarian to enjoy vegetarian food (and you can easily do some meat substitutions on a few dishes). See also, her: Everyday Greens.
posted by safetyfork at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I have a couple of the Jamie Oliver cookbooks -- several of his fish and veggie recipes have become absolute staples (and even comfort food!) for me. I don't know that his recipes are specifically "light" -- that is, there's still stuff like cream and prosciutto and cheese throughout (occasionally in the same recipe!) -- but his emphasis on very fresh ingredients, fruits & vegs, and low-fuss, healthy preparation (e.g., not a lot of sauces, breading, frying, etc.) may be what you're looking for.
posted by scody at 11:44 AM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Moosewood has some good cookbooks that fit your description.
posted by quadog at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

we have a subscription to Cooking Light and we probably cook something from it two or three times a week.
posted by modge at 11:49 AM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I second the Fields of Greens! It's a great cookbook for anyone who wants fresher or lighter fare.
posted by Verdant at 11:50 AM on April 14, 2005

One I like a great deal is Lighter, Quicker, Better. And I would second [or, on preview, third] the Fields of Greens recommendation.
posted by Kat Allison at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2005

I'd like to second Cooking Light magazine. My boyfriend's mom makes delicious low calorie meals from this magazine every Sunday when we come over for dinner. Cooking Light also has yummy less fattening desserts.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:55 AM on April 14, 2005

20-Minute Menus, by Marian Burros, is my fave and seems to fit your criteria.
posted by scratch at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I third Cooking Light, it's a fantastic resource. They've put out a book, which is a complilation of all the recipes from all of the 2004 issues of the magazine. Very good.
posted by iconomy at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2005

Jane Brody's Good Food Book has excellent recipes which are healthy as well. The food is not low carb, quite the opposite, but it is low in fat and high in flavor. I own a shelf of "healthy" cookbooks but this is the one I keep going back to.
posted by caddis at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2005

Le Cordon Bleu: Classic Light: Sophisticated Food for Healthy Living. Tasty, low fat recipies. I've eaten perhaps half a dozen of them, and cooked two. All good.
posted by 4midori at 12:11 PM on April 14, 2005

I should mention, with regards to the Cooking Light books - there are several of them, not just the one I linked to above.
posted by iconomy at 12:27 PM on April 14, 2005

Response by poster: thank you all for your great recommendations....I'll purchasing at 2 of them at amazon today!....Thanks again.
posted by stevyb at 12:28 PM on April 14, 2005

I've been cooking largely out of the South Beach Diet book since Jan 1; it has a pretty good variety (about half the book is meal plans & recipes).
posted by Doohickie at 12:38 PM on April 14, 2005

If you're looking for soups, I highly recommend 1,001 Low-Fat Soups & Stews. We've made about a dozen soup recipes (and a couple breads) and only one was just so-so. Everything else was delicious, and most of them are fairly quick and easy.

And ditto on the Cooking Light.
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2005

Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything includes plenty of light recipes- fast ones too, all of which use easy to find ingredients. Check out this rave on Cool Tools.

If you're only going to have one cookbook, this is the one.
posted by yesno at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2005

South Beach has a cookbook out too. WAY better than I expected. (and I have lost 30 lbs. using it.)
posted by vronsky at 3:10 PM on April 14, 2005

All of Deborah Madison's cookbooks. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is absolutely the bible of cooking with vegetables.
posted by scazza at 3:27 PM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Oh I see that you marked Anne Somerville's cookbook, so just an FYI, she and Deborah madison collaborated on the Greens restaurant. Anne published her book on the heels of Deborah's Green's Cookbook. So if you like Anne, Deborah Madison is a natural next step.
posted by scazza at 3:41 PM on April 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I have to second the How To Cook Everything recommendation. I have a number of cookbooks and do a lot of cooking at home, but when I need to know how to cook anything, that's where I start.

I have Anne Somerville's book and others like it, which are focused on a specific type of food, and I find them useful for browsing, but for actual useable recipes, you can't beat Bittman. I have his Minimalist Cookbook as well and that's a good one.
posted by jonah at 3:56 PM on April 14, 2005

Anything by Donna Hay or Michele Cranston (look 'em up on Amazon - note that there's only one 'L' in 'Michele'.) An Amazon search for 'Marie Claire' will turn up a lot of their best work.

Any of their stuff is loaded with light short-order recipes that look and taste fantastic - easy enough for weeknight dinners, but if you plate them up nicely they work at casual dinner parties too. Fresh ingredients, simple flavours, minimal prep, very Australian.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:18 PM on April 14, 2005

Vegan/vegetarian cooking is great, but do not mistake most of this cooking for light. Typically, these diets include a fairly high fat percentage, especially the vegetarian diets with cheese. Substituting cheese for meat often leads to increased fat. Moosewood has a low-fat cookbook which is really great, but their other books are quite fatty. The low-fat book is pretty good though. Vegetables themselves are of course not the problem, but so many vegetarian recipes lard on the oil, cheese etc. to make up for the missing comfort of meat. A vegetarian diet can be as light or lighter than any other as long as you pay attention to the fat being added to the recipes.

I still like the Brody book as a general cookbook (it is sort of like Joy of Cooking Lite) but a couple of other good more narrowly focused books include the aforementioned “Lighter, Quicker, Better”, Jacque Pepin’s “Simple and Healthy Cooking” and the French Culinary Institute’s “Salute to Healthy Cooking.”
posted by caddis at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2005

Eating Well is a great magazine with tasty recipes; they have a cookbook available. Sounds like it fits what you're looking for (good, fresh, light food - not vegetarian in focus, but friendly).
posted by Melinika at 8:23 PM on April 14, 2005

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