Find me cookbooks for vegetarian one-pot meals.
May 5, 2011 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Vegetarian and vegetable-focused one-pot meals. Cookbook recommendations? Plus, a question about Indian cookbooks.

I'm a meat-eater, although I try to limit the amount of meat I eat for moral/environmental reasons. Now it's almost summer, which is the perfect time for learning new recipes focused on vegetables!

I generally like to cook one-pot meals, because I am (a) lazy and (b) possessed of a very small kitchen. I also really enjoy a wide variety of cuisines and experimenting with things I haven't tried before. So, what I'm really looking for is cookbook recommendations that have a lot of different things for me to try. It doesn't matter what cuisine it's from--Italian, Asian, Indian, African, etc ... I like it all.

(One thing I do not generally like is meat replacements. Tofu is lovely when it's treated like tofu, for example, but I generally do not like it when it's used instead of meat.)

Speaking of Indian cuisines, what is your favorite Indian cookbook? Most of my cookbooks, regrettably, actually belonged to my mom, and I had to return them upon moving to a different city. I used one of Madhur Jaffrey's books a lot, but she has several out--which one do you think is the best and more comprehensive? Or is there a cookbook by a different author that you think is even better than anything Madhur Jaffrey has written?
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
This relatively untraditional ratatouille from Smitten Kitchen is awesome. Just made it last week and could barely believe it.
posted by General Malaise at 11:10 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Moosewood Restaurant: New Classics is my go-to cookbook for this kind of thing. It also has some breads and snacks and desserts, but the majority of the middle of the book is things you can make in one skillet, or one casserole dish, or whatever. All vegetarian (maybe a couple of fish recipes, but very few), and it draws from cuisines around the world. Everything I've cooked from this book (probably 2/3 of the recipes) has been delicious.
posted by vytae at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2011

The non-Indian, "simple recipes from all different world cuisines" half of your question actually may be best answered with a Madhur Jaffrey book too — Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian is the best veggie pan-cuisine sampler I know of. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and of course Moosewood are worth a look in this category as well, but the Jaffrey may be best for the kind of worldwide sampler you seem to be looking for. (As to which of Jaffrey's Indian cookbooks to look at first, given your preferences, maybe Quick & Easy Indian Cooking fits the bill? It's not a vegetarian cookbook, though.)
posted by RogerB at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

greatest website ever (its not EXACTLY a cookbook, but throw in an ipad etc and there you go!)

slow and simple
posted by chasles at 11:27 AM on May 5, 2011

My wife recently picked up The Indian Slow Cooker. So far she's only made channa masala from it, but it was good. It was one of those "throw everything in the crockpot and let it run for a long time" recipes.
posted by adamrice at 11:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all of the recommendations so far. I've bookmarked several.

Just one thing -- I can see with my "lazy" comment that it looks like I'm only interested in quick & easy recipes. This is not the case! I just generally like to avoid having to make several dishes at once in order to have a filling meal, because I dislike having to coordinate everything. More complicated recipes are fine. I happily do stuff like make my own dashi and curry pastes when I have the time.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2011

I recommend this: Miso Vegetables with Optional Tofu. You can make the miso mixture in advance (it's pretty delicious, but I found it a little too sweet made as directed.) I liked it cold, hot, and warm, so you could probably prepare all the elements and toss 'em together as you want them.
posted by punchtothehead at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2011

Unfortunately, Indian cuisine is "composite", in the sense that many individual dishes are made to complement each other. That said, rice based dishes can usually be eaten on their own.

Another option is to make different vegetable/pulses combinations and then eat them with tortillas or "frozen roti/paratha" available in Indian stores as well as in large stores like Costco.

Another resource I have found interesting is to pair a cookbook with cooking videos. Look up a recipe in the cookbook that you like and see if a corresponding video is available - if it is, watch it and you have a better handle on the cooking. For Indian foods, for example, is a nice site, where the chef explains the cooking process.

FWIW, my indian friends encouraged me to buy a pressure cooker, which is also healthy cooking.
posted by theobserver at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2011

African Peanut Potato Stew gets regular play at my house and neither my girlfriend or I are vegetarians. This recipe calls for a pressure cooker but just ignore that and use a pot for everything.
posted by mikesch at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm seconding the reccomendation for Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. My husband and I have had this book for a few months, and we have absolutely loved everything we've made from it. We aren't vegetarians, but we wanted to reduce the amount of meat we eat. There is no lack of flavor in these recipes - you certainly do not miss the meat at all :)

The Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas are super delicious, and are a really nice one-dish meal - especially when put over rice. Yum!
posted by sleepykitties at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2011

Favorite Indian cookbook: tough call, but probably Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi. I'm also a low-meat omnivore who favors one-pot meals, and this book has a few. It's more useful if you're willing to do one dish + rice. If you can find a good brand of whole wheat tortillas, they're a decent stand-in for naan or chapatis, so they expand your options also.

Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons is a good collection of meatless dishes from various places (mostly Eurocentric). There are a bunch of one-pot meals, but it's by no means a whole book of them. But hey, for 56¢ plus shipping, what have you got to lose?

(Side note: I find that cookbook authors who are professional restaurant chefs, like the folks from Greens, don't have the same love for one-pot dishes that us mortals do, perhaps because they have employees to clean up after them. Too bad, because the recipes are often wonderful but so ... much ... work!)
posted by Quietgal at 12:46 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant is the bible
posted by canoehead at 2:11 PM on May 5, 2011

Enthusiastically seconding Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. (Link goes to hardcover - there's a softcover for $12.) Does what it says on the box and then some.

For restaurant-style Indian, Kris Dillion's The Curry Secret.

For traditional curries, Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:11 PM on May 5, 2011

The Veganomicon has a whole chapter on one-pot meals.
posted by lunalaguna at 7:28 PM on May 5, 2011

Self pimp: My Mom's award winning cookbook: "Unique Book of Vegetarian Cooking" available in all the finest bookstores in India.
posted by riffola at 7:39 PM on May 5, 2011

Heidi Swanson of 101Cookbooks has a new cookbook out, called: Super Natural Everyday. There are a few preview recipes here. I've tried a number of the dishes, and while they often need a bit more spice or kick for my tastes, the dishes themselves are amazing and not ascetic at all. Her blog has a whole slew of excellent recipes, many of which have a few steps of preparation, but are then cooked in one main pot.
posted by barnone at 2:14 AM on May 6, 2011

I like Madhur Jaffrey a lot, but also get a lot of practical use out of Neelam Batra's tome 1,000 Indian Recipes, and Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking.

The Greens Cookbook and Fields of Greens are LOADED with one-pot vegetarian meals; a lot of times I feel like that's all there is in those books. Highly recommended for what you want to do. Come to think of it, Mollie Katzen's early cookbooks like the Enchanted Broccoli Forest and the original Moosewood Cookbook have a lot of these too IIRC.
posted by ifjuly at 11:20 AM on May 6, 2011

Absolutely buy How to Cook Everything by Bittman. Most of his recipes are exactly like what you're looking for. You're not afraid to make complicated things, but don't have all the time/space/energy in the world to make 10 dishes with a million steps. Almost all of his dishes can be made with minimal equipment, (and thus clean up).

It's not strictly vegetarian, though theres enough to keep non-meat eaters happy. For someone like you (and me) it's perfect.

Anyhow, if you're interested in Indian food make this Chana Masala right now. The only harder-to-find ingredient is the Besan Flour, and I'd skip the asafetida. (If you find it in a store, you'll know why.) All of Manjula's recipes are great.
posted by fontophilic at 6:52 PM on May 6, 2011

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