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Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

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The tenth anniversary edition of this landmark cookbook, with more than 325,000 copies in print, includes a new introduction from Deborah Madison, America’s leading authority on vegetarian cooking.

What Julia Child is to French cooking, Deborah Madison is to vegetarian cooking—a demystifier and definitive guide to the subject. After her many years as a teacher and writer, she realized that there was no comprehensive primer for vegetarian cooking, no single book that taught vegetarians basic cooking techniques, how to combine ingredients, and how to present vegetarian dishes with style. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone teaches readers how to build flavor into vegetable dishes, how to develop vegetable stocks, and how to choose, care for, and cook the many vegetables available to cooks today. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is in every way Deborah Madison’s magnum opus, featuring 1,400 recipes suitable for committed vegetarians, vegans (in most cases), and everyone else who loves good food. For nonvegetarians, the recipes can be served alongside meat, fish, or fowl and incorporated into a truly contemporary style of eating that emphasizes vegetables and fruits for health and well-being.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is the most comprehensive vegetarian cookbook ever published. The recipes, which range from appetizers to desserts, are colorful and imaginative as well as familiar and comforting. Madison introduces readers to innovative main course salads; warm and cold soups; vegetable braises and cobblers; golden-crusted gratins; Italian favorites like pasta, polenta, pizza, and risotto; savory tarts and galettes; grilled sandwiches and quesadillas; and creative dishes using grains and heirloom beans. At the heart of the book is the A-to-Z vegetable chapter, which describes the unique personalities of readily available vegetables, the sauces and seasonings that best complement them, and the simplest ways to prepare them. “Becoming a Cook” teaches cooking basics, from holding a knife to planning a menu, and “Foundations of Flavor” discusses how to use sauces, herbs, spices, oils, and vinegars to add flavor and character to meatless dishes. In each chapter, the recipes range from those suitable for everyday dining to dishes for special occasions. And through it all, Madison presents a philosophy of cooking that is both practical and inspiring.

Despite its focus on meatless cooking, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is not just for vegetarians—it's for everyone interested in learning how to cook vegetables creatively, healthfully, and passionately. The recipes are remarkably straightforward, using easy-to-find ingredients in inspiring combinations. Some are simple, others more complex, but all are written with an eye toward the seasonality of produce. Madison's joyful and free-spirited approach to cooking will send you into the kitchen with confidence and enthusiasm. Whether you are a kitchen novice or an experienced cook, this wonderful cookbook has something for everyone.

752 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1997

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About the author

Deborah Madison

39 books160 followers
Deborah Madison is an American chef, writer and cooking teacher. She has been called an expert on vegetarian cooking and her gourmet repertoire showcases fresh garden produce. Her work also highlights Slow Food, local foods and farmers' markets.

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5 stars
6,883 (39%)
4 stars
4,578 (26%)
3 stars
2,831 (16%)
2 stars
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1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 316 reviews
Profile Image for Mir.
4,845 reviews5,003 followers
November 30, 2016
My aunt, not a fan of cooking, had this on her shelf along with a few other vegetarian cookbooks and a couple for health. I don't know how much she used it -- only one page has notes indicating she tried the recipes. That page is 337, and she made "Basic Green Beans (and Yellow and Purple)" (her review: "good 2/13") and "Green Beans Simmered with Tomato" ("okay, a little time consuming").

The instructions for that second recipe, to sum up, say to saute in oil thinly sliced onions until translucent, abut 4 minutes, and then add garlic, beans, tomato, and enough water to cover and simmer until tender. Add the chopped parsley and dill (or lovage or summer savory) and simmer a couple more minutes. Add salt and pepper. I'm not how that qualifies as "time consuming" but like I said, my aunt was not into cooking. Once when I spent the night she served me spaghetti with absolutely nothing on it. Hopefully I managed to conceal my expression of shock and dismay. (I was 9 at the time and had not yet learned that many people don't know how to cook.)

Another page is bookmarked: "Spicy Potato, Tomato, and Pepper Tagine," "New Potato Gratin with tomatoes and olives," or "Spanish Potatoes with saffron, almonds, and bread crumbs." Maybe they all seemed too ambitious. I'm at her apartment now, clearing away her possessions. She doesn't own any spices except an extremely ancient container of cinnamon, perhaps inherited from her mother. I won't keep this book: it is too heavy to carry on the plane, and frankly seems rather dull, although full of useful instruction for those who don't already know how to cook vegetables. But I'll take one of her hardly-used pots, and when I get home I'll make some potatoes with saffron and feel sad about how I never had my aunt over for dinner.
Profile Image for 7jane.
676 reviews249 followers
October 22, 2017
(from the 10th anniversary introduction:) "...people come with their old books, pages tattered and stained with soup, inked with comments, and stuck with sticky notes. One, recently returned to me, was signed by all the monks who had used it in their monastery kitchen. The remains of the torn jacket were glued to the cover and the pages were so swollen with spills that the books was nearly twice its normal thickness. Clearly this old copy had had quite a workout, but nothing makes me happier than to see my books so much the worse for wear."

I read this 10th anniversary edition partly because of the appeal of the cover picture, and though the reading was a slow process, it was worth it. The author has done restaurant and teaching work plus written for magazines, and is a great fan of local food and farmers' markets. The book has won at least one award, and it's clear why. It's packed with info, even the inside covers has some (both ends have the same infos). The photographs are in three gatherings, plus there's some drawings included. It's packed with 700+ pages of recipes, everyday and special, simple and compled. It's clearly American book in that the nearness of Mexico shows, and there's the biscuits (not the flat ones), the grits and hominy... but I think that's just fine, since the recipes work well even for the non-Americans :)

The book starts first with instructions for beginner cooks, then goes to recipes, listed by type, and startign with seasonings. Many recipes fit vegans immediately, and others require just some changes (some of which are given suggestions in the text). After seasonings come sauces, the appetizers (incl. various mayonnaise recipes, and preserved lemons) and first course recipes (including crudites, little-bite sandwiches and spring rolls). I'll start listing from here:

Even with being a picky eater, you still will find plenty of great stuff to cook; I certainly did. This book made me hungry and eager to cook something, which I think is a very good sign of a well-worth-it cookbook. Not exactly a starter's book, but certainly the-very-next, in my opinions. A food-adventure read :)
Profile Image for Rachel.
39 reviews5 followers
April 26, 2008
if you like to eat food you will like this book. if you like to cook or wish you knew how you will like this book. if you love to cook and love vegetables and are a nerd this will be your bible.

this is my bible. and i am not the only one.

sometimes when i have a few extra unplanned minutes i will sit at my table and randomly open the book. how better to pass 4 minutes then reading about kambocha squash.

she has some elaborate recipes in here but what i really love the most is the basic information she provides. like how to cook each type of dried bean and present stews for company (puff pastry on top makes a basic stew "company-ready" per lady madison.)

in all fairness sometimes the recipes are a bit too indulgent with oil and dairy and require modification. but modification is easy and she usually provides tips for easy substitutes. like god, deborah can read your mind.

special thanks to jenny williams for giving von a copy of this book which is how i was converted.
Profile Image for Jessica.
593 reviews3,387 followers
November 23, 2007
My mom has characterized this as "the vegetarian Joy of Cooking," which is pretty accurate. However, it's not just for vegetarians, but for anyone who might ever feel the need to cook some vegetables (or grains, beans, and other non-meat foods). That is to say, EVERYONE SHOULD OWN THIS BOOK.

One of Deborah Madison's basic ideas is that covering a vegetable in garlic, olive oil, and parsley will make it more delicious, and I have found this to be true. She has some other equally good basic ideas, and her approach has really shaped the way that I cook over the years. My copy is totally falling apart; it is one of those cookbooks, and in fact for me, it is the only one of those cookbooks.... Her recipes vary in terms of feasibility -- some involve obscure ingredients and a lot of steps, but she's pretty good about warning you ("this is for special occasions") -- but a lot of them are easy. Without Debbie's Hearty Lentil Soup, for example, I would probably be dead right now. And the cooked carrot salad with feta, paprika, and olives was a big hit last night, where there was some pretty stiff competition..... Anyway, I love Deborah Madison. I love this book. If you don't have it, you should get it.


What to make, what to make.....?!!!!

I am leaning toward carrot salad and chickpea/roasted bell pepper salad, both of which I've made before, Neither is especially Thanksgivingy, but you can serve them room temperature and thus don't need to fight for the stove. Hm. I don't know.... Brussels sprouts seem more appropriate, but then I'd have to reheat upon arrival, and do people not like those?

Decisions, decisions. At least I have the wonderful Debbie Madison on hand, guiding the way.....

Happy Thankscontinent-taking Day, everyone!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
30 reviews
July 30, 2007
This is the best cookbook I have ever used. The most useful part of it is the vegetable section, where each fruit or vegetable is listed in alphabetical order, and each section discusses choosing, storage, and preparation of the fruit or vegetable, and then follows with at least one very simple recipe (green beans with butter and basil), and then more complicated ones. The way I use the book is by buying whatever looks good, and then coming home and figuring out what to do with it. That's been working for me for six years. It is also good for learning how to make simple things better than you probably learned how, such as boiling or poaching an egg.

There hasn't been a single meal I've made from this book that has been disappointing (though the Asian dishes tend to be sweet, if you're not into that kind of thing), and most of the best things I make (Barley and Kale Gratin, page 520--I didn't even have to look that one up!) are in here.

Unless you're a committed carnivore, this will be worthwhile to have in your kitchen. Even omnivores will agree with me.

My final comment is that the book is very democratic in that it doesn't use a lot of obscure ingredients. You'll be able to get everything you need at a good supermarket or farmer's market. She does have some more exotic or specialized ingredients, but these can almost always be worked around if you can't find what you need.
72 reviews13 followers
September 8, 2007
I am not a vegetarian; in fact, most of the time I'm carefully watching my carbs. This means that there is a high percentage of this book that I can't even use - all the pasta, rice, grain, bread, bean, and dessert recipes!

Why do I rate it so highly, then? It's simple - the vegetable recipes! Far, far, far too many vegetarian cookbooks assume that the objective of a vegetarian cookbook is to show people how to create a high protein entree. Often these vegetarian entrees are just as devoid of good fresh green, red, orange, and yellow vegetables as the standard American meat entree. (Red beans and rice, anyone?) Madison, however, is clearly truthful when she says these recipes are those she likes to cook - and Deborah Madison clearly adores vegetables! The section on vegetable side dishes is quite extensive, and many of the appetizer, soup and entree recipes also incorporate generous and loving treatment of veggies.

Furthermore, I have never made a recipe from this book that was not absolutely perfect. It's worth the price of this book just to have her outstanding recipe for pesto.

Carnivore though I am, if I could only have one cookbook, it would be this one. I'd grill up a simple steak or roast a chicken, serve up a couple of Madison's delightful vegetable dishes, and call it dinner. I hope this book never goes out of print, because I want to give copies to my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren ...
Profile Image for Jensownzoo.
320 reviews27 followers
May 10, 2011
Recently read this cover to cover, making a list of recipes to try in the next few months. Full of winners. I've had this book for a few years and have made several recipes from it and have never been disappointed. I consider this book one of the basic cookbooks that everyone should have in their repetoir, vegetarian or not. A few sample recipes:

Apple and Celery Salad with Gruyere
Carrot Red Pepper Soup
Butternut Squash Gratin with Onions and Sage
Eggplant Rollatini with Corn Bread Stuffing
Summer Spaghetti with Corn and Tomatoes
Noodles in Thai Curry Sauce
Onion Galette with Mustard Cream
Polenta Dumplings with Warm Sage and Garlic Butter
Curried Quinoa with Peas and Cashews
Risotto with Scallions, Lemon, and Basil
Carmelized Golden Tofu
Pear Smoothie
Lacy Buttermilk Corn Cakes with Pepper Relish
Ginger Cream Scones
Peppered Cheese Bread
Sandwich Foccacia with Rosemary
Apricot Galette
Chocolate Terrine
Mango Sherbet
333 reviews6 followers
May 31, 2013
This is a very useful recipe to have, because of the instructions for preparing a very wide variety of vegetables. Like any cookbook, there are a few recipes that are not very good. I use the chapter on soups the most, because I do not really collect soup recipes. My only major criticism is that the suggested seasonings listed for each vegetable are a little too repetitive. I am allergic to two of the constantly listed ingredients, so I eventually stopped using this section.

In my collection (and probably that of a lot of vegetarian cooks), this overlaps the most with Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. If you want traditional recipes, with recommended spice amounts and ingredients, this is the book for that. I would go with Bittman if you would prefer a basic recipe with suggestions on how to expand it to suit your preferences. I find myself using Bittman's book as a regular reference much more than this one, because I have to make less alterations to the recipes because of food allergies.
Profile Image for Jen.
159 reviews15 followers
May 17, 2007
After a student borrowed and lost a page of my favorite spinach tortellini recipe, that I knew had originated from this book, I finally checked it out of the library and loved it. In addition to being one of those ultimate resources where you can go to when you need to remember if asparagus is okay to put in stock or how to make any concievable sauce, everything I make from it has an unexpected depth of flavor - and there is variety on the same old lentil soups and other standard veggie recipes. So, I searched all the used bookstores I came across (fruitlessly), then saved up all my teacher discounts and splurged on my very own new copy.
Profile Image for Crystal.
1,356 reviews49 followers
April 29, 2012
Eh. Don't get me wrong. there's a lot of good recipes in here. But so many that involve animal products, especially cheese, which is much harder to replace than milk or yogurt. There's also gluten, which I need to avoid as well. So basically while the recipes cover a wide spectrum of basic vegetarian cooking, it's too much effort for me to sift through for the vegan gluten free ones. If you are just looking to expand an omnivore's diet, however, or eat purely vegetarian, with dairy and eggs OK, this would be a great book for you. Just not for me.
Profile Image for Pamela.
53 reviews10 followers
October 2, 2012
Just bought this two days ago, and am already using, and loving, it.

I was really feeling the need for a new, comprehensive, detailed, clear, fun, creative approach to vegetarian cooking--sort of a "Diet For A Small Planet" for the 21st Century--and so far, Madison's tome does not disappoint. Packed with doable, approachable, attractive recipes, lots of helpful advice on technique and know-how, and, importantly in a working handbook, well-designed and attractive page and font lay-outs.

I'm very happy with this purchase!
26 reviews
November 8, 2012
I'm no vegetarian, but I love this book. It's great not just for its delicious recipes, but also for all the straightforward information about vegetables of all kinds. Madison tells you what to look for when buying vegetables, how (and how long) to store them, and what other ingredients and techniques they play well with. I'm going to buy my first CSA share next year, and after reading and cooking from this cookbook for the last six months, I feel fully-armed and ready to tackle whatever arrives in that box.
21 reviews
July 27, 2007
I think this was the first vegetarian cookbook I ever owned. My mother gave it to me, and I made Madison's challah bread and a lentil dish. My mom and brother raved about the food, which sent me on a path of vegetarianism and culinary obsession. The dishes in this book are accessible and complement any eating philosophy.
198 reviews2 followers
February 1, 2008
I do eat fish and chicken so I'm not a vegetarian, but I use this book all of the time. There's a recipe for Thai Spicy noodles in here that is the bomb, but everything is great. I think that vegetarian cook books always have great recipes because you need to be more adept with spices and generally more inventive when you don't have the standard meat dish on the table.
Profile Image for Marie.
345 reviews
May 26, 2009
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone has more than 1,400 recipes so it's going to be awhile before I actually read all of it. With that said, I did read the entire introduction, which I found really helpful in jumping into vegetarian cooking. So far the recipes I've made we've enjoyed but it's the realistic encouragement in the introduction/tips that I value most because now I'm not as intimidated.
3 reviews3 followers
February 15, 2010
I guess you don't really read a cookbook, but this is probably the best book I own. Incredibly useful information, great recipes and an excellent tool in learning how to handle vegetables of all sorts.
Profile Image for Penny.
231 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2016
This is a really solid and densely-packed cookbook that's easy to read, get ideas from, and modify. Madison organizes recipes in a very sensible way, where you go to the section on soup, subsection on winter squash, and find a bunch of different variations all together. She'll tell you how to make a bunch of different types of stock if you want to get fancy, but most of the recipes are fairly straightforward.

While some of the recipes do use eggs or dairy, most of them are very easily veganizable. Same for allergen avoidance - she's not avoiding anything, but it's easy to work around whatever you have to avoid.
10 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2020
I didn't expect this book to be so emotional and intense. It was angsty, but not so much that it made me want to stop reading.

Dec was a real piece of work. Harsh, entitled, arrogant, a real a$$h*le. I could not see anyway for Dec and Em to become a couple.

The more time Dec spent with Em, the more layers of both of their personalities were exposed. They both lives with so much pain, past, present, and future.
Profile Image for AJ Abbreviation.
11 reviews
September 23, 2022
1. I think it’s very funny that goodreads also includes cookbooks.
2. I have been eating recipes from this book for my whole life.
3. My dad sent me a brand new copy, which is horrifyingly pristine. I learned that it does have a dust jacket and the cover is… not what I expected.
4. I am so ready to eat vegetables again and not only dining hall food. I’m not even going vegetarian, I’m just sick of meat at every meal.
Profile Image for Karen Carlson.
374 reviews6 followers
October 6, 2022
My recent Top Chef binge reminded me that I really would like to move towards a more vegetarian diet. This book was compared to Julia Child's book on French cooking. Turns out, it was way more than I wanted or needed; a simpler cookbook would have been more useful. However, this does make a nice reference volume.
FMI see my blog post at A Just Recompense.
Profile Image for Kay.
827 reviews16 followers
September 25, 2017
Bought the original in a used bookstore, then upgraded as a first wedding anniversary present. Madison knows whereof she speaks, and has crammed a wide variety of recipes into this book. Great for folks who are learning to cook, great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
6 reviews1 follower
January 13, 2018
This cookbook is great for basic, French-style cooking. There are a lot of good recipes for sauces and condiments. I find that this is not my g0-to cookbook, however. I like my food a little more exotic than this book offers.
Profile Image for Erin.
Author 2 books12 followers
December 18, 2018
Have made a handful of recipes so far and all have turned out well. perused the whole thing and there's a good mix of easy recipes and more difficult ones. Overall, I think this will be a good book for my collection.
154 reviews18 followers
September 13, 2020
Definitely a keeper! I’m not a vegetarian, but finding creative vegetable dishes can be tricky at times. This book has become my go-to for founding out meals, or finding good stand-alone vegetable-based dishes when we’d like to have a meat-free meal.
Profile Image for Ty Huard.
23 reviews2 followers
December 12, 2017
the title says its for everyone but i feel like it didnt really appeal to me and every other Trans Fluid Octagon.
191 reviews4 followers
April 7, 2019
Great book for non-vegetarians, too. I found so many easy and interesting vegetable recipes. Love it.
Profile Image for anklecemetery.
390 reviews19 followers
May 21, 2020
I've made a couple of the sauces so far and enjoyed them -- and yes, I have read every recipe in this book, because I went through it with a pack of sticky notes. Will updated as I cook from it.
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