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The Moosewood Cookbook: Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, New York

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Among the most influential cookbooks of our time, the Moosewood Cookbook is such a powerful symbol that the publishers were tempted not to tamper with it. But times have changed, and knowledge about the foods we eat and their nutritional value has increased. So, after many inquiries and requests, the author has revised many of her recipes to be lighter and healthier. Illustrated.

248 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1977

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About the author

Mollie Katzen

32 books118 followers
Educated at the Eastman School of Music, Cornell University, and the San Francisco Art Institute. Although her formal training was as an artist and musician, she exhibited natural cooking inclinations from a very early age, and cooked professionally - in restaurants and as a caterer - for ten years. In 1973 she was one of the founders of the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, and during her five years of cooking there, she compiled, illustrated and handlettered the Moosewood Cookbook.
In addition to her writing and illustrating, Mollie is a committed student of classical piano.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 490 reviews
Profile Image for Leslie.
34 reviews9 followers
July 3, 2007
To appreciate this cookbook, which is famous for being hand-lettered and illustrated by the author and covers both the fundamentals and specifics for cooking hearty, earth-crunchy, mostly vegetarian dishes, you have to acknowledge that it is very much a product of its times. Meaning that when it was published (the 1970's), you were pretty groundbreaking if you even knew what samosas and guacamole were, and vegetarianism was still fringe and undefined enough that this book, and the Moosewood restaurant itself, probably had to be flexible enough to serve the needs of vegans, vegetarians, pesco-ovo-vegetarians, "I'm a vegetarian but I eat chicken" vegetarians and meat eaters all at the same time!

As often happens with me and cookbooks, I started using the Moosewood after moving into a group apartment where it was already sitting in the kitchen. When I reported this to my sister, she responded with complaints - she and her friends had tried the cookbook and were annoyed with its approximation of Asian foods that they knew how to cook better. So I went into things with open eyes, deciding to look at the book as a representation of the food of not many different cultures from which it borrowed recipes, but of a particular American culture and time: the brown rice, beans-and-sprouts hippie culture which we so easily poke fun at now but which was responsible for so much of the diversified eating options we now take for granted, from the availability of yogurt and cottage cheese in normal supermarkets to the return of cooking with the seasons.

Later, as so often also happens with me and cookbooks, the Moosewood cookbook and I parted ways when the roommate who owned it ([http://www.zacharykeeting.com/]) moved away. I forgot to buy a new copy, and then moved to Germany, where I'm guessing it's not so easy to come by. But then again, here it is easy to eat whole grains and lots of veggies. So I thank the Moosewood Cookbook for preparing me, and I will keep cooking the many recipes I just internalized along the way.

Roasted beet salad, anyone?
Profile Image for C..
Author 23 books404 followers
April 10, 2007
The first cookbook I ever owned. Actually, I stole it from my mom when I went to college, and the recipies are annotated with her notes from when I was a little kid. I love the dated aspects of the writing, like when Katzen explains what tofu is and how its hard to find, or when she introduces you to this exotic, wonderful dip called hummus. Classic, hearty veggie cooking, this is before TVP or Morning Star, back when being a vegetarian meant eating vegetables. I've used this less as I've aquired more cookbooks, but I always come back to it. I prefer this classic, older edition - the newer one is just wrong. Moosewood is NOT supposed to have color-photographs, its just not.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,116 reviews186 followers
November 17, 2019
A fabulous vegetarian cookbook, with a diverse collection of recipes, the Moosewood Cookbook was originally published in 1977, and is an outgrowth of the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. Like many cookbooks, it is divided into sections, which include: Soups; Salads; Sauces and Dips; Baked Things and Sandwiches; Entrees; and Desserts. There are also some helpful introductory comments about modifications, pantry notes, tools, and conversions.

Despite the fact that I am no longer a vegetarian, I use this cook book frequently, particularly the section on soups. Although I have not tried every recipe in the book, I have yet to come across one that I didn't like. Some of my favorites include: Summer Vegetable Soup; Split Pea Soup; Lentil Soup; Balkan Cucumber Salad; Cauliflower Cheese Pie; Ukrainian Poppy Seed Cake; and Moosewood Fudge Brownies.

The recipes themselves are laid out in a sensible fashion, well organized, with clear instructions. Many of the pages are embellished with Mollie Katzen's hand-drawn decorations. This new edition also includes some color photographs. In summary: easy to use, great-tasting food... what's not to love?
Profile Image for Emily.
11 reviews2 followers
October 18, 2007
This cookbook is not without its flaws -- the "ethnic" dishes are frequently repulsive -- but there's some really good, hearty earnest-white-person food up in here. The hummus, pasta sauce, Brazilian black bean soup, refritos, and lasagna recipes are absolute staples.
Profile Image for Catherine Woodman.
5,053 reviews104 followers
July 29, 2011
While there are many flaws in this cookbook by 21st century standards, it was a miracle in the mid-70's. I went to college n 1977 and this book changed my eating life forever--so while it lacks alot in the way of spicing complexity that would seem altogether common today, it had vegetarian recipes that were easy to follow, and they worked. it is whimsical and wonderful. It had things from my childhood that I could never give up (like quiche and sour cream coffeecake) and things I would never have tried if they hadn't been in here. It is a book that literally changed my life, and while I have over 500 cookbooks, the Moosewood series remains amongst my most used and most valued cookbooks--not to mention how much I loved the restaurant when I was in Ithaca, the summer after my junior year of high school. It is a piece of cooking history, right up there with The Joy of Cooking.
Profile Image for Allison.
38 reviews1 follower
December 23, 2007
My mom's copy has been taped back together, set on fire, and covered in too many ingredients to list. That adds to the appeal for me because I know it is something that she has cherished. When I became a vegetarian I thought "oh yes now Moosewood is mine." Then I realized that probably 350ish days out of the year I don't have time to be a bloody gourmet chef, you know?

This doesn't diminish my love for the cookbook. It does mean that I can't really move past loving anything but the aesthetics because I have never really had time to explore the culinary value of the dishes inside. Maybe someday. I haven't lost hope.
Profile Image for Gerry.
Author 43 books92 followers
August 9, 2020
I am not usually a cookbook reader but this one fitted into my collection of miniature books so I decided to give it a go. Not that I am ever likely to produce any of the dishes within its covers for I am not a gourmet chef, just one who likes the easy option and cooks simple things to eat that do not need a lot of preparation!

Before we get to the recipes, Mollie Katzen gives us an enlightening preface in which she tells us that in the early 1970s she went to visit her brother in New York when he was about to start a restaurant. She ended up staying and helping to launch the business, which was named 'Moosewood', after a local variety of maple tree.

Mollie stayed for five years and during that time she kept a journal of the dishes they prepared in their ever evolving vegetarian kitchen. Eventually she produced a small edition of 800 copies of the first 'Moosewood Cookbook'. It sold out in a few weeks and a second edition of 2,000 copies did similarly. Twenty years and nearly two million copies later comes the miniature edition 'Moosewood Cookbook Classics' that gives a selection of Mollie's wholesome, healthy food.

Mollie treats us to the whole gamut of dishes beginning with soups and working her way through salads, sauces and dips, entrées and finally desserts; all recipes are complete with preparation time and it is all followed by some useful pantry notes.

Split Pea Soup sounds interesting and it reminds me of when I was a boy and I used to have the job of removing the peas from their pods prior to cooking and I used to eat plenty of them along the way, or if one prefers there is Gypsy Soup, 'a delicately spiced Spanish-style vegetable soup'. But I must confess I don't think I want to try Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup!

Similarly I would not want to taste Warm Salad but Macedonian Salad sounds okay, 'small cubes of toasted eggplant, marinated with fresh vegetables in a lemony herby vinaigrette'. And on to the sauces and dips (I am not particularly a fan) but one could choose from Eggplant Scallopini Marsala, Salsa Fresca , Tomato Salsa or, probably my favourite Zingy Bean Dip.

Entrées include Broccoli Mushroom Noodle Casserole (not for me, I suspect) Tart & Tangy Baked Beans (that sounds more like it - you are beginning to get my tastes) or even Zucchini-Feta Pancakes, 'light and very satisfying (also quite attractive with lovely flecks of green)' - whatever they may be! And while Vegetable Stew sounds up my street, Eggplant Curry certainly does not (I am most definitely not a curry eater!).

And then my favourite section of the book, desserts; I could probably have a try at each of them. Maple-Walnut Pie, Moosewood Fudge Brownies, 'on a brownie-intensity scale of 1 to 10, these are about an 11', and then the simple but attractive and very yummy Lemon Mousse.

I do indulge in vegetarian meals now and again for not only am I not a regular meat eater but my daughter is a vegetarian so when we are together that is the order of the day. I might just show her 'Moosewood Cookbook Classics' to see what she wants to conjure up - but I must say I will be pointing out dishes that I will not be eating!
Profile Image for R. C..
364 reviews5 followers
February 9, 2010
I sat down to meal plan one day and ended up reading this book cover to cover. It was a pretty interesting cookbook. I of course knew it would be, having hung out for a decade with interesting cooks who love it. I remember an unschooling advocate using Mollie Katzen as an example of a "glorious generalist," which seems funny to me now: "ZOMG she can cook AND draw!"

After I had read the whole thing, I knew why I had never made anything from this cookbook, and I knew that I never would make anything from it. I am a food racial purist. Maybe I've just had too much Mexican food that's really Italian, but the idea of putting oregano and basil and bell peppers in enchiladas makes me want to puke. Tomatillos go in enchiladas. Jalapenos. Not bell peppers. I just can't trust a cook who advocates stuff like that.
Profile Image for Katie.
186 reviews49 followers
May 26, 2011
This is a nice vegetarian cookbook if you can figure out how to make it work. It has some very appealing recipes in it. It’s heavy on vegetable salads and vegetable entrees, and very heavy on tofu and cheese. Katzen tends to recommend tofu as a substitute for cheese. I’ve tried the marinated sweet potato and broccoli salad, which is delicious, and I’m going to try the gado gado next because I love anything with a peanut sauce. (The potato, cabbage, onion and yogurt casserole was awful, but Katzen can’t be blamed for the fact that I picked up vanilla yogurt by mistake.)

As a real cookbook, however, it wants improvement. I don’t recommend it for beginning cooks, and particularly not for beginning vegetarian cooks. Judging from the introduction and notes within the recipes, it seems to be aimed at the nostalgia-for-the-commune crowd, not people who are going green now. For one thing, it doesn't seem very well organized. It does have chapters; but within the chapters, recipes are all over the place. There are nice color plates of some dishes, with page references, but once you're reading the recipe, there's no reference to the picture. It lacks any advice on nutrition or how to create a balanced meal—pretty much a must for a vegetarian cookbook. There’s a nice author’s introduction, but it’s an introduction to Mollie Katzen, not the book or the food, so don’t read it if you’re looking for anything practical.

Every recipe is accompanied by lavish pen-and-ink decorations by the author, cute little folk-art type things, and these are really annoying after about, ooooooooh, one page. Which is too bad because she has a degree in cutesy drawing and you can tell she worked really hard on them. She also worked reasonably hard on the recipes, but not as hard as the Moosewood Collective worked on The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home which, as I mentioned, I much prefer. Cooks at Home is meant for the serious cook--someone who is actually going to set up a vegetarian kitchen, shop, plan meals, entertain guests, feed children, worry about nutrition, and clean up afterwards. It's got whole sections on stocking your kitchen, planning menus, and preparing basic things like dry beans, polenta, and greens. It's got a glossary.

By contrast, Katzen's book, like a lot of 21st-century cookbooks, seems to be aimed at readers, not cooks. The visually attractive recipes leave out some key instructions, like cooking times ("put the sweet potatoes in to cook, either in or over boiling water" is the not a sufficient direction. They turned to mush). There's nothing to suggest to the novice how you might construct a meal for your family, let alone for one or two people or for a party. It’s okay, but kind of a disappointment if you bought it to feed your boyfriend or something.

Profile Image for Laurel.
52 reviews22 followers
December 8, 2007
This is a great collection of vegetarian options and most of the recipes are pretty easy and you can adjust them easily if you want to include your favorite veggies. Some of the recipes are kind of bland, though, so I will tell you the best ones, okay?
Spanikopida-hands down, the best recipe in the world. I know this because I went to Greece and nothing there tasted nearly as good as this. I make this recipe (as did my mom in the 70's and 80's) all the time and it is always perfect. Filo dough is intimidating but get over it.
Mac and Cheese Lite--it's not really lite but tastes it because they have you add yogurt, cottage cheese, and veggies. The schizophrenics in the group home used to ask me to make this all the time. It's tangy and helps the Zyprexa go down nice and smooth.
Cheese salad--a hit at a party. No joke.
Hungarian Mushroom soup-amazing. Except try not to light the pot on fire and then your carpet like I did.
Don't bother with the broccoli pastry thing, kind of dry.
There's a big variety from mexican to german foods too..Get this book!
Profile Image for Jensownzoo.
320 reviews27 followers
May 8, 2009
This is a vegetarian classic and for good reason. The recipes are flavorful, varied, and just plain good. Like the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, this cookbook is hand-written and illustrated, making it an exceptionally charming. Sample recipe below:

Mushroom Curry

4 tbsp butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 c chopped celery
1 1/2 lb. chopped mushrooms
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp honey
juice from 1 lemon
3 lg tomatoes
2 lg cooking apples
1 1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
lots of ground black pepper
water to steam (about 3/4 cup)
1 c sliced almonds
2 tbsp sweet butter

1. In a large skillet, begin cooking onions and garlic in butter. After a few minutes, add salt and spices. When onions are soft, add celery and mushrooms. You may want to add about 1/2 cup water at this point to prevent sticking (and to make a nice broth). Mix well, cover, and simmer about 5-8 minutes (low heat).
2. When celery is slightly tender, add apples and tomatoes (both in 1 1/2" slices) and coconut. Mix and continue cooking until everything is just tender, not too mushy. (Additional water might be needed) Turn off heat. Add honey and lemon juice; mix and let sit, covered.
3. Saute almonds in sweet butter for the topping.
4. Serve curry over rice with sauteed almonds on top.

4-6 servings
Profile Image for Kathy.
56 reviews3 followers
December 30, 2012
Excellent vegetarian cookbook! I have owned and used this book since it's initial release. It actually made my husband (a meat and potatoes farm boy) appreciate vegetarian meals and we eat meat-free at least once a week. The only downside is that we now know that vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean healthy and several of these recipes are high-fat cholesterol. Just use what you currently know to lighten them up. Still an excellent cookbook. Some favorite recipes are Cream of Asparagus Soup (p.3), California Waldorf Salad (p.56), Lentil-Walnut Burgers (p.106) with Zippy Cheese sauce (p.82), Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Quiche (p.111), Zucchini-Feta Pancakes (p.146) and Mexican Corn & Cheese Bread (p.179). I could go on and on!!! I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Profile Image for Holly R W.
343 reviews33 followers
May 12, 2019
I have an original paperback copy of the cookbook from the 1970's. The spine is neatly taped with masking tape and the pages are a bit yellow. I first got the cookbook in college and loved the hippy vibe. Though never a vegetarian or a serious cook, I did make some of the recipes. Through the years, I've kept the cookbook and have consulted it for recipes. Most of the time, I've adapted them to suit whatever I've been cooking.

I just consulted "Moosewood" again yesterday and made (a modified version) of Mollie Katzen's multi bean salad recipe. It did not disappoint and was delicious! A few years ago, my husband and I visited Ithaca, N.Y. We made sure to visit the "Moosewood" restaurant. It has a place in history now.
Profile Image for Zomick's  Bakery.
41 reviews2 followers
November 4, 2014
For me as a baker at Zomick's it is a good thing to see some of the recipes that are used in this kosher restaurant, which is one of the best known natural food restaurants in New York for some 40 years now. Haven't had a chance to prepare some of their recipes, bur mainly because I pan to go to their restaurant and order the foods the prepare. I think it is the best way to appreciate this cookbook - pick a recipe and order it from the menu... that is if you visit New York - Zomick's
June 9, 2019
This is a Classic Cookbook and one of the best for Vegetarian Cooking. My brother used to live in Vermont and have been fortunate to go to the Restaurant. I am not a Vegetarian, but definitely enjoy Vegetarian meals. Way back, getting and eating Vegetarian meals was difficult and had slim offering. When my brother was visiting, took this cookbook out again and made some recipes. Nowadays, the ingredients are easy to get and the meals delicious. It is easy to make delicious vegetarian dishes and meat dishes for holidays. Highly Recommend this book.
Profile Image for Kim.
103 reviews22 followers
October 17, 2008
I've used this cookbook so much it is falling apart. My favorite: Carrot Soup. Unfortunately, I can't use it much anymore as most of the recipes have milk products and I have a husband who is lactose intolerant. Still, I've been able to substitute for a few of them. A great cookbook and inspiration for eating well.
13 reviews
January 16, 2015
I respect that this cookbook was groundbreaking when it was first published. But there's a lot of options for natural, multicultural, flexitarian cooking these days, and these recipes just don't stand up to the competition.
Profile Image for Penny.
232 reviews1 follower
May 18, 2019
I read through this a few times and honestly the recipes aren’t very good. I think people mostly like it because it was an early enough vegetarian cookbook that there weren’t many other options.
Profile Image for Maia.
Author 27 books2,284 followers
April 1, 2019
I have not read this back to front, but a huge percentage of my family's go-to vegetarian dinner recipes are from this book. It's a good one!
Profile Image for Harlee Johnson.
22 reviews
April 30, 2020
God I adore this book. I cannot wait to read the other cookbook by her that my mom bought when she was in college, and the 40th edition of this book.
Profile Image for Marc.
209 reviews4 followers
January 2, 2023
Down to earth & practical recipes. Encouraging tone from the age of commercials when people would join hands and sing songs about sharing their food & cokes. Sweetly reminds me of the 1980's when I first read the cookbook, but feels ever more pressing & contemporary now.

Re-reading again to find more vegetarian recipes.
Profile Image for Eileen Vernor.
192 reviews3 followers
April 19, 2021
My first vegetarian cookbook in the 1970’s, still some good of my favorite recipes! And the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY is wonderful (or was, not sure it’s still there...).
Profile Image for Camille.
7 reviews
October 10, 2018
I’m using my mother’s giant old paperback from the 90’s, back when she was new age acid tripping hipster!
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