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Passionate Vegetarian

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,980 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Introducing a new voice in vegetarian cooking. Packed with 1,000 recipes that are seductive, sexy, and utterly delicious, Passionate Vegetarian covers all the bases of meatless cooking, from east (Stir Fry of Asparagus with Black Bean-Ginger Sauce), west (Talk of the Town Barbecued Tofu), from the Mediterranean (Swiss Chard with Raisins, Onions & Olives) to the American So ...more
Hardcover, 1120 pages
Published January 15th 2002 by Workman Publishing Company
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  1,980 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've had this book for years...since it was first published, but I've only lately put it to good use.

This cookbook has grown on me lately. (Not size-wise haha, it's around a thousand pages, so it's already huge).

Earlier, I used some of her recipes here and there, and some were good, and some were meh. A lot of them were too much: too much work, too intricate, too many ingredients, for a mediocre result.

But, lately I've been on a very restricted budget, and this is where this book really shines.
Oct 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those looking for healthy, easy recipes
This is by far the most useful vegetarian cookbook I have owned! The recipes are all VERY good- never had one that failed me. They are simple and varied ethnically, and the author gives ways for most of the recipes to become vegan if you so choose. She also gives simple instructions on how to cook all sorts of vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes by themselves- all very helpful information! I adore this book.
Alien  Citizen
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to eat.
Shelves: cookbooks
This cookbook is my all time favorite of all the many vegetarian cookbooks I have used throughout 14 years of cooking. It is very large but is both cohesive and easily accessible. Her writing too is very clear with an informal style to the stories preceding most recipes that is comfortable and compelling to read (like a conversation among friends). The recipes are delicious and really demonstrate the range of possibilities in homestyle vegetarian cooking. There are recipes made with tofu, seitan ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A behemoth of a book, chock full o' thousands of recipes and clever alterations, written in a friendly and cheerful voice (though tinged with unintended sadness throughout -- her partner of many years, whom she mentions on almost every page, was killed in a bike accident as the book was going to press. She explains the situation in the intro but chose to leave all references to him in the text in present tense). I just wish I liked this book more.

The main problem for me is the scale of Dragonwa
May 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I like that this veg cookbook has lots of vegan recipes and that many others are easy to veganize. As for the recipes though, I found that it's a mixed bag. Here are the three I've tried so far:

Melange of Winter Vegetables with Soysage: I was hugely disappointed by this recipe. The idea was to layer vegetables in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid so that they cooked together with minimal intervention. Unfortunately, some veggies were overcooked while some were still partially raw. And the seaso
Emily Purvis
I just got this book yesterday from The Bookstore downtown. I went in looking for a vegetarian cookbook, and I found this 5+ pound monster. What I like about it so far is that it is filled with stories from the author's life, not just random recipes. She talks about her recently deceased husband and what he meant to her, about her inn in Georgia and all the interesting people she met through that. She talks about her favorite recipes and WHY she loves them so much. As the title suggests, she is ...more
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This is the most comprehensive cookbook I own. There's advice on selecting and cooking everything under the sun, and there's a good combination of complicated recipes with simpler recipes for everyday cooking. Dragonwagon's personal notes on each recipe convey the joy she takes from cooking and how her memories of people and events are entwined with each meal.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
A nice, big book with lots of vegetarian ideas. I am fond of the desserts especially because Dragonwagon (okay, it's obviously not her real name, but I have no idea what is) always has a vegan-safe solution to a clasic problem (a great tofu-based pastry cream, for example). I don't use this book as much as I'd like because 1)it's huge and so I forget what's in it and 2)her husband died while the book was in the writing and she talks about her life a lot in the book and while I feel bad disliking ...more
Jeanette (Again)
Jun 17, 2009 added it
Recommended to Jeanette (Again) by: Kim De
Shelves: cookbooks
This is really a wonderful book, and I picked the wrong summer to try and get acquainted with it. I've been subsisting primarily on fresh fruits and raw vegetable salads. Then we had a record-setting heat spell and I gave up cooking altogether. And on top of that I'm now in the middle of moving! So I'll return this to the library for now and revisit it at a better time.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
This is a really good book for the beginning vegetarian or the occasional vegetarian (that's me, because I live in the House of Carnivores). It has good sections on tofu, beans, and tempeh.
Carolyn Eng
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The go-to cookbook on my shelf. A great guide in the kitchen, hints on choosing, storing, cooking every kind of produce, grain, raw ingredient.
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
900+ pages, NO PICTURES, and maybe 2 recipes I want to try. Like I've said, I'm not a vegetarian, but looking to expand my meatless dish options.

This book does not have many family friendly or budget friendly options. It uses a lot of hard to find/has to be ordered ingredients, and a lot of expensive ingredients. I'm really sorry that my town doesn't have an Asian, Italian, Indian, or Greek supermarket. I guess I'll move!! Yeah, I could drive to get to one, but why waste 2 hours of my time and
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This cookbook is fun to read as well as use. Crescent Dragonwagon is an entertaining writer and very creative cook and you begin to feel like a personal aquaintance as you read and eat your way through the book. It used to be one of my dreams to go stay (and eat) at her B&B/restaurant (The Dairy Hollow House) in Arkansas but her husband passed away and she closed the business. Her recipes are all vegetarian, some with vegan options, and run the gamut from simple to inspired but every one I have ...more
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Few cookbooks can qualify as a good read. This is one of them. Dragonwagon chattily works her way through an astonishing number of whole foods--grains, nuts, vegetables, fruit, you name it--and tells us the cultural history of each along with its nutritional potential. We also get a few really good stories of her time as the owner of a B&B in Arkansas.

As a working mom, I really appreciate the simplicity of some of the recipes (there are much more complicated options for those who have time). I
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: earthing
not as good as Didi Emmons' Vegetarian Planet, but still pretty fucking awesome. my favorite thing about this cookbook is that it is ABOUT crescent dragonwagon and her late husband ned. like every recipe has a little story about their life that goes with it. or cool historical information about the food. and man, if you ever need a good cry, spend some time rereading the introduction where she tells you about meeting ned, falling in love with him, creating amazing food together, and then the aft ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I was given this book by a friend. She was in one of those mail clubs which sends you items on a regular basis. If you forget to return the card telling them you don't want an item, they send it. She didn't have time to send it back, so she just paid for it, and kept it. Since she wasn't vegetarian, she never read it, so she gave it to me.

I like a cookbook which has more than just recipes. Crescent Dragonwagon writes stories about food. She has one chapter about greens. I wouldn't have known the
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Three cheers for Dragonwagon! I use this cookbook extensively (although I'm not vegetarian), and I can't remember ever being let down by a Dragonwagon recipe. I've had the book for about 3 years now and have barely cracked the surface of the recipes in here (it's a huge book). I particularly appreciate the section where she devotes a few pages each to a multitude of different vegetables, explaining what they are, what to do with them, how well they keep, etc., followed by recipes. It was a god-s ...more
Destiny Dawn Long
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
My main purpose in purchasing this book was to have a good reference on how to prepare some of the more unusual vegetables that I purchase sometimes. It was particularly handy when I had a CSA share and kept getting turnips--other members were grumbling about them, but I was telling them all about the delicious and simple Baby Turnips recipe (pg. 726)

It's got a great index and lots of extra information about ingredient selection. It also has a lot of personal anecdotes to accompany the recipes--
Teresa Newsome
Mar 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: cook-books
This books weighs 596lbs. I love it. It's huge and bulky and has a million recipes in it. I have about a hundred page flags in it to mark things I want to try. I haven't cooked from it much, but everything I have made has been right on the money. There are a lot of little personal narrative moments in this book, and that's what makes it really special. I want to eat with Crescent Dragonwagon, then hug her.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Okay, don't let the author's name keep you away from this book. Though the recipes are intense and arduous, the results are fantastic. You've got to try CD's Favorite Luscious Stuffed Chard Packets! This is a cookbook meant to be read, not just browsed through. Dragonwagon's (!!!) writing is inviting and informative - from cooking methods to the history of a dish, this book is hard to put down and will force you to find some time to try her incredible recipes.
Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a re-read as my husband and I launch a catering company, I thought it would be good to refresh my vegetarian skills. Also, we've been eating more veggies than ever, thanks to our organic garden. This book is fun and full of tasty recipes that would even satisfy the hard-core meat eater. There are tips on nutrition, preparation and how to incorporate vegetable based dishes into your diet. Oh, and its tasty, too.
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fun to read and fun to eat.
I got this book as a wedding present six years ago. I enjoy the stories with different recipes. I also like how I can flip to a certain section, like quinoa, and learn information about the ingredient and basic cooking technique and then see related recipes. I often open this one up when I have a vegetable or grain and no idea what to do with it. I hardly ever stick to her recipes exactly but use them as a jumping off place.
Nov 07, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This book is a great reference book for vegetarian cooking. But...a lot of the recipes are difficult, too big for two people, or require specialized ingredients and/or sauces. I don't want to do all my cooking from it, so I don't want to make her special sauces, and she doesn't provide alternatives. I prefer the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics for everyday cooking.
Jan 27, 2008 added it
well, i'm not ready to do a final rating on this, because i want to try some more recipes. Years ago i read this book to make fun of the sheer wingnuttiness of it. But the other week i started flipping through a copy of it and decided it warranted another good look. Her merengue cookies came out pretty damned good, and i like the looks of her risotto recipes. so, i'm giving this another shot.
AJ LeBlanc
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
OK, stop laughing at her name.

This book is amazing and someone needs to buy it for me. I borrowed it from a friend and do not want to give it back.

I love that this is as much memoir and love letter as it is cookbook. There's so much stuff in here that I cannot imagine anyone being stuck for ideas.

I'm hoping to pick this up soon and start testing it out.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
A hulking beast of a book, this collection wins the prize for most recipes per gram of paper. Unfortunately, recipes are hard to execute as nearly every one requires a page turn and is infused with huge amounts of storytelling. Eclectic ingredients, adventurous flavours, but this one tends to sit unused on the shelf.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recipes
Oh, while the title screams "vegetarian", and the recipes are indeed meat-free, this book is PACKED with incredibly delicious recipes. Don't let anyone ever say "vegetarian" is boring, or for non-meat eaters only! There are side dishes, desserts, and HEAPS of other goodness in this book. I love it!
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm a really bad cook, but even so, every recipe I've ever made from this cookbook was a total miss. I still shiver at the thought of the bbq tofu.

This book did introduce me to the existence of Eureka Springs, where I eventually moved (right down the road from Dragonwagon's former B&B). So that was valuable since it is one of the best towns in the country...
Yvonne Carroccino
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have used this cookbook as a reference and all around go-to book for many years. Her recipes are easy to follow and she includes a comprehensive run down of ingredients as well as substitutions. My favorite recipe is Dr. Feelgood’s chocolate cake. My husband has been vegan for more than twenty years and it was the first and best cake I made for him using just plant based ingredients.
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Love this one. I met Crescent at a cooking class here in Austin. I've tried quite a few recipes from this has so much information and options for changing recipes, but sometimes the instructions can get a bit wordy.
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Crescent Dragonwagon is the daughter of the writers Charlotte Zolotow and the late Hollywood biographer Maurice Zolotow. She is the author of 40 published books, including cookbooks, children's books, and novels. With her late husband, Ned Shank, Crescent owned the award-winning Dairy Hollow House, a country inn and restaurant in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for eighteen years. She teaches writing co ...more

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