Complete Vegetarian Cookbook

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Charmaine Solomon's COMPLETE VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK has been a favorite in Australian kitchens for over a decade. Now, with this completely updated edition, the subtle delight of Charmaine's vegetarian cuisine is making its way across the seas to be enjoyed by all. With over 600 recipes organized by Eastern, Western, and Middle Eastern influences, this gorgeous, comprehensive cookbook is a must for anyone ready for a new repertoire of delectable vegetarian meals. Charmaine combines fresh, nutritious ingredients to ...
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Charmaine Solomon's COMPLETE VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK has been a favorite in Australian kitchens for over a decade. Now, with this completely updated edition, the subtle delight of Charmaine's vegetarian cuisine is making its way across the seas to be enjoyed by all. With over 600 recipes organized by Eastern, Western, and Middle Eastern influences, this gorgeous, comprehensive cookbook is a must for anyone ready for a new repertoire of delectable vegetarian meals. Charmaine combines fresh, nutritious ingredients to create simple and elegant dishes, such as Chickpea and Coriander Paté, Eggplant Lasagna, and Fresh Peach Ice Cream, that are sure to tantalize vegetarians and those who love and dine with them.• Includes 80 food photographs and 30 spot photos.• The first edition of COMPLETE VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK sold 45,000 copies in Australia alone.

Whether you favor French, Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Indian, or Asian dishes, you will find dishes to suit your taste among the 600 delicious, easy-to-follow recipes designed to make your vegetarian cooking simple and pleasurable. Now available in paperback, a glossary of terms and ingredients, advice on combining dishes, and seasonal menus are also included. Photos.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580084277
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Series: Vegetarian Cooking Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARMAINE SOLOMON is known all over the world. Her Complete Asian Cookbook has sold over 400,000 copies worldwide. Charmaine lives with her husband, Reuben, in Sydney, Australia.
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Read an Excerpt

complete vegetarian cookbook

By charmaine solomon

Ten Speed Press

Copyright © 2002 Charmaine Solomon.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1580084273

Chapter One

Entreés and Appetisers

Appetisers are ideal when entertaining, because most of them are finger food, can be eaten while standing talking and are absolutely perfect for serving to a sizable crowd. On the other hand, I remember a wonderful meal I had in a restaurant in Versailles where one course was a selection of tiny tastes of vegetables prepared in various ways. Many of them could have been dips, but instead they had been prettily piped or spooned onto a dramatic black dinner plate, and I did enjoy the contrasting colours, flavours and textures. It is an idea worth copying.

Entrees. Now there's a word which bears examining. In Australia, Britain and Europe it denotes a light course preceding the main course. But in the United States it means the main course of the meal. Happily, the recipes in this chapter could fit into either category, because while I have chosen them with a first course in mind, there is absolutely nothing to prevent you serving them as a main course. They will yield fewer large servings, or may be served with a complementary dish or two for a very satisfying meal.


250 g (8 oz) dried chick peas
4 tablespoons cracked wheat (burghul or bulgur)
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons finely chopped spring croons (scallions)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
oil, for deep-frying

Soak the chick peas in plenty of water overnight or preferably for 24 hours. Drain well and grind in a food processor. Soak the cracked wheat in cold water for 1 hour, squeeze out all moisture.

Combine all the ingredients, except oil, in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with the hands to a moulding consistency. If too moist, sprinkle in a very little more flour, and if it is too dry, add a little more beaten egg. Shape into walnut-sized balls.

Fry in hot, deep oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden brown all over and cooked in the centre. Do not crowd them into the pan. Drain on absorbent paper and serve warm or at room temperature.


creamy cucumber moulds

An ideal first course if served in individual moulds with Melba toast. Or chill in a single mould, turn out and serve as a party dip, surrounded by crisp toast or crackers.

1 cup (5 oz) diced cucumber
2 teaspoons gelatin
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped pimiento
1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

Peel the cucumber, scoop out any seeds and finely dice enough cucumber to give 1 cup.

Sprinkle the gelatin over a tablespoon of water in a cup and leave for a few minutes to soften, then stand the cup in a saucepan of simmering water until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Alternatively, heat in a microwave oven for 30 seconds on full power. Cool to lukewarm then stir into the 1/2 cup water with sugar and vinegar. Chill until thick, then stir in the sour cream, cucumber, pimiento and chives. Pour into 4 individual oeuf en gelée moulds or other small moulds, and chill until set. Unmould onto plates, garnish with watercress or other fresh greens and serve with Melba toast.

NOTE: It is possible to substitute agar-agar (vegetable gelatin) in this recipe. Use 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder in place of 2 teaspoons gelatin. Boil with the water to ensure it is dissolved, then stir quickly into the other ingredients as it sets almost immediately.


quick savouries

If friends are dropping in for a drink, serve easy savouries such as prunes filled with a piece of tasty (sharp) cheddar cheese and dab of fruit chutney.

    If the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator holds such items as carrots, zucchini (courgettes), celery, or capsicums (bell peppers), cut them into thin strips and soak in iced water for 30 minutes or until crisp. Drain and dry the vegetable strips and serve with a dip, such as Pesto Dip (page 17), Skordalia (page 10), or Savoury Cheese Dip (page 11).

mushroom canapés

Just about any filling goes with the delicate flavour of young mushrooms. Here are two which are particularly good.

    Cream cheese, softened and spiced with a little mustard or horseradish cream (or bottled horseradish).

    Cream cheese, softened and seasoned with pepper and salt, then given an extra lift with a few toasted cumin seeds. Toast the seeds in a dry pan, shaking the pan or stirring constantly, until the seeds are fragrant. Allow to cool.

    Pipe or spoon the fillings into the hollows of small mushrooms which have had the stalks removed. Serve chilled.

hummus bi tahini

This Lebanese chick pea dip with sesame paste will appeal to those who like a tangy lemon flavour.

250 g (8 oz) dried chick peas
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 cup (4 oz) tahini (sesame seed paste)
olive oil
paprika or chopped parsley

Soak the chick peas overnight or for 24 hours in plenty of cold water to cover. Drain, put into saucepan or pressure cooker with fresh water and boil until soft enough to be mashed between the fingers, about 2 hours in a saucepan or 35 minutes under pressure. Drain peas, reserving liquid. Set aside a few whole peas for garnishing.

Purée chick peas in an electric blender or food mill, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary. Mix in lemon juice and the garlic crushed with salt. Add tahini and mix well. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if necessary—the flavour should be decidedly tangy with lemon and the consistency should be that of thick mayonnaise. If too thick, add a little water.

Spread on a plate, pour a little oil over the surface and garnish with reserved whole peas and a sprinkling of paprika or parsley.


mushroom with guacamole

250g (8 oz) small, white button mushrooms
2 firm, ripe avocados
1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon finely chopped chile or hot chile sauce, optional
1 firm, red tomato, peeled and seeded

Wipe over the mushrooms gently with a tissue, so the skins are not bruised, then remove stems with a little twist. These may be used in another dish. Peel and mash the avocados smoothly, then mix in the onion, lemon juice, coriander and chile or sauce. Fill the mushrooms and garnish each one with a small triangle of tomato.


guacamole dip

Make the avocado filling as for this recipe, but instead of using it to fill mushroom cups, mix in finely chopped tomato and serve it in a bowl with corn chips for dipping. Keep it closely covered with plastic to eliminate air, so the colour doesn't darken.

lima bean purée

This is a versatile dish which can be served as a dip, a hot vegetable or cold as a companion to leafy salads—the flavour is so good you'll probably use it in more ways than one.

375 g (12 oz) dried lima beans
10 whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
2 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup (2 fl oz) olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 hot chiles, seeded and chopped (optional)

Wash the dried beans well and soak overnight in plenty of water. If needed the same day, bring to a boil in a saucepan with water to cover by at least 3 cm (1 1/4 in). When they boil, turn off the heat, cover with a well fitting lid, and allow to soak for 2 hours. The beans may then be pressure cooked for 15 minutes or cooked in a saucepan with 4 cups (32 fl oz) fresh water, the peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, quartered onion and sliced garlic. When beans are very tender, remove from heat and drain off any excess liquid. Discard the bay leaves. For the simplest version, the beans may now be puréed in a blender with just enough olive oil to facilitate blending.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the chopped onions until soft and translucent. Add crushed garlic and the chillies and cook, stirring, for a further 1 to 2 minutes, then add the drained beans and stir well until mixed and partially mashed. Serve hot or at room temperature.

VARIATION: For a change, add 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons ground cumin or 2 tablespoons tomato paste and 1 of sliced pimiento-stuffed olives.


cheese traingled

30 g (1 oz) butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) milk
1 egg yolk
125 g (4 oz) feta cheese
90 g (3 oz) mature Cheddar cheese
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 packet filo pastry
125 g (4 oz) butter, melted

Melt the butter and add the flour, stirring, over low heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook the sauce for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolk. In a medium-size bowl, place the crumbled or grated feta and Cheddar cheese, then beat in the sauce. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Take 12-15 sheets of filo pastry and put the rest away. Cover the pastry with dampened tea towels to prevent drying out. Cut each sheet in half to give you a piece measuring approximately 24 x 30 cm (9 1/2 x 12 in). Brush the centre third with melted butter and fold over the pastry on the left. Brush again with melted butter and fold over the pastry on the right, forming a strip approximately 8 cm (3 1/4 in) wide and 30 cm (12 in) long.

Brush lightly with butter and place a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on one end of the strip. Fold the corner over to enclose the mixture in a triangle. Continue to fold over and over, keeping the triangle shape, to the end of the strip. Place the pastry, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet.

Continue with the rest of the pastry until the filling is used up, then brush the tops of the triangles with melted butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C (350°F) for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve while warm.


vine leaves with rice, chick peas and currants

If you have a grape vine, the leaves are tender and delicious in spring and early summer. You may also use leaves packed in brine.

36 small, tender vine leaves and a few large leaves for lining the pan
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (5 oz) finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup (5 oz) long grain rice
1 1/4 cups (10 fl oz) water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or mace
2 tablespoons currants or sultanas (golden raisins)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup cooked chick peas, roughly mashed (3 oz dried)
approximately 1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz) water or stock
2 teaspoons tomato paste (optional)
few cubes of feta cheese for garnish

Pour boiling water over the leaves and allow to cool.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook slowly, stirring, until it is pale gold. Add the rice and fry, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, then add the water, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cover and cook on very low heat for 15 minutes, or until the rice is just tender. Cool slightly, mix in the currants or sultanas, parsley and chick peas.

Lay grape leaves one at a time, smooth side downward. Pinch off any stems and place a spoonful of the filling near the site of the stem. Fold top of leaf over, then turn in both sides of leaf to enclose the filling. Roll to form a neat cylinder. Repeat until all leaves have been filled.

Line base of a saucepan with leaves and arrange the filled leaves in tightly packed rows. Pour over just enough stock to cover, dissolving the tomato paste in it first. Place a plate on the rolls to stop them unwinding, then simmer very gently for 45-60 minutes, depending on size. Serve warm or cold and garnish with cubes of feta cheese.


mushrooms with tomato mousse and fresh coriander

250 g (8 oz) small, white button mushrooms
1 cup (8 fl oz) tomato purée
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons gelatin
1/4 cup (2 fl oz) cold water
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or sweet chile sauce
salt and white pepper to taste
few sprigs fresh coriander for garnish

Gently wipe mushrooms with a paper towel and remove stems with a little twist. Combine tomato purée with tomato paste, stirring to disperse tomato paste evenly. Sprinkle the gelatin over cold water and leave to soften, then dissolve over simmering water, or in a microwave. Mix into the tomato puree and add sauce and seasonings to taste. Chill until mixture starts to firm, then drop by small spoonfuls to fill mushroom caps. Decorate with coriander leaves and refrigerate.

NOTE: It is possible to substitute agar-agar (vegetable gelatin) in this recipe. Use 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder in place of 2 teaspoons gelatin. Boil with the water to ensure it is dissolved, then stir quickly into the other ingredients as it sets almost immediately.


Excerpted from complete vegetarian cookbook by charmaine solomon. Copyright © 2002 by Charmaine Solomon. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    A fantastic, sophisticated, and fun book

    I have used this cookbook - along with many others - for the last ten years. It belongs up there with the Joy of Cooking - a practical but immensely enjoyable vegetarian cookbook that I would take with me to that mythical desert island. One of book's strengths is the skill with which Solomon uses both Asian and Western recipes to present a very flexible volume of recipes. (She's famous for her encyclopedic knowledge of Asian cooking, and it shows.) A must have.

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