Passionate Vegetarian

Passionate Vegetarian

4.7 21
by Crescent Dragonwagon, Robbin Gourley

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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


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 South (Black-Eyed Pea Ragovt). You'll find lush lasagnas; plump pierogies; bountiful burgers, beans, and breads; pleasing pasta and pies. You'll spoon up soups and stews, and delight in desserts from simple to swoonworthy.

Written by longtime vegetarian Crescent Dragonwagon, author of Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian employs innovative methods (try "Ri-sort-ofs," in which risotto technique is used to create splendid, richly flavored grain dishes built around not just rice but also barley, buckwheat, spelt, and even toasted oats with an array of seasonings) and introduces lesser-known ingredients (get to know and love not just tofu and tempeh but a whole new generation of soyfoods, as well as "Quick Fixes" like instant bean flakes). Opinionated, passionate, and deeply personal, Ms. Dragonwagon's tantalizing headnotes will have readers rushing to the kitchen to start cooking. (Can her over-the-top Garlic Spaghetti really be that good? It is.)

Whether you're a committed vegetarian, a dedicated vegan (most recipes offer low-fat and vegan options), or a food-loving omnivore in search of something new and wonderful, this is not just vegetarian cooking—but cooking, period—at its most creative, inspiring, and exuberant.

Editorial Reviews

If there is one book that will encourage you to stay home and cook this winter, it is Passionate Vegetarian.
Christian Science Monitor
Don't limit this cookbook just to vegetarians on your list; it deserves a place in every kitchen.
Cincinnati Enquirer
A complete and all-purpose vegetarian cookbook for any time of year.
Seattle Times
How often do you come across a cookbook, vegetarian or otherwise, where every page has something worth exploring.
Library Journal
For many years, Dragonwagon and her husband ran an inn in the Ozarks of Arkansas, and two previous cookbooks, The Dairy Hollow House Cookbook and Dairy Hollow House Soups and Breads: A Country Inn Cookbook, grew out of that experience. Despite having been a vegetarian for decades, Dragonwagon did not feature vegetarian fare at the inn or in her earlier books. This big, exuberant book marks her foray into the cooking closest to her heart, with more than 1000 recipes, from "Welcoming Hors d'Oeuvres" to "Just Desserts." Dragonwagon is indeed a passionate vegetarian, and adjectives like sensual and voluptuous appear in many of her recipe notes. Her food is boldly seasoned and draws from a variety of cuisines. In addition to the recipes, she includes hundreds of boxes and sidebars on ingredients and myriad other subjects; the vegetable chapter, for example, features an A-Z guide to her favorites. There is also a chapter called "Quick Fix," with recipes and suggestions for no-fuss meals. Many of the other recipes offer suggestions for easy variations. Deborah Madison's huge Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone came first, and it and Dragonwagon's book cover similar ground by virtue of having the same topic, but there is little overlap in terms of recipes. With vegetarian cooking more popular than ever, most libraries will want Passionate Vegetarian, too. Highly recommended. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 2.25(d)

Read an Excerpt


Serves 4 to 6

1 large butternut squash, about 1 pound, halved, seeded, and peeled
Cooking spray (optional)
2 teaspoons tamari or shoyu soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
About 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
Honeyed Red-Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
8 to 10 cups assorted salad greens, half mild (oakleaf, romaine, and/or Boston lettuces) and half bitter or pungent (arugula, watercress, curly endive), well washed and dried
1 to 2 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped medium-fine
1 sweet, crisp apple, such as Galla, peel on, diced into 1/3 inch pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, or chopped, toasted pecans, toasted pumpkin seeds, or ¹ best yet ¹ tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

1 ¹ Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2 ¹ Place 4 to 6 salad plates in the freezer to chill.

3 ¹ Cut the peeled squash into +-inch dice. Place the cut-up butternut squash on a large nonstick baking sheet or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Toss the squash with the soy sauce and oil and bake until the squash pieces are lightly browned, slightly shriveled-looking and semicrisp on the outside and barely tender all the way through, 20 to 30 minutes. The squash should definitely keep its shape. Remove the squash from the oven, keeping the oven on. Immediately drizzle a little honey over the squash, toss and return to the oven. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more, until the squash is all browned. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.


Makes about 1 2/3 cups

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari or shoyu soy sauce
3 to 4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 to 6 solid grinds black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons honey, or, for vegans, sugar or Rapidura

Combine the vinegar, tamari, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. Start the machine buzzing, and gradually, through the hole in the pusher-tube, drizzle in the oil. Remove pusher-tube, and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 2 tablespoons honey. Stop the machine. Taste, and if you feel the dressing should be sweeter, add the remaining tablespoon of honey.


Serves 2

8 ounces fettuccine, dried or fresh
1 wedge (about 1 1/2 pounds) eating pumpkin or any sweet orange fleshed squash, sliced into long, 1/3-inch thick pieces
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for serving
Cooking spray
3 cloves garlic, pressed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan or soy Parmesan-type cheese

1 ¹ Start the fettuccine in vigorously boiling water.

2 ¹ As the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a nonstick skillet or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray. You'll want a skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add the pumpkin

Meet the Author

Crescent Dragonwagon is the James Beard Award–winning author of seven cookbooks, including Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian, and, most recently, The Cornbread Gospels. She is also a contributing editor to Relish magazine and has appeared on Good Morning America, Today and NPR’s The Splendid Table. She lives, grows, and cooks her beans on a farm in Putney, Vermont.

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Passionate Vegetarian 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this as a gift for my newly turned vegetarian Aunt. She adores it. SHe said her grocery list grew and grew with new ideas and she was excited to master the delicious recipes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I buy a cookbook,I'll try three recipes out of it to see if the recipes match my tastes. If none or just one of the three are suitable, out the book goes to the book exchange -- two or three earns the book a spot on my shelf. So far, I've tried 8 recipes and haven't hit a bad one yet. The food is tasty and easy to prepare. The author also often suggest substitutions for out-of-season and unusual items. The book is organized by primary ingredient, which is very helpful in finding recipes for in-season produce. I hate to say this, but most of the vegetarian cookbooks I've tried yield bland dishes or assume everyone lives within walking distance of a large organic market. This is an excellent change of pace!
wanderlust23 More than 1 year ago
I've been a vegetarian for over 10 years, and this is, by far, my favorite cookbook. The recipes are delicious and easy to understand, and Crescent Dragonwagon writes with a voice that is friendly and entertaining. While a lot of her recipes are healthy or on the healthier side (she often provides different versions or substitutes depending on how healthy you want to make it), she does not sacrifice taste-- you'll not find the vegan cardboard-like cookies here that live in other veggie cookbooks. I've learned a lot about how to cook from reading her introductions to recipes and sections and sidenotes throughout the book, including how to combine different flavors and spices-- so that even when I'm not directly using a recipe out of the book, I'm fairly certain that my meals have been inspired by her. I strongly recommend this cookbook for anyone who loves to eat great food!
katiea001 More than 1 year ago
As a newly converted vegetarian, I was looking for a cookbook that was easy to follow and comprehensive in scope. Because I already owned another CD authored cookbook, and this one is of Biblical dimensions, I chose it. Every recipe I've tried so far (at least one per category so far) has turned out perfectly. Even when trying things that I haven't been too sure about, I've finally learned to just trust what she says and follow along and will not be dissappointed! She provides informative pieces about things that may be unfamiliar like umeboshi plums or describe how tempeh is made that I like. I am one of those people who enjoy actually reading the text of a cookbook and have also been entertained by her writing style, which I appreciate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This cook book is great for vegi ideas, even for us non-vegetarians. There are ideas for every vegetable you can think of. The recipe's are creative, but contain ingredients that normal people actually stock in their cupboards.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My family was very determined to not like the meat-free dishes but loved them. I can't keep the tomatilla salsa around as they eat it on everything.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is completely full of creative, easy, low fat, great tasting vegetarian food from a fantastic chef/writer. I fell in love with Dragonwagon's recipes and anecdotes from her Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread (which I also recommend) but when I realized that the same person had written a vegetarian cookbook also, I was smitten. I would highly recommend this book, even if you're not a vegetarian. Anyone would benefit from this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Almost every recipe I've tried has been great. There is a wonderful variety of recipes. I also use the book as a reference on how to use unfamiliar ingredients. The author has a very informal writing style that is a pleasure to read... even if you're not planning on cooking anytime soon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a vegetarian since 1978, and I was excited to find what I hoped would be delicious new recipes. This book was a major disappointment. I've spent several hours reading through its recipes and have not been inspired to try a single one. I'm sorry I wasted my money on it, and I would recommend that others try any of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks instead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm passionate about this book! I recommend it because it has a wealth of recipes that are remakes of familiar meat-based dishes, along with new and adventurous things to try. Dragonwagon is an enjoyable and engaging writer -- she makes you want to try new things. The recipes are simple to medium hard and there aren¿t any wild and wacky ingredients that will be hard to find in smaller cities/towns (she lives in Arkansas). Buy this book ¿ or give it as a gift ¿ you won¿t regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To anyones collection. Being frugal and a vegetarian this 1000 recipe cookbook was the one for me. I heard about it through other friends and checked it out from the library...and ordered it online before it was due back! I have a alot of fun reading it and trying new recipes. I like to keep my meat eating fiance on his toes, so I make new recipes almost everynight. I recently made Black Bean Feijoada, Brazilian Rice and the Brazilian salsa. He told me it was one of the best meals he had ever had! Now that is a compliment!! He sugeested I save the leftovers for burritos so I froze them and the next week cooked them down some more and we enjoyd it all over again. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook and eat great food!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has become my absolute favorite cookbook. I like to read almost as much as I like to cook and eat wonderful, healthy food. I sometimes find myself just sitting and reading passages from the book even when I'm not planning a meal. Crescent invites one into the book allowing the reader to get a chance to know a little bit about the woman who brings us these many, easy to follow, delicious recipes. The book not only has the basic recipes, but most come with a sidebar of variations on the theme. The book is generously infused with Ms. Dragonwagaon's fantastic sense of humor. C'mon, how many cookbooks make you laugh out loud?
Guest More than 1 year ago
It took me awhile to get a copy of the PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN motly because I wasn't sure I wanted a thousand page cookbook taking up more space in my kitchen. But I am so overwhelmingly pleased with it that I couldn't imagine my kitchen without it. The pages are already dog-eared from use. The thing that impresses me most about the PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN is that from start to finish the author not only convey's her own passion for 'beautiful eating', but as a reader it is hard NOT to get caught up her infectious passion! Her cookbook is an inspirational delight. It has restored my own passion for good food and good times around the table.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wonderful book 'Passionate Vegetarian' made it all the way to Norway! There are not too many vegetarians in Norway and finding a book that would satisfy our needs (David - American husband and myself Norwegian) was not easy, so I took to the Internet searching far and wide for THE BOOK, and I found it! Much nicer also to have a book written in English so I can read out loud the wonderful comments, I just love the line about Tofu 'Get that look off your face', which is exactly the look David tends go get whenever he finds it in the shopping bag. David having grown up and been young in California in the 60's, is somewhat sceptical to beans and rice, claims he overate in his youth, hmmmm....... Well, this book has certainly changed his outlook! We are so lucky to have several Asian and Arabic stores now, so I'm actually able to find quite a few of the ingredients needed. Also there is a store that imports some American goods, and there I found hominy, something I've never had before. All in all, dinner is now something to look forward to, and although David eats some meat, our basic cooking is vegetarian. Thanks to Ms. Dragonwagon's efforts and joy, I now have a wealth of recipes to try out, wonderful smells emanating through our house on the cold winter days. Also a big thank you for the recipes for quick and easy meals, I sometimes work quite late, and we either have the last half of 'Two meals in one' or delve into quick and easy. I find that halving a regular recipes makes a perfect amount for two people - great! Thank you, thank you, thank you :-))
Guest More than 1 year ago
When it comes to vegetarian cooking, Dragonwagon's book is not to be missed. It spends much more time in my kitchen than it does on my shelf. Buy it, you will be glad that you did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When it comes to vegetarian cooking, Dragonwagon's book is not to be missed. It spends much more time in my kitchen than it does on my shelf. Buy it, you will be glad that you did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In honor of having prepared 101 different recipes from the Passionate Vegetarian as of last night, I pause now, between lunchtime bites of Dragonwagon-style soup and cornbread, to pay homage to the most useful cookbook I've ever touched. Although I admit that there were a few of those 101 recipes that did not turn out quite as expected (I burned a disheartening number of Mary's famous banana buttermilk buckwheat pancakes, and managed to destroy the Italian caramelized oranges twice), this cookbook practically guarantees perfect results. It is demurely encyclopedic, conversational yet fastidiously detailed. The instructions are so thorough that even novice cooks (such as I) need have no fear. Those who have no idea how creole-spiced southern-style ragout over cheddar cheese corn grits should look or taste can quickly find out (to their great advantage!), without fretting over what kind of cookware to use, how high to set the heat, how much to stir, how to make sure that the cooking time accommodates the proportion of cornmeal to liquid and the relative coarseness of said cornmeal . . . CD has thought of everything. Her distinctive and delightful voice is present throughout the cookbook, encouraging, explaining, generally enabling those of us who, at one dark point in our lives, automatically passed over any recipe with an onion in it (surely I can't be the only one who grew up so distrustful of food?). The Passionate Vegetarian is an antidote not only to pickiness but to lethargy-- CD's enthusiasm would inspire anybody to try something new in the kitchen. Although my husband is from Japan, I never would have considered cooking with Asian ingredients had not CD taken me by the hand and unveiled the mysteries of agar and umeboshi paste. Of course, while there is a good deal of spunky international flavor in this vegetarian cookbook, there's also plenty of hearty down-home fare. CD's nouveau twists on American culinary tradition are perfect for those who yearn toward the warm domesticity that meatloaf represents, yet regard an actual meatloaf as chunky-style hemlock juice. Mind you, CD is a passionate vegetarian, not a militant one, and she expects these meals to be enjoyed by meat-eaters as well. In fact, under Dragonwagon's influence, contented meat-eaters may find themselves drifting away from meat without even realizing it. Despite that meatloaf hang-up, I don't consider myself a vegetarian; still, I don't think I've cooked meat since Easter. There are so many recipes of such wide variety in this vast compendium, what reason is there to pick up another cookbook? After years of subsisting on applesauce and bagels, my oven barren, I have suddenly become a cook, confidently feeding PV cuisine to family, dinner guests, students at academic colloquia, senior citizens at church potlucks-- every time, CD's most basic dishes are recognized as exceptional. This cookbook deserves the status of life-long kitchen companion, mine and yours!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First bought this after seeing Crescent Dragonwagon prepare a casserole and dessert on the Today Show last fall. Have since baked, stewed, souped, layered (as in lasagnes), wrapped (as in enchiladas)with Passionate Vegetarian. Have bought half a dozen copies as gifts.Three people I gave it to told me they also went out and bought it as gifts! Have side-vegetabled (Thai cauliflower, greens with garlic, celery root salad), stuffed (stuffed cabbage, mmmm; better than my mom's and I thought hers ruled the world) desserted (chocolate walnut torte, a pecan pie so successful at Thanksgiving it made a triumphant return engagement by request at Christmas, plus simple healthful fruit things with a twist that made them special, like poached starfruit). Have breakfasted (featherbed eggs, scrambled tofu), lunched (great two-page spread on sandwiches), dinnered, entertained (many menus inspire occasions from special to every day), and enjoyed solo snacks (black forest yogurt)and romantic dinners for husband and self over and over. By rough count I have so far made at least 40 dishes out of Passionate Vegetarian. Not only wasn't there a single loser, each one was so good it's been hard to move on to try the next new tempting dish instead of repeat previous winners. However each sounds so good that I am tempted onwards, and am always delighted. Lots of information about foods, including the ingredients like whole-grains and soy that experts always tell us to eat more of but nobody except Dragonwagon tells you how to make really taste good. Besides extraordinary recipes, there is overall a quality hard to describe, unusual in a cookbook. I guess it is as said in the title, passion. the author is with you in the kitchen, excited about every leaf of lettuce, every bean. The storytelling knack of a novelist mixes with low-key spirituality, and humor. Plus, all that food-related expertise! I cook from it but also keep it by my bed and read it. I finally stopped dog-earing pages, because I was bending every single page! Terrific, splendid, groundbreaking, friendly : there are not enough superlatives. Really it is about celebrating life, all of it, as told through food. About 'creating edible love' as one of the back-cover blurbs says. You want this book now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you ever thought that veggie cuisine was thick, "brown", stodgy and without taste, you are in for one huge surprise! This is certainly the best of the new veggie cookbooks to come around in a very long time! The author's tone is engaging, funny and heartbreaking at the same time. In the introduction, she tells you that it took her ten years to write it, but be assured, every page is worth it. For the veggie (like me!), this is my "Joy Of Cooking, Veggie Style". There is everthing in here from great salads to terrific soups (try the "Pumpkin Tomato Bisque"), great casseroles (make the "Polenta Lasagne with Mushrooms Bechamel" and see if you don't agree with me), as well as new ideas for cooking with whole grains, veggies and ingredients from all over our world. Most of the recipes can be made vegan, and the author stresses the use of fresh ingredients and whole foods throughout the book. This will be a classic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a vegetarian, but was asked to make a vegetarian dish for a Thanksgiving dinner I was invited to. I thumbed through this book at Barnes&Noble, bought it, and have seriously thought about becoming a vegetarian now that I realize I wouldn't be stuck eating salads, bland tofu and "meat substitutes" all of the time. (Happily, though, I came to this conclusion on my own--the author does not waste time trying to convince you to become a vegetarian if you aren't one; she seems to have purposely made this book so that meat-eaters could feel comfortable using it too.) The recipes all sound so good, and there's such a variety, it's hard deciding which one to prepare for the next meal. There are over 1000 recipes, everything from appetizers to soups/salads to main courses to desserts. For the most part, the recipes don't use anything you can't find at a "normal" grocery store nowadays, though in some cases it is helpful to have a Whole Foods or equivalent nearby. The instructions are detailed and conversational, so that it's like having the author standing next to you explaining everything. And, with this author, you almost wish she WERE standing right next to you--she seems genuinely funny, interesting and helpful. She also seems far from a "food snob," as in the recipe that calls for Greek kalamata olives, where she says "in a pinch, regular old canned California black olives" will work. I've spent hours flipping through reading different recipes, anecdotes, and little-known (to me at least) information about different ingredients, yet feel like I still have so much more to discover in the book. So far I've made "Golden Days of Summer Corn Soup" and the Thanksgiving dressing stuffed in a pumpkin, and they both evoked compliments from those I served them to. My only (very small) complaint are the occassional minor editing mistake I've come across, none of which actually affect the recipes. In a first edition of a book this size, though, a few mistakes are understandable. I've read comments here and elsewhere that this will one day be one of those classic cookbooks everyone uses, and I could not agree more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Exuberant and deeply felt, inviting and all-inclusive, this beautifully written work almost reinvents the cookbook. While PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN is filled with recipes that will make you want to get into the kitchen immediately, it will also touch your heart. It's personal, funny, joyful, sad, full of dimension and color; life itself, as told through and in food. You feel the author as a friendly, reassuring kitchen presence: knowledgeable, gentle, careful to explain but taking time to laugh with you, swap stories, and enjoy every step of the way. I already loved the author's DAIRY HOLLOW HOUSE SOUP & BREAD so I was eager to try her stews: being a chili head I went straight to the Chili Mole and White Chili: now I want to work my way throuigh every one (there are maybe a dozen). In a different vein. the artichoke-lima bean stew with lemon and garlic was heavenly, delicate but full of flavor. The quick irresistible Garlic Spaghetti is a knock-out. I'm bringing either the Oven-Roasted Shiitakis or the Sweet potatoes with Grand Marnier to Thanksgiving. The curries and other Indian dishes had me drooling, but then again, so did the lasagnas, Asian dishes, great appetizers and desserts --- some healthful and some over-the-top, all delectable-sounding. She has a range of menus --- many quick, easy ones, but also lengthier and more complex dishes for days when you really feel like cooking or special occasions. Tons of menus, too. The book is definitive (info on every grain, every vegetable, every bean as well as an amazing trove of well-researched culinary and nutritional information). Astonishing! This much book (1000-plus pages and recipes) let alone such a good one, would be worth almost any price. But at this one it is a bargain... as well as the book everyone, vegetarian and otherwise, is getting from me for Christmas. For it erases the lines between "cookbook" and "literature" as well as "good for you" snf "superb to eat." Though an excellent how-to ( recipe instructions are crystal clear) Dragonwagon thoughtful helps vegetarian take its rightful place as a distinct, global cuisine, not just a healthful "ism". Vibrantly flavored, this book has every color of the palette and palate. It is indeed passionate: also playful,intimate, full of life. ANYONE (carnivore, or veggie) who appreciates good food would love it. A joy to cook from, eat from, and read, its food and words will nourish the body, mind, heart and soul.