Vegetarian Family Cookbook: Featuring more than 275 recipes for quick breakfasts, healthy snacks and lunches, classic comfort foods, hearty main dishes, wholesome baked goods, and more


The only vegetarian cookbook designed to satisfy every member of the family.

It can be challenging to create nutritious family meals that appeal to everyone at the table, including the picky eaters. But Nava Atlas has solved the dilemma with a collection of down-to-earth recipes reflecting the way families really eat. Flexible, adaptable, and filled with ways to make wholesome food more attractive to children, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook ...

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The only vegetarian cookbook designed to satisfy every member of the family.

It can be challenging to create nutritious family meals that appeal to everyone at the table, including the picky eaters. But Nava Atlas has solved the dilemma with a collection of down-to-earth recipes reflecting the way families really eat. Flexible, adaptable, and filled with ways to make wholesome food more attractive to children, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook tackles breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time like no other vegetarian cookbook on the market.

Covering everything from family-friendly salads to comforting casseroles, Atlas shows how simple it can be to make enticing meat-free meals, with selections such as Quick Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, Vegetable Upside Down Casserole, and Alphabet Soup, sensational sandwich fare for home or school, as well as energy-packed choices to start the day. She also takes the mystery out of cooking with soy and provides dozens of delicious whole-grain, low-sugar desserts. Most of the recipes include vegan substitutions for eggs or dairy products.

Whether you are a committed vegetarian or are simply cutting back or eliminating meat for economic, ethical, or health reasons, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook makes this an appealing, stress-free decision.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Atlas, founder of the popular Web site, adds to her printed offerings with this latest volume (after The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet) aimed at the family at home. Understanding that children as well as adults can be "picky eaters," she provides a range of easy, adaptable vegetarian recipes that encompasses every occasion. In addition, she adds a vegan perspective to the book by suggesting the necessary substitute ingredients needed to provide this dietary alternative. The recipes take the reader through the day, from luscious breakfast smoothies and crunchy granolas, filling soups, light salads and snacks to the more substantial dishes of a main meal. Expanding on the beans and lentils of traditional vegetarian cuisine, she draws on inspiration from regional and international cuisine, from simple stir fries like the Hearty Seitan "Buddist's Delight" to Pasta with Enlightened Alfredo Sauce. Carefully including the nutritional analysis of each dish, the recipes vary in complexity but are aimed at the busy household, so most can be produced within a reasonable amount of time. Interspersed are helpful explanations of the more specialist vegetarian ingredients like tofu and seitan. Many of the recipes include "make it a meal" ideas for complementary dishes, while others suggest variations to embellish the finished result. The result is a competent, useful volume from a knowledgeable vegetarian author. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her big, new family cookbook, Atlas (Vegetarian Celebrations; Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet) serves up snacks, school lunches, and other kid-friendly recipes. Dishes ranging from Coconut Curried Vegetable Stew to Green Noodles were tested by her once vegetarian, now vegan sons as well as their nonvegetarian friends. Although some dishes call for dairy products, Atlas offers vegan options (she and her husand followed in their children's footsteps); many recipes even include suggestions for embellishing a dish or turning it into a complete meal-and for how to tempt picky young eaters at the table. For most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767913966
  • Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 2/10/2004
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 616,124
  • Product dimensions: 9.22 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Easy Breakfast Treats

Let's face it: Even the best of intentions won't change the fact that many of us are tired and rushed in the morning. Also, since some people are just not that hungry first thing, the not-yet-awakened appetite is none too ambitious. It's unfortunate that the first hour of the day is rush hour, but for most of us, that's the reality.

My sons have always liked a fairly hearty breakfast, so for us, the morning meal is a given. We try to decide the night before what to have for breakfast on school days, so that if the choice is waffles or a hot cooked cereal, I know to allow a little extra time. And because time is so short in the morning, one of my strategies has been to compile a list of possibilities so we're not scrambling for ideas. Speaking of scrambling, you'll note that eggs play a small role in this chapter, with a suggestion or two in the simple breakfast ideas and breakfast sandwiches list; that's because most people who eat eggs already have a set of simple ways to fix them to their family's liking. Instead, you'll find many ideas and easy recipes based on whole grains--these complex carb foods are perfect for getting revved in the morning yet are easy on the palate. Smoothies and other fruit-augmented recipes round out the selections.

A Basic Breakfast Pantry

One way to mitigate the breakfast rut is to have an array of good-quality breakfast foods on hand. Go through some of the recipes and ideas in this chapter and jot down the basic ingredients to shop for. See if you can clear a portion of a pantry (or at least a couple of shelves) to keep together all your nonperishable breakfast items--such as hot and cold cereals, granolas, and pancake mixes.

Here is a list of what you might consider keeping in your pantry. Of course, you need not buy everything on this list, only what appeals to your family. Once you have a basic breakfast repertoire, you may enjoy adding new items from time to time or changing some items seasonally.

* Good-quality cold breakfast cereals: Have an assortment of organic, whole-grain varieties on hand.

* Granolas: These are good on their own or mixed with other cold cereals.

* Hot cereals: See the listing of possibilities.

* Embellishments for hot and cold cereals: Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.

* Flour tortillas: These are great for roll-ups and breakfast quesadillas.

* Fresh fruits in season: Bananas are welcome all year around, berries are good for summer, and oranges and mangoes are delicious in winter. Serve as is or use for making juices and smoothies or topping cereals.

* Whole-grain flours for pancakes and waffles: Whole-wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, and cornmeal are especially useful. You might also like to stock good-quality prepared pancake and waffle mixes if you can't see starting from scratch on weekday mornings.

* Whole-grain frozen waffles: If you're not inclined to make fresh ones in the morning, there are some excellent organic toaster waffles available.

* Maple syrup and/or honey or other natural sweeteners: Use sweeteners, even natural ones, sparingly in the morning!

* Fresh whole-grain breads, rolls, bagels, and English muffins: Mix and match for variety; keep some in the freezer.

* Spreads for bread: All-fruit preserves, nonhydrogenated margarine, dairy or nondairy cream cheese, peanut and other nut butters.

* Yogurts: Organic low-fat dairy or nondairy varieties; aside from eating on their own, yogurt is useful in homemade pancake and waffle batters, and for making biscuits and other baked goods (see Chapter 10).

* Organic dairy or nondairy cheeses and cottage cheese

* Organic cage-free eggs

* Soy-based faux breakfast meats: This one is entirely optional, but if you like this type of product, you can keep "sausages" and "bacon" in your freezer to use from time to time as a side dish or in breakfast sandwiches.

Some Simple Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast Burritos: Wrap a flour tortilla around a scrambled egg or a small portion of the basic recipe for Tofu Scrambles Galore; Sprinkle with grated dairy or nondairy cheese if desired. Roll up snugly. Serve with orange slices in the winter and strawberries in the summer.

Breakfast Quesadillas: For each serving, place a 6- to 7-inch flour tortilla in a dry skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the entire surface lightly with dairy or nondairy cheese and cover. When the cheese is melted, fold over to a half-circle. Continue to cook on both sides, uncovered, until the tortilla begins to turn golden and crisp. Cut in half to form two wedges to serve. Serve with a fruit smoothie (see page 000) or a breakfast fruit salad (see below) for a lively way to start the day.

Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-ups: For each serving, heat 1 flour tortilla in the microwave until warm and flexible, about 20 seconds. Spread the entire surface with peanut butter (or other nut butter) and place thin banana slices here and there (you'll need about 1/2 medium banana). Roll up snugly; cut in half crosswise to serve.

Cream Cheese and Berry Roll-ups: For each serving, heat 1 flour tortilla in the microwave until warm and flexible, about 20 seconds. Spread the entire surface with dairy or nondairy cream cheese. Place thinly sliced strawberries over most of the surface or sprinkle with small wild blueberries (or use a little of each). Roll up snugly; cut in half crosswise to serve.

Pasta for Breakfast: I'm always happy to find plain leftover noodles in the refrigerator in the morning. Angel hair or any small pasta shape (tiny shells, elbow macaroni, ditalini, and such) seem more palatable for breakfast than large, chunky shapes. I like mine with a bit of nonhydrogenated margarine and a little salt, generously topped with wheat germ and ground flaxseed. My husband likes his mixed with nonhydrogenated margarine, cinnamon, and natural granulated sugar, then topped as I do mine. I haven't yet convinced my sons to try pasta for breakfast, but maybe they'll learn eventually. This meal is nicely completed by a fruit smoothie.

Breakfast Fruit Salad with Cottage Cheese or Yogurt: For a refreshing start to the day, consider fruit salad. To make it more feasible, make your fruit salad the night before and pack it in an airtight container. Summer is easy, with its abundant offering of melons and grapes; strawberries, blueberries, and other berries; peaches and nectarines; and more. Winter fruits are more limited, but you can still get creative with bananas, pears, mangoes, orange slices, and canned pineapple; embellish with some dried fruit if you'd like, such as apricots or pitted prunes. Top your breakfast fruit salad with a mound of cottage cheese or a scoop of low-fat vanilla yogurt or soy yogurt. If you'd like, sprinkle with chopped nuts or granola. Serve with a slice of whole-grain toast or an English muffin.

Cottage Cheese Salad: For those who are open to veggies in the morning, this is a tasty way to start the day. Simply mix some finely diced tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper into a scoop of cottage cheese. If you'd like, sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds and fresh dill. Serve with a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Morning Parfaits: I always thought of parfaits as dessert, even if they were made with yogurt rather than ice cream, until a reader gave me a new view of this treat. Layer low-fat vanilla yogurt or soy yogurt with seasonal fruits in a tall glass or parfait dish, and top with toasted walnuts, almonds, or a sprinkling of granola. Serve with a toasted English muffin or whole-grain bagel.

Dressed-up Cold Cereal: There are all kinds of ways to make cold cereals more exciting. First of all, make sure the cold cereals you choose are whole grain and all-natural. If they're organic, so much the better. Top cold cereals with any of the following or with any combination that appeals to you:

* Fresh fruit (berries and diced peaches in summer, sliced bananas in cold weather)

* Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots, dates)

* A sprinkling of chopped nuts (toasted slivered almonds or chopped walnuts are particularly good on cereal)

* A sprinkling of granola

* Wheat germ

* Ground flaxseeds

* Toasted sesame or sunflower seeds

Breakfast Sandwiches

Spreading something nourishing between two slices of bread is an easy and sensible way to start the day. But in the morning, most appetites dictate lighter choices than those you might crave for lunch or dinner. You don't need recipes for making breakfast sandwiches, just a cache of good ideas. Here are some to get you going, and remember, if using dairy cheeses or cream cheese, choose organic whenever possible.

* Nut butter (try almond, cashew, or soy nut butter as alternatives to peanut butter) and banana on whole-grain bread

* Any nut butter or fruit butter or all-fruit preserves on whole-grain bread or a roll (apple butter, pear butter, or orange marmalade offer a change of pace from all-fruit preserves)

* Grilled cheese (using dairy or nondairy cheese of your choice; try sliced rice cheese, which is low in fat and high in calcium) on whole-grain bread; add sliced tomato, if desired

* Cream cheese (dairy or nondairy) on good-quality cinnamon-raisin bread or Quick Cinnamon-Raisin Bread (page 000)

* Cream cheese (dairy or nondairy) and sun-dried tomatoes or cured olives on a whole-grain English muffin or bagel

* Scrambled or fried egg and a slice of organic dairy or nondairy cheese or sauteed soy Canadian bacon on a whole-grain roll

* Sauteed soy Canadian bacon and a slice of dairy or nondairy cheese on a whole-grain English muffin

* Sauteed soy Canadian bacon, tomato, and mayonnaise on a whole-grain roll for the heartier appetite

* Grated organic Cheddar or Cheddar-style soy cheese melted over thinly sliced apple, avocado, or tomato on open-faced English muffins

dairy/vegan option

4 to 6 servings

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds, optional

11/2 cups low-fat yogurt or soy yogurt

11/4 to 11/2 cups low-fat milk or rice milk

2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine

Pure maple syrup, all-fruit preserves, or one Quick Fresh Fruit Sauce (page 000)

Dairy option

Calories: 270

Total fat: 6 g

Protein: 13 g

Fiber: 5.9 g

Carbohydrates: 44 g

Cholesterol: 7 g

Sodium: 485 mg

Vegan option

Calories: 266

Total fat: 6 g

Protein: 8 g

Fiber: 6.5 g

Carbohydrates: 49 g

Cholesterol: 0 g

Sodium: 444 mg

Basic Yogurt Pancakes

This recipe is wonderful as is, or it can be used as a starting point for variations. Buttermilk is the traditional base for pancakes, but for me, this raised several dilemmas: One, even the largest supermarkets were often out of stock, and two, even when I did find it, it was never organic. I discovered that yogurt is an excellent base for pancake batter, producing tender, golden results. Once we went vegan, I found that soy yogurt works just as well.

1Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and flaxseeds, if using, in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yogurt and milk. Stir with a whisk until the batter is just smooth; it should have an easy-to-pour consistency, but not too thin. Add more milk as needed. Don't overbeat.

2Heat a nonstick griddle or a large nonstick skillet that has been lightly coated with some of the margarine. Ladle on the batter to form 3- to 4-inch pancakes. Cook on both sides over medium heat until golden brown. Serve hot with maple syrup.


Multigrain: Substitute 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the flour with another type of flour such as spelt, kamut, buckwheat, cornmeal, or rye, or use a combination of two different types of flour equaling 1/2 to 3/4 cup.

Fruity pancakes: Add a cup or so of thinly sliced fruits--one kind or a combination--to the batter. Try pears, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, wild blueberries, or other berries.

Cinnamon-apple pancakes: Add 1 heaping cup very thinly sliced, peeled apple (any soft cooking variety such as Cortland, McIntosh, or Golden Delicious) and ground cinnamon to taste to the batter.

Banana-nut: Add 1 medium thinly sliced banana, 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, and a pinch of ground nutmeg to the batter.

the basic pancake recipe (page 00) makes a good waffle batter if you reduce the amount of milk to 1 cup, or just a bit more if needed. You can use the multigrain variation, but the fruity variations may be too chunky and/or sticky for your waffle iron (waffles are delicious, however, topped with any of the Quick Fresh Fruit Sauces, below). Before cooking the waffles, I like to lightly spray the waffle iron with cooking oil spray (light olive oil spray is a good choice). On weekday mornings, I don't consider it a big job to prepare waffles, if I cut the Basic Yogurt Pancakes recipe in half to yield 4 large Belgian-style waffles.

Quick Fresh Fruit Sauces

for yogurt, pancakes, and waffles

These nifty combinations of finely diced fruit and all-fruit preserves create nearly instant sauces. Each combination makes enough for four to six 1/3- to 1/2-cup servings as a topping.

Peach or Nectarine Sauce: Combine 2 cups finely diced peaches or nectarines with 2 to 3 teaspoons all-fruit peach or apricot preserves. Stir together well.

Strawberry or Strawberry-Blueberry Sauce: Combine 1 pint thinly sliced strawberries (or 1 cup each blueberries and sliced strawberries) with 2 to 3 teaspoons strawberry jam. Stir together well.

Pear and Mango: Perfect for winter! Combine 1 cup diced, peeled pear and 1 cup diced mango with 2 to 3 teaspoons peach or apricot all-fruit preserves. Stir together well.

Purely Mango: Combine 2 cups diced mango with 2 to 3 teaspoons mango, peach, or apricot all-fruit preserves. Stir together well.

dairy/vegan option

4 to 6 servings

2 ripe bananas, well mashed

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

Pinch each ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg

1/2 cup dark raisins, optional

1 cup low-fat milk, rice milk, or soy milk

2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine

Maple syrup or all-fruit preserves, optional

Dairy option

Calories: 176

Total fat: 5 g

Protein: 5 g

Fiber: 4 g

Carbohydrates: 30 g

Cholesterol: 2 g

Sodium: 62 mg

Vegan option

Calories: 181

Total fat: 5 g

Protein: 4 g

Fiber: 4 g

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Cholesterol: 0 g

Sodium: 56 mg

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2004

    A great resource for new and experienced vegetarians alike

    I recently made the decision to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. In doing so, I new that I would need a reference guide to help me along my way. This book is a wonderful tool for anyone who may be new to the vegetarian life, or the experienced vegetarians out there. I have never eaten soy products before, and have never even seen tofu up close, so I was worried that all of the recipes that were in this book would be very complicated and difficult for a novice cook like myself to tackle. I couldn't have been further from the truth. Not only are the recipes in Nava's book easy to make, they all include ingredients that are easy for me to find in my local grocery store. I come from a smaller town in West Virginia and we don't have a health food store or vegan restaurant every 10 feet like they do elsewhere, but with this book, I am able to go to the same grocery store that I have always shopped at and get everything I need. The recipes are healthy and very tasty, and this book has made the transition from a meat eater to a vegetarian not only easy, but fun. I now look forward to making new dishes and trying new ingredients, and I plan to check out all of Nava Atlas's resources. She also includes great websites in the back of this book to check out. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed if you get this book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I am very happy with this book!

    A lot of vegetarian cookbooks I found were very fancy and complicated recipes. Definitely not anything my 2 year old and 9 year old would eat. This book had simple kid friendly recipes, that my sons love! When I became a vegetarian I went a bought a bunch of cookbooks and I think I would have been just fine with this one. Being new to the whole veggie head thing :) I wish this book would have went more in depth with Tofu. For instance a lot of the recipes called for baked tofu which I could not find anywhere, but was able to google and find ways to do it myself. I would definitely recommend this book to someone with a family with children!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    New best friend!

    I love this cookbook. Previously, I was preparing 2 meals each day - one vegetarian and one not, for my family. Preparing the recipes in this cookbook, everyone enjoys a veggie-lifestyle, without even realizing it! I have prepared many of the recipes since purchasing this cookbook and so far have not found a recipe that we did not enjoy. Great tips and information throughout as well. I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone interested in a healthier diet for their family. Cookbook has become my new best friend - it is always out - never gets put away.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2009

    Great starter vegetarian cookbook!

    I am exploring vegetarian cooking and really like this cookbook! The receipes are easy to follow and don't have a lot specialty ingredients, which has been helpful (I live in a small town). I love that most receipes have suggestions for modification (picky eaters, veg vs. vegan and ingredient alternatives) and also menu plans to help plan balanced meals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    Review of Vegetarian Family Cookbook, by Nava Atlas

    A very useful book for those wishing to try occasional vegetarian meals, as well as for strict vegetarians and vegans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    Great FAST Vegetarian Recipes

    I love Nava Atlas and my husband and I are huge fans of this book. The Black Bean/Sweet Potato Chili is a knockout!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2007


    Great cookbook. Book is organized into chapters and I only wish that before each chapter was a concise list of each recipe in the chapter. I have made the muffins with the banana raisin variation and they are very tasty. You can't even tell I used whole wheat pastry flour, applesauce & soy milk!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2006

    A good way to introduce kids to vegetarian eating

    Not every recipe in this book was great, as is true with just about any cookbook. I have tried some recipes that I was not impressed with, but I also came upon many recipes I liked quite a bit, such as her recipes for chickpea burgers and enchiladas. What I really enjoyed was learning how to make baked goods that are pretty healthy and pretty tasty! She has recipes for pancakes, muffins, cookies, etc. that are made with ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour, applesauce, yogurt, and flaxseed. Like the ingredients in her other recipes, these can all be found in most grocery stores. So many recipes in other vegetarian cookbooks are complicated and contain ingredients only found in health food stores. The recipes in this cookbook are for the most party pretty simple. This cookbook is particularly good for vegetarians with kids. The book contains many kid-friendly recipes (pizza, macaroni and cheese, chili mac, spaghetti, etc.) but also has general ideas on things you can give kids for breakfast or pack in their lunch. The biggest downside to this cookbook is that, if you're not into tofu and seitan, you'll have to skip over quite a few recipes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2005

    Our new family favorite

    I am so happy to have discovered Nava Atlas¿s latest book, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. The simple, healthy, and delicious dishes are exactly what my family and I like to eat. Atlas¿s recipes are so approachable ¿ especially for a busy parent. She offers ideas for meals that fit into a busy family lifestyle ¿ simple breakfast ideas, suggestions for school lunches, healthy snacks, and quick dinners. The recipes call for few, easy-to-find ingredients making this book perfect for even the novice cook or beginning vegetarian. This comprehensive book includes recipes for breakfasts, soups, salads, casseroles, pasta, grains, beans, vegetables, snacks, and desserts. For those who don¿t know what to do with tofu, Atlas explains the different types and gives many recipes that will make even those who think they don¿t like tofu, realize that maybe they do. I made the tofu burgers for family and friends and everybody was begging for more (I now make double batches!) I also enjoyed the section on seitan ¿ a meat-like product made from wheat gluten. The recipe for homemade seitan is so easy and the seitan tastes so much better than the store-bought product that my family didn¿t like. In addition to all the yummy recipes, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook includes great information about vegetarianism, reasons to eat organic, substitutes for dairy products, nutrition information, and useful books and web sites. This book had already become the cookbook I turn to first when trying to decide what to make for dinner. Whether your family is vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to eat a more plant-based diet, the recipes in this cookbook are sure to please.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2004

    Reliable, tasty recipes

    I've only had this cookbook for a couple of weeks, so I haven't tried a lot of the recipes yet, but I've been VERY pleased with the ones that I've tried so far. My picky toddler loved the chili and the tofu mac & cheese; she couldn't gobble them down fast enough. If you're looking for kid-friendly vegetarian food, this is a great resource.

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