Well, look who's jumping on the bandwagon. That's what I thought when I heard that Martha Stewart had compiled a vegetarian cookbook. Yet the book, "Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes" (Clarkson Potter, $25), from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living, soon gave me a couple hundred reasons to regret my unkind notion.
This magnificent addition to the growing canon of meat-free cookbooks provides varied recipes ranging from the old school, such as a brown rice and tofu stir-fry and meatless chili, to the trendy, such as raw kale salad with pomegranate and toasted walnuts and farro salad with oven-roasted grapes. Other delicious ideas include pasta with roasted cauliflower and lemon zest, smoky bell pepper pesto and fresh pea hummus, a lovely spring dip
The book debunks fears that vegetarians don't get enough protein but concentrates on taste rather than nutrition. The recipes make good use of whole grains, and although many use dairy or eggs, vegan options are featured for most. A beautiful color photo illustrates each recipe.
In her foreword, Stewart says her now-grown daughter became a vegetarian at age 12, and that she herself eats very little meat these days. I hope you'll see her as a good example.
Thawed frozen peas can be used in place of fresh. Try the dip as a topping for pasta, too, or stir it into vegetable broth for soup.
Fresh pea hummus
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Makes: 1 1/4 cups
Notes: Adapted from "Meatless." The recipe makes a small amount of dip but is easily doubled.
1 cup fresh shelled peas or frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cook peas in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; run under cold water to stop the cooking. Pulse peas, cilantro, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt in a food processor until smooth, 30 to 40 seconds. Season with salt; serve with crackers.
Per tablespoon: 15 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 22 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.