As someone who is both a vegetarian and gluten-free, I am always on the lookout for interesting recipes that fit this category. It is not an easy category though as time goes by, it is becoming easier to find more available foods and good recipes. When I was sent information about an “Idiot’s Guides as easy as it gets! - The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook”, I was very interested. True, this book contains recipes that are not vegetarian and are not gluten-free, too.
When I received a copy of this book I liked the size, shape and presentation of the recipes. There is something in its design that is very “user friendly”. The recipes that I tried are also easy to follow and construct and they were delicious. One thing that I learned in trying these recipes is that the portions are very large which would be great for a large family and/or entertaining. Since I generally only need to serve two of us, I will decrease the amounts the next time I make these dishes.
I tried four of the dishes and I had company one night so three of us enjoyed the recipes I served. I do not frequently follow recipes so I was really pleased that this book made it “as easy as it gets”. The layout of the pages is appealing and not overwhelming. The information includes: Comments on why the recipe is good; How much the recipe makes; how long it takes; serving size to determine – calories, fat, cholesterol, protein, sodium etc. Then the ingredients are listed and they are easy to see. In general the ingredients were easy to find and I had many of them on hand. Step by step easy to follow instructions followed and the a few tips for serving.
I tried a salad, a main dish, a dip and a dessert. I frequently serve green salads but my husband loves bean salad and the recipe for Bean Salad in the book says this salad is chock full of protein. It calls for two kinds of beans, cannellini and fava. I had to search for the fava beans but it was worth it. This salad was very easy and just delicious.
My husband requests that I make quinoa instead of rice so when I saw the recipe for Vegetarian Quinoa Pilaf, how could I resist? This was delicious and made enough for dinners for most of the week. There were a few more ingredients in this recipe and it required 20 minutes but was greatly enjoyed.
I was advised to make the hummus recipe. This was a ten-minute recipe with Tahini paste being the ingredient that I needed to chase down. But now I have some for the next time I make this recipe, which will be soon. We like hummus, and buy it often, but this was the best we have ever tasted. Both my husband and I loved it.
Another dish that we like to order when we can find it is rice pudding. I was rather excited to try the rice pudding recipe to see how it compared to some we have had out. The unusual ingredient in this recipe is orange blossom water, which surprisingly, wasn’t that hard to find. The portion was enough for us to enjoy for a week, and it was delicious. It matched some of the best of the rice puddings we have ordered in restaurants.
In addition to the limited recipes that I am looking for, this book contains a wide range of Mediterranean dishes that are healthy and relatively low in calories. There are lamb, chicken and fish dishes, some dishes I recognize and some that are very unusual. I look forward to using this book regularly and sharing recipes with others. It is a great addition to any kitchen and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Check out The Idiot’s Guides for more information.
Photos: Leon Keer unless otherwise noted