By: Judith Finlayson
Publisher: Robert Rose
Publication Date: January 2010
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: April 7, 2010
Dust off your crockpot and get ready to create some absolutely scrumptious, and healthy, meals. In the follow-up to her popular 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes, author Judith Finlayson has added another 200 recipes to keep the slow cooker working and palates savoring.
Finlayson’s newest volume is divided into several chapters: bread and breakfast, starters and snacks, soups, fondues and savories, veggies, pasta and grains, beans, lentils, tempeh and tofu, sides, and desserts. Within each chapter are fifteen to twenty or so delectable recipes (the bean, lentils, tempeh and tofu chapter has a whopping 40 dishes!) Meals range from popular American traditions such as brown bread, barbecue baked beans and pot pie with biscuit topping to more international offerings like Thai-style coconut tempeh curry and dum phukt-style potatoes with cauliflower.
To the side of each recipe is a serving size suggestion, if it is “entertaining worthy,” “vegan friendly,” and/or “can be halved,” plus tips and if possible, steps that can be made ahead of time. The photographs accompanying many of the recipes are beautifully presented and enough to make one’s mouth water. At the front of the book are several pages of detailed information on slow cooker basics, food safety in the slow cooker, cooking oils, and other important details that will ensure great meals.
I tested several recipes from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker, and found all of them to be simple to follow. Not to mention, the results were quite tasty. The Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna was a big hit with my husband, a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I particularly liked the Pot Pie and admit that I made it twice, the second time adding chicken. Both times it came out quite good. In fact, for the meat-eater, many of the recipes can easily have chicken or other meat added. But try them without meat first; it’s healthy and believe me, quite tasty.
It should be noted that if you’re looking for a slow cooker cookbook where you can simply throw all the ingredients into the crockpot in haste before rushing off to work, and then return 8 hours later to a finished meal, this may not be the right book for you. Many of the recipes do require a fair amount of prep-time (pre-cooking potatoes, mixing ingredients and then cooking before adding to crockpot, etc.). Also, if you don't have a programmable slow cooker, many of the cook times make recipes impossible for the busy working person - the recipes require far less cook times than a full-time worker spends out of the house. Still, these are minor points. While it may make some dishes only possible to prepare on weekends, others are definitely worth the effort.
Quill says: Even if you’re not a vegetarian, this cookbook will have you eating healthier and enjoying it too!