Book Review: Almost Meatless

Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet
by Jay Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond
Ten Speed Press; $22.50

Traditionally, there has been a great divide between diehard vegetarians and meat eaters, and it is apparent in most modern-day cookbooks. But in Almost Meatless, Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond have started to bridge that gap. The somewhat unlikely pair of food writers (Manning grew up vegetarian, Desmond was more of a meat and potatoes kind of girl) noticed a growing awareness of the benefits of decreasing meat intake without eliminating it completely. Meat, they argue, doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of a meal, and they show us in this useful guide how it can be used as a sustainable enhancement to exciting new versions of classic culinary staples.

Almost Meatless is broken down into chapters highlighting some of the more common meats like chicken, beef and pork, but also explores recipes using turkey, lamb and even eggs, which are usually less prominent in cookbooks. The authors introduce each chapter with an explanation of the health and taste benefits of choosing the sustainably-raised version of each protein, and where to obtain them.

As Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps you will consider Turkey and Pinto Bean Corn Bread Pie, a delicious new way to prepare the bird without the traditional stuffing that uses just eight ounces of meat. The Barley Pilaf Stuffed Squash only calls for four ounces of Italian sausage.
Almost Meatless presents a unique, healthier and more cost-effective approach to cooking, and is a great starting point for anyone looking to find the right meat-to-veggie ratio in the kitchen.