Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Plant-Based Slow Cooker: 225 Super-Tasty Vegan Recipes


The Plant-Based Slow Cooker is a cookbook and recipe collection for plant-based food in the slow cooker with recipes developed by Robin Robertson. Released 10th Nov 2020 by Quarto on their Harvard Common Press imprint, it's 352 pages and available in paperback format.

I love my slow cooker and use it all the time to prepare soups and stews. I've never been very adventurous but I liked the idea of incorporating more plant-based food into our diets and this book has a lot of nice recipes from which to choose. There are some less-than-ideal aspects of this book, but all in all, there are a bunch of tasty recipes representing a wide variety of world cuisines. 

The author provides an excellent introductory tutorial about slow cookers, methods, uses, and considerations.  The information is mostly general and will be applicable to almost all slow-cookers. Important info is highlighted in concisely written, colored text sidebars. The recipes themselves are grouped by category: snacks & appetizers, soups, stews & chili, beans & grains, pasta, hearty main dishes, stuffed dishes, vegetables, condiments, dessert, breakfast & breads, and hot drinks. There are a number of partial ingredient recipes included also. Many of these extra recipes seemed more or less superfluous and labor intentsive to me (I will never use them, but they will likely appeal to cooks who are well organized and into slow-food clean cooking). 

Recipe ingredients are listed bullet style in a sidebar. Measurements are given in US standard with metric equivalents in parentheses (yay!). Special tools and ingredients are also listed, along with yields and cooking directions. Icons in the headers highlight gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, etc.

Most (but not all) of the ingredients are easily sourced at any moderately well stocked grocery store. Nutritional information is not included.  Tips and optional variations for each recipe are included in a text box at the end. 

The book also includes a cross referenced index. The formatting, typesetting, and margin illustrations are attractive, but the biggest drawback for me personally was the utter lack of photos. There are no serving suggestions or process photos. I find that I'm a very visual cook, and the lack of photos was a surprisingly big deal for me. 

Three and a half stars. This would make a good selection for busy cooks wanting an accessible way to incorporate more plant based food in their diets and who can get along without photos. I'm not insensitive to the fact that incorporating photos in this huge cookbook would have rendered it prohibitively expensive (and massive). 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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