As a formerly “notorious carnivore,” Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is the last person you might imagine would write a cookbook that praises the wonders of vegetables. In his latest cookbook, River Cottage Veg, however, the renowned British broadcaster, writer, farmer, and educator shocks his readers by offering a lavishly-illustrated account including more than 200 vegetarian and over 60 vegan recipes.
After experiencing success with his award-winning The River Cottage Fish Book and the River Cottage Meat Book, Fearnley-Whittingstall decided to try his hand at vegetarianism in order to appeal to the 22.8 million Americans who identify themselves as having a vegetarian-inclined diet. What resulted was an inspired collection of “vegetable-centric” dishes—from soups to tarts to tea loafs—that help readers explore vegetables’ delightful versatility.
River Cottage Veg is a comprehensive index for people looking to expand their cooking repertoire while sticking to a vegetarian diet that is anything but boring. While it does not strictly promote vegetarianism as the best diet for everyone, the introduction does offer various compelling arguments for why Fearnley-Whittingstall has written this book and why he supports vegetarianism’s tenets, even if he does not identify himself as one.
Fearnley-Whittingstall has argued in the past that the Western diet is far too meat-centric, both for our health and for the welfare of the many millions of animals raised for food. With this in mind, Fearnley-Whittingstall prefers ethically produced meat and sustainably-caught fish to true vegetarianism for his own diet. He suggests that people will begin to eat less meat if they are presented with a variety of meals that do not rely on meat alone for taste or appeal—hence, River Cottage Veg was born.
From vegetarian twists on classic comfort food recipes like lasagna and pizza to more intricate tapas recipes fit for special occasions, the cookbook assures that vegetables can be as versatile and delicious as they are nutritious.