The Meatless Monday movement may be new on the food scene but vegetarian cooking is not. Can you remember back to when it was new?Â In 1977, when the original Moosewood Cookbook was published, few people were aware of the vegetarian options out there and even fewer kept a vegetarian diet. When most people thought of a vegetarian meal, they thought of the sides, of a meal with no protein and no main course.Â It seemed to be the general consensus that a vegetarian meal would not be filling or satisfying. With this in mind, Mollie Katzen, the author of the Moosewood Cookbook, filled her book full of rich and creamy dishes in an effort to convince the masses that they need not worry about being hungry after a good vegetarian meal.
Fast forward to today. The climate around vegetarian cooking and eating has thankfully changed – the Meatless Monday movement is a wonderful case in point – and so too has the old vegetarian standby, the Moosewood Cookbook. The twenty year anniversary edition that I have and the one that you are likely to find in a bookstore today is called the New Moosewood Cookbook and it has been revised to compliment the more vegetarian-friendly, more health-conscious climate that surrounds food and cooking today.Â Heavy, “filling” dishes have been reworked with less fat and the flavors and spices have been punched up. At least that’s what Mollie Katzen explains in the first few pages of the New Moosewood Cookbook.
Last Monday, somewhat inspired by those opening pages, I decided to make the New Moosewood Cookbook’s spinach-rice casserole.Â As is typical, this recipe has been lightened up from its original formula with half the eggs and a qualification in front of the step that includes the eggs, milk, and cheese that reads, “PURELY OPTIONAL.”Â Not being overly health-conscious myself, I took the option and then some.Â My dish may have had extra cheese, but not because I think vegetarian cooking is lacking in richness, quite the contrary, I just love cheese. (I also left out the sunflower seeds, merely because I forgot to pick them up at the grocery store.) All in all, the dish turned out great – filling, delicious, nutritious (the recipe calls for two pounds of spinach!), and vegetarian: perfect for a Monday.
Why not give a Moosewood Cookbook recipe a try? You can find many of the book’s recipes on Mollie Katzen’s website. Or just make something up – have fun on your Meatless Monday!