One Pan, Two Plates: Vegetarian Suppers
More Than 70 Weeknight Meals for Two
Review by Adrianne Morrison and Linda Kissam
Photos by Jody Horton
It’s often a pain to downsize a recipe when cooking for two because most recipes serve four, six, or more. Not having to make these calculations is just one reason we like the One Pan, Two Plates: Vegetarian Suppers recipes created specifically for two. The other is maximum flavor with minimal cleanup. Just as the title says, each meal is prepared in ONE pan. Can you imagine?? It’s a new form of “stackable” cooking. Each ingredient has a special time to be put in the container you are working with.
Follow these recipes and you’ll have delicious meals without those uneaten leftovers. And, each recipe includes an “Extra hungry?” addendum, not for increasing servings, but with suggestions for something extra to compliment the main dish like an antipasto or some cheesy toast.
This cookbook offers a great set of meals for two, or, yes, for one with leftovers to freeze for lunch. Couples, roommates, and singles who desire to eat more vegetables/less meat will have fun with the ingredients, and beverages recommended to pair with each meal. We recommend these recipes to novice cooks and especially to busy couples who prefer to prepare their evening meal at home in less than an hour.
Also, adding to the appeal of One Pan, Two Plates is the “find it fast” index. In addition to the traditional alphabetical index, this supplemental listing suggests recipes based on the season of the year, plus there’s sorts for gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes. Being city girls, we’re not always clear which vegetables or fruits are available in which season so this is a good tool for meal planning.
Author Carla Snyder shares that “Many of us are adopting the label flexitarian. The recipes you’ll find here are for moderate, conscious eaters who don’t want to adopt a drastic change in their diets but want to eat less meat.” This is a perfect collection of recipes to get you started with “easy-to-make vegetable-based weeknight meals for two from the viewpoint of an omnivore.”
We gave the book four stars for its beautiful layout, easy to follow recipes, one pan cooking option, creative dishes and out-of-the vegetarian box thinking. Would make a great gift for the new bride or a vegetarian friend.
The e-book version of this cookbook displays well on all my devices – laptop, iPad and cell phone. It’s becoming ever more evident to me how versatile and practical it is to download a cookbook to the Cloud. I’m a hard copy holdout, but I have to admit it’s so easy to refer to your Kindle app whenever, wherever you choose, select a meal, then shop for ingredients without having to write or type/print from a real book. And, when the text and pictures scale flawlessly like they do for this cookbook, it’s easy to recommend the Kindle version.
An added bonus of this cookbook is the “In the glass:” suggestions for pairing a particular wine or beer that compliments the meal. We can get in a rut with our beverage selections so this section nudges us to try something new and different from our usual grab. I had fun shopping at Trader Joe’s for recipe ingredients and asking their wine chief for help with finding the recommended selection or a respectable equivalent.
So, in my fantasy alternative life, I am definitely a vegetarian. Haven’t quite gotten there in real life, but this book is a good trail to follow to obtain that goal. I ’m always inspired by others who follow their convictions with action. From black bean tacos on restaurant menus to six varieties of hummus at the Farmer’s Market, the meatless movement shows no signs of slowing down.
A new wave of concerned citizens, especially millennial’s, turn to meat-free eating for better health – and the planet. The momentum may be strong enough to see some significant changes. Sales are soaring for once-fringe items such as veggie burgers and almond milk. The number of new vegetarian product launches has doubled over the past five years. The train is coming, looks like it’s time to hop on board.
But let’s face it, if you love perfectly seasoned meatloaf or covet your Carnitas burrito, the idea of eating tofu burgers may not be all that appealing. Meat-free eating has expanded into something more flexible and inclusive, giving everyone a chance to choose healthful and sustainable meals without giving up meat entirely. It’s called the “flexitarian” diet. While 7.3 million Americans are vegetarian, an additional 22.8 million are flexitarian, meaning they primarily eat a vegetarian diet, but enjoy meat occasionally. This part-time vegetarian diet has broader appeal because it helps us balance food cravings with health and global sustainability. It gets my vote as does this wonderful cookbook.
I recently dined with the author at her cookbook launch in LA. Her choices to serve on the “media buffet” were enough to make me a believer that there is life after red meat. If I hadn’t known it was an all-vegetarian set-up, I would have just thought it was all “good food.” Her choices of Super Food Salad (pg. 111), Roasted Brussels with Butternut Squash, Apple & Walnuts (pg. 85), Bow Ties with Brussel Sprouts, Gorgonzola & Hazelnuts (pg. 155), Crunchy Bean Tacos (pg. 139) and the Lemon Scones with Blackberries had me at good taste.
It was a special treat to see that the author didn’t feel the need to “cheese” everything up or knock us out with tofu. Just beautifully layered flavors that prove being a flexitarian is a good path to investigate.
Try this wonderful recipe to get a “taste” of what this book has to offer.
Mac and Smoked Gouda with Swiss Chard and Horseradish Crumbs
START TO FINISH 40 minutes
HANDS-ON TIME 20 minutes
Oh, mac and cheese, how many ways do we love thee? In this rendition, we foster mac’s smoky side with smoked Gouda and pique his spicy side with horseradish-laced crunchy saltines. To make things even better, you don’t have to boil the pasta. It cooks right in the sauce. Genius.
4 Tbsp [55 g] unsalted butter, plus 1 Tbsp melted
1 onion, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems discarded, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup [240 ml] milk
1/2 cup [120 ml] half-and-half
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups [120 g] shredded smoked Gouda
1 1/2 cups [360 ml] vegetable broth
6 oz [170 g] elbow macaroni
10 saltines, crushed
2 tsp prepared horseradish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C].
- Heat a 12-in [30.5-cm] oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, and melt the 4 Tbsp [55 g] butter. When the butter sizzles, add the onion and sauté until it softens, about 2 minutes. Add the Swiss chard, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper and sauté until the chard leaves wilt, about 3 minutes.
- Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the milk, half-and-half, and mustard and cook, stirring and scraping up any flour that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the Gouda and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth and macaroni, pressing down to make sure the pasta is submerged in the liquid. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or an oven-safe lid, transfer to the oven, and bake until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the saltines, horseradish, and 1 Tbsp melted butter.
- Remove the pasta from the oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle the saltine mixture over the top. Carefully move the oven rack to the second highest position and preheat the broiler. Broil until the topping is browned, about 2 minutes.
- Scoop the pasta into heated bowls. Serve hot. (Or, if you want it to stay really hot, just place the pan on the table and eat with two forks like my husband and I do.)
It’s that easy: It would be so simple to sub out just about any cheese in your fridge for the smoked Gouda. The important thing is that it’s good cheese (no low-fat versions need apply). Try using white Cheddar, Gruyère, Jarlsberg, or go ahead and toss some Parmesan in the mix for good measure.
It’s not likely you’ll need any more food with this meal, but if you’re looking for something to serve on the side, add some crispy, cold dill pickle spears. The sour flavor is a great contrast with the richness of this dish. In the glass: An off-dry Riesling from Jacob’s Creek works perfectly with the rich and smoky cheese.