While I am not a vegetarian, I only plan a couple of meat-based dishes a week. I am always on the lookout for more ways to incorporate vegetarian meals into my diet and hit the jackpot with A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing).
Anna Jones is a London-based food stylist and writer. Her beginnings can be traced back to Jamie Oliver’s training program at Fifteen (she later became his food stylist, writer, and food creative for seven years) and she has also worked with Yotam Ottolenghi, Henry and Tom Herbert, Sophie Dahl, and Stevie Parle. She believes vegetables should be the center of the table and has developed ways of bringing out their best flavors. Her way of eating centers on satisfying and healthy foods with a bit of indulgence mixed in.
A Modern Way to Eat is 100 percent vegetarian with many vegan and gluten-free friendly options. At the end of the recipe index, there is even a listing for vegan and gluten-free recipes. She also gives alternatives to ingredients where she can. The majority of Anna’s dishes are simple enough for weeknight dinners or an easy weekend breakfast or lunch, with most of the ingredients available in major supermarkets. She takes the time to explain the few ingredients that are not readily available or not as well known (and even some that are not used in recipes, like bee pollen, but can be incorporated as a part of recipe development). Many of the recipes feature full page photos of the finished product and all ingredients are given in customary and metric measurements for weight.
Anna divides the book into the following sections: What Gets Me Up in the Morning; Food for Filling a Gap; A Bowl of Broth, Soup, or Stew; Satisfying Salads; Easy Lunches and Laid-Back Suppers; Hearty Dinners and Food to Feed a Crowd; Vegetables to Go with Things; Sweet Endings; Cakes, Bread, and a Few Other Things; Things to Drink; and Jam, Chutney, Stock, and Other Useful Stuff. I particularly enjoyed the various templates throughout the book that help you build your own recipes, including sandwich ideas, soup variations, and ways to create a great salad.
I am surprised I have gone this long without making my own salsa and Anna’s recipe is so simple for a light and refreshing appetizer. She pairs baked tortilla chips (seasoned tortillas or flatbreads) with a salsa made of charred tomatoes, a red chile, and scallions. Evan was especially fond of the chips and called them crackers. I used bread that I had on hand: a mixture of flour and whole wheat tortillas, but liked the flour tortillas the most. She recommends corn tortillas. She also offers a few ideas at the end of the recipe (some vegan/gluten-free) for other ways to use the salsa. I paired our leftovers with cheese and spinach quesadillas for lunch the next day.
If you don’t have a large griddle pan, you can also arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and place it under the broiler on high heat, checking often and turning on all sides.
In addition to the Homemade Tortilla Chips with Charred-Chile Salsa, I also made the Cucumber Satay Crunch Salad, Lemon-Roasted Feta with Traffic-Light Tomatoes, Turkish Fried Eggs, and The Really Hungry Burger. The Cucumber Satay Crunch Salad is one of my new favorite salads. Cucumbers are sliced and tossed with chopped spinach, cilantro, toasted coconut flakes, and peanuts, then lightly dressed. I have made this salad a few times since. The Lemon-Roasted Feta with Traffic-Light Tomatoes was a perfect appetizer paired with toasted baguette slices. Anna also offers other ways to use the roasted feta, such as tossing with a Greek salad. Evan loves yogurt, bread, and eggs, so the Turkish Fried Eggs immediately caught my eye. It was perfect for an easy breakfast. I spread Greek yogurt on flatbreads and topped with spices, herbs, and fried eggs. I left the yolks of the egg runny so they mixed with the yogurt to create a delicious sauce. It was so simple, but so perfect. I made The Really Hungry Burger while staying with my parents. Everyone enjoyed it, but the texture was a bit to get used to for me. The veggie burger is made by combining sautéed mushrooms with pureed white beans and other seasonings. The recipe calls for large portobello mushrooms and I think mine just weren’t big enough. It would definitely have been better with more mushroom flavor. While I haven’t tried any yet, Anna has quite the collection of desserts. Her Mint Stracciatella Frozen Yogurt is next on my list.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions stated are my own.
Homemade Tortilla Chips with Charred-Chile Salsa
Adapted from A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing)
4 green onions
1 red chile, pricked with a knife
8 large tomatoes
Small bunch fresh cilantro
Olive oil for drizzling
1 lime, juiced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 tortillas or flatbreads
Olive oil for drizzling
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Set aside two large baking sheets.
Place a large griddle pan over high heat. Once thoroughly heated, add the green onions, red chile, and tomatoes. Allow to char on each side. Once blackened, remove each piece from the griddle and onto a large cutting board (green onions, chile, then tomatoes). Allow to cool until able to be handled.
Remove stem from chile and if desired, remove seeds. Use a large knife to chop all the charred vegetables to desired consistency. Discard the stems from the cilantro and chop in the leaves. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in a large drizzle of olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper to desired taste.
Cut each tortilla into 8 equal triangles. Arrange in a single layer, not touching, among the baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with the paprika and sea salt.
Bake in preheated oven until crisped and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve with the salsa.