Mark Bittman on Cooking Vegetarian

Friday, October 12, 2007

The New York Times's Minimalist Mark Bittman is an avowed meat eater. But he’s just released a new meat-free cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Mr. Bittman says that vegetarians, omnivores, and carnivores alike can enjoy his meatless recipes. He joins Leonard to share recipes like Green Tea with Udon Noodles and Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce.

Weigh In: This question is for the meat eaters: what's your favorite 100% vegetarian meal?


Mark Bittman

Comments [26]

Nederlander from The Netherlands

Bittman's great.

I love his 'respect the ingredients' simplicity ethic. Never forget his mackerel poached in soy.

But Leonard, did you have to keep going on and on about Bittman being trapped 'in the closet'?

Careful, Leonard.

Oct. 14 2007 05:49 AM
Stenocall from Texas

Pasta is GREAT!!!!

Oct. 13 2007 11:00 PM
Candice from NYC

I was very interested in what he began to say about vegans and protein. He didn't elaborate after saying vegans get plenty of protein. Anyone know where I can get more information about whether or not a vegan diet is healthy, as Bittman said? Thanks.

Oct. 12 2007 08:48 PM
petit four princess from currently Colorado, formerly Brooklyn

My favorite all vegetarian meal is a Tuscan white bean soup with kale, rosemary, and roma tomatoes. It is a recipe found in The reBar Cookbook (the reBar is a fantastic vegetarian/vegan oriented restaurant in Victoria, BC). The soup is fantastic because it is so rich and satisfying and the ingredients are simple and pure.

Also, for a dining out option, GOBO in the village has a fantastic dish of braised tofu in black bean sauce that comes with a lovely sweet potato puree and brown rice. So yummy.

Oct. 12 2007 06:25 PM
petit four princess from currently Colorado, formerly Brooklyn

Marifull, the processed product referred to was TVP or texturized vegetable protein. It is usually sold in dry form in health food stores and when re-hydrated sort of resembles ground meat, or at least I believe that is what the manufacturers are trying to achieve.

Oct. 12 2007 06:18 PM
marifull from Kansas

Loved the interview - but couldn't make out one part - someone called in to ask him about a product, and Bittman said he didn't like it, very processed - what was the product the caller referred to?

Oct. 12 2007 02:34 PM
Ami Silberman from Wall Township, NJ

To reply to Chad and George -- There is an earlier Bitman book, from 2003, "How to Cook Everything : Vegetarian Cooking", which is 144 pages long and is extracted from "How to Cook Everything". The new book is "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", and is 1044 pages long, 84 pages longer than "How to Cook Everything". There may be duplicate recipies, but most of the material is bound to be new, and some may be similar but improved. Bittman's other, non "How to Cook Everything" derived books include his minimalist series (collected and slightly expanded in an omnibus "Quick and Easy Recipies from the New York Times"), "Fish", and the excellent but out-of-print "Leafy Greens".

Oct. 12 2007 02:23 PM
George from NYC

Chad wrote: "some guy on Amazon says he just cut out a piece of his earlier book and repurposed it."

Yes I saw that. I was wondering if it was true. Or maybe Mark updated the material a bit and/or gave it a new context. Has anyone looked at both books?

Oct. 12 2007 12:57 PM
jd from nyc

how to cook with tofu:

cook it with all of the spices in the recipe BEFORE you put it in with the rest of the food.
e.g.> lasagna - being lactose intolerant, which means short of hard cheeses, i have to be careful, what i do is stirfry the the tofu with olive oil and italian spices before i add it into the rest of the recipe. Since i still want some ricotta, i use 1/2 of the regular soft cheese, and use the cooked tofu for the rest, and match the consistency by chopping it up to match the ricotta.
the only people who seem to be able to detect it are people who just really don't like tofu. This technique seems to work with stronger flavored vegetables such as mushroom, spinach and peppers, and very well as a meat substitute for or along with turkey and red meat as well. [And turkey is a good way to start cutting into the red meat routine for those of you who really want to take it slow.]

Oct. 12 2007 12:54 PM
J from new jersey

This may sound irrelevant, but is this (eating more veggies) why he looks so skinny these days? (or does he have a younger woman?)

Either way, I love his style & taste!


Oct. 12 2007 12:48 PM
Chad Harris from Ridgewood

some guy on Amazon says he just cut out a piece of his earlier book and repurposed it.

Oct. 12 2007 12:47 PM

not to be a spoilsport but eggs ARE considered poultry. not sure why he's repeatedly saying otherwise. other than that, great interview...

Oct. 12 2007 12:47 PM
ch from NJ

Oct. 12 2007 12:46 PM
ch from NJ

some of the most inhumane things happen to egg laying hens....beak removal is allowed even at the places that are supposedly organic. i'll post a site where that info is available if i can find it.

Oct. 12 2007 12:43 PM

Can Mark Bitterman pls comment on whether any of his vegetarian recipes are low calorie recipes?

Oct. 12 2007 12:42 PM
George from NYC

Is this book contained in it's entirety in Mark's earlier book, How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food?

Thanks for your clarification!


Oct. 12 2007 12:36 PM
karen from Long Beach, NY

Where is Spain is your guest hiding in a closet?

Oct. 12 2007 12:30 PM
frisky C from inwood, nyc

I never feel heavy after eating a purely veg' meal. Sometimes you feel like you weigh a ton after a dinner with beef or even chicken or fish. But just throwing tofu around with some veggies and spices you feel world better and not "full" and "bursting" at the seams. Not heavy but light.

Oct. 12 2007 12:27 PM
Liz from Manhattan

Just heard your comment about the gracious host who made egglant parmagian (sp?) for their veggie guest while everyone else had chicken parm. As a veg, that happens to me a lot - and oftentimes everyone else wants my eggplant. This particularly happens at a bbq when I'm made a special portabello burger.

I'm lookingv forward to buying the book. (already a sustaining member of wnyc)

Oct. 12 2007 12:26 PM
karen from Long Beach, NY

My Mom is the world's best Vegan cook! She could turn anyone into a vegan!

Oct. 12 2007 12:24 PM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

I never can understand the comment that a vegetarian or even a vegan diet is limiting or restrictive. There are far more items in the vegetable, fruit or grain categories than in the animal. When you take into account the myriad assortment of spices and herbs, the possibilites are endless.

Oct. 12 2007 12:22 PM
RC from Queens

This is nothing new to South Indians or those who are use to the vegetarian cuisine of Tamil Nadu, Andre Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerela (You do get good fish there).

And some of the best vegetarian food comes from Gujarat.

Hey maybe my mom ought to write a cookbook ;-)

And she uses very little oil to boot.

Oct. 12 2007 12:16 PM
Miss from Manhattan

stu, vegetarians consume dairy products; vegans don't.

Oct. 12 2007 10:27 AM

is baked ziti acceptable if the dairy products come from animals?

Oct. 12 2007 10:13 AM
Joann from Somerset NJ

Pasta e fagioli

Oct. 12 2007 08:09 AM

Challenge: veggie pho?

Oct. 12 2007 07:26 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.