Who knew vegetables could be so versatile? Susie Middleton, that’s who, and she shares this knowledge with you in her extensive new cookbook, Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy for One-Dish Vegetarian Meals. Middleton has an almost exhaustive intimacy with all sorts of delicious vegetables, and in this book she really brings them to the fore. Recipes highlight common veggies like corn, tomato, eggplant, mushrooms; but also bok choy, baby greens, and avocados take top billing. The premise is that vegetables can star every night of the week; Middleton helpfully offers shopping and pantry-stocking lists, as well as recipes for make-ahead sauces and seasonings, so dinner can be ready in a snap. Most recipes take less than half an hour. There will be a lot of chopping and cooking, of course, to layer the flavors, but as these recipes are sized for usually only two or three, that will not actually take much time. However, if you are cooking for a bigger crowd, many of these recipes will quickly become laborious.
“Before I get into the strategy, I should probably tell you that you will be cooking. This is not meal assembly (though we’ll definitely talk about building blocks) — this is about the sensual pleasure and physical satisfaction you get from cooking, from feeding yourself and others well.”
To make supper time cooking easier, Middleton pairs vegetables with different “extra” that you would generally have on hand in your pantry or fridge – noodles, grains, beans, leaves, toast, tortillas, eggs, or broth. This is a very simple, yet almost magical way to think about how to work with vegetables to make a complete meal. The concept is striking and will get you thinking about your own combinations right away. Her recipes convince you that vegetables can indeed become the center attraction for your vegetarian, one-dish meals.