Mediterranean Harvest

Mediterranean Harvest cookbook

Vegetarian recipes from the world’s healthiest cuisine
Vegetarian cookbook review

The Mediterranean region is famous for its delicious and healthy, olive-oil based cuisine which has been credited with everything from lower rates of cancer to improved breathing.*

With more than 500 recipes, the wonderful Mediterranean Harvest cookbook, by Martha Rose Shulman, includes a huge variety of dishes from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and the Middle East, and I love the way it’s organized. I usually go shopping to see what looks good and then skim through cookbooks to decide what to make, rather starting with recipe and a grocery list. And then of course after shopping, I usually have a primary ingredient, such as squash or artichokes, and so I tend to gravitate toward cookbooks that index recipes by ingredient.

Mediterranean Harvest does that, but it also goes one step further: it groups similar recipes from different regions and countries. For example, if I just bought a beautiful bunch of spinach or chard, I might make Ligurian artichoke and greens torta (Italy), mushrooms and greens tart (France), or greens and sweet onion pie (Greece). If I have some beautiful eggplant and tomatoes, I can choose between Imam bayildi (Turkey), stewed eggplants and onions (Italy), or eggplant, tomato, and chick pea casserole (Middle East).

The chapters are divided as follows:

  • Aperitifs
  • Breads, pizza, and panini
  • Sauces, dressings, and condiments
  • Little foods: starters, snacks, meze, and more
  • Soups
  • Eggs and cheese
  • Pasta
  • Savory pies and gratins
  • Vegetables and beans
  • Rice, couscous, and other grains
  • Sweets and desserts

There are so many good recipes that while paging through the book writing down the ones I wanted to try, my list was getting so long it was easier to just put page ranges. The one thing that bothers me a bit is that the author often mentions meat accompaniments; though all of the recipes are vegetarian, she regularly says things like "this would be good with fish," which can be a bit jarring. Other than that, Mediterranean Harvest is pretty much perfect, and it’s definitely one of my favorite cookbooks.

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Author’s website: Martha Rose Shulman


*Scientific studies on the Mediterranean Diet