The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Ge… (2024)


1,373 reviews2,606 followers

December 20, 2013

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt deserves much credit for making this book as beautiful as it is. They have really made it the standard to reach. Katzen has done her cool line drawings--now in color!--on the endpages so with her tasty, (can I say thoughtful?), modern recipes her unique talents are again on display.

Now that I have had a chance to work with it a bit, I decided Katzen has chosen some real winners here. Her soups and salads are lovely to look at and probably worth the price of the book alone. She guides the beginner through the steps so that success can be yours right from the start.

I will say that she picked already favorites of mine, e.g., I cook greens almost every night and I often use the onion, garlic, red pepper combination that she recommends. I don't know if it is really appropriate to complain that some of the dishes are so simple as to make the cookbook shortly irrelevant. Most people are actively looking for simple and memorable and so great we can eat it again and again without dragging the cookbook out each time. She gets that and delivers.

But Mashed Parsnips? Hmmm. She has a whole section about mashing things up...cauliflower, broccoli, peas. Maybe she's trying to make it palatable for kids? If it is fresh, it seems a sin to mash it up but she makes it look very pretty. Perhaps it is a little like a mystery: one is so intrigued when one sees it on the plate one opens one's mind to the possibilities. Maybe I should just try it and see if it does something for me?

She has an interesting sauces and dressings section which is useful for folks on the go. You can dip crudités or drizzle over roasted veggies...(what is better tasting and easier to cook than roasted veggies?) I like her use of pomegranate molasses. What else I like: sometimes folks have difficulty figuring out what vegans eat. She very naturally makes meals of vegetables and grains that do not include cheese or dairy and reminds us that, by the way, this is vegan. It is a very unobtrusive way to introduce vegan entrees to the mainstream and show everyone how really very simple it can be to cook for vegans.

I also like the "light" quality of the recipes. There were one or two recipes that gave me pause: Bulgur with Spaghetti, and Banana Cheese Empanadas. I think she is just daring us to try them. She also has one that sounds kind of intriguing: Toasted Barley Dumplings. As a side, it can take care of the carb portion of a vegetable meal.

Truth is, The Moosewood Cookbook: Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, New York was something like the second cookbook I ever owned. Katzen therefore had an outsized influence on my eating habits. I still admire what she can do. What she has produced here is remarkably like what I eat already.

    cooking nonfiction vegan


Author5 books126 followers

April 25, 2015

This wouldn't be my desert island cookbook (the revised version of Katzen's The Moosewood Cookbook would be that), but it's a lovely book nonetheless. As always, Katzen's aim is to provide options--in this case, options for vegans. (I'm not a vegan, though I can certainly see the attractions of living such an unexploitative life.) Many of those recipes that do contain dairy products or eggs can with the tiniest of tweaks be made perfectly vegan: the excellent Ribollita, for example, the Linguine and Green Beans in Pesto Trapanese, and the Farfalle and Rapini in Creamy Walnut Sauce, all of which are delicious without cheese and/or cows' milk.

Katzen's soups are always great, and those here that I've tried have all been wonderful, especially the Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup, strangely reminiscent of pasta e fa*gioli. I must confess though to making soups with chicken stock, because we have an endless supply of it at our house, ever since my husband decided to start cooking chicken regularly to feed the cats in our neighbourhood. Somehow I feel that Mollie Katzen would forgive me.

Still cooking!


Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

2,179 reviews2,047 followers


October 27, 2013

I really like the layout and variety and color photos. I can't give this a rating, because I've only tried the Tahini-Lemon Sauce, and a cookbook is only as good as its recipes, regardless of how beautiful it looks.

    books-about-food cookbooks nonfiction


429 reviews15 followers

December 20, 2013

This book is beautiful, with lovely full-color photographs. At the same time, when you read it, it feels as homey as one of the Moosewood Cookbooks, famously produced in Mollie Katzen's handwriting.

What I love about Katzen's vegetarian cookbooks is that while they are not free of tofu (which to me is like the vegetarian version of Campbell's cream of chicken soup), they tend to use simple less processed ingredients. And this one is no exception.

I have never had a bad experience with a Katzen recipe -- and that is more than I can say for many a more famous cookbook author (I don't know if I have ever lucked into a Martha Stewart recipe that came out as promised). That said, I haven't tried any of these yet, but I have my eyes on a few. In the unlikely event that they turn out disastrously, I will be sure to let you know.


556 reviews37 followers

August 7, 2016

My mom had a spiral bound copy of the Moosewood Cookbook by this author when I was young. I loved going through it and choosing recipes. This book has both vegetarian and vegan recipes. It also has a list for both with the recipes in the book that would go together as a meal. There are 20 for the vegetarian, and 15 for the vegan. For example, one of the vegetarian meals has Cumin Scented Black Bean Burgers, Chili-Cilantro mayonnaise, Strawberry-Avocado Saladita or Jicama-Pink Grapefruit Sladaita, Slaw and Warmed corn tortillas. An example of one of the vegan meals is Mashed potatoes made with olive oil-salt-and pepper, Seitan Medallions in Good Gravy, Green Beans with roasted almond oil and toasted almonds, Spiced Carrots in Thick Cranberry-Orange Vinaigrette, and Crisp Ethereal Onion Rings. Yum!! None of the recipes in the book seem hard to make and you should be able to find all the ingredients at your local store.

There are sections on soup, salad, stews, Cozy Mashes, Rice/Other Grains, Pasta/Asian Noodles, Suppers from the oven, Burgers and Savory Pancakes, Vegetables, Suaces/VInaigrettes/Toppings, Deserts.

I like the variety of recipes in this book. The title is a bit misleading, at least to me it was, because it says ‘Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation. So I was happily surprised when I opened it up and found vegan recipes too. The fact that it has menu ideas is great too, especially for someone who, like me, is just starting out with these type of recipes. I really liked this book and will be going through it again to pick out all the recipes I want to try. I borrowed this book from the library, so if your interested in checking it out, you may find it at yours.

I love caramel, but would love to try a healthier version, so when I saw this recipe in the book I did the happy dance.
Soy Caramel
Makes about 1/4 cup- Vegan
3/4 cup agave nector
1/4 cup water
1/2 medium garlic clove
2 slices ginger (slightly larger and thicker than the size of quarters)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the agave and water n a small saucepan and whisk until uniform

Add the garlic and ginger and bring to a boil

Reduce the heat to a modest simmer and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes or until reduced by about one third

Add the soy sauce and let it bubble over low heat for another 5 minutes

Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let cool and infuse for at least 30 minutes before finishing out the garlic and ginger

Store in a covered container at room temperature and serve as desired

This yeild may seem low but this is very concentrated, so a little bit will go far. Also, you can easily multiply the recipe
Store the caramel, covered, at room temperature. It will keep for a month


550 reviews5 followers

January 30, 2015

I am NOT a vegetarian in any sense of the word, I'm not even close to it. In fact, I have more meat in my diet than vegetables as the fiber in said vegetables creates havoc in my digestive system. And on top of that I never really developed a taste for anything more than corn, potatoes, green beans, onions or green peppers and even then, some of the above was used to season other foods.
So that being said, as I read through the many recipes...I found myself longing to try things I had never tasted before, like artichokes. But it is a daunting task to cook something when you don't even know what part is edible or how to cook it. Or wanting to put ingredients together in a recipe I had never thought of putting together. Now admittedly there were many pages of recipes that my only response was ewwwww or yuck, but still, I really, really liked the book. Had I the money, I would have bought the book!!



508 reviews2 followers

February 12, 2017

While the recipes and pictures depict fresh, vibrant food, I find myself hesitant to cook most of it. I cannot imagine that (for the most part) just one recipe from this cookbook would be filling enough, and I don't plan on making multiple dishes for a meal.

Update: I've made her green rice with grapes and pecans. It's delicious. Super fresh and herby and I love the juicy grapes in there. Perfect for a make-ahead potluck.


3,436 reviews449 followers

November 29, 2020

I don’t usually review recipe books, but this one is different.

For a start (even though I didn’t buy it, I won it in a competition) it isn’t ridiculously expensive like so many cookbooks are. The last one I bought for The Spouse (who is the chef chez moi) could have bought dinner out for two at a cheap-and-cheerful restaurant here in Melbourne.

More importantly, it has a different approach both to vegetarian cooking and to the process of preparing meals in itself.

If like mine (pre Spouse when I was in the kitchen), your 1970s cooking was the hippie vegetarian type, you probably had Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. It went viral back then (though in the 70s the word ‘viral’ meant something entirely different) because it relegated meat to redundant and it promoted cooking everything from scratch. I made some scrumptious meals from Moosewood but they were, as Katzen now acknowledges, bulky and rich. They were also often brown and somewhat drab in appearance.

But, okay, these days everyone in the cookbook trade is reducing fat; relying more on flavouring; and setting aesthetic standards usually impossible for a home cook to achieve. What makes Katzen’s book different to the vegetarian cookbooks that I have (about 30 at last count, we eat vegetarian 2-3 times a week) is the focus on vegetables as dominant on the plate, as Katzen explains in her down-to-earth, chatty style:

Now when I cook, I want as much space on the plate as possible for my beloved garden vegetables. For the most part, that is my definition of my cuisine: a beautiful plate of food, simply cooked, maximally flavoured, and embracing as many plant components as will harmoniously fit. My food is sharper, livelier, and more relaxed than it used to be. (p.2)

And she means it when she says ‘more relaxed’. For risotto, don’t get hung up on shelling your own peas, use frozen. There is a divine pomegranate version of baklava that uses store-bought filo pastry. (Well, I never did make my own, I admit it. Who can?)

To read the rest of my review please visit

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Lorraine Susan Ventura

3 reviews1 follower

January 17, 2020


So many books I download never get read past the first few pages because of horrendous editing & overly repetitive content. This is a happy exception. Great recipes, well-written & informative & yes, interesting! Mollie Katzen, maybe you need to teach how to write. No, stick to cooking, you’re awesome.

Sarah Lombard

121 reviews1 follower

January 7, 2023

This book just makes my heart happy. No fancy techniques, just very simple utensils and simple food that is delicious and the writing and the art sets the tone of a warm and comforting cookbook. It reminds me of those times in the ‘80’s when I wore out enchanted broccoli forest and moosewood when life was much more simpler.


49 reviews1 follower

November 5, 2017

My cookbook club cooked from this book and all of the recipes were winners. My personal favorites were the cheese-crusted cauliflower, curried mashed carrots and cashews, and the fruit-studded madeline cake.


6 reviews

February 21, 2017

I'm not a vegetarian, but the recipes in this book are brilliant. The fully loaded corn cakes and zucchini cloud pancakes are to die for! Yum!!!!


2,217 reviews3 followers

October 22, 2017

Inspiring combinations of delectable ingredients. Great pictures



971 reviews18 followers

November 18, 2017

Very text heavy, smaller pics. Great if you have time to read about the techniques, not so much if you need something quick.

    cookbook fall-2017


161 reviews

December 22, 2017

In her first book, Mollie taught my husband to cook, bless her heart. In this most recent tome, she inspires with bright flavors and techniques for quick and tasty meals.


Jill Kandel

Author5 books30 followers

March 6, 2019

Great recipes.

    2019 food


1,669 reviews

November 20, 2020

Delightful book, many strong recipes. Mollie consistently hits home runs.


308 reviews8 followers

December 4, 2020

Some really great recipes and they turned out very tasty.

Claire T.

18 reviews

July 21, 2022

One of my favorite cookbooks! Never a dull vegetarian meal with Mollie :)



339 reviews1 follower

November 7, 2022

Yummy stuff


46 reviews

July 3, 2021

Veggie inspirations - best frittata, roasted cauliflower, primavera pizza

    2021 cookbooks


1,193 reviews55 followers

October 18, 2013

Through this rather large book the author promises to redefine vegetarian recipes for a whole new generation. A broad promise, to be sure and something that perhaps this meat eater might not fully appreciate…?

Certainly vegetarianism can have a bit of a poor reputation, if only through tired-old preconceptions about the relative boring selection of recipes that invariably are to be found. So anything that shows that even vegetarians can have interesting, exciting, tasty and varied food must be a good thing. Matters start with a series of introductions and overviews that are informative, not patronising and neither shouting about the benefits of vegetarianism. You are either sold on the idea or not. Take it or leave it. Yet with a book like this even the most devout meat eater will find some things to add to their list of favourite dishes.

As you would expect the recipes are split into typical chapters such as soups, rice and grains, vegetables and desserts, each chapter beginning with a list of recipes and corresponding page numbers and an informal overview or observations. The design of the book is quite low key, spacious, clearly signposted and unfussy - you tend to notice that you focus on the recipes, immersed and spoilt by the sheer range and selection and that is the sign of a good book. Can vegetarian food really be so diverse? Yes it can is the clear, unambiguous answer and whilst this reviewer is not planning to give up meat in a hurry, there is a very long "shortlist" of recipes to try over time.

It is frustratingly annoying that this book has quite a few little niggles: the lack of a clear estimated preparation and cooking times, the use of sole U.S. measures and not every recipe has its own photograph. If this was a lesser book you might have not noticed these little things so much but when you have an otherwise perfect thing in front of you ANY imperfection is more visible, more magnified.

This pre-release review copy did not feature an index or any appendices so no opinion can be given as to them but one hopes that the list of recipes is very detailed. You need it with this book, that is for sure.

The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation, written by Mollie Katzen and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780547571591, 464 pages. Typical price: USD34.99. YYYY.


Virginia Campbell

1,282 reviews332 followers

August 19, 2013

Legendary chef and cookbook author Mollie Katzen offers up a fresh feast of palate pleasers in "The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation". Ms. Katzen's original "Moosewood Cookbook" revolutionized the theory and thinking behind vegetarian and vegan cooking, and it remains a venerated classic to this day. With "The Heart of the Plate", we are treated to the author's exuberance, experience, and expertise in refining and reinventing vegetarian and vegan dishes which will tempt even the most finicky of eaters. Seasonings, cooking techniques, and cooking tools are instrumental in Ms. Katzen's kitchen. Vegetarian and vegan menus offer helpful guides for food combining and serving complete, satisfying meals. Most of the recipes feature easily-obtained and on-hand ingredients. However, there's no time like the present to try something new, and stepping out of your cooking comfort zone can be a delicious diversion. Try some of these recipes: "Creamy Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup"; "Ginger-Fennel Broth"; "Crunchy Cucumbers and Red Onion with Fresh Cheese"; "Green Beans and Beets with Pickled Red Onions"; "Ginger-Pecan Mini Biscuits"; "Mushroom Stroganoff over Cabbage Noodles"; "Roasted Garlic-Mashed Cauliflower"; "Autumn Vegetable Lasagna"; "Vegetable Pizza"; "Mushroom Popover Pie"; "Caramelized Onion-Brown Rice-Lentil Burgers"; "Beet, Orange, and Ginger Marmalade"; "Bittersweet Mocha Bundt Cake"; and "Pecan Shortbread Cookies". Temptingly photographed, and charmingly illustrated by the author herself, "The Heart of the Plate" will tastefully coax you into a new way of thinking about food and cooking.

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    advice cookbooks health

Amy Paget

335 reviews4 followers

June 13, 2015

It’s so easy to enjoy cookbooks. We ALL like to eat after all, but one of the great joys of cookery tomes is that they are most often designed for durability and collectability. The weight and sheen of the paper is lovely and the photographs inspiring. With all that as a ‘given’, what makes any specific cookbook stand out? When it’s written by Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook, said title, The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a new Generation jumps right to the top of any cook’s reading list.
So much has happened to American cookery since the 1977 publication of Moosewood. Our best cuisine is no longer governed by ‘quick and convenient’, rather local and fresh and high quality are the new rallying cries. Many American palates are no longer solely ‘meat and potatoes'. Those changes are all featured in Katzen’s new book, The Heart of the Plate.
Full color photos fill every second page in this excellent production from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Text spacing for the ingredients and recipe steps is easy on the eyes and most recipes include ‘optional enhancements’; ingredient suggestions to ‘change up’ the course. Best of all, for this reader, is that many of the recipes are ‘easy’ to follow for the occasional cook. Among my favorites are: Stir-fried noodles with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Tofu, and Cashews; Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese; and Golden Mango-Nectarine Gazpachio. Highly recommended.


247 reviews50 followers

April 7, 2014

I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but I have flirted with it many times over the years and am constantly looking for ways to add more veggie variety into my diet. Katzen is most known for the Moosewood Cookbooks which were a hearty staple of the average vegetarian kitchen for years. The subtitle suggests that this book if for a "new generation" and that is reflected in the contents. The hippie, granola feel of the Moosewood books is mostly gone and replaced by color photos and illustrations. The recipes themselves are lighter and probably healthier as they don't include nearly as much dairy as in the past, making this more vegan-friendly.

The extensive menu recommendations (vegetarian and vegan) are perfect for people who have limited time for planning such things and the ingredients used are surprisingly accessible given the penchant for vegetarian cookbooks to require obscure produce and spices. The Heart of the Plate is indeed a classic cookbook for modern times.

    2013 cooking vegetarian


2,413 reviews

February 19, 2014

First of all, this is an absolutely gorgeous book! The artwork is beautiful, the layout is great and the photographs are well done. I have had it checked out from the library as many times as I can renew it and I think I may have to purchase one of my own. Not only is it totally beautiful, but the recipes are great. They are well-written, easy to follow and delicious. I will never ever be able to make any of them look like they do in the photos, but that is ok. I have made the Forbidden Rice with Beluga Lentils and Mushrooms and loved it and I have made the Grilled Mushroom Slices several times now - they are one of my favorites and I could eat them every day. I have gotten good ideas from the cookbook about things that I never would have thought to do, but are really delicious. I am so impressed with this cookbook and I highly recommend it.

Debra Daniels-Zeller

Author3 books10 followers

January 8, 2015

It's about time people regarded vegetables as the heart of the plate. A friend gave me this book last year and I spent a lot of time checking out recipes and cooking from it. Katzen offers basic cooking advice, but one of the best parts was her soup chapter which did not rely on stocks. I'm a lazy cook and I've also learned that if you add onions, carrots and celery and saute the vegetables first, you can get deep flavor without stock. Many of these recipes inspired me to create new recipes. My favorite chapter was the salad chapter and overall I'd rate this book as a 3.75 because there was only one cookie recipe and four versions of lasagna. And why on earth are there 4 recipes for Gazpacho, isn't this supposed to be a book for more than the cooks in California? In the Northwest we get fewer hot days in summer and Gazpacho is a rare occurance in my kitchen.



785 reviews27 followers

October 27, 2013

Who doesn't love Mollie Katzen and her great hand illustrated cookbooks? While this one isn't hand illustrated (except for the beautiful end pages)it has the same spirit of those old beloved books (and in classic Mollie style has zero smug veg pretension). Great inspiration whether you eat everything (and just like veggies) or don't do animal products at all. I haven't had a chance yet to try everything that sounds good (and the book is due back at the library) so I'll probably update again after I've tried a few more. Very recommended!

*Curried Cauliflower Stew with Onion Pakoras*
*Very Simple Lentil Stew with Cottage Cheese Dumplings*
*Mushroom Stroganoff over Cabbage "Noodles" with Toasted Barley Dumplings*
*Golden Lentils with Soft, Sweet Onions*
*Celery-Almond-Date Saladita*


10 reviews1 follower

May 29, 2015

The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen is a beautiful and informative book about a young woman’s journey through the culinary world and the ‘Plate’ in which it all takes place. This book captures all elements of life through its beverage rivers and ceramic mountains. As she(Mollie) conquers the forests of cabbage and sand dunes of guinea she realizes that there is more to these lands than just a balanced diet. The stories that each step through this world takes her to are truly remarkable and leaves you hungry for more. As she comes to the end of her adventure she learns that though having a healthy alternative is always the real win, these healthy meals don’t need to be indelibly untastefull. I recommend this book to all readers as it is informative and entertaining.(456)


377 reviews39 followers

August 8, 2015

From the author of Moosewood, The Heart of the Plate offers an updated take on the classic vegetarian cookbook. In the introduction, Katzen emphasizes her intention to create lighter vegetarian and vegan dishes - not only those that use tons of butter, cheese, dairy, and oil to convince omnivores that plant-based dishes can be exciting. The result is a really solid book with recipes pulling from many different cuisines. Most of the recipes are staples or mid-level (in terms of experience needed or complexity), there's nothing too crazy or exciting, but everything is accessible and nicely photographed. My favorite feature is the set of vegetarian and vegan menus. I'll definitely be looking to this the next time we need to make a fancy meal.

The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Ge… (2024)
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