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Cookbook Review: Almost Meatless

Studies on health and the health of the environment continue pointing to the fact that eating less meat is beneficial. It is from the perspective that you can reduce both your carbon footprint and your long term health by cutting back on your carnivorous ways that the authors of Almost Meatless ($22.50) penned their new cookbook. A collaboration between a former vegan, Joy Manning, and a committed meat eater, Tara Mataraza Desmond, this cookbook is full of recipes that include meat, fish, and poultry in the ingredient list. The meat, however, is not central to the dishes and is used more like a spice for flavor, texture, and color.

The cookbook is divided into sections by animal proteins, including chicken, seafood, eggs, beef, and pork. The amount of meat in these recipes is small, often hovering around four ounces to create a final dish containing four to six servings. The photos of the dishes are inspiring, but I would love a shot of every dish — I am very visually motivated when it comes to experimenting with new recipes. There are many tempting dishes to make like Almond Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu and Sweet Potato Chorizo Mole. I cooked up the shrimp fried rice and everyone in my house plus two guests loved it, and I look forward to trying more recipes from this book. The authors provide great cooking and shopping tips — like how to freeze bacon so you can use a slice when needed. Yes, cooking with just a piece of bacon still packs a powerful tasty punch. The only problem I have with this cookbook — there are no nutritional breakdowns of the recipes. I believe that cooks interested in using less meat are also going to want to know the calories, protein, and fat per serving.

To check out the tasty fried rice recipe


Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice


1 large pineapple, cut in half length wise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, but into 1/4 inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves, garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 small red bell pepper, but into 1/4 inch dice, about (half a cup)
1 cup shopped sugar snap or snow peas
1 Thai chile, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
4 cups cold cooked brown or white rice
1/2 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cute into 1/4-inch pieces


  1. Make two bowls form the pineapple halves by arcing out the center, leaving the bottom intact and leaving about a 1/2-inch-think border along the sides. Cut the carved out pineapple into small chunks, discarding the pieces of the tough center core. Set the pineapple shells and he chunks aside.
  2. Coat a wok or a large sautée pan with the oil and set over medium-high heat. Once the oils shimmering but not smoking, add onion, garlic, ginger, bell peppers, peas, and chili. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and rice, tossing to incorporate with the other ingredients.
  4. Add the shrimp, cooking just until done, for about two minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the pineapple chunks. Spoon the rice into the carved out pineapple halves and serve.

Serves 4

Make it family friendly by leaving out the Thai chili. Just sautée the chili separately and add to adult plates depending on desired spiciness.

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