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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. 1 large pineapple, cut in half length wise
  2. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  3. 1/2 small onion, but into 1/4 inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
  4. 2 cloves, garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  5. 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  6. 1 small red bell pepper, but into 1/4 inch dice, about (half a cup)
  7. 1 cup shopped sugar snap or snow peas
  8. 1 Thai chile, seeded and thinly sliced
  9. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  10. 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  11. 4 cups cold cooked brown or white rice
  12. 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.

Join The Conversation
ditorres ditorres 8 years
thank you lollofit and veganik!!! if you actually look at food group serving recommendations, you only need about two servings of protein (from animal and/or non-animal sources) a day unless you're a bodybuilder.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 8 years
This is officially on my list of books to get and read....
lollofit lollofit 8 years
It's true that many vegetarian sources of protein are not complete proteins, but it is easy to eat foods with complementary protein profiles to ensure that the body is getting enough of the right kind of protein. People always seem to worry about vegetarians not getting enough protein, but in reality, people eat more that they probably need. Plus, protein can be found in all kinds of non-meat sources. Anyways, its a personal choice and there's evidence that its better for the planet to eat less meat. I often use to analyze the protein content of my recipes.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I like the concept, but I wonder about how practical some of those recipes would be. I mean, what am I going to do with 1/2 a shrimp? Or the rest of a pack of bacon? I suppose I could always freeze them, but still.
Maddi-Maye Maddi-Maye 8 years
The cover recipe looks great! Is it like an eggplant sandwich?haha
Halloween Halloween 8 years
Actually, if you look at the human body biologically, the premise of this book isn't very smart. By going without meat, you cut out proteins and cholesterol (like DHA) which our body needs. Take the brain for example. About half of it is made out of DHA, and in proportion to our bodies, we have one of the largest brains. It needs fats and proteins and cholesterol to function. Also, we can't get the same kind of protein from plants than from animals because although you can find complete proteins in things like soybeans, you can't find enough of the amino acid methionine, plus you also can't digest soybeans unless they've been fermented (like soy sauce), and after that the protein has been converted. Historically, our ancestors ate mostly meat, and they survived long enough (and healthily enough) to produce offspring. So unless there's some major biological change in our physical structure over the last 10,000 years, I think it's safe to eat just about as much meat as you want. The studies are probably ignoring a crucial factor: man-made chemicals. The reason I say that is this, if you switch an organic, efficiently produced long horn steak for an organic salad, the salad eater is going to end up with more nutrient deficiencies and therefore die sooner. However, if you do the same experiment with a Big Mac and a salad, the Big Mac eater is going to end up with more deficiencies. Therefore it's not the lack of meat, but the lack of chemicals that's affecting people's health. People also don't seem to realize that those who give up meat also tend to prefer organic substitutes in other areas of life, which will affect longevity as well.
kumquatlicious kumquatlicious 8 years
I'd love the recipe to the front cover's dish.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm glad you mentioned that almost all of the recipes have meat in them. I would've been really confused otherwise, reading just the title, and assumed it was a cookbook with mostly vegetarian dishes, and a few meaty ones.
Fitness Fitness 8 years
Zulkey, Thanks for the recommendation!
Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
Fitsugar, you should check out The Flexitarian Diet--it has meat-free recipes that are really fast (with servings for one) and has all the breakdowns.
mandaleebee mandaleebee 8 years
I want
syako syako 8 years
sounds interesting
joliepetitefille joliepetitefille 8 years
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