Canadian Living: The Vegetarian CollectionThe thing that makes this cookbook, Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection, so accessible for non-vegetarians, is that (I believe) these are all recipes originally published in Canadian Living magazine, which is not a strictly vegetarian audience. I am no master chef; I am willing to take chances and try new things in the kitchen, but I’m also lazy and don’t want to have to hunt for obscure — and expensive— ingredients.

I think Canadian Living was very smart (marketing-wise) to compile a bunch of magazine recipes into a book. While you may clip something out of a magazine if you really like it, most periodicals have a high turn-over rate. Or perhaps you read a magazine waiting in a doctor’s office, but the copy was at least four months old and you didn’t bring it home. This type of collection is so smart, and I am speaking as a reader/consumer and as a person in the publishing industry.

The Vegetarian Collection is the tenth compilation that Canadian Living has published with Random House of Canada since 1999. They have a variety of cookbooks such as The Slow Cooker, Complete Baking Collection, BBQ Collection, Complete Christmas Book, and (to be reviewed soon) Create, Update, Remake full of DIY articles.

When I saw this book in Random House’s fall catalogue I immediately requested a copy for review. Two reasons: I love magazine-compilation-books. I have a huge stack of magazines that I keep meaning to cut an article or two out of to keep, but never get around to it so I love book collections. Second, I’m a vegetarian (with a number of dietary issues) so I am always eager to see new recipes.

Now, you’re sitting there, tapping your foot, scrolling down, thinking, “When is she going to get to the food? Show us the yummy pictures!” Okay! Okay! I will.

Asparagus Goat Cheese Omelettes

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Omelette

For Christmas Day, I invited my sister B over for Christmas breakfast with her friend C. First of all, I was an idiot and tried to go grocery shopping at 7pm on Christmas Eve. Yea, everywhere was closed. Fortunately the little grocery store run by a lovely Chinese couple was open on Christmas morning (and, they have great stuff — I am totally making that my regular produce shop).

Anyway, I got my ingredients and started cooking about an hour before C and B were supposed to arrive. I had never successfully made an omelette — I always tried to flip them too soon and they turned into an egg scramble with goodies inside. My mom suggested trying a fritata (basically a baked omelette) but this recipe looked so good.

Asparagus and goat cheese omelette with extra goat cheese on top and fresh-cracked pepper

Asparagus and goat cheese omelette with extra goat cheese on top and fresh-cracked pepper

The recipe, Asparaus Goat Cheese Omelettes, calls for asparagus, green onions, fresh tarragon and goat cheese inside the omelettes. However, I also had some leftover Spring salmon and used dill instead of tarragon. B offered to help me not flip the omelette too early and this recipe turned out amazingly.

B, C, and I all devoured our omelettes — they were fantastic. I had also paired the breakfast with a winter fruit salad with mandarin oranges, Chinese apple-pear, pear, and pineapple.

Christmas Breakfast - omelettes and fruit salad

Recipes I want to Try

So far I’ve only had the opportunity to try the omelette recipe from this book, but believe me, it is chock-a-block full of goodies I want to make and eat.

I definitely want to try making the Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup because I love vegetable soups that are creamy without cream. Dilled Potato & Grilled Corn Salad sounds like the perfect thing for a summer potluck. The Vegetable Lentil Gardener’s Pie reminds me of the Shepard’s Pie we used to have as kids but with a good protein source for vegetarians without relying on fake meat products.

The last section is a basics section explaining homemade soup stock, homemade ricotta, multigrain pizza dough, and some basic and complimentary sauces. Very helpful and awesome addition (and I have been meaning to make pizza dough).

There are also several Quiche and Torte-style recipes and I’d be interested in trying one. That’s something I often avoid because it seems very finicky, but this cookbook isn’t intimidating.

Full disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes. This situation did not affect my review in any way, shape or form.