'The Reducetarian Cookbook' Will Show You How to Cut Out Meat and Dairy

©. From “The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone In-Between” by Reducetarian Foundation (Center Street, $21.99). Recipe developed by Pat Crocker. Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.

It's the practical sequel to 'The Reducetarian Solution,' striving to get more people eating fewer animal products.

It has been two years since Brian Kateman published The Reducetarian Solution, a collection of essays by leading environmentalists, academics, food and health writers on the topic of meat-eating – and why we need to eat less of it.

Now, Kateman has followed it up with a cookbook, The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone in-Between (Center Street, 2018). Recipes were developed by Pat Crocker. Whereas the first book was the 'why' of the reducetarian lifestyle, he describes this cookbook as the 'how.' From the introduction:

"This book – with its unapologetic practicality and simplicity – is what I wish I'd had when I started by reducetarian journey several years ago. Its mission is simple: to show you how realistic, affordable, varied, and, most importantly, delicious plant-based meals can be."
Reducetarian Cookbook cover

© Ashleigh Amoroso / Reducetarian Foundation (used with permission)

I've had the cookbook in my kitchen for a few months now and would recommend it to anyone who's starting out on their own meat-reduction or cooking journey. Kateman is right when he describes the recipes as simple. These are not trying to wow anyone with their innovativeness or exotic ingredients, but rather embracing the noble goal of helping people to make ordinary, healthy, easy food and do so more sustainably.

There's the usual vegetarian/vegan fare, like bean burritos, grain bowls, and tofu scramble, but there is also an emphasis on recreating vegan versions of meat- and dairy-based favorites, presumably to help people make the transition to plant-based eating. These include veggie pot pie, macaroni and cheese, vegan bacon (made from tamari and maple syrup-glazed portobellos, yum!), vegetable pho, tempeh shakshuka, and stovetop lasagna.

shakshuka-style tempeh

© Shakshuka-style Tempeh (From “The Reducetarian Cookbook” by Reducetarian Foundation. Recipe developed by Pat Crocker. Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.)

I was surprised to discover it's a vegan cookbook because at no point does it call itself that. Perhaps because of the sub-title, "Recipes for omnivores, vegans, and everyone in-between," and because of the reducetarian philosophy that is based on the goal of getting more people to eat less meat, rather than expecting the entire country to go veg overnight, I expected the book to contain more 'flexitarian'-type recipes, designed for making with or without meat and dairy products, or for stretching small quantities of meat much further – but clearly my assumptions were incorrect!

Still, it's a useful and beautiful addition to anyone's kitchen, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to do more plant-based eating. Learn more at the Reducetarian Foundation.