Pros: Delicious flavors; healthy recipes; plenty of fruits and vegetables; a wealth of recipes; nutritional information provided
Cons: Some textural issues; some use of fat-free ingredients is a little much; fiber information not provided
Rating: 4 out of 5
First posted 2/4/2005
Review book courtesy of Surrey Books
1,001 Low-Fat Recipes is an absolutely fantastic book in my experience–it contains an incredible number of simple, delicious healthy recipes. “1,001 More Low-Fat Recipes,” also by Sue Spitler (with Linda R. Yoakam, R.D., M.S.), almost measures up to its predecessor, but not quite.
Nutrition information (approximate, of course) is helpfully provided with every recipe. It includes calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates–but unfortunately for Weight Watchers POINTS folks, no fiber. It also includes a note of the dietary exchange equivalents. Almost all of the recipes in the book are calculated to have no more than 30 percent of their calories from fat, with none over 35 percent.
There’s even a chart in the front that’ll tell you the maximum amount of calories, cholesterol, and sodium per serving for various types of dish in this cookbook (such as soups/first courses, breads, desserts, main-dish eggs and cheese, etc.). For example, main-dish soups, entrees, and salads (meatless) contain a maximum of 500 calories, 125 mg of cholesterol, and 800 mg of sodium per serving.
Flavor and Texture
I love the flavors in this cookbook. Partially that’s because I have a love of sweet-savory foods and it seems that these authors do as well–dishes like the chutney cheese spread or the peachy bean pot particularly appeal to me. I find that the authors seem to have a good sense for how to blend flavors well, and also have a good sense for when you should allow flavors to blend before eating and for how long (the book says to refrigerate the chutney cheese spread for an hour or two before eating, and you really should–it tastes incredible after it’s been in the fridge for a while!).
The authors do a wonderful job of helping you tailor recipes to your own tastes. They often pick a few ingredients and give a measurement range for them instead of a strict measurement or directions to use “to taste.” I love this because it provides some guidelines to give you an idea of what would taste good, but lets you use more or less as suits you individually.
Some of the recipe textures aren’t quite as appealing. It seems like no matter what you do to it, fat-free cream cheese just doesn’t come out smooth and creamy. I tried two recipes from this book that used it and both looked and felt slightly off, even if they did taste wonderful. I wish the use of fat-free ingredients had been slightly more sparing.
Most of the recipes are incredibly simple. This is a very straightforward book–more than 800 pages of quick-and-easy recipes. No photos. No fancy glossy paper. No three-page complicated directions. Layout is equally uncomplicated, with straight lists of ingredients and short, numbered instructions. Most recipes only consist of a few steps once you get a bit of chopping or shredding out of the way.
Range of Recipes
It’s probably obvious that with “1,001 recipes” you’re going to find a wealth of material to work with in here. From appetizers to soups, pasta to casseroles, beans to cakes, you should be able to find plenty you’ll enjoy. This cookbook, like the other, managed to introduce me to a bean recipe I really liked. It has a carrot raisin salad that impressed my husband, who isn’t, as a rule, impressed by carrot raisin salad. And it has a frozen fruit salad that’s quite delicious. Whether you want to make Vegetable Moussaka, Veal Lady Sharon, Sweet Potato and Tempeh Patties, or plain old Chicken and Noodles, you’ll find it here.
This is not a vegetarian cookbook; however there’s definitely a focus on fruits, legumes and vegetables. There’s also more than enough vegetarian fare, I believe, to satisfy a vegetarian, including an entire chapter of vegetarian (not vegan) entrees. As much as I love eating meat I’ve long believed that one of the best ways to eat healthily is to do a decent amount of vegetarian cooking, and it seems that the authors of this book share some of that viewpoint.
While I don’t think this follow-on is quite as stunning as its predecessor, it’s solidly good and well worth getting if you want a source of simple, healthy, delicious recipes.