Caramel-cooked tofu from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin | Recipe RenovatorInventive recipes. Global flavors. Advanced techniques. Wonderful cookbook! I have loved testing recipes from Michael Natkin’s cookbook, which has advanced my cooking as well. Read on for my review of Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes.

I have made this caramel-cooked tofu three times already, even substituting coconut sugar for cane sugar and it is outstanding.Caramelized Tofu from Herbivoracious | Recipe RenovatorMy only suggestion is to marinate the tofu before cooking to add even more flavor.Marinating Caramelized Tofu | Recipe RenovatorI love cookbooks that send me out on ingredient searches. In order to make his Sichuan dry-fried green beans and tofu, I had to hunt for Sichuan preserved vegetables. This led to a Twitter exchange with Michael while in Ranch 99 Market, trying to determine if I was buying what he suggested. Many of the items from China do include gluten, so I settled on this one.Preserved RadishWhile it wasn’t what he used, it did add a wonderful depth of flavor to the dish, which was quickly scarfed down by my dinner guests.

I also made shiitake tacos (seen here on a gluten-free flour tortilla), as I could buy a huge bag of shiitakes at that same Asian market for about a quarter of the cost as at Whole Foods. I am now a shiitake convert. This was a meaty, delicious taco, so satisfying!Shiitake Tacos from Herbivoracious | Recipe Renovator

Recipes I tested: green mango salad, tomato confit, Thai tofu salad, shiitake tacos, crispy Vietnamese crepes, Sichuan dry-fried green beans and tofu, caramel-cooked tofu. I have made his green mango salad four times, it’s that good! Recipe below, courtesy of Michael Natkin.

What I liked about this book:
Gorgeous photos by the author, wonderful new techniques, fantastic flavors, easy-to-follow instructions. Gluten-free options are listed for most recipes, and vegan options for many recipes.

I wasn’t so keen on:
He uses a bit more fat and oil than I normally do, but I simply adjust that when I am cooking. I had a little trouble reading some of the recipes because the fractions are in very small sans serif type, and the light-colored key for recipe times is also hard to read.

I recommend this for:
Anyone who loves global cuisine, people following Meatless Monday, vegetarians and vegans.
Mango salad & caramelized tofu from Herbivoracious | Recipe RenovatorGreen Mango Salad
from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin, used with permission © 2012 Michael Natkin
Serves 4

1/4 C. (40 g) coconut palm sugar
1/3 C. (80 ml) fresh lime juice
2 t. (10 g) grated fresh ginger
1 t. (2 g) kosher salt
1 T. (15 ml) toasted sesame oil
2 underripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 2 X 1/4 X 1/4 inch batons
Half a small red onion, cut into very thin rings and soaked briefly in very cold water
1 small green chile (Thai bird, jalapeño, or serrano) stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced, optional
1 T. (5-10 g) toasted sesame seeds
1 handful fresh cilantro or mint leaves, or a mixture (known as fresh coriander outside the U.S.)

Put the first five ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well to combine and dissolve the sugar.

I soaked the onion slices in ice water and was amazed at how this trick mellows out the raw onion flavor.Red Onions for Mango SaladI used the new OXO Mango Splitter to cut the mango, which makes it a million times easier.Oxo Mango slicer for Mango SaladCutting the mango into “batons” was impossible for me, but I did my best by slicing the peeled halves crosswise…Cutting mango for Mango Saladthen cutting into thin slices.Thinly sliced mango for Mango SaladIt’s much easier to cut under-ripe mangoes than very ripe ones into thin slices, but the recipe is delicious with mangoes of any ripeness.

Toss together the mangoes with the drained onion, pepper, sesame seeds, dressing, and half the herbs. Reserve some herbs for topping when serving.

We’ll be giving away one copy of this book on Friday!

Required FTC disclosure: I received the OXO mango splitter at a conference, and the review copy of Herbivoracious from Harvard Common Press.