This week I am reviewing The No Meat Athlete Cookbook ! I’m a big fan of the No Meat Athlete podcast and I have been a guest a couple of times (episodes 162 and 183). I was thrilled to hear this book was finally out and it did not disappoint. Check out my review below:
Tell me about the cookbook
The No Meat Athlete Cookbook is billed as being full of whole food plant-based recipes to fuel your workouts and the rest of your life. The authors Matt Frazier and Stephanie Romaine promise on the cover that the recipes will be “quick, easy and family-friendly”. That sounds great to me!
“No Meat Athlete devotees will know that Matt has a gift for order, and he brings his mathematical mind to the challenge of creating easy to follow blueprints to solve common kitchen problems”.
The recipes in this book are organized by meals, always with a nod to their potential to support your athletic endeavors. Breakfasts, side dishes, and main meals are be common fare in most cookbooks, and you will find them here as well, but you will also find workout fuel and recovery snacks as well as an impressive array of salads. Frazier and Romine know that sauces and spices are particularly important to plant-based cooking, and this book does not disappoint, with ten sumptuous-sounding salad dressings and a whole section devoted to spices.
No Meat Athlete devotees will know that Matt has a gift for order, and he brings his mathematical mind to the challenge of creating easy to follow blueprints to solve common kitchen problems. For example, he shares his salad dressing blueprint on page 144, letting us know that if we use one part acid (eg vinegar or citrus juices) and three parts oil or creamy ingredient (eg avocado, tofu or nut butter) plus flavourings like garlic and spices we can create endless varieties of salad dressings. This systematization is one feature that sets this book apart. We get the benefit of Frazier and Romaine’s experience in multiple ways, including Matt’s famous list of seven foods to eat everyday, as well as advice on stocking your plant-based pantry, meal plans and an introduction to plant-based nutrition. The primer on oil-free cooking is a unique feature of this book and is complimented by oil-free options for every single recipe. Great to have the option!
Who should buy it?
This book really is great for those who are new to the plant-based lifestyle, or for those experienced with it. I have been vegan for five years, and I’ve learned a lot just by reading and trying a few of the recipes. I’d honestly say my cooking is forever improved already after using this book for a couple weeks. It is not intimidating though, and would be perfect for those who are just starting out or even for people who just want great meatless Monday options. I’ll bet after trying these recipes they will opt for many more meatless meals.
The photographs in the book are rich and textured, and they certainly give the impression that the food is delicious, but they are not intimidating. It looks like the simple, hearty, family-friendly food that the cover promises. The pictures are helpful, but I don’t think someone would buy this book just because it is pretty. I would suggest to keep shopping if you like to buy cookbooks just to look at the pictures. Fans of a fine male torso will appreciate the cover art.
Five best things about the cookbook
- Value added extras like mealplans
- Systemization removing the mystery from nutrition, kitchen equipment, power bowls, salad dressing etc. You will find the title BLUEPRINT throughout the book, and these gems will improve and simplify your nutrition and your life
- Flavour combinations that are out of this world! Special attention given to spices that will replace the need for salt in your favourite dishes.
- The recipes are pretty simple and you will find the ingredients at your local supermarket.
- The focus on fueling plant-based athletes is cool! You may particularly appreciate the variety of homemade sports drinks that can help you cut back on the number of plastic bottles full of sugary coloured liquid you buy.
What was missed?
Dessert lovers may feel a little disappointed. Although there are a selection of sweets like two-ingredient fudge and triple chocolate icebox cake, the dessert section is a little short and inclusions like sweet red beans may push your dessert boundaries a little.
Although I LOVED the spice blends, if you don’t make them up in advance, you will find yourself having to turn to the spice section frequently when making your recipes to determine just which spices were in the jerk spices, fall and winter seasoning or harissa blends. I love this system thinking, but if you don’t pre-make the spices you will be flipping pages. I have to say I don’t love a recipe within a recipe.
I made the Spicy Black Bean and Beet burgers as well as the Lentil-Mushroom No Meat Pasta. They were both knock out of the park successes! I made the burgers for a father’s day meal where my meat-loving dad declared that they were delicious and tangy! I did find I had to bake the burgers a little longer than suggested to get them to be firm enough for my preferences.
The lentil mushroom pasta was similarly loved by my kids – so easy and full of nutrition. I love making my own sauces and this one was so flavourful. What set them apart were the spices and the vinegar. The addition of vinegar (apple cider and balsamic) to each of these recipes really took the flavours up a notch. I could not believe there was no salt in the pasta when I tasted it; and I am a salt lover.
Overall, this book is a hit! Definitely one to add to your collection.