This cookbook is the product of the McCartney tribe’s efforts to introduce Meat Free Mondays throughout Britain, citing the benefits that just one day of meatless meals every week can have for the environment.
What’s unique about the book is that it provides a day’s menu of vegetarian eating for 52 weeks of the year, including sides and desserts. They’re categorised by seasons, making the menus even more economical and environmentally conscious.
Approximately one third of the recipes are vegan, and many more are very easily transformed into vegan dishes. However, the cookbook is best-suited to vegetarians, and non-vegetarians who are interested in reducing their consumption of meat.
Breakfasts can luxurious: Blueberry Pancakes, Fried Bananas with Pecans and Maple Syrup, or Roasted Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts. Others are more straightforward, such as Strawberry and Banana Smoothie or Caramelised Grapefruit. This fits the cookbook’s aim to be regularly consulted for everyday eating.
I have prepared Chickpea Tagine with Harissa, and Vegetable Satay from the book so far. I can’t say I’ll be making the tagine again but the satay sauce was was quick, easy-to-make and delicious. I’m looking forward to trying many more recipes – as soon as the seasons change. For a simple spring packed-lunch, there’s a recipe for carrot and hummus crunch on sourdough that I’d love to try and summer’s Paella Verduras will definitely be on my dinner menu. For dessert in autumn, I’ll have a go at Pears Poached with Star Anise. And later this winter, I think miso broth for lunch on a crisp weekend day will hit the spot.
Since many of the recipes are submitted by guests, celebrities and various members of the McCartney family, there are regular inconsistencies in style and recipes are not always intuitive to follow. However, as a guide and source of menu inspiration, The Meat Free Monday Cookbook provides plenty of ideas. It is a beautifully presented hardback book, with large colour photos for many, but not all, of the recipes – and will no doubt become well-thumbed by hungry vegetarians.