Welcome to Cooking the Book, a new feature I’ve been wanting to start since beginning the blog. I love reading cookbooks, and I love trying new recipes that I find. I hope to share a cookbook review monthly, where I talk about the cookbook in general, and give the results of trying one recipe from it.
The I Love Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Kris Holechek Peters, is, not officially affiliated with Trader Joe’s. And don’t fear if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s – many of the recipes can be prepared without access to their branded products (there are a few that might be hard to replicate exactly).
I love Trader Joe’s. That’s why I requested this cookbook from the library. Trader Joe’s and vegetarian ideas? Yes please. If it were just a little bit more convenient, I’d probably make it my regular shopping location, instead of the monthly excursion it currently is.
If you’re a super creative cook, many of these ideas may disappoint you – they’re fairly obvious. However, when I need help with dinner ideas is when I’m not feeling creative, and having some normally obvious ideas in front of me is a HUGE help. So the simple salads, soups, and sandwiches didn’t bother me at all. There are also vegan options for every recipe, although that usually just means swapping out vegan milk and cheese options for the regular ones.
I’ve tried several of the recipes listed, and liked to loved them all. Sadly, I’ve forgotten to take a photograph of any of them, remembering only after everything was devoured. My favorite recipe, the one that had me planning to remake it as soon as possible? Super simple, nothing special required, requiring only pantry ingredients. Love love love. No-Nonsense Gnocchi, I will be revisiting you often.
How to Make No-Nonsense Gnocchi:
1 package dried gnocchi (about a pound, depending on the brand. I did not use TJ’s brand.)
3 Tablespoons olive oil (I eyeballed it – enough to cover the pan generously)
6 – 7 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (I do not chop garlic, so I added a big spoonful of preminced garlic.)
1 Tablespoon dried basil. (Yes, I used dried. I didn’t have fresh, and the recipe even called for dried. It worked just fine.)
1/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (I used the TJ’s brand, but any sun dried tomatoes in oil would work.)
3 Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped (I had no fresh tomatoes, so I used a 16 ounce can of diced.)
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil and then add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add basil and both types of tomatoes. Stir together and let simmer.
Once the gnocchi is cooked, add it to the saute pan and stir it all together, and let it cook 5 – 10 minutes more, stirring often. (The book says the edges of the gnocchi will begin to brown. That never happened for me, but I was perhaps too impatient.)
I added Parmesan cheese to the top, because, yum, cheese.
It makes just enough for two generous servings, at least when one of those diners is a pasta fiend.
Super quick and easy. Pantry ingredients only, assuming you don’t mind making it with canned tomatoes. And I absolutely loved the taste of the sauce – the pieces of sun-dried tomatoes were fabulous.
My husband, not a huge pasta fan like I am, liked it, and has eaten it twice now without complaints. Win!
The kids’ verdict:
They think gnocchi is a torture device and clearly I hate them by serving it. Not a winner for them.
Title: The I Love Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes Using Foods from the World’s Greatest Grocery Store
Author: Kris Holechek Peters
My Rating: 4 Stars
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