30 Low-Fat Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes


By Faye Levy

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 1, 1997. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Taste, speed, and ease are the main ingredients in this cookbook for the health-conscious vegetarian. The recipes make use of bold seasonings that give maximum flavor with minimum preparation, and each menu serves two or four. Most meals include three recipes built around a main dish with chapters broken down into menus featuring: pasta, beans, rice, or other grains; one-pot menus; soup; salads; and “savory and sweet” recipes.



"Faye Levy's recipes always are inviting, but the bonus here — in addition to being low-fat — is that the dishes and menus are easy."


"Whole meals in half an hour. Now there's a challenge. Levy takes on our two favorite adjectives — fast and low-fat—and makes meals that are both."


"Something of value for any cook.… The recipes [are] excellent, clearly described, and easily followed."


"Faye Levy ranks among the most imaginative and careful of all cookbook authors."

Boston Herald

"As an instructor and inspiration in the kitchen, Faye Levy is without peer."

Maureen Clancy, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Levy is one of out brightest new cookbook authors. As meticulous and painstaking as she is creative, Levy, always the teacher, gives impeccable instructions."

Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Her recipes always work and the information she imparts is always easily understood by every level of cook."

Muriel Stevens, Las Vegas Sun

"Levy is one of the most knowledgeable and reliable food writers in the country."

Judith Hill, food editor, First for Women

"Levy is one of America's top culinary columnists and authors."



30 Low-Fat Meals in 30 Minutes

Faye Levy's International Vegetable Cookbook

Faye Levy's International Chicken Cookbook

Faye Levy's International Jewish Cookbook

Sensational Pasta

Sensational Chocolate

Fresh from France: Dessert Sensations

Fresh from France: Dinner Inspirations

Fresh from France: Vegetable Creations

Classic Cooking Techniques

La Cuisine du Poisson (in French, with Fernand Chambrette)

Faye Levy's Favorite Recipes (in Hebrew)

French Cooking Without Meat (in Hebrew)

French Desserts (in Hebrew)

French Cakes, Pastries and Cookies (in Hebrew)

The La Varenne Tour Book


Copyright © 1997 by Faye Levy

All rights reserved.

Warner Books, Inc.,

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com

First eBook Edition: October 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-56724-4


I have always been tempted by vegetarian menus. Instead of relegating vegetables to secondary ingredients overshadowed by meat, a vegetarian menu elevates them to the leading role. By focusing on meatless dishes, vegetarian cooks around the world have come up with countless delicious creations using greens and grains.

The value of vegetarian cuisine, however, goes far beyond its contribution to gastronomy. To many, the proven health benefits of low-fat vegetarian fare are the best reason for chasing meat from their menus. Vegetarians also emphasize the importance of compassion for animals and point out the benefit to the earth—vegetarian food is much less of a drain on the world's resources than meat-based diets. In the home kitchen, meatless meals are clearly the most economical.

Nutritionists recommend that we eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits a day as a way to promote good health and resist disease. After all, vegetables and fruits contribute to our diet nearly all the vitamins and minerals we need, yet they contain little or no fat, are low in calories, and have no cholesterol. Following a vegetarian diet practically guarantees that we'll get the desired amounts of vegetables and fruits.

Although we now realize the merits of vegetarian cooking, we still are faced with the time constraints of modern life. Our busy lifestyles don't leave us much time to spend in the kitchen. We want dishes that we can prepare quickly and effortlessly, with ingredients that we can find easily at the supermarket.

I have devoted many months to developing these kinds of recipes: vegetarian, fast to prepare, and low in fat. Most of the menus in this book have short ingredient lists and do not require many pots. When I was working on my previous book, 30 Low-Fat Meals in 30 Minutes, my challenge was to create quick, easy, wholesome, and lively menus that were low in fat. In this book, I have gone even further: I have designed menus that are low in cholesterol as well and completely meatless. They do not require eggs and some have no dairy products.

Following the accepted nutritional standards, I have limited the calories from fat in each menu to no more than 30 percent, with minimal saturated fat. In fact, in nearly half of the menus, I have pared down the calories from fat to 20 percent or less, with the lowest at only 9 percent.

Cooking fast, low-fat vegetarian meals is simpler today than ever. There is an impressive number of low-fat and fat-free ingredients in the store, and more are coming all the time. Many new products, from oil-free tortilla chips to nonfat sour cream to fat-free yogurt, actually taste great and give us many leaner choices for our meals. I find them useful additions to quick, low-fat menus. Our markets also provide time-saving ingredients, such as already-washed greens, shredded carrots, and sliced mushrooms. And don't forget: keeping to a low-fat diet is much easier with meatless menus, because vegetarian foods tend to be naturally low in fat.

I hope this book will be an inspiring and useful guide for anyone who wishes to prepare healthful, tasty menus in a flash. Saving time cooking should help us take pleasure in relaxed, leisurely eating, which—who knows?—may be as important for our well-being as good nutrition.



Since vegetarian cooking relies greatly on beans and grains, which tend to have long cooking times, it might seem impossible to prepare meals quickly. Fortunately, there are many ways to get around this obstacle. Knowing how to shop and where to look for time-saving ingredients is essential. When you do use long-cooking ingredients, save time by cooking enough for several meals.

Saving time and lowering the fat in your meals begins at the market. Be sure your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer contain the basics for quick, healthful meals for those days when you don't have time to buy fresh ingredients.

To get a meal on the table fast, it's important to cook efficiently. Have a plan of action to make the best use of your time. Try to have several dishes cooking simultaneously. Each of these menus spells out how to do this, and soon you'll find it easy to think up simple timetables for menus of your own.


Vegetarian menus are often much more flexible than conventional ones. For example, they don't necessarily include a first course, main course, and dessert. A vegetable stew accompanied by rice and a salad can make a satisfying, easy dinner. Soup and a sandwich are an American supper favorite, and they work very well in vegetarian form, too.

Some think vegetarian food is complicated and is full of cheese and nuts. However, meatless cooking can be easy and delicious without these high-fat ingredients.

Fortunately, the ingredients necessary for speedy vegetarian cooking are available at the supermarket. A careful look at the items in many different aisles of the market will reveal a surprising number of foods that fit in well with low-fat meatless cooking. There is no need to search for them in health food stores. But if you do visit such stores from time to time, you'll find even more choices.

There is also some concern about how to get enough protein and other nutrients in a vegetarian diet. In fact, planning a balanced menu is easy using the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. A meal will most likely include foods from the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group (the base of the pyramid) and probably either a dairy product, dried beans, or occasionally nuts or eggs. Naturally, it will include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whether cooked, raw, or some of each.

Here is a summary of what the USDA Food Guide Pyramid allows per day:

At the base of the pyramid, foods to eat the most:

  • 6–11 servings in the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group

Examples of 1 serving are: 1 slice of bread; 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal; ½ cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta; 5–6 small crackers.

Just above the base of the pyramid, foods to eat in generous amounts:

  • 3–5 servings in the Vegetable Group

Examples of 1 serving are: 1 cup raw leafy vegetables; ½ cup cooked or chopped raw vegetables; ¾ cup vegetable juice.

  • 2–4 servings in the Fruit Group

Examples of 1 serving are: 1 medium apple, banana, or orange; ½ cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit; ¾ cup fruit juice.

At the next to the top layer of the pyramid, foods to be eaten in smaller quantities:

  • 2–3 servings in the Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group

Examples of 1 serving are: 1 cup milk or yogurt; 1½ ounces natural cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese.

Adapted for Vegetarian Cooking
A Guide to Daily Food Choices


   Fat (naturally occurring and added)

   Sugars (added)

These symbols show fat and added sugars in foods. They come mostly from the fats, oils, and sweets group. But foods in other groups—such as cheese or ice cream from the milk group or french fries from the vegetable group—can also provide fat and added sugars.

Based on "The Food Guide Pyramid": U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

• 2–3 servings in what is known as the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group

Examples of 1 serving are: 2–3 ounces cooked meat, or, for vegetarian purposes, the equivalent of 1 ounce of meat is ½ cup cooked dried beans, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, or cup nuts. Obviously we want to go easy on the peanut butter and nuts because they are high in fat and easy on the eggs because they contain cholesterol. So for this group, the most healthful vegetarian selection is beans.

At the peak of the pyramid are foods high in fat and sugar, which should be eaten as little as possible:

The number of servings to have each day varies by how active you are and how many calories you need.

There are all sorts of ways to slip nutritious fruits and vegetables into your diet. At breakfast, add fresh fruit to your cereal. When blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are in season, they make breakfast cereal a delight. If you'd like a snack in the middle of the day, have a glass of tomato juice or carrot juice. Try to always serve a salad as the appetizer of each meal, to ensure you eat plenty of greens. If you don't have time to prepare salad, place a bowl of ripe cherry tomatoes or a platter of carrot and celery sticks on the table.


Buy a variety of fine-quality produce. Since vegetarian menus depend highly on vegetables and fruits, starting with good tasting produce means you're more likely to have enjoyable meals.

Our markets are meeting the needs of busy cooks by providing a vast array of fresh, ready-to-use vegetables in bulk, in bags, and in microwave-safe trays. They have done a lot of the peeling, washing, and cutting for us. For many dishes, all you need do is open the bag, pour the vegetables directly into a salad bowl, add seasonings, and serve. Or put ready-to-cook vegetables in a pot, add water and flavorings, and briefly cook them.

Even in ordinary markets I now find cleaned spinach, diced onions, broccoli florets, and peeled carrots. Some stores feature peeled shrink-wrapped potatoes cut into fancy shapes, from ovals to little mushrooms! You can quickly steam them, microwave them, or use them in stews or sautés. Recently I found spaghetti squash removed from its shell and sold in "spaghetti" form, with a one-minute cooking time.

For salads and snacks, there is a growing variety of greens and other ingredients—plain and fancy lettuces, shredded cabbage, carrot and celery sticks, cleaned radishes, and many kinds of sprouts.

Use fresh vegetables as often as possible. Use the following liberally in your quick menus:

  1. Vegetables that are naturally easy to prepare and cook quickly: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, crookneck squash, pattypan or scallopini squash, baby squashes, Japanese eggplant, Swiss chard, green beans, sugar snap peas, button mushrooms, exotic mushrooms, cabbage, carrots.
  2. Easy to use salad vegetables: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green onions, radishes, celery, jicama, bean sprouts, radish sprouts, lettuces, spinach, leafy herbs.
  3. Ready-cut and cleaned fresh vegetables: shredded green and red cabbage (including cole slaw mix), cleaned spinach (regular and baby spinach leaves), rinsed lettuce, shredded lettuce, sliced mushrooms, diced onions, peeled garlic, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, carrot sticks, peeled small carrots, shredded carrots, celery sticks, winter squash sticks, husked corn, asparagus, sugar snap peas.
  4. Frozen vegetables: peas, corn, spinach, chopped collard greens and other greens, different combinations of mixed vegetables, sugar snap peas, snow peas, baby onions, asparagus spears, chopped onions, bell pepper strips.
  5. Vegetables in cans and in jars: diced tomatoes (plain and seasoned with herbs), oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, diced chiles, water chestnuts, straw mushrooms, baby corn, corn kernels, beets, pumpkin, marinated artichokes, marinated mushrooms, pickled vegetables.
  6. Dried vegetables, for use as flavorings: dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chiles, dried mushrooms, dried onions.


Beans and other legumes are important in vegetarian menus as a source of protein. For quick cooking, remember that:

  1. Frozen lima beans and black-eyed peas are the fastest-cooking beans.
  2. Packaged soaked beans, such as black-eyed peas and chickpeas, cook more quickly than their dried versions.
  3. Lentils, split peas, and some quick-cooking dried beans, often packaged as bean soup or beans with other ingredients, cook rapidly. The soups can make a meal on their own if you serve them with good bread. Check the cooking instructions, though, because some packaged bean soups have long cooking times, while others require only 20 minutes.
  4. Canned black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, great northern and other white beans, red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and butter beans (large lima beans) need only to be briefly heated. Try to buy plain beans. Read the labels to be sure the beans don't contain concealed fat. Also, beans in sauce are sometimes very high in sodium. Today you can also find Mexican-style refried beans in low-fat and nonfat versions.
  5. Tofu, a special ingredient made from soybeans, is rich in nutrients. Now a low-fat version is available that is useful in low-fat vegetarian cooking. It is ready-to-eat and comes in four forms: soft, regular, firm, and extra-firm. Tofu takes on the flavors of the sauces or seasonings you use with it and is a satisfying addition to stews and soups.


Fresh fruit is so enticing that it's easy to eat the recommended 2 to 4 servings a day. The sweet taste of fruit makes it a favorite of children and adults. When children come over to my house, they often go straight to the fruit bowl. This is a healthy habit that is worth encouraging, as fruits contribute vitamins C and A, minerals, and fiber to our diet. Enjoying each fruit at its peak and in its different varieties is a wonderful way to celebrate the seasons, with the selection of colorful items in your fruit bowl changing from one month to the next. Fortunately, there seems to be a greater and better array of fresh and prepared fruit each year, as market managers become more aware of the importance of fine quality produce.

  1. Fresh fruit. Whether it's a crisp apple, a juicy peach, or a bowl of perfect strawberries, fresh fruit is the classic dessert or snack. Have plenty of citrus fruit, apples, bananas, and top-quality seasonal fruits on hand.
  2. Fresh prepared fruit. Many markets offer peeled diced pineapple, halved melons, melon balls, halved papayas, and other fruits in their salad bar or in the prepared produce department.
  3. Frozen fruit. Frozen berries and peaches can be quickly blended into tasty sauces and low-fat shakes.
  4. Fruit in cans and jars. Applesauce is a terrific ingredient for creating low-fat desserts. Canned pineapple, lychees, and other tropical fruits can enhance fresh fruit salads.
  5. Dried fruit. Dried fruits are good as snacks and add interest to breakfast cereal, sweet-and-sour main dishes, and desserts. Vary your pantry selection (and your recipes) with more than just raisins and prunes; there are dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, currants, apricots, apples, and pears.

Juices and Other Beverages

Many Americans start the day with a glass of orange juice for breakfast. This healthful habit is a refreshing, easy way to get an early-morning nutritional boost of vitamin C.

But there's a wide variety of other fresh and canned fruits and vegetable juices at the market, from grapefruit to guava and from carrot to spinach. Those in the refrigerated section are freshest, but it's good to check the date on the container. Fresh juices make tasty, energy-restoring drinks at different times of the day and can also serve as meal enhancers. In addition, juices can lend interest to salad dressings, soups, stews, and desserts.


On Sale
Mar 1, 1997
Page Count
176 pages