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The best cookbook for beginners in 2019




“The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook” teaches you all you need to know about this heart-healthy, weight-busting, delicious, and good-for-you style of eating and cooking.

The Mediterranean diet is a cooking philosophy, method, and group of recipes that center mostly around plants — whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and olive oil — with just a little bit of fish or meat to add flavor and protein. The benefits of a Mediterranean diet are well-documented: weight loss, a lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease, stronger bones, better moods, and even reduced risk of cancer.

“The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook,” from America’s Test Kitchen, briefly covers everything you need to know about the Mediterranean diet, including its history and benefits, the staple foods that make up the diet, its particular food pyramid, how to design a well-balanced meal, and pantry basics to keep on hand, before diving into the heart of the 440-page hardback book (paperback and Kindle versions are also available): 500 recipes with color photos and clear explanations. You’ll find chapters on cooking vegetables, grains, soups and salads, seafood and meat, beans, eggs, fruits, and desserts.

Fans of America’s Test Kitchen cooking show on public television (as well as the magazines and books) know the recipes are extensively developed and tested by its team of chefs and food experts, and you’ll find that meticulousness in this cookbook. While there are many fad diets you can follow, the Mediterranean diet is one that’s recommended by many nutritionists and health experts.

The “dishes can easily be integrated into readers’ existing menus,” Publishers Weekly says, like the “Moroccan-style chicken and lentil soup, tagliatelle with artichokes and Parmesan, and garlicky roasted shrimp with parsley and anise.”

The cookbook has a 4.5-star rating and more than 600 reviews on Amazon. One customer writes, “There are two things that make this book stand out. This is much more than a book of recipes. There are useful tips, explanations for why they chose a certain item (e.g., dried beans vs. canned, brand recommendations), and excellent charts that compare different types of legumes or fish or beans.”

Pros: A thorough introduction to the Mediterranean diet, plenty of color photos, a wide variety of delicious recipes including some that are vegetarian and gluten-free

Cons: A few buyers complained that the font in the cookbook is too small, others felt that too many recipes required ingredients that weren’t easy to find.

Buy the paperback version of “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook” on Amazon for $22.43

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