The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet: 250 Simple Recipes And Dozens Of Healthy Menus For Eating Well Every Day — Still On The Shelf

Wren Wright
4 min readFeb 10, 2022


Photo by me.

Here’s another in my Still On The Shelf series, where I tell you, book by blessed book, why I periodically run a dust rag across them, pull them off the shelf, and open them up to read.

A lifetime of reading has left me with a sizable number of books. Throughout the years I’ve donated them for tax deductions and traded them for credit by the carload. But for all the trimming and weeding my collection has undergone these past decades, the ones remaining on the shelves are there for a reason: they’ve withstood the test of time. Although I’m more inclined to pick up my Kindle these days, there are still plenty of books on my shelves, and The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet is one of them.

The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet
by Nava Atlas
Broadway Books, 2001

This one doesn’t sit on my regular bookshelves. It’s with my other cookbooks on one of the shelves in my pantry. Mine is a walk-in pantry, 6 feet by 8 feet, shelves from floor to ceiling on 3 walls. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with this house. I’ve never lived in a house with an entire room dedicated to food and kitchen appliance storage, until now.

And it’s inspiring.

And so is this cookbook.

And the funny thing about that is I’m not really a cook. There are simply other things I’d rather do than spend hours (or maybe it just seems like hours) chopping and assembling ingredients for a meal that’s gobbled up in ten minutes. Okay, maybe twenty minutes. I’m a slow eater.

I can cook (from a recipe) and have even invented some tasty dishes (I do watch cooking shows and have picked up a few things here and there throughout the years), but most of the time I choose not to. There are simply more interesting things I’d rather do.

As most of the meals I prepare are quick and easy to put together, this cookbook is the one I most often pull from the shelf when I’m looking for something different.

I don’t eat much meat, and while I’m not a full-blown vegetarian, I find vegetarian dishes cooked with a little creativity are scrumptious and tastier than carnivore fare. I also get some satisfaction knowing I’m eating healthier.

While veggies are good for you, I think they often need a little tweaking to appeal to my palate. This 5-ingredient cookbook is just the thing for Tasty with a capital T.

Maybe the author thought the audience for her book doesn’t cook much. And she’s probably right. For example, she devotes 4 pages to how to stock your pantry and lists some basic pantry staples, which is helpful information if that’s your thing or if it’s what you aspire to. Then she goes into how to plan a weekly menu, complete with a sample worksheet. She finishes all this with a template to use when making your weekly shopping list. All good info.

Then the recipes — beginning with soups and moving on to salads, pasta, grains and beans, soy, pizza, wraps, potatoes, veggie side dishes, sauces and dips and spreads, and finishing with fruits. Not one of the recipes has more than 5 ingredients (unless you count “salt and freshly ground pepper to taste”). Some have less. Again, my kind of cooking.

My go-to recipe is the Mashed White and Sweet Potatoes. About this, she writes:

“A traditional side dish is made even better with the addition of sweet potato. The flavors and colors are heightened, and the nutritional quality is enhanced.”

I can attest to that. In fact, I prefer this to plain mashed white potatoes. And in case you’re wondering, the ratio is 4 white potatoes to 2 sweet potatoes. Perfection!

I’ve also tried the Baked Barbecue Tofu and the Sweet and Savory Sautéed or Baked Tofu, which have all won my top prize for winner-winner-not-a-chicken dinner.

A few other favorites: Quinoa, Broccoli, and Cheese Casserole; Cranberry Spaghetti Squash; and Fragrant Rice and Cashew Pilaf. I’m drooling.

In the near future, I’m looking to try the Gingered Baby Carrots and Apricots (even though I’m not a fan of cooked carrots) and the Gingered Coconut Rice (I can almost taste its deliciousness now!). Apparently, I’m into ginger these days.

There’s so much more to explore in this cookbook, and the recipes I’ve tried from it have been so good that I’m up for the next cooking adventure it has to offer.

And that’s kind of amazing. Me, cooking? Yes.

So that’s why my copy of The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet is Still On The Shelf.

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And if you really liked it, share it and tell your friends.

And if you really, really liked it, you might want to check out my ebook, The Grapes of Dementia: My Journey of Love, Loss, Surrender, and Gratitude, available worldwide through Amazon.

I designed the cover, Donna Clement took the photo, and Luis H. Ruiz chose the font colors and sizes and placed the text where I told him to. I’m bossy that way.



Wren Wright

Writing mostly to heal myself from life; sharing in hopes you’ll find some of it helpful. Also books, personal development, and anything else I’m drawn to.