The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook is the latest addition to the series of books by Dr. Agatston, who brought the idea of good carbs and good fats into the mainstream. This cookbook is not just for our Fat Chicks on the Beach. The delicious recipes can be used on most diet plans. If you are on the South Beach Diet and were getting bored with your choices, then you are in luck. The SBD Quick and Easy Cookbook contains a wide variety of recipes that will put a new spin on your meals and make dieting delicious and surprisingly easy.
Like the first SBD cookbook, this new version doesn’t waste any time detailing the South Beach Diet. It is assumed that you already know the plan basics, or are willing to buy the diet book to get you started. The focus is on the recipes. A new feature in this cookbook is a fabulous glossary of ingredients that spans the first 50 pages of the cookbook. You’ll learn more about the seasonings and other ingredients used in the recipes, as well as cooking tips to make preparing meals faster and more streamlined. The cookbook is filled with gorgeous, mouth-watering photos to tempt you. The recipes vary from simple, homestyle recipes, to elegant meals to impress your guests. Each recipe is clearly marked for phases 1, 2, or 3.
Breakfast: Think of eating breakfast as the beginning of a journey. Oh, what a journey this will be, when you can start each day with recipes such as Pear Bran Muffins, Buttermilk Waffles with Jam, or Savory Egg, Ham, and Cheese Crepes. A super easy recipe for Mango Smoothie includes just 2 mangoes (peeled and diced) and 1 1/2 cups of sugar free, fat free vanilla yogurt, and a few ice cubes. Combine in a blender until smooth, and enjoy. There are 18 recipes in this section, and we do wish there were more. Some are easier than others, but they are all refreshingly different. We’d love to see more breakfast recipes in their next cookbook.
Soups and Snacks We love a good bowl of soup, but many recipes make huge stockpots full and take a long time to simmer and develop full flavors. The recipes in this chapter are a little more considerate of our space, by focusing on small batches that serve 4. Most of the recipes cook in just 15 minutes or less, and use ready to use items such as canned vegetables and broth. We tried one of the recipes, Apple Butternut Squash Soup, and were very impressed. It took longer to cook than some of the other recipes in this chapter, but was still on the table in about 30 minutes. The flavor was very rich and satisfying. A large 1 and 1/2 cup serving contained only 160 calories! Other recipes in this chapter which we look forward to trying include Thai Shrimp Soup with Lime and Cilantro, and a Mexican Chicken Soup which uses salsa as the main source of flavor. If you’re a snacker, then you’ll love the recipes for dips and nibbles in this chapter. The Warm Artichoke Dip sounds delicious and they promise us that it tastes as good as the full-fat version that everyone loves. There are plenty of other snacks to take care of any cravings, though moderation is still key.
Salads: From old time favorites to new inspirations, there’s never a dull moment when it comes to the salads in the pages ahead. We couldn’t agree more! Salads have had a bad name ever since the boring iceberg lettuce with fat free Italian dressing that graced our plates in the ’70s. On the other hand, we also had the fat-laden salad bars that quickly piled 1,500 calories on our plates without a second thought – but it was ok, because it was a salad, right? In the last few years, we’ve become more creative with salads while still keeping the fat and calories under control. Dr. Agatston does a fantastic job at this with the salads in this chapter. Who couldn’t resist a Green Leaf, Pear, and Goat Cheese salad? This super simple recipe balances tart and sweet flavors and is as delicious as it is beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the Cannellini Bean Salad, which started with a can of cannellini beans and included cucumbers, diced red peppers, onions, oregano, oil and red wine vinegar. It was just tart enough, and yet tasted like summer. We’re planning to try it again and use roasted red bell peppers next time.
Fish, Poultry, Beef, and Pork. The next few chapters include recipes for various meats. We were disappointed that the first SBD cookbook didn’t include more recipes for seafood. This book includes 25 recipes which make up for it. Included are recipes for Crispy Trout with Lemon Caper Sauce, Spicy Mussels with Tomato and Basil, Cod Chowder, and many more. The Shrimp Scampi is quick and simple, yet packed with garlic and buttery flavors.
The poultry recipes are just as varied. There is a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie that takes the unusual route of a thin and flaky phyllo dough for the crust. You can make the filling up to 3 days ahead, and bake it at the last minute. There are 29 poultry recipes that include homestyle favorites as well as global flavors such as Piri Piri, Yakitori, Green Curry.
There are also 29 recipes that cover beef, pork, and lamb. Some of the recipes sound very appealing, such as the Warm Steak Sandwich with Roasted Pepper Mayo, which we think would be more delicious if you cooked the steak over a charcoal grill first. Pork can be boring and bland, but they’ve managed to give it new life by combining fresh herbs and citrus in the Pork Cutlets with Orange, Red Onion, and Rosemary. You’ll also find healthier versions of many classics, such as Veal Piccata or Steak with Horseradish Cream.
Vegetarians aren’t ignored, though there are only 18 recipes in the Vegetarian chapter. The recipes seem to be standard vegetarian fare, such as Tempeh Stir Fry and Quick Bean Chili. We think they should have expanded this chapter, or perhaps they can write a new cookbook just for vegetarians. The Black Bean and Goat Cheese Tostadas, however, sound very yummy and hearty. The recipe instructs us to bake whole wheat tortillas until puffy and browned, and we use that for the base of our dish. We top them with black soybeans, garlic, goat cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, and drizzle the whole thing with lime juice. It is returned to the oven for a few minutes, then served hot.
The chapter on Side Dishes is also lacking, including only 17 recipes. We really would have preferred more recipes for vegetables that could be served on the side of any of the meat recipes. In fact, menu suggestions would have been an excellent addition to this book, since we don’t always know what goes well with Chicken Piri Piri. Most of the side dish recipes that are included sound wonderful. Roasted Eggplant, Indian Spiced Lentils, Stuffed Tomatoes, Sesame Green Beans – All are quick to prepare and make vegetables more interesting. Most recipes we’ve seen for Quinoa Pilaf have sounded boring and bland. The recipe in this cookbook is different. It calls for pistachios, scallions, red peppers, and an oil and white wine vinegar dressing to add a new layer of flavor to set this recipe apart from the others.
Finishing the book is a chapter on Desserts that contains 20 decadent recipes that you would never guess you could eat on a diet. You’ll drool as you read the recipes for Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cakes, Mini Cocoa Swirl Cheesecakes, and Thin and Crispy Pear Tarts. Unfortunately, you can’t eat most of these recipes until you have reached your goal and entered Phase 3. Only 9 of the recipes can be enjoyed on Phase 2, and not a one can be had on Phase 1.
If you are interested in seeing a few sample recipes before buying this cookbook, Amazon has included three recipes which you can print and try. Click Here to visit their website and read recipes for Black Bean and Goat Cheese Tostada, Tempeh Dagwood Sandwich, and Turkey Parmesan.
Overall, we love this cookbook. The recipes aren’t just for South Beachers and will satisfy everyone in the family. They live up to their claim of being quick and easy, but everyone will think you spent hours in the kitchen.