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October 22, 2016

The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook

by Anne Paddock

The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook is not just a big book with delicious low-fat recipes that can be prepared in less than 15 minutes, but also an excellent and concise source of nutritional and medical information written by Dr. John A. McDougall, M.D. and his wife, Mary McDougall. Admittedly, I bought the book for the 300 recipes that seemed uncomplicated and flavorful but then became focused on reading the single page tips that address protein, carbohydrates, fats, genetic diseases, acute versus chronic illness, reading labels, and more. That this book was originally published in 1999 gave me pause because it made me realize I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Some books are timeless; this is one of them.

McDougall_Quick_and_Easy-CookbookSimple, short recipes with no strange ingredients, The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook relies primarily on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and spices to make delicious plant-based meals that are low in fat and high in nutrition. Geared primarily towards people beginning their journey to making lifestyle changes to improve their health, this book also appeals to intermediate cooks who want simple, fast, nutritious, and tasty food. The recipes are also easily adaptable based on personal preferences.

Divided into 11 chapters, The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook is the plant-based version of “Joy of Cooking” for me:  all the basics divided into sections with easy, simple instructions to prepare delicious meals, with the added benefit of nutritional advice from a medical doctor who has read the science and the studies, and reports the outcomes in an easy to understand style.

  1. Breakfast
  2. Salads and Dressings
  3. Soups and Stews
  4. Main Dishes: Grains
  5. Main Dishes:  Beans
  6. Main Dishes: Pasta
  7. Main Dishes: General
  8. Sauces
  9. Dips and Spreads
  10. Desserts
  11. Canned and Packaged Products

Consider making the Tostadas (page 173) which calls for popular ingredients that are more than likely in your pantry or refrigerator:  corn tortillas, cans of refried beans, tomatoes, scallions, lettuce, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salsa. Diced avocado is a great addition to this recipe.  Or, the Crock Pot Chili (page 138) which is made in a crock pot or slow cooker, or the Pasta Jumble (page 151) which is cooked pasta blended with tomatoes, swiss chard, chopped green chilies, celery, onion, garlic kidney beans, and spices. What the reader notices with each recipe is that almost every ingredient is simple and probably already in your kitchen.

Spend a few minutes reading through the nutritional and medical information disbursed through the book. Typically just a few paragraphs long, this information is invaluable as an introduction to the benefits of plant-based nutrition.

The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook is available at bookstores nationwide and on-line through retailers including or for about $17.

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