Product review: Mark Bittman Vegetarian Cooking app!  »

I got to test out a gratis copy of the new Mark Bittman How to Cook Everything Vegetarian iPhone application! Since my last mention of the app was less than informative, here is a thorough review, because I love you!

My official recommendation: it’s awesome! If you want to spend the $4.99, it’s worth your money and a lot cheaper than purchasing the actual cookbook. The recipe selection looks pretty amazing. I haven’t made anything yet but there are really a lot of things I already want to make! Or get someone else to make for me! You can make me food and I’ll give you fashion tips—fair trade!

I am told there are 950 vegan recipes and variations out of about 2,000 vegetarian recipes in total. The breakdown is 397 recipes and 553 variations to non-vegan recipes. There’s also a “top 100 vegan recipes” list under “Bittman’s picks” and several little “references” that like suggest vegan breakfasts for you, cheese substitutions, and one I’m really interested it: how to make any bread vegan. I love bread!

I don’t see any way to isolate the vegan options for the entire app but when you search for something, it’s super-easy to bring out the vegan options because of the vegan filter. You can search for key words if you want or you can use the filters they already have like “style.” So you can do a search by selecting “sweet” as the style and select just vegan options and it will pull up anything sweet and vegan (you saw where that was going). You could also search “cauliflower” or whatever word you want and select just vegan options. Oh and one of the style options is “raw” and there are 26 recipes and variations with that search. That’s for my raw friends! You know I’m always thinking of you.

When you are just browsing the recipes, the vegan ones are clearly marked but you can’t immediately see if a non-vegan recipe has a vegan variation. But when you use the search function, it lists all vegan recipes and all vegan variations for that search so that is prob the best way for us to look at variations. But just browsing for recipes is easy. There are no pictures so if you only like cookbooks with food pictures, this is not the app for you. I often like pictures but the names of these recipes are enticing enough that I don’t think I would miss them that much.

One thing to note: Reader Ryan K. says that some non-vegan recipes are marked vegan and vice versa. I haven’t run into this yet. I can send the creator a note about this and hopefully they can fix it in a future update.

Here are some screen grabs! First, a recipe; as you can see, it has the overview, ingredients, steps and variations:

Here’s a progression of how you can browse without the search. First you pick a general category and a more specific category:

Then you pick a recipe. You can easily see which recipes are vegan but if you select a non-vegan one, like the first veggie burger, it might have a vegan variation:

This is also cool: when you look at a recipe, you have all these options for what to do with it:

Another function is that you can generate shopping lists—kinda nice and useful. And as long as you have your phone, you will always have your grocery list.

Here’s my favorite part:

Under the style search option, you can search for hippie! It pulls up what you’d expect, tofu and whatnot.

Here’s my second favorite part! For some of the basic recipes and techniques, there are these illustrated guides:

Love it! You KNOW I like pictures over actually reading instructions. And as you can see, these aren’t crazy Ikea-style stick figure pictures that I can never understand.

All in all, I’d say it’s worth at least $4.99. Even though all the recipes aren’t vegan, I’m still very pleased with it. If you are vegetarian, it’s DEFINITELY worth the money. It has more recipes than the Vegan with a Vengeance app and that one costs $9.99 (say what?). The recipes are a little lacking for vegan dessert options but I actually think the first thing I want to make is the vegan banana chocolate-chunk bread pudding. Banana and chocolate are my favorite and I love bread pudding! I’m going to eat the hell out of that.

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