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The Savory Way

The Savory Way

by Deborah Madison


Although the book was published in 1990, Madison’s writing and recipes seem presciently up to date – seasonal vegetarian dishes with freshness and lightness. The former Greens and Chez Panisse chef gives a helping hand to home cooks by using easy-to-find ingredients and recognizing that, sometimes, just getting dinner on the table can be a major feat. ‘Pleasure,’ ‘vitality,’ and ‘relaxation’ are bywords of Madison’s recipes, and the driving forces of this book, which was named IACP’s best General Cookbook and was the Julia Child Cookbook of the Year.

from the publisher

A personal collection of more than 300 elegant recipes, The Savory Way presents Deborah Madison's innovative style of vegetarian cooking. The recipes are flexible and forgiving and fit into her philosophy of cooking. Some are quick fixes, designed to quell an urgent appetite; others are more leisurely affairs. Some are low-fat; others, more decadent. All allow for substitutions. Using fresh fuits and vegetables, spices, flavored vinegars and oils, edible flowers, salsas and cheeses, she creates a vegetarian palate that is sophisticated and healthful. From soups to salads, sandwiches to crepes, breads to sweetmeats, The Savory Way reflects Deborah Madison's personal brand of contemporary vegetarianism.

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Features & Stories

Behind the Cookbook: The Savory Way

Behind the Cookbook: The Savory Way

Deborah Madison, cookbook author chef, has been instrumental in shaping attitudes to meat-free eating – somewhat ironically, given that Madison is not in fact a vegetarian. Deborah spoke to ckbk about why The Savory Way – which won the Julia Child/IACP 1990 Best Cookbook of the Year – remains a favorite, and how attitudes and cooking trends have changed in the 30+ years since the book was written.

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Jayne Cohen

Cookbook author and food journalist

I’ve never thought of The Savory Way--or the other cookbooks by Madison--as vegetarian cookbooks. As she once put it, her books are “about vegetables”--simply real food that’s good as is, not apologies for a meal without meat. Like Madison, I’m not a vegetarian, but I share her unabashed love for vegetables of every kind. So I love the way she brings vegetables out of the wings and into the spotlight, creating complexity by adding different points of flavor and incorporating a variety of textures in her recipes. Her combinations of flavors continue to inspire my own recipes, whether I’m preparing something center-of-the-plate or just a side dish: Buckwheat Noodles with Brown Butter and Cabbages; Grilled Eggplant with Garlic Mayonnaise; Flageolet and Artichoke Gratin (creamy with goat cheese and crisped with bread crumbs); even simple Avocado Toasts (decades before the current rage for them). Her instructions are as clear as if she were looking over your shoulder: for the homey Winter Greens and Potatoes (Vegetable Hash), Madison tells us to cook past the pretty stage, until “everything is mixed and the colors are somewhat muddled” because this way “you can taste everything in your mouth at once.” And needless to say, that taste is delicious.