Absolutes almost always cause trouble in the food world, whether it’s “always eat organic” (but what if I can’t always afford it?) or “never eat carbs”. I’ve been glad to see some recent bookspromoting a more manageable middle ground, most recently, Almost Meatless by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond. Today I’m joining a virtual potluck for the book, where food writers from around the country are making an Almost Meatless dish and sharing it online (look for a list of contributors at the end of this post).

The book champions several ways to eat healthier and improve the environment. We all know we need to eat less meat — but if you can’t go cold turkey (no pun intended), why not use just a few ounces of paper-thin rib roast for a homemade shabu-shabu, instead of grilling a whole steak? Or maybe spread a single chicken breast out over four servings for your buttermilk chicken salad, or, for the die-hard, at least cut the beef in your Philly Cheesesteak with malted portobellos? 

Compromise is involved, yes, but this is not wishy-washy dining. The authors state baldly that the majority of American beef and dairy cows “probably lived very unhappy lives,” and recommend ways to find animal products you can feel better about eating. With recipes for homemade mayonnaise and carbonaras, they also put numbers on a question that’s vexed me for some time, the odds of getting salmonella from a raw egg. (They put it at 1 in 20,000. “You are more likely to get in a car wreck or become the victim of a violent crime than you are to get sick from a bad egg. Really.”)  

For my potluck dish, I decided to move away from meat (there are also recipes using minimal amounts of lamb and pork and turkey), looking at parts of the book that dealt with eggs and fish. Representing the Northwest, I had to try the Roasted Salmon Citrus Salad. The recipe header lets readers know that salmon is a fine addition to the table — but to “take care in selecting our sources for the sake of sustaining the species.” If you grill the salmon outside instead of roasting it, it’s a great dish for our record-breaking heat wave, a tangy, crunchy, flavor-packed plate. And, remember that middle ground? I may have used wild-caught salmon, but it did cross my mind how few hardcore locavores would be on board with the dressing of limes and mangoes. I think that’s OK.  Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Salmon Citrus Salad

Serves 4 to 6

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

12 ounces center-cut wild salmon, cut into 2- or 3-ounce pieces

1 ripe mango, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)

Zest of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 head frisée, torn into pieces

1 medium daikon radish, cut into 1/8-inch strips

1 medium fennel bulb, cut into 1/8-inch strips

1 cup loosely packed fennel fronds

1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin

1 orange, cut into segments  

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix the coriander, paprika, and salt together and rub evenly on each piece of fish. Transfer the fish to the prepared baking dish and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  

Make the dressing by pureeing the mango, lime zest, lime juice, and oil in a blender until smooth. In a bowl, toss the frisée, daikon radish, fennel bulb, fennel fronds, onion, and orange segments with the dressing. Top with the salmon and serve.

(Reprinted with permission of Ten Speed Press and the authors)

And, check out the others participating in the virtual potluck. Some of them, like Tara, I had the pleasure of meeting through the Greenbrier Symposium For Professional Food Writers, an invaluable resource.


Marisa McClellan

This canning maven and culinary instructor helps readers put up and preserve the seasonal harvest. She also co-hosts Fork You, an online cooking show.

Chris & Lisa

This Seattle-based husband and wife have a passion for cooking healthy new dishes to banish boredom at the dinner table. 


This once morbidly obese new father has lost over 100 pounds since January. He tracks his meals and calories on his blog.

Monica Bhide

This Washington D.C.-area based cookbook author (most recently, Modern Spice) and freelance writer has written about food for the New York Times and Bon Apetit.

Daniel Koontz

This blog’s many recipes and tips help demystify home cooking.

Christie Charmian

Recipes and food photos from a writer who loves to cook.

Brigid Kaelin

A musician who describes her style as “Alt-Country Cabaret.” She’s also a blogger, gardener, and vegetarian.


Jen says that blogging is cheaper than therapy. For her readers, it’s also more entertaining.

Jaden Hair

A food writer and TV personality whose specializes in Asian fare.


FWTS stands for Fries with that Shake, so it’s natural that Jess helms the Burger Club Philly, which unites members to sample the city’s best burgers.


Susan has blogged her way through a 30-pound weight loss and is on a quest for health and self acceptance.

Debbie Koenig

This former Random House VP brings stress-free menus to other busy moms.


Amy Strauss

Philadelphia City Paper staffer Amy channels her passion for food into her blog.

Cheryl Sternman-Rule

Food writer shares her wit and wisdom through words peppered with hilarity and smart insight, and photography that supports “food is art” philosophy.

Katie Morford

Food writer and recipe developer who is one of a duo blogging about a mutual admiration for Afghan cuisine.

Ali Stafford

Chef and food writer sharing recipes, pictures and good thoughts.

Alona Martinez

Venezuela native cooking, writing and living life through memorable bites.

Danielle Bilton

Pastry chef via a former life in the fine arts.

Robin Asbell

Cookbook author (The New Whole Grains Cookbook; The New Vegetarian Cookbook), food writer, private chef and culinary teacher specializing in vegetarian food. 

Erika & Deacon Chapin

He cooks, she eats (and sometimes cleans). A couple in Connecticut expecting their first child and eating well until he/she arrives.

Sandra Gutierrez

Food writer and cooking instructor at work on a cookbook about Latin cuisine.

Ivy Manning

Cookbook author (The Farm to Table Cookbook; The Adaptable Feast), food and travel writer.

Hank Sawtelle

Ex-esquire turned sous-vide obsessed.  Cooking everything he can stuff into a plastic bag and seal and out to prove you can do it, too.  

Elspeth Pierson

Food writer and radio personality living, eating and cooking in Cape Cod.

Adam Erace

Restaurant critic and food writer in Philadelphia.


A Southern food lover who struggles to balance the food she craves with her healthy lifestyle goals. 

Eddie Lakin

Chicago chef and writer dishing up meaty blog posts.

Sarah Copeland

Urban gardner, recipe developer, spokeswoman for The Good Food Gardens.

Jennifer Lindner McGlinn

Food writer, recipe developer, author of “Gingerbread”, and new mom.


Cynthia Furey

Food writer and editor in the the OC, CA


Andrea Nguyen

Cookbook author (Into the Vietnamese Kitchen; Asian Dumplings), contributing editor for Saveur, food writer and cooking teacher.

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