Book Review: Southwest Lite: Full-Flavored, Healthy Cooking by Bob Wiseman

Whether you call it Tex-mex, Mexican or any number of other monikers, southwest cookery is frequently fried and laden with oils or lard. While undeniably tasty, it’s not the best choice for someone trying to follow a heart smart cooking plan. Thanks to Wiseman’s efforts, you can enjoy the benefits of reduced fat and calories without sacrificing a bit of flavor.

Wiseman makes free use of egg and salt substitutes, reduced fat mayonnaise and dairy products along with Splenda to lower the overall fat and calorie content. Plenty of fresh produce and spices like cilantro, balsamic vinegar, Cajun seasonings and lime juice to name a few, pack a bright flavor punch. The name brands provided for key flavor enhancers like pepper sauce, chili spice and mustard powder to name a few reflect the author’s preference but there’s no reason not to use what you have on hand. A definite plus is Wiseman’s use of easy to get, everyday items that most cooks familiar with southwest cooking already have in their pantries. The majority of these recipes are quick and simple to assemble thus assuring a place in today’s busy kitchens. Even everyday recipes like bean salad get a makeover with diced green chilies, rice vinegar and a sprinkling of caraway seeds. The Concho Corned Beef recipe uses beer, taco sauce and Cajun seasoning to elevate the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal to the sublime. Do not overlook the Stocks and Sauces chapter with Five Flavors Sauce and a stunningly simple but dynamite Hot August Night Barbecue Sauce.

The layout is enhanced with soft focus close-up photography throughout and an easily read font. For those with special diet requirements, nutritional information including calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein is provided for each recipe to make menu planning much easier. Those unfortunates who don’t live where assorted chilies and tomatillos are found in most grocery stores will appreciate the handy mail order source list provided in the back. Expect this book to become splatered with flying ingreds as it is sure to see plenty of use.


Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.