Après Moi, Le Dessert
Volume II

eighteenth century
vegetarian meal


More original eighteenth century recipes, most newly translated from French, selected once again to match (where possible) a menu from the time - in this case, one for a vegetarian meal ("A Meal of Roots") served to the otherwise decadent Phillippe D'Orleans, later to be the Regent of France.


  • "Shopping lists" of ingredients
  • Original recipes broken out into steps
  • An essay on vegetarians in 18th century France
To order the book, click HERE.

Free 18th Century Vegetarian Recipes

Over 100 recipes for soups, stews, salads, sweets, even... mock fish (made from vegetable paste). The ingredients include not only root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, sunchokes, etc.) but leafy vegetables such as sorrel, spinach, purslane, chicory and chard, and various legumes such as beans, lentils. And peas. Lots and lots of peas — the French loved peas —, and onions.

The selection of the recipes in the book was inspired by this original Old Regime menu:

Six Soups, two small, & four medium.

A Soup of small Onions, a Bread in the middle.
A soup of Lentils in oil, garnished with fried bread.
One of Asparagus in green purée.
One of Soup without butter.
The two small soups:
one of Almond milk, garnished with Pralines; & a Soup of Morels. One may also serve an Olio of Root Vegetables,
& garden herbs in oil.

A dish of Lentils in stew, with fines herbes,
One of Pea Purée, with fines herbes,
One of Beans,
One of Roots in Stew,
One of Jerusalem Artichokes,
One of other different Roots, Four dishes of Oysters.

Entrees: [mock fish]

Entremets: A dish of Asparagus in cream,
One of an Almond milk Tart, & the best milk,
One of Crême brulée,
One of Morels in cream,
One of Asparagus in Salad,
One of Hartshorn jelly,
A Blancmange,
Mushrooms breaded & put in the oven,
Cabbage in Salad,
Spinach in cream,
Beans in their husk preserved dry, served in Salad;
& others in cream,
Salted Artichokes, in white sauce,
Dry Truffles in oil,
Apple Beignets.

The Meal just described was Monsieur the Duke of Orléans' Dinner, on Good Friday. Roots were ordered to be brought the evening before; three or four Tables were loaded with them, they were peeled, scraped & blanched as usual, as for the Stews & Entreés, as for the Roast; so that everything was ready in the morning for the Stuffings. A large quantity of Peas was also cooked starting in the evening; which was used to make a great deal of Onion gravy, and to put in the pot the Greens & Roots for the Olio.

Here is the second of two recipes given for the item "A soup of Lentils in oil, garnished with fried bread.":

(* indicates a recipe found elsewhere in the book)

Here is one for artichokes:

A Utility Dish section gives recipes for stocks, sauces, doughs, etc. - for example:

And, even if they weren't a dessert (this was an entremets, or "dainty-dish"), the apple beignets finish things nicely - especially when presented as "jewels":

The collection ends with an essay:

Vegetarians in Old Regime France

which explores a variety of topics:

  • Rousseau and Voltaire as vegetarians
  • Phillipe Hecquet's Christian vegetarianism
  • Eighteenth century attitudes towards vegetables
  • Vegetarian diets in religious communities
  • Individual diets

From the essay:

Were there vegetarians in eighteenth century France?
In attempting to answer that question, the first thing to point out is that, though vegetarians have existed since classical times, the word itself arose in the nineteenth century (in England). Still, the concept of a vegetarian diet was known in France at this time, and was called (by Rousseau among others) a “Pythagorean diet” (Pythagoras having been one of the earliest recorded vegetarians).
The question might then be restated as “were there people in eighteenth century France who (willingly) followed a Pythagorean diet?”
The most meaningful answer is “Too few to speak of”. Yes, the greater part of the population mainly ate vegetables, but not by choice. Others did so under some measure of constraint, be it medical or religious. This leaves the extremely rare cases of individuals who adopted eccentric diets, often without meat, but also without vegetables, and whose reasons for doing so typically remain obscure.
As it happens, two prominent figures from this period are often included in lists of famous vegetarians: Rousseau and Voltaire. Why? The simplest answer is that both wrote scattered passages which can be interpreted as favoring vegetarian principles. But writers write many things, and only sometimes live by them...
[Continued in the book...]

Carnivores meanwhile might still want to take a look at:

Apres Moi Le Dessert


All translations copyright 2009 Jim Chevallier.
Please do not reproduce or post elsewhere without prior permission.