Cookbook Cover
The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook, Arthur Agatston, MD 338 Pages with 200 recipes, Many Color Photos, Hardcover
Published by Rodale Inc. Reviewed by Ellen London

The era of the no-carb diet seems to be coming to an end. The Atkins corporation has filed for bankruptcy and many of its former followers have abandoned the diet, due to its strict rules, which all but eliminate certain food groups. People have found that the short term success they achieved while following the Atkins plan is nearly impossible to maintain.

However, The South Beach Diet, which emerged at the peak of the Atkins' diet popularity, still maintains a loyal following. To figure out why this diet is succeeding where so many others have failed, The Good Cook decided to read The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook.

Spicy Mussels with Tomato and Basil
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 12 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Spicy Mussels
Mussels-low in fat, high in protein, and rich in vitamin B 12 and omega-3 fatty acids-are the unsung heroes of quick (and cheap) eats in the seafood world. They pop open within minutes and pair well with all kinds of flavors. Serve them with a green salad and a big empty bowl for shells.

To clean mussels, simply run them under cold water, scrubbing gently with a vegetable brush. Discard any with broken shells and any with shells that remain open after being lightly tapped. As you go, pull off and discard the "heard" (the weedy piece that sometimes remains attached to the shell).

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, reducing heat if onions begin to brown.
Add wine and water, increase heat to high, bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and mussels; cover and cook until mussels open, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot.
Per serving: 370 calories, 14 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 37 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 590 mg sodium

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
Makes 4 (2-cup) servings

You're in for a treat with this recipe because roasting cauliflower makes It'so tender that it melts in your mouth. This simple method turns the firm, white florets into delicate, golden brown, slightly sweet morsels---a delightful and delectable change of pace.

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets (4 to 6 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 F

Place cauliflower, oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl; toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer on a heavy-bottomed baking sheet or in a large baking dish. Roast until softened and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Per serving: 110 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber, 210 mg sodium

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
Makes 10 servings
Olive Oil Cake
Made with extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter and whole-wheat instead of white flour, this cake is a healthful, yet deliciously moist and flavorful treat. The lively lemon flavor makes it perfect for serving on its own or with fresh fruit or plain low fat yogurt.

1 1/2 cups whole-grain pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granular sugar substitute
1/2 cup 1 percent or fat-free buttermilk
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; form a well in the center.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Beat egg yolks, sugar substitute, buttermilk, oil, lemon extract, and lemon zest in a medium bowl at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

Pour egg yolk mixture into the center of the dry ingredients; stir gently until just combined. Gently fold in half of the egg whites, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Pour batter into pan and bake until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes; remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 190 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 180 mg sodium
Dr. Agatstom
The creator of the plan, Arthur Agatston, MD, explains that the South Beach Diet is in fact not a diet at all; instead it is a plan for healthy living. Agatston encourages the reader to remove foods which contain large quantities of highly processed carbohydrates and saturated fats, replacing them with healthier alternatives. He believes these lifestyle changes will make us healthier without ever feeling like we were on a diet.