Reviews: Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-Free Cookbooks
The Easy Vegan Cookbook
By Kathy Hester
Page Street Publishing, $21.99
Perhaps the best everyday collection to settle on my bookshelf in years, this title focuses on what we eat most: meals. Light soups, hearty stews, comforting pastas, kid-focused fare and enticing ethnic cuisine promise to keep your menu varied and healthy throughout the week. But don’t worry; there is also a delightfully sweet ending of brownies, cake and crisp to satisfy your sugar cravings.
Though naturally free of dairy, eggs and seafood, author Kathy Hester is mindful of other top allergen needs, too. The entire 80-recipe collection is gluten-free accessible, most recipes can be made soy-free, and through the “Staples” include some nut-based recipes, nut-free notes appear throughout. She even includes an allergy-friendly Cauliflower Ricotta to make her Almost Effortless Lasagna a dish to be enjoyed by all. – Alisa Fleming
The Blender Girl Smoothies
By Tess Masters
Ten Speed Press, $16
Arguably the most nutrient-dense new cookbook of the 2015 summer season, Tess Masters takes our taste bud on a tour through orchards, farmlands and the tropics, embracing the naturally sweet flavors and diversity of produce available in our everyday markets. She entices with recipe titles like Orange Ecstasy, gets us to eat our greens with sneaky fusions like Pineapple Kiwi Cavalcade, and intrigues with the blends like Summer Stoner and Black Magic.
This beautiful resource includes ample ingredient information and intriguing tips, plus each of the 100 approachable recipes is paired with a brilliantly hued photo that beckons the reader to reach right in and take a sip. As a bonus, every last drop is free of dairy, eggs, gluten and peanuts, while nuts and soy are used quite minimally. –Alisa Fleming
The Dessert Fork
By Cindy Gordon
Known online as the Vegetarian Mamma, Cindy Gordon keeps it short and sweet with this 40-recipe collection that manages to cover almost every conceivable kid-friendly occasion. Using a small arsenal of pantry essentials and shortcut ingredients, she ensures there are cookies for lunchboxes, frosted cakes for celebrations, treats for the holidays, and sugary delights to make summer special.
For her two sons with multiple food allergies, Gordon keeps her formulas free of peanuts, tree nuts and gluten. Soy is used sparsely in this cookbook, though you must be mindful of the brands you choose for ingredients such as chocolate and shortening. Milk and egg make more frequent appearances, but veteran vegan bakers should be able to swap in substitutes with ease. –Alisa Fleming
Gluten Free Around the World
By Aviva Kanoff
From the assortment of cuisine to the layout and photographs, this quirky collection could easily be described as a food-obsessed traveler’s scrapbook. Through we longed for more descriptions on the local eats, Aviva Kanoff shares her adventures with us through lifestyle pictures and flavorful recipes like Mexican Street Corn, Indonesian Fried Rice, French Coq Au Vin with Saffron Quinoa and Indian Lamb Curry.
Aside from wheat, Kanoff doesn’t address top allergens, but the international theme offers an array of naturally free-from delights and many that are easily adaptable for moderately experienced top allergen-free cooks. –Alisa Fleming
Published in 2014
The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts
By Laurie Sadowski
Book Publishing Company, $14.95
It takes a talented recipe creator like Laurie Sadowski to remind us just how to many different sweets can be conquered without a drop of dairy, speck of gluten or crack of an egg. The latest in her cookbook series warms us up with pies and their comfort food kin (from tarts to cobblers), mixes in creamy layers of decadence (like trifles and cheesecakes), and finishes with a generous scoop of frozen dessert recipes.
Unlike many other gluten- and dairy-free publications, The Allergy-Free Cook avoids all soy, keeps her use of nuts to a few recipes and shuns standard flour blends. Each baked recipe is customized with individual flours and starches for perfect flaky crusts, crisp-tender toppings and moist pudding cakes. The writing is also dotted with helpful tips and guides on troubleshooting, substituting and easy ingredient alternatives. –Alisa Fleming
By Jenna Short
Taunton Press, $29.95
Within this beautiful hardcover, Jenna Short creatively transforms mundane everyday cuisine into a doable culinary adventure. She intertwines vivid photography and beloved classics with whimsical recipes, like Oatmeal and Fig Crumble Wedges, Bloody Mary Salad and Lemon Thyme Potato Gratin.
Readers avoiding the Top 8 allergens should keep an open mind, as this cookbook was written both for you and for those without as many restrictions. The author may include optional feta, use all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative, or simply forgo a substitution if she feels wheat, eggs, fish or nuts are essential to the formula. But with 150 recipes, all marked with allergen-free icons it’s safe to say there’s plenty for everyone. –Alisa Fleming
Next page: 2014 Cookbook Reviews