Reviews: Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-Free Cookbooks

in Reviews
Published: December 4, 2013

Published in 2017

Sweet, Savory & Free
By Debbie Adler
BenBella Books, $19.95

This liberating cookbook was penned by none other than the founder of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in Los Angeles. As a food allergy mom and healthy living enthusiast, everything Debbie Adler makes is vegan, gluten-free top allergen-free and refined sugar-free.

But she refuses to feel bound by these restrictions. In fact, Debbie demonstrates the abundance of her autonomy in this 100-recipe collection with lavish photography. She spices things up with homemade Sriracha and Horseradish, provides comfort through Pumpkin Swirl Cinnamon Buns and Spanakopita Enchiladas, nourishes via Broccolini Tarts and Super Greens Soup, and finally treats us to a feast of Candy Bar Cookies and Tiramisu Cupcakes. –Alisa Fleming

Published in 2016

The Perfect Blend
By Tess Masters
Ten Speed Press, $19.99

You’ll be a Whiz at healthy cuisine thanks to the innovative layout of Tess Masters’ latest blender-inspired cookbook. Releasing just in time for New Year’s resolutions, the chapters are organized by dietary ambitions, including energy, immunity, Weight loss, low carb, probiotic promoting and more. For further customization, each recipe has optional “boosters” that ensure you’ll be mixing nourishing new foods into your regular routine.

Nutritious tidbits abound, while the brilliant photography showcases the beauty of real food. Although nuts and soy are used quite liberally, all 100 recipes are purely plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free.–Alisa Fleming


Simply Delicious Allergy Friendly Recipes
By Kelly Roenicke
CreateSpace, $23.97

As the creator of the beloved blog The Pretty Bee, Kelly Roenicke has been homing in on this delicious collection for years. The pages are abuzz with time-tested, family-friendly recipes and appealing yet realistic photos.

Among colleagues, Kelly is considered a queen of gluten-free and top allergen-free eats. But in this cookbook we see a devoted mom reaching out to share warm hugs of good food. She knows that you need Easy Chocolate Overnight Oats for busy mornings, Beef Stroganoff for mid-week magic, Cheezy Popcorn for movie nights, No Bake Nut Free Granola Bars for lunch boxes, and Ice Cream Sandwiches to keep your precious swarm satisfied. –Alisa Fleming


The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Little, Brown and Company $32

Pretty but playful, this full-color cookbook covers the classics with loads of latkes for Hanukkah, assorted cookies for Christmas and plenty of pies for Thanksgiving. But Isa Moskowitz draws outside of the lines with a culinary imagination that must be celebrated. Whether it’s a Super Bowl Philly Cheesesteak Casserole, Mardi Gras Corn Fritters with Tomato Jam or a night at the Oscars with Pink Grapefruit Cupcakes, you’ll always find a reason to revel in her more than 200 recipes.

This festive collection doesn’t dish up many top allergen-free eats. However, it is completely free of dairy, eggs, meat and seafood. Plus, it opens with substitution tips for gluten, nuts and soy. –Alisa Fleming


By Zsu Dever
Vegan Heritage Press, $21.95

We’re spilling the beans on this trendy new title, which promises easy meringues and omelets without cracking an egg. In fact, vegan quiche, crepes, cookies, burgers and beyond are Whipped up with one emerging allergy-friendly ingredient: the cooking liquid from legumes.

The author provides the techniques for transforming the liquid into fluffy peaks, an easy emulsifier or the perfect baking binder. Every recipe is free of dairy, eggs, meat and seafood, and notations indicate gluten-, nut- and soy-free options. There are even specially created treats, like Gluten-Free Artisan Bread and Nut-Free Macaron Shells. –Alisa Fleming


Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations
By Danielle Walker
Ten Speed Press, $35

Don’t be surprised if you start seeking out special occasions to enjoy the recipes in this all-inclusive cookbook. From birthday bashes to game day gatherings, an intimate Valentine’s dinner to a festive Christmas, Danielle Walker allows us to revel in the endless edible possibilities.

Nearly every turn of the page unearths an eye-catching photo and an inspired grain-free creation to challenge doubting guests. Walker serves several tastes of tradition, but delights like Butternut Sage Carbonara and Champagne Chocolate Strawberries share new reasons to raise a glass.

Every morsel in this classic hardcover is free of gluten, soy, peanuts and, for the most part, dairy. However, tree nuts, seeds, eggs and seafood are abundant, with only a modest selection of options for family with multiple food allergies. –Alisa Fleming


The Sparkle Kitchen Cookbook
By Brittany Barton
CreateSpace, $29.99

It’s clear from the title and the contents that Brittany Barton doesn’t like junk. She keeps everything clean with a tidy layout, whole food ingredients and succinct instructions.

Nonetheless, pops of color pictures are infused throughout to let us know that food free of nuts, gluten, grains, dairy, soy, seeds, corn and refined sugars is anything but boring. The pristine pages include 72 year-round recipes, with a satisfying emphasis on the comforting flavors of fall. –Alisa Fleming


N’ice Cream
By Virpi Mikkonen and Tuulia Talvio
Avery Publishing, $25

Judging this book by its cover, and the inviting pictures within, we may have found the sweetest new summer companion. With nary an introduction, the authors begin buddying up to us with creamy concoctions ranging from simple Vanilla “ice cream” to decadent Chocolate Creamsicles with White Chocolate Glaze.

They then appeal to our desires for instant gratification with an entire chapter of frozen banana-based treats. A broad selection of creative ice pops, sorbets, “milkshakes,” “ice cream” cakes, cookie sandwiches and homemade toppings round out the more than 80 cool recipes.

As an added bonus, every recipe churned out by these authors is free of dairy, eggs, gluten, soy and refined sugars, and icons are included to denote nut-free options. –Alisa Fleming


Made with Love
By Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie
Appetite by Random House, $24.95

A special delivery has arrived from the mother-daughter duo behind Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love Café, two famed gluten-free and vegan restaurants in southwestern Ontario. The caring pair has released their first cookbook, and it’s a beautiful expression of their passion for wholesome home cooking as Well as the not-so-occasional sweet treat.

The hefty paperback was made to stand the test of time, housing over 100 dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and meat-free recipes to pass down through the generations. There are many old favorites, such as Waffles, Eggless Quiche and Red Velvet Cupcakes, but the generous smattering of stunning photography may entice you to create new traditions around unique recipes like the Lemon-Basil Lasagna, Banana-Butterscotch Loaf or Chocolate Radical Cookies. –Alisa Fleming



Published in 2015

5 Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker Cookbook
By Stephanie O’Dea
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99

Known as “the crockpot lady,” this author has always taken a less is more approach – below budget meals that take minutes to make, and now recipes that require a mere handful of foods to whip up family-friendly fare. Aside from the freebies (salt, pepper, water and cooking spray), every dish in this full color bookbook holds tru to its minimalist promise.  Some of the standouts include Simple Granola, Smoked Sausage and Bans, Winter Vegetable Stew, Rosemary-Crusted Lamb, Sweet Chipotle Glazed Meatballs and Party Punch for Twenty.

Since Stephanie O’Dea’s family is affected by celiac disease, every recipe is tested gluten-free. Other top allergens are sparsely used in this expansive collection with the exception of dairy, which is more liberally splashed throughout. –Alisa Fleming


By Theresa Nicassio
D&D Publishing, $35

Lush photos of plant life intertwine with wholesome eats in this healthy lifestyle cookbook. As a gourmet raw chef, Theresa Nicassio embraces food in its natural state through an array of fresh smoothies, salads and creamy desserts. But for cooler months, she heats things up with numerous cooked recipes like Angeline’s Favorite Hot Chocolate, Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup, Crustless Cheesy Broccoli Quiche and Snickerdoodles.

Beyond the nutritious creations, Nicassio expresses her “inclusive” awareness on every page. She strives to introduce something new and useful to each reader, regardless of dietary needs, and does so warmly by inviting us into her family with lessons, images and anecdotes.

All of the 180+ recipes in this lovely hardcover are gluten-free and plant-based (free of dairy, eggs, meat and fish). Plus a thorough allergen chart cross-references other food concerns, including nuts, soy, corn, grains, citrus, potatoes, nightshades, beans and sugar. –Alisa Fleming


The Easy Vegan Cookbook
Easy Vegan Cookbook coverBy 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


Blender Girl SmoothieThe 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


dessert forkThe Dessert Fork
By Cindy Gordon
Createspace, $20

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


GF around the worldGluten Free Around the World
By Aviva Kanoff
Brio, $29.99

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

Allergy Free PiessThe 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


cooking allergy free- jenna short

Cooking Allergy-Free
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

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