Author Susan O’Brien brings easy and delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes to your kitchen in Gluten-Free Vegan Comfort Food featuring over 125 recipes covering all types of foods from breakfast staples to condiments.
At the beginning of the book, the author goes into an extensive (25 pages!) ingredient guide, which is important for folks who are new to gluten-free and vegan cooking. The guide touches on everything from vegan ingredients every home cook should have on hand to a descriptive list of gluten-free flours. O’Brien explains her choice of ingredients used for recipe development and that one of the main driving forces was reader feedback and requests. One of the requests was to create recipes with no soy, and O’Brien worked hard to remove the common allergen from the equation in many of the recipes. I think that this is a wonderful way to reach out to those of us with multiple food allergies or intolerances, but I do wish the recipes were labeled as such as I flip through the cookbook trying to choose which recipe to prepare. This is my only — tiny– complaint in the entire book. Although, there aren’t actually very many recipes that do contain soy based ingredients, and the ones that do are actually quite obvious (Scrambled Tofu and Vegetables, Tempeh Tacos) so this is not too much of a concern as those looking to avoid soy are generally aware that these are soy based.
The recipes themselves are plentiful and O’Brien uses an array of interesting ingredients to livin’ things up. Chia seeds are used often throughout the book, as well as coconut flour. The recipes also vary in how the author approaches them, for instance she uses a basic gluten-free flour blend in some recipes and in others she opts to make her own blend. I appreciate this approach as long lists of multiple flours can sometimes feel overwhelming to a newbie gluten-free baker, so it’s nice to have some “less intimidating” recipes to lean on.
Starting with breakfast and working her way through 10 chapters of classic comfort foods O’Brien really nails what I consider to be the epitome of All American Family Style Cooking. In the chapter “Get Your Morning Breakfast Going!” the Strawberry Applesauce caught my eye, and I love her recipe for Dried Cherry Granola because it is oat free–which is a grain I personally can’t tolerate–and it’s still an authentic, traditional, delicious granola. The section for “Kids’ Favorites” is spot on for foods that not only I loved as a child, but my (not gluten-free) vegan children now love themselves, such as Fried “Chicken” Nuggets and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. The chapters go on and on, but the last one is the most intriguing for me, which is the chapter entitled “Everything Else”… but it contains some of the most important recipes in my humble opinion, from Pesto to Cashew Milk and there’s even a recipe for Avocado Mayo which is perfect for the gluten-free vegan eater who doesn’t have access to specialty items wherever they happen to live.
“Gluten-Free Vegan Comfort Food” is a very comprehensive guide for anyone looking to eat Vegan, Gluten-Free or both, and I highly recommend reserving a space for this informative title on your bookshelf. It’s not only a great resource for vegans who need to eat gluten-free, but for anyone looking to expand their cooking knowledge and try out new and exciting flours and ingredients in classic, comforting recipes.
* Thank you to the publisher, DeCapo Press, for sending me a copy of this book to review.