Reviews: Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-Free Cookbooks

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Go Dairy Free
By Alisa Fleming
BenBella Books, $19.95

Whether considering dairy-free living by medical necessity or by choice, Alisa Fleming’s 600-plus page, fully revised edition of her bestseller empowers the reader to embrace this lifestyle with ease. Subtitled “The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living,” the book covers everything from nutrition and calcium levels in foods to navigating social situations and dining at restaurants. Not merely a cookbook, but rather an invaluable lifestyle guide and manual, its greatest
strength lies in the hard-earned wisdom Fleming shares.

Without the use of photos or fillers, this highly organized volume is designed to be easily scanned for content specific to the reader’s individual diet restrictions. It includes an impressive 250-plus recipes, all indexed by allergen. From homemade milks and breads, to hearty soups, mains and sides, the recipes are made from simple, accessible ingredients with vegan and egg-free options for each. As well, there are plenty of tempting gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipes to satisfy an even broader audience.

Eat Dairy Free
By Alisa Fleming
BenBella Books, $19.95

Trust Alisa Fleming, founder of Godairyfree.org, to create a dairy-free cookbook packed with so many enticing recipes, color photos and inventive tips that it’s a one-stop resource, no matter what you’re craving. Allergen charts make quick work of finding recipes that are also free of gluten, egg, nuts, peanuts and soy, and tested free-from options are included anywhere those allergens are used.

On a tour of her pantry, Fleming, who is Allergic Living magazine’s food editor, reveals her go-to ingredients and offers up expert advice for getting the best dairy-free results. Handy “weekly menu plans” are an invaluable tool for home cooks looking for ways to integrate recipes like Impossible Vegan Quiche or Cheesy Twice-Baked Potatoes into their busy routines.

This paperback reveals the possibilities of cooking naturally dairy-free. As Fleming notes of her approach, “it isn’t about substitutes. It’s about easily enjoying good food.”

 

Shut Up and Cook!
By Erica Reid
BenBella Books, $19.95

This tough love title leaves no room for excuses. Erica Reid firmly nudges readers into the kitchen, while providing the warm embrace of nutritious and comforting recipes. Plus, to cast aside any fear of perfection, she welcomes you to get messy. Each recipe includes a space for your notes and has an enticing, yet realistic, photo that nearly anyone could replicate.

Despite dish names like Huevos Rancheros, this healthy home-style cookbook is egg-free, nut-free and peanut-free. Dairy, corn and nightshades are also shunned in most of the recipes. But it maintains family-friendly appeal with Chocolate Chip Spelt Muffins, Snack-Time Tofu Dip, Mama’s Turkey Meatballs and so many must-try meals and treats that there really is no time to chat.

 

Hiking Free
By Sarah Kirkconnell
Bay Street Publishing, $12.99

Whether you’re hitting the trail or the road, this rustic little cookbook can help you and your family stay safe. It’s packed with over 110 easy recipes, which are free of gluten and the top allergens, and can easily be stowed for travel.

Sarah Kirkconnell’s family loves the great outdoors. But when her son Alistaire was diagnosed with severe food allergies, she quickly learned that restaurants don’t present the only hazards. Pre-packaged snacks, freeze-dried meals and communal camping all pose allergen risks, so Kirkconnell journeyed into a new type of meal prep.

As a result, her collection includes unexpected cooking and great tips. And her beloved recipes for beverages, warm cereals, breakfast classics, healthy wraps, nourishing soups, creative rice and ramen dishes, snack-worthy treats, creamy puddings, and essential dry mixes offer a comforting way to venture off the beaten track.

Published in 2017

Jennifer’s Way Kitchen
By Jennifer Esposito
Grand Central Life & Style, $30

Most cookbooks just provide a quick path to delicious recipes. But Jennifer Esposito encourages us to stroll among vibrant imagery and fruitful bites of information. Her pure approach avoids gluten, dairy, eggs, refined sugar and alcohol. It severely limits nightshades and nuts (but not coconut). As a result, she guides us through 100+ anti-inflammatory recipes that are also quite allergy-friendly.

At times, Esposito does wander towards more extravagant ingredients and new culinary vistas. But she doesn’t take us too far off the beaten track. In fact, her comforting “Buttery” Creamy Cauliflower Soup and Grandmother’s Baked Chicken remind that special diets and simplicity can go hand in hand.

 

Baking Magic with Aquafaba 
By Kelsey Kinser
Ulysses Press, $14.95

It may look like ordinary bean or chickpea water, but Kelsey Kinser has 100 ways to transform aquafaba into egg-free sweets and savories. From Sponge Cake to Quiche, every eggless secret is cracked. But don’t be fooled by the very specific title. Kinser conjures up a range of recipes, including crepes, mousse, fudge and even versatile aquafaba “butter.”

As a vegan title, this cookbook is free of eggs, dairy and seafood, but gluten, nuts and soy are bused liberally.

 

Awesome Vegan Soups
By Vanessa Croessmann
Page Street Publishing, $21.99

I encourage you to savor small sips of this nourishing cookbook. It’s brimming with 80 flavor-forward blends of produce, whole grains and plant-based proteins, all arranged by season. Enjoy the Spicy Potato Pumpkin Soup in autumn, Creamy Brussels Sprout Soup in winter, lemon Asparagus Soup in spring and Watermelon Gazpacho in summer.

As for allergens, the author uses just a smattering of soy, nuts or gluten. And a few savvy swaps make the bulk of her book top food allergy-friendly. Simply use rice milk, gluten-free pasta, soy-free miso and coconut aminos as needed, and forgo the nutty sour cream swirl.

 

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

 

 

Aquafaba
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

 

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