What a treat I have for you all today!
As regular readers know, I have a lot of cookbooks. These days, in fact, I rarely accept offers for new books to review (not because I don’t want to, but because there just aren’t enough hours in the day!). But when Annie Oliverio’s new volume, Crave, Eat, Heal, came across my desk, I knew I had to tell you all about is–stat! I pretty much wanted to prep, and then devour, every recipe in the book.
For those of you not familiar with Annie Oliverio, she’s a city gal transplanted to the country landscape of Oklahoma, and both writer and photographer behind An Unrefined Vegan, a beautiful, bright, and engaging recipe blog that features, in her words, “Unbleached, unprocessed and cruelty-free: unrefined plant-based, whole food recipes to nurture body, brain and conscience.” Oh, and mouth-watering, too.
Almond Butter and Apricot Oatmeal (photo: Annie Oliverio)
Crave, Eat, Heal begins with an in-depth introductory section in which Annie describes her own food history and philosophy, followed by a glossary of ingredients so you’re entirely clear on which ingredients are used in the recipes and how to suss them out. There’s even a section on supplements as they relate to a plant-based diet, and the ones most commonly taken by vegans.
Then, on to the recipes! To begin with, you’ll find “Building Block Recipes,” which include those staples often employed as ingredients in the later dishes, plus a section on tools to use for best results. Here you’ll encounter homemade milks, vegan cheese and mayonnaise, sprouts, marinara sauce, pizza dough, pie crust, tempeh bacon and more.
Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Cream Cheez (Vegan Boursin Cheese) (photo: Annie Oliverio)
Next up, the core of the book is divided into sections designated according to the cravings they satisfy. I mean, who doesn’t love Carbs; Chocolate; Comfort foods; foods that are Cool, Creamy, Crunchy; Green foods; Junk foods; foods that are Salty, Spicy, Sweet, Tart, or Warm? I’d say Annie covers just about every taste, texture, mouthfeel and motivation to eat in this variety of topics–and each one offers up recipes I would love to eat–right now.
The book also features “guest recipes” from the author’s friends and colleagues interspersed throughout the book. If you follow vegan food blogs, you’ll recognize many of these wonderful women who create fantastic food in their own right.
Now, to be totally honest, I guess I was constitutionally biased even before I got my copy of the book, since Annie’s recipes are all gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free, virtually guaranteeing that I could eat most of them (or most of them with wee adjustments for the ACD). And as I said at the beginning of the review, these are truly SO much “my kind” of recipes! Overall, her diet is whole-foods-based, low-sugar, unprocessed, which means I’m able to have almost all of it. And so can you!
No-Bake Breakfast Cookies (photo: Annie Oliverio)
I opted to try out the Butter Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears & Tempeh Bacon. What a fabulous concatenation of flavors, textures, and colors! Smooth and crunchy butter lettuce topped with an uber-creamy and tangy dressing, along with juicy pear and smoky-sweet tempeh bacon. The salad is also perfectly balanced nutritionally, so for a light lunch or dinner, this is really all you need. I’ll definitely be making this one again throughout the summer!
Other recipes that called to me were the Sausage Patties; Buckwheat “Black Bread”; gluten-free Pumpkin Chai Waffles; Creamy Scrambled Tofu (I love me a good tofu scram!); Mango, Pineapple and Cucumber Smoothie; Cinnamon Apple Toast (ingeniously grain-free!); Coconut-Lime Mini Donuts with Coconut-Lime Glaze; Cheddar Cheez (grate-able!); Jalapeno Hot Sauce (yeah, baby!); Raspberry Cannoli Tartlets; Gingered Coconut Sweet Potato Soup; or White Bean Salad with Creamy Italian Dressing. But really, there wasn’t a single recipe in the book I didn’t want to try!
If you’re looking for healthy, tasty food that’s also beautifully photographed, head out to the local bookstore or order online asap. Thank you, Annie, for providing so many amazing recipes for me to try!
Butter Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears & Tempeh Bacon (photo: Annie Oliverio)
Butter Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears & Tempeh Bacon
from Crave, Eat, Heal (used with permission)
This take on a classic salad reminds me of many family dinners eaten out at The Brown Derby: a big, crunchy wedge of lettuce topped with a creamy dressing and sprinkled with salty bacon. My version subs tempeh for bacon and adds a little sweetness with fresh pears.
Gluten-free, Raw Option, Oil-free, Quick, Easy
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (or use 1/2 tsp mustard powder for ACD stage 2)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. dried chives, or 1 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 large heads butter lettuce, cut into quarters
2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced
Tempeh bacon, crumbled or chopped (exclude if going for 100% raw; I used the variation mentioned in this recipe)
Add the sunflower seeds through the salt in a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth. Add the chives and parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate. Set aside.
Place two butter lettuce wedges each in four bowls. Divide the pear slices, the tempeh bacon and the dressing between the bowls. Serve.
Total Time: 15 minutes
If the dressing is too thick, add water, a little bit at at time, to get the consistency you like.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Ann Oliverio and Front Table Books.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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