Butter Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears & Tempeh Bacon from Crave, Eat, Heal

Crave Eat Heal by Ann Olivieri review

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.

Vegan, healthy Almond Butter and Apricot Oatmeal on rickiheller.com

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.

Vegan, Gluten-free garlic herb cheese on rickiheller.com

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!

Vegan, gluten-free, No Bake Breakfast cookies on rickiheller.com

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!

Vegan, gluten-free Butter Lettuce Wedges with Pears and Tempeh Bacon on rickiheller.com

Butter Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears & Tempeh Bacon (photo: Annie Oliverio)

Find Annie on her blogFacebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. She also hosts the Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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  1. I can see why you would love this cookbook – I am sure I would love it but I am taking on so few cookbooks because I have just run out of room and am really trying not to. But the photos, the flavours and the wholesomeness all have great appeal. Hope the book does well. And love the salad even though it is quite a dreary old autumn here.

    • I think you’d love it, too, Johanna! But I hear you on having too many cookbooks. . . time for me to do another giveaway, I think (but I’m hanging on to this one). 😀 Sending you sunshine and brightness!! xo

  2. Ricki! I wish I could give you a big, fat hug! Thank you so much for this lovely review. I’m so grateful. xoxo

  3. This salad is gorgeous! I’ve had this book for years but never made this recipe. Something I need to fix, ASAP!

  4. I’m a big fan of Annie, her blog, and cookbook. This looks like the perfect salad recipe for summer.

  5. I love this salad! I haven’t made it in a while, so thank you for the reminder!

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