Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats

by Gena on November 4, 2012

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It’s no big secret that I love Allyson Kramer.

I recommend her blog, Manifest Vegan, to pretty much everyone I know. I laugh from the belly every time we exchange an email train. I savor our dinners and value her feedback about matters both personal and professional. And I love—seriously love—her new book, Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats.

Shortly after Allyson started her blog (which was right around the same time I started mine) she was diagnosed with celiac disease. I had no idea at the time, but in recounting the story of her diagnosis, Allyson says that Choosing Raw was helpful to her. Though Allyson may not have known it, I was a Manifest Vegan fan from the very start, so it seems we had a mutual admiration society flourishing long before we met in person. When we did, it was as if we were old and beloved friends. We bonded over our love of art, our hatred of organized sports, and, of course, our passion for food.

When Allyson asked me to review her new book, I was thrilled. I’ve long appreciated her creativity as a cook, her balanced, non-alarmist approach to health/food, and the high standards she applies to her recipes. Allyson’s instructions are detailed and precise; it’s clear that she’s tested her food carefully, constructed it mindfully, and that she never uses shortcuts in recipe development. Because of this, her recipes work, and it’s a pleasure to make them.

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As you know, I’m not gluten free myself, but since very few of my favorite foods are glutenous, and since so many of my readers suffer from food allergies, I love preparing gluten free recipes and exploring gluten free baking. I often hear from people “I’d love to be vegan, but I’m allergic to gluten/soy, so I really can’t be.” While I do of course sympathize with the difficulty and dismay that can follow diagnosis to a major allergen, I’m also quick to point out that, once you learn to focus upon gluten free grains and psuedograins, and develop a knack for handling alternative flours, gluten free and vegan eating is most accessible. And if you need proof, there are so many wonderful vegan blogs to choose from: Ricki’s, Valerie’s, Kittee’s—and Allyson’s, of course.

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(Did I mention Allyson’s fantastic photos?)

In Allyson’s book, you’ll find basics, breakfasts, soups, salads, sides, entrees, and desserts. All are 100% gluten free and vegan, and they all offer user-friendly, helpful instructions. What unites them all is a sense of playfulness and creativity: unique flavor combinations, colorful presentation, and whimsical touches:

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Is it any surprise that Allyson is a trained artist? Though I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of Allyson’s visual art, and hearing about her experiences in art school (I’m the child of an artist, so they sound familiar), I believe that food may be the medium in which Allyson’s spirit shines most brightly.

I haven’t yet had a chance to test out all of the scrumptious looking food in GGFVE, but I have tested a couple of standout recipes. First, I tried Allyson’s banana buckwheat scones. As I was making them, I wondered how baked goods that were so healthy could possibly taste great. But in spite of the fact that they are made of buckwheat flour, sweetened with banana, and very low in fat, they are fantastic.

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Next, I tried Allyson’s zesty black-eyed pea salad, which is really her sister Wendi’s black-eyed pea saladIt features black-eyed peas, brown rice, corn, peppers, and a unique dressing that contains apple cider vinegar, cumin, and other seasonings.

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Forgive the fuzzy photo—it was really dark and late when I took the shot!

Finally, and as recently as two days ago, I helped myself to Allyson’s deli-style chickpea salad. This is a mixture of chickpeas, grapes, vegan mayo, mustard, and seasonings. I didn’t have sliced almonds, as called for by the recipe, nor the vegan mayo, but I simply swapped some of my own raw, vegan mayo. Recipe as follows!

Gena’s Easy Raw Mayo (Makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
3 tbsp – ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic (optional)
Water

Procedure:

Food processor: Blend nuts, garlic if desired and lemon until the mixture is relatively well combined. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mix takes on a creamy texture. Check the consistency: if it’s still too thick or coarse, keep blending and drizzle some additional water in. Keep going until it’s rich and creamy. Add some chopped herbs, if you like!

Vitamix: Blend all of the ingredients in a Vitamix till creamy.

The mayo worked beautifully in the salad. In place of the almonds, I used some hemp seeds. One of the nice things about Allyson’s recipes is that, though they are certainly thoughtful and precise, they’re also sturdy enough to hold up to modification.

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A winning recipe! This chickpea salad would be equally great on a sandwich, in a raw wrap, or (as pictured) atop fresh greens.

I am so looking forward to exploring other recipes in Allyson’s wonderful book. And I really encourage you—especially those of you who are allergic to gluten—to check it out yourselves! I think you’ll be as impressed as I am with her talent, her brains, and her creative sensibility.

To connect with Allyson, you can visit her blog, Manifest Vegan, or follow her on Twitter (@Allyson_Kramer) or find her on Facebook.

I’ll see you guys here tomorrow! I hope you had pleasant weekends.

xo

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

janet @ the taste space November 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I love it when you can connect with someone that has similar foodie-styles… when you make a recipe, likewise, I have a feeling I will like it, too! Have you ever seen one of Tess Challis’ cookbooks? Singlehandedly, she turned me into a vegan with her awesome recipes. I have a few of her recipes on my blog already, tweaked to my liking, of course… but I love the shout outs to the smaller, less known vegan authors. :)

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Ricki November 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I’m such a fan of Allyson’s talent and creativity with her recipes, and her blog, of course! Great review–and that salad sounds incredible. Thanks so much for the shout-out, too, Gena! :) xo

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Molly November 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

This looks great! I’m not gluten-free either, but I naturally eat a diet low in gluten. Your pictures a truly beautiful, Gena! P.S. Sorry in advance for the novel I just sent you via email!

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Bailey November 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Love this book! Just made her basic bread recipe from it tonight! The precision and detail in her recipes make them super easy to follow. I’ve never been let down on the quality front from this book (or her blog). My only compliant/suggestion is that I wish she had an estimated prep time and cook time parameter, because some of her masterpieces are no small feat.

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Marissa November 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Manifest Vegan is one of my favorite blogs, too. As a gluten-free eater (about 99% of the time), I can really appreciate what she’s done with gluten-free cooking. And the photos that she takes? Stunning. I’ve been looking forward to getting her cookbook, and this review makes me want it even more!

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sweetenia@visioneyewear.co.uk November 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I like the recipes shown. Great book.

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kittee November 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm

thanks for the shout-out, Gena! It’s true, Allyson’s book is gorgeous, thorough and delicious!!

xo
kittee

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Ela November 5, 2012 at 2:31 am

I checked this book out last time I was in town, and was so impressed with how it looked generally, and really liked Alysson’s energy, felt like I would like to know her. I’m thinking it would be fun to have a few vegan/gf books. I already picked up Dreena’s LTEV on your recommendation–the non-gf recipes are fairly gf-izeable–so having some fun with all that.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts–it helps me decide :)
love
Ela

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Valerie November 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

What beautiful recipes and pictures. Thanks to you I have had the chance to discover Allyson’s book and it is lovely indeed.

Thank you also for the shoutout. I actually switched to a completely vegan diet after switching to gluten-free (prior I ate mostly vegan at home, and always when eating out) -gluten-free vegan eating is indeed completely accessible – the only thing that requires a bit more discernment is being aware of cross-contamination of beans. I do think gluten-free grains and the awareness around cross contamination has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, but beans are not yet labelled as much as grains have become (the biggest source of cross contamination for beans is processing on the same machinery as barley or small pasta, btw). Also, many vegan resources encourage bulk bins shopping, which is not an option for gluten-free eaters.

I list those two as examples of adjustments a vegan eater would have to make to eat truly gluten-free (ie avoid bulk bins and do a bit of research on beans they are purchasing), and most definitely not as a deterrent. Gluten-free vegan eating is very very accessible.

Happy Monday!

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Lia November 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

I love her blog and have been following it for about 6 months now. I’ve been so excited for her book! I’m not strictly gluten-free either, but I like to keep myself knowledgeable for my students and experiment myself. This sound wonderful, and as a pastry lover, I’m keen to try her heathy baked goods! Thanks for the review! I didn’t doubt Allyson’s quality, but it always nice to get reassurance from a quality source too!

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Shannon November 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

I haven’t read Manifest Vegan before but a quick look just now leads me to believe I’ll love it. I definitely don’t seem to have an actual gluten allergy but I do notice I tend to feel rather tired and blah when I’m eating a lot of gluten so I’d love to get more adventurous with things that don’t involve it. And if you recommend her and her recipes, Gena, then I’m going to trust you. A few months ago, I thought there was no way I would ever, ever, ever be vegan but it’s apparently working for me. I feel amazing and Choosing Raw was one of the biggest influences in getting me to try. So… thanks for that!

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Christa @ Edible Balance November 5, 2012 at 10:41 am

wow. I have just discovered Allyson and I am so glad that I have! Her blog is fantastic, and this book is absolute heaven for some like me! It can be tricky at the best of times to be gluten free because of a Celiac diagnosis and I have learned many lessons in the last 11+ years since. But adding the fact that I decided to go plant-based almost a year ago it certainly makes it much more tricky! I can’t wait to check out her cookbook!

To keep with the gratefulness theme and admiration, I must say that you have been an inspiration in my life. You continue to challenge me, whether I agree with you or not sometimes, I have learned so much from you. I love to see who has inspired you, and to see the ripple effect. Such a wonderful community! Thank you Gena xoxo

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jenny November 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I hate to be the voice of dissent because normally I love all of your recipes, but those doughnuts look like junk food and the recipe sounds like a science experiment. Edamame with ketchup, olives and melted berries in a cupcake, dry looking mounds of something…none of these look appetizing at all except for the black bean dish and the chick pea salad…and at least those use accessible ingredients.

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Gena November 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Hi Jenny,

I really appreciate your comments on my blog and am grateful to you for reading, but I found this comment to be inexplicably harsh and uncharacteristically ungenerous. What may look like “junk food” to you is still far more conscious and wholesome than a typical donut. And the scones may look dry to you, but I can assure you that they are delicious, because I ate them all. Delicious and healthful. Allyson is known for her fine photography, but in case you were not moved, photos can be decieving, so I can personally attest to the taste.

Also try to remember that using a starch or a gum in a recipe may not always be the cheapest or most accessible option, but it is often helpful in terms of creating total authenticity of flavor and texture in a gluten free and vegan baked good. And that, in turn, may be the very thing that helps someone to explore a compassionate diet, or gain the confidence needed to embrace a GF diet after a celiac diagnosis. In that regard, those ingredients are often worth it. As you know from being a longtime Choosing Raw reader, I do try to use simple and accessible ingredients, but I consider myself blessed to be able to occasionally spring for ingredients that are, if a bit rare and/or pricey, either delicious or useful. It’s not my norm, but there are always special occasions, and cookbooks are full of special-occasion-worthy recipes.

G

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Bianca-Vegan Crunk November 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I’m far from gluten-free, but this book is on my wish list! I’ve flipped through it in a bookstore, and everything looks so delish!!

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Bianca-Vegan Crunk November 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Also, I just read the comment before mine….and ouch! I think all of the photos look amazing, ESPECIALLY those blueberry donuts. Just because gluten-free baking calls for a variety of flours doesn’t make them any less natural or “junk food.” The ingredients called for in that recipe are very natural and, by reading the recipe, I can tell you that donut is far from junk food.

Also, isn’t that sriracha on the edamame and not ketchup as the commenter suggested? Speaking from experience, edamame and sriracha are an amazing combination.

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keishua November 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

i have that cookbook. i’m actually not gluten free but it think that it is good to know how to do it. it’s not that hard but it can take some getting use to. sometimes, i do go off wheat if i have been eating too much.
this book really does break things down. i especially love here conversation about bread in the book. if i ever make homemade fg vegan bread i will use here recipe. it is almost impossible to find good store bought gluten free and vegan bread. i bought some once and it was dense and gross. so, this book is a gem for that alone. anyway, the book is great and the photos are very inspiring.

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Mélanie November 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

Though I don’t know her personnally, I love Allyson too Gena! I also have this book and enjoy it alot. It’s true that not all the recipes are “healthy” (I know that means different things to different people…) but they are all vegan AND gluten-free, a rather rare combination for a cookbook. Yes, many recipes have sugar and odd sounding starches (which are very well explained in the book, by the way) but occasionally, as a very healthy eating, granola-crunching gluten-free vegan mama, who makes her own pumpkin seed mylk and feeds her kids quinoa sugar-free cookies, sometimes you just want a doughnut, dang it! Or a real chocolate chip cookie! With sugar :) And when you do, this book delivers :) I love making these recipes for a pot-luck or dinner party and watching people taste it (after having just eaten cheese pizza or pork meatballs) and say : “Did you bring this? This is vegan? And gluten-free?!”

And I love the photos in this cookbook. There is a photo for every single recipe.

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Dreena Burton November 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Such a beautiful, heartfelt review. Completely agree, Allyson’s book IS spectacular, and the food photos – spectacular!

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