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Nava Atlas- A Cookbook Review



Nava Atlas [one of my favorite vegetarian cookbook authors] was kind enough to send me a copy of
The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Babycakes, where do I start? This hefty tome is chock full of fresh and fabulous recipes - more than 275, in fact - from breakfasts and snacks to comfort foods, main dishes and desserts.

What do I like? I like that her recipes are doable, and not based on hard-to-find ingredients. In fact, most everything she uses is already in my pantry. I like her tips in the Introduction about being a vegetarian, planning meals for a family, and cooking within a busy schedule. I like that there are vegan options throughout the book (perfect for all you non-dairy and egg-free cooks out there).
Nava's style of cooking reminds me of my own, and her approach to recipes is akin to my own philosophy: use fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible, and go for simplicity.  

I'll be inspired for months to come.

For those on gluten-free diets there are lots of tasty sounding recipes that are naturally gluten-free and others that are easily tailored- substituting wheat pasta with brown rice pasta, for instance. Obvious ingredients to avoid on a gluten-free diet include bulgur, barley, cous cous, seitan, flour tortillas and various breads, of course, but I'm guessing any savvy celiac can spot these, and either switch out a safe substitute, or move on to another recipe [and there are plenty] focused on vegetables, fruits, cornmeal, rice and quinoa.

If you're brand spanking new to this whole gluten-free diet thing, you might want to become a little more fluent in cooking gluten-free before you tackle a non-gluten-free cookbook like this, but if you're at all like me, Darling, you prefer to experiment and educate yourself rather than looking to be spoon fed. I personally enjoy [and cook from] a wide assortment and range of cookbooks - and none of them are "gluten-free". 


In fact, Dear Reader, I don't even own a gluten-free cookbook. I haven't found any so far that capture and evoke my personal approach to cooking. I'm more inclined to peruse cookbooks like Nava's, and those by Susan Curtis, Barbara Kafka and Jamie Oliver.

Recipes I'm looking forward to trying? How about her Cabbage, Apple and Raisin Slaw, Scalloped Cauliflower, Skillet Black Beans with Potatoes and Tortillas? Sounds yummy. And I might even be brave enough to try tackling Vegetable Sushi. Stay tuned.


©2005-2010 Karina Allrich. All rights reserved.

Karina's Kitchen Recipes

TRENDING

Gluten-Free Goddess Pizza Crust

PIZZA. YES. For years I've missed pizza. Not because there isn't gluten-free pizza available. It's out there. You can find it if you look hard enough. Take a gander in the frozen food aisle of your favorite natural market. Snoop around in the dairy case, next to the gluten-free bagels. You might even hit pay dirt at your local pizza joint (if they understand the ins and outs of cross contamination). So yeah. There are some choices out there. Problem is, most gluten-free pizza sucks. It's usually heavy on the chewy aspect.  Or dry as dirt. Like a cracker.  With zero flavor.  Yawningly meh.  Certainly nothing to brag about. I mean, you wouldn't eat it if you didn't have to. You know what I'm sayin'? It's okay in a pinch. If you're famished and tired on a Friday night.  But it's not exactly inspiring. So last week I started experimenting. I tweaked and baked. And lo and behold. A tasty new gluten-free pizza crust was born.  And this

My Favorite Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

My Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes For Fall... The bittersweet, textured beauty of Autumn has always gripped my heartstrings, pulling me in deeper, connecting with some invisible part of me, so much more so than Spring. Much more so than summer's flirtatious pleasures. And Winter, well. She is a dark and icy mistress. That relationship has always been complicated. So unlike my truly, madly deeply love of Fall. Bake on, my friends. Tis the season for pumpkin. xox Karina

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Icing

Did someone say... cupcakes? And better yet, pumpkin cupcakes? My favorite, hands down. Warm spicy fall flavors in a sweet morsel of cakey confection topped with a creamy icing. What's not to love? These tender gluten-free cupcake beauties have just the right balance of pumpkin and sweetness, ginger and cinnamon. They're not overly spicy. And as written, they're dairy-free (the cream cheese we used to make the icing is vegan and it worked beautifully). Note that vegan or lactose free cream cheese is typically less stiff than dairy cream cheese. If you are using dairy based cream cheese, soften it first. Have a safe and beautiful weekend! Karina xo

Sunbutter Cookies

Here's an easy gluten-free cookie recipe made with sunflower butter- a post-modern peanut-free take on those retro peanut butter cookies your Aunt Lizzie used to make. You know, with those jars of Skippy peanut butter (or was it Jif?). Instead of using traditional peanut butter in this recipe, I used sunflower butter, which has a golden nutty flavor not unlike peanut butter, but slightly different. Kinda like peanut butter's wacky, geeky brother. You know, slightly nutty. Fun. Like a bright new bike. And they taste so good you just might want some more. Now, please. I adapted this recipe from a peanut butter cookie recipe (submitted by Erin Smith) to Beyond Rice Cakes , an easy, fun cookbook (especially for teens and students) by Vanessa Maltin, director of outreach and programming at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness .

Gluten-Free Baking Tips + Substitutions

Need wheat-free gluten-free baking tips? Help is Here. Here's what works- and what doesn't- in quirky Gluten-Free Baking and Substitution Land. From Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess®. Baking Substitutions for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free and More Notes on GF Flours: Gluten-free non-wheat flours generally fall into three basic weights- light starch, all-purpose medium, or heavier whole grain. A blend of medium and heavy flours with some starch mixed in to lighten, tenderize, and help bind the batter or dough works best, and tastes best (too much starch can result in a gummy texture). Light, starchy GF flours include sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and the ubiquitous gluten-free starches- tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch (NOT potato flour, which is whole different animal) and arrowroot starch. Medium flours are akin to 'all purpose flour'- these include sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, and superfine brown rice flour. If you cannot find sorg

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Scones

Sconelicious. You heard me right. Because I know what you're craving.  I'm craving it, too. Something indulgent.  But not overly indulgent.  Sweet.  But not too sweet.  Something warm and tender, and laced with the autumnal spices you've been shaking and dashing and pinching with abandon.  Something using up that leftover half cup of pumpkin sitting in the fridge. Are you with me?  Are ya feelin' me?  Then let's get sconed. Karina xox

Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

We found canned organic pumpkin on the store shelves this week. So be prepared for pumpkin recipes. I, for one, Darling, can't get enough. Pumpkin is my favorite fall ingredient. Maybe because it cozies up to gluten-free flours so well. It adds moisture and depth to g-free baked goods. It flirts with cinnamon and ginger like the sexiest, inscrutable movie star. You know what I'm talking about. It's not overt. Or blatant. It's not over the top. It is subtle. Secure. Pumpkin doesn't demand to be admired. Because it doesn't have to prove itself. It's not a bully flavor that crushes gentler flavors in its wake. It doesn't bark and claw to be Top Dog 24/7. It doesn't have a deep seated need to own the room, to dominate, to control the ingredients it shares a bowl with. Pumpkin goes with the flow. It likes vanilla. And it likes chocolate. You could say, it's bi-flavorful. Which happens to be a quality I admire. Even embody and