Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Cooking Allergy-Free: Simple Inspired Meals for Everyone by Jenna Short

Jenna Short is on a mission--to help home cooks create meals that are safe--and delicious--for anyone who suffers from food allergies or who follows a special diet. As a caterer who specializes in events suitable for those who choose a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or kosher lifestyle, Jenna knows it's not easy to meet these different needs at the same time. In Cooking Allergy-Free, Jenna comes to the rescue, with 150 recipes that are suitable for weeknight cooking as well as entertaining. Each recipe is free of one or more of the most popular food allergens--wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish, fish, soy and corn--easily identified by colorful icons, and includes substitutions to convert the recipe for other allergens. Icons also indicate recipes appropriate for those who follow a gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan diet.
Jenna's collection of recipes include starters, soups, salads, main dishes, sides, desserts, and breads. Sample the Mustard Raisin Marmalade on Toasted Crostini, Moroccan Stuffed Tomatoes, Rosemary Skillet Chicken with Mushrooms and Potatoes, Sloppy Joes, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Blackened Fish Tacos with Guacamole and Cilantro-Lime Slaw, Blueberry Lemon Crumble Pie, Mini Fudge Brownie Bites, Granola Bars, and more. With Cooking Allergy-Free in hand, you'll discover flavorful, easy-to-make dishes that aren't off limits.
Menu suggestions for setting up a kitchen to be allergen-friendly, and essentials for stocking your pantry will make Cooking Allergy-Free your most trusted source for delicious cooking.

This is, quite possibly, the best cookbook I've read all year.

Cooking Allergy-Free: Simple Inspired Meals for Everyone contains recipes for starters, soups & salads, mains, sides, desserts, breads & breakfasts, and dressings, sauces & dips that have modified to have as few allergy-inducing ingredients as possible. The first part of the book contains discussions about allergies versus food sensitivity, vegetarianism versus veganism, things to stock in your pantry, among others.

There are several things I liked about the book. First, of course, are the Pinterest-worthy food pictures. If you weren't hungry when you started reading this, by the time you're halfway through, you're probably going to be heading to the kitchen to get a snack.

I also liked that each recipe had serving sizes, nutritional information and icons for easy reference of which allergens aren't in them. Some of the recipes also had variations (what you can remove or change in order to address another allergy), as well as cook tips and wine pairing suggestions.

The last part of the book contains suggestions for menu combinations given certain occasions or themes like Asian Feast, Gluten-Free Menu, and New Year's Brunch. The idea to arrange the recipes in the index by allergen was pretty smart too.

At the moment, since it's the end of the week, my pantry isn't well-stocked so cooking from the book will have to wait. I did spot a few recipes I wanted to try, though. These are: Israeli Meatballs with Tahini Glaze, Grilled Chicken with Pistachio Pesto, Rosemary Skillet Chicken with Mushrooms and Potatoes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Peanut Butter Huhus.

Thanks to NetGalley and Taunton Press for the e-ARC.


  1. There's a wide variety of recipes.
  2. It's easy to see which recipes don't have certain allergens.
  3. The food photography is superb. 


  1. There were some recipes that looked a little intimidating for beginners. 


  1. Someone in your family has allergies.
  2. You have diet restrictions.
  3. You want to eat healthier. 




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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