Cooking

Free, but Full

Gluten, meat and dairy are absent in these delicious cookbooks

Gyms are full and the television is loaded with diet ads. It must be January.

For food-loving resolution makers, this time of year can prove tricky: Where is the balance between eating for health and eating for flavor?

Potential answers to that question can be found in two new cookbooks that cater to alternative diets: The Occasional Vegetarian ($17) by Elaine Louie and The Intolerant Gourmet ($30) by Barbara Kafka.

In the former, Louie builds on her New York Times column, The Temporary Vegetarian, with an abundance of recipes organized in alphabetical order. Each uncovers the heartiest aspects of produce and grains. The dishes boast plenty of flavor, too, thanks, in part, to the chefs that Louie canvassed for recipes. A cranberry-bean confit (click here for the recipe) from New York chef Bill Telepan is a particularly satisfying appetizer.

Likewise, The Intolerant Gourmet removes the stigma of sacrifice from gluten-free and lactose-free eating. Kafka's collection includes everything from English muffins to banana-coconut ice cream.

Resolution, met.

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