Denver, CO (PRWEB) July 21, 2011
Carol Fenster, author of nine gluten-free cookbooks, announces the publication of her new cookbook for gluten-free vegetarians, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes (Avery/Penguin Group, July, 2011). “With over 22 million people following a vegetarian-inclined diet and seven percent adhering to a gluten-free diet, the time is right for a cookbook that combines these two popular diets into one practical guide,” says Fenster, who has been gluten-free for over 20 years.
Gluten is a protein in wheat (and related grains such as rye, barley, and spelt) that is safe for most people, but toxic for those with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which gluten inhibits the absorption of nutrients in food and leads to malnutrition. It is also toxic for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but these people may exhibit a more diverse set of symptoms. “Gluten intolerance has become so common,” says Fenster, “that physicians refer to it as a public health issue.” Since there is no cure for gluten intolerance, the only treatment is a lifelong diet devoid of gluten.
In the past, traditional vegetarian fare included wheat or barley in the form of pasta, seitan, wheatberries, or bulgur. Wheat flour is used to thicken soups or make baked goods. Even soy-based meat alternatives may include some wheat as a binder or added source of protein. “So,” says Fenster, “I wrote this vegetarian cookbook using gluten-free replacements for all of these problem foods so that gluten-free vegetarians can enjoy the same choices as everyone else.”
How did she do this? Gluten-free pasta replaces wheat versions and soups are thickened with potatoes (a natural thickener) or flours such as sweet rice flour. In place of meat, she uses some tofu but prefers hearty vegetables such as eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, or potatoes or crispy fried polenta to lend the toothsome chew that meat ordinarily provides. Baked items such as breads, cakes, and cookies are made from gluten-free flours such as sorghum, bean, and brown rice while wheatberries and bulgur are replaced with amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats (look for gluten-free versions), quinoa, sorghum, and wild rice.
“The American Dietetic Association recommends eating 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily, so fiber-rich plants are a good idea whether you’re a vegetarian or not,” says Fenster. “The idea is to let plant-based foods (especially whole grains) occupy a larger proportion of your plate, adding your favorite meats as more of a garnish or condiment rather than as the main attraction. I show you how to prepare plant-based foods in wholesome, tasty ways so it is much easier and enticing to incorporate them into your diet.”
As an added benefit, all but five of the gluten-free, dairy-free recipes omit eggs which not only makes the book ideal for vegans but also for families with multiple food sensitivities. “It is much easier to blend a gluten-free diet with a plant-based diet if you know what ingredients to use and how to use them,” says Fenster, who also offers gluten-free vegetarian recipes on her weekly online cookbook at GfreeCuisine. “My new book makes it so much easier.”