A past winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars presents a cavalcade of easy meatless recipes and culinary notions.
The first vegan chef ever to win a Food Network competition, Coscarelli shares her wealth of knowledge on plant-based cuisine with marked enthusiasm. She opens with a variety of basic pantry-stocking items useful in vegan kitchens, explaining the particular benefits of shelf-stable coconut oil, vegan margarine and soybean-based flavorings like hoisin sauce or miso paste, as well as tempeh, a protein and fiber-rich meat replacement. The author keeps her recipes refreshingly uncomplicated (many can be prepared well ahead of serving time), dividing the book into sections such as small appetizers, soups, salads, finger foods, entrees and desserts. She concludes with a winning section on stock sauces and ingredients. For more traditional palates, mouthwatering offerings like pizzas, paninis and pastas will entice more than the international flare of main dishes like the Indian Buffet Trio, Eggplant Timbales and Seitan Scallopini. In varied recipes, Coscarelli incorporates the unique flavors of maple syrup, mustard and curry and shares tips on cleaning leeks, wrangling fragile phyllo dough and dicing mangos. The surprisingly manageable “formerly secret” recipe for her Cupcake Wars–winning vegan Ginger Nutmeg Spice Cupcakes is in good company with Iced Apple Cake Squares and agave-sweetened Yoga Cookies. Some substitutions seem stretched, however. Can sushi ever be convincingly swapped out with shiitake mushrooms? Will the flavor of dairy-free coconut and almond milk used in the “ice cream” recipes satisfy? Leaving no family member excluded, the vegan chef even includes her all-natural peanut-butter dog treats.
Coscarelli’s sleek volume is crisply photographed and includes the kind of straightforward, go-to recipes busy foodies can appreciate.