At first glance, it's hard to imagine a brunch cookbook being even somewhat usable for people with food intolerances. Tofu scrambles and quiches aren't so great for those sensitive to soy; the rest of the book doesn't appear to be great for gluten-free folks, what with the muffins, pancakes, waffles... You get the picture. The only recipes that are overtly "safe" are the potatoes. (And don't get me wrong--there are plenty of those!) So why am I reviewing Vegan Brunch this week? Well actually, I'm here to tell you that it is in fact very easy to make this book work for you. I've done it, and do it with such frequency I probably should put Vegan Brunch aside and break out a different book for a few weeks.
First let's talk about the soy-based recipes. I'm only going to spend a couple of minutes on this since I want to focus more on the other recipes. For those of you who can't (or don't) eat soy, you have plenty of options. There are only a few recipes specifically based on tofu (the quiches, scrambles, and tofu benedict). The rest of the book is fair game, really. Since I can eat soy, I occasionally make the scrambles. And they're good. My favorite is kind of a dark horse--the curry scrambled tofu with cabbage and caraway. It has a really interesting flare that I can't really describe other than that it's addictive.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="337" caption="naturally gluten-free curry scrambled tofu with cabbage and caraway"][/caption]
But really, I know what you've been waiting for is the rest of the book. The gluteny stuff. I cannot say that I've made every recipe gluten-free, but I can offer encouragement for those of you who want to try. I have made all of the muffins, the scones, the pancakes, and the crepes gluten-free with a 1:1 substitution of an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix and the appropriate amount of xanthan gum for the amount of flour used. Yep--it's that easy. I posted earlier this year about my gluten-free adaptation of the crepes--different enough to be my own recipe, but admittedly based on the ratio of flour to liquid of the Vegan Brunch version (and no eggs, obviously). The pancakes work wonderfully gluten-free, as do the muffins. And the East Coast coffecake? Perfect without wheat. I have not made the yeasted goodies gluten-free, as I've found gluten-free yeast-filled stuff to be more finicky. Everything else? You're good to go. My favorite store-bought all-purpose mix to use is the one made by Bob's Red Mill, but if you prefer another or make your own, you shouldn't have any problems.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="gluten-free adaptation of the Vegan Brunch crepes"][/caption]
While we're on the topic of baked goods, I'd like to mention the muffins. Until my copy of Vegan Brunch arrived, my all-time favorite muffin recipes were from Vegan with a Vengeance. (The mocha chip muffins and the pumpkin muffins are both regulars here.) My favorites from Vegan Brunch are the lemon poppyseed muffins and the cocoa raspberry muffins. Both have great flavor and a wonderful crumb. And the muffin recipes work like a charm when halved for smaller batches.
If you're more in the mood for potatoes, there's virtually a whole chapter on different root veggie recipes. I blogged last week about the individual hashbrowns, but those are only the beginning. If you only try one potato recipe from this book you need to make the creamy avocado potato salad. It's incredibly creamy without being filled with mayonnaise. (Mayo-haters rejoice!)
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="East Coast coffeecake made gluten-free, with chocolate chunks and dried cranberries added"][/caption]
There are only a few recipes that cannot be easily made gluten-free--the seitan sausages. And those are really good. But really, there's enough other food in Vegan Brunch you'll love that you won't miss those at all. Especially if gluten makes you ill, like it does me. Even great seitan isn't worth the pain. (But if you are reading this and can eat gluten? Try out those sausages.)
I really could write about three quarters of the recipes in Vegan Brunch separately, but that would make for a very long (and probably boring) post. I'd buy this one again without even thinking about it. Vegan Brunch is one of my most-used cookbooks, and I still have plenty of recipes I haven't tried.