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Vegan Italiano: Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from Sun-Drenched Italy

Do you love Italian food, but are tired of greasy, unhealthy versions in restaurants? Looking to lighten up on fat and cholesterol? A vegan or vegetarian looking for authentic Italian without strange soy meat substitutes?

Enter Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano. Author of TheThe Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, The PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Vegetarian Cookbook: 240 Healthy and Easy No-Prep Recipes for Busy Cooks, and the The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen: Delicious and Nutritious Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Dishes, Klein writes easy-to-follow, delicious vegan recipes that, best of all, are free of strange soy substitutes like TVP crumbles, soy sausage, tofu or tempeh. Only garden-fresh natural ingredients are used, with a touch of olive oil for flavor.

Naturally, Italian standards such as bruschetta, minestrone, gnocchi, and lasagna are included. Bruschettas include Asparagus, Apulian-Style with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil, and Cherry Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper. Lasagnas include Spinach and Eggplant and Zucchini. The main part of the book is dedicated, not surprisingly, to pasta, with numerous farfalle, linguine, and fusili offerings. There are also numerous ideas for fresh wild greens salads, vegetable side dishes, pizzas and breads, and desserts. Many of the dessert offerings would be perfect on a hot summer’s day on the patio: fruits poached in red and white wine, macedonias, and granitas.

The great thing about vegan Italian recipes is that they’re delicious as written, but if you want to add cheese, feel free. It’s much easier to add animal products to a successful vegan recipe than it is to subtract them from a traditional one.

The majority of recipes are easy to prepare and contain detailed nutritional info. Fans of Donna Klein’s other vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, as well as those looking for healthier updates on authentic Italian cuisine, will do well to check out Vegan Italiano. Although not as thorough as Klein’s Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen (much of Vegan Italiano felt like carryovers from MVK), these are still healthy, delicious Italian favorites that are easy to prepare.