Monday, August 25, 2014

Stellar Vegan Salads by Sharon Discorfano

Stellar Vegan Salads by Sharon Discorfano is a compilation of a number of simple salads with varying levels of complexity. Sharon holds a Juris Doctor with a focus on Animal Law and is the voice of Cruelty-Free Faves, a storehouse of vegan food, household products, cosmetics, and fashion.

She talks about how her love of salads began at home with her family. She is awestruck by the intrinsic beauty of all the individual creations--the details of just one watermelon radish, truly a work of art. She begins with the art of making a salad, which includes tips on working with greens. She emphasizes the balance of six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astrigent in every meal and also the importance of pairing soft (avocado) and crunchy foods (sesame sticks). She reviews the seasonal menu and the use and types of oils and vinegars. And, best of all, she talks about why she is vegan and you should be too!

I tried two of the recipes in this book. The first one I made was the Ravioli Salad as I found it unusual. She basically makes a salad using sauteed broccoli, escarole, and dandelions and adds cooked ravioli to it. It was easy to make, but i found the greens to be quite bitter and the dressing didn't really temper the bitterness. I used the LaPasta vegan cheese and spinach ravioli in this dish. I really enjoyed the mix of toppings including roasted garlic, pine nuts, carrots, peppers, and capers though as they added a lot of zest to the salad.

The second recipe I tried was the Summertime Sunshine Salad. This was a simple salad with just lettuce and alfalfa sprouts topped with roasted nectarines, fresh mint, and sunflower seeds.  The mint and nectarines gave this salad more flavor than I would have expected and I really enjoyed it.

All in all, I'd say it's a simple book with simple recipes. I was pretty surprised to see that it really seemed like a compilation of many of her favorite recipes from other books as recipes for vegan cheeses and dressings referred to other cookbooks. The type of dull paper the book is printed on took away from the wonderful presentation of her dishes as a bit more glossiness and color would have done wonders for the book. I'm also surprised that this very small book is $23 as it isn't a very high quality book. But, if you are looking for a bunch of fairly easy-to-make recipes that will impress guests, this is a good book to try. You can buy it on Amazon here.

Full Disclosure: Although the cookbook was provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

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