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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarian Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book or books that contribute to vegetarian enlightenment.

This month we review a cookbook that shows how to make a healthy pizza without added oil or cheese.

Heart Healthy Pizza:
Over 100 Plant-Based Recipes
for the Most Nutritious Pizza in the World

By Mark Sutton

CreateSpace, 2012

Paperback, $17.99

Imagine a Visualizations Coordinator for two NASA Earth Satellite Missions becoming a vegan pizza maven! That's Mark Sutton, author of Heart Healthy Pizza, a landmark book that licks the oily and fatty pizza standard and introduces plant-based pizza that's actually healthy. Sutton turns traditional, fat-laden pizza into an adventure, a creative exploration to make truly heart-healthy and nutritious pizza without added oils or cheese of any kind.

Inspired by the extensive research and dynamic health contributions of Drs. Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougall, and Neal Barnard, Mark was convinced he could develop a no-added fat and cheese-free, plant-based pizza. Working in pizza parlors during college years, he recognized how popular and adored this dish is and spent five years testing and tasting mountains of pizza to create this unique handbook.

Firm Foundations is a primer on pizza dough, covering the process of making and shaping it, oven temperatures, various techniques, and a surprising nine recipes for creating pizza dough. Beyond basic pizza dough, readers will find dough made from unexpected ingredients like millet, black beans, corn, buckwheat, chickpea flour, oat flour, and potato flour.

Heart Healthy Pizza A good pizza features a great sauce. The Amazing Gracious Sauces features red, green, and white sauces, beginning with a variety of tomato sauces. Green sauces include pestos, green tomato salsa, and green pea bases, while white sauces feature soy milk, pineapple juice, tofu, canned corn, mashed potatoes, and white wine.

Most unique is Mucho Mocko Guaco, a sauce made with a combo of frozen peas, tofu, garlic, onions, tomato, and a host of spices to infuse the sauce with great flavor. The mixture is simply prepared in the food processor and takes only moments to make.

The chapter on non-cheeses made from a variety of grains, legumes, herbs, and spices inspires the home cook to experiment with pouring the no-cheese sauces over the pizza in fun, creative ways, forming spirals, a lattice, rows, and even clumps. Barley, White Beans, and Horseradish Sauce would add an adventurous accent to any pizza.

Mark envisions pizza as a "three-dimensional canvas" with the pizza maker "akin to an artist." The final chapter, Powerful Pizza Possibilities, features awesome recipes that put all the tips, techniques, doughs, sauces, and toppings together. Who wouldn't enjoy a healthy Pizza Margherita or Pizza Caponata? Perhaps Sausage, Broccoli, and Mushrooms Pizza or Really Reubenesque made on Pumpernickel or Rye Dough will appeal.

Featuring international flavors, this chapter presents an impressive 39 wildly-creative pizza possibilities. Spanakopizza, Pleasing Polynesian, Indian Samosa-Styled Pizza, and Clever Curry are only a small sampling of the assembly possibilities to make delicious and nutritious pizza at home.

Concluding the book are resources offering a banquet of plant-based websites, videos, and books to explore. An extensive glossary provides an explanation and helpful information about ingredients used in the recipes. Four excellent Appendices explain the many reasons to choose a plant-based diet, health drawbacks of using oils, fats, and plant-based cheeses, and methods of cooking grains and legumes.

Heart Healthy Pizza contains no color photos or dazzling graphic design. Instead, author Mark Sutton has created the first vegan pizza cookbook that just happens to have a healthy and innovative approach to making some of the tastiest pizza creations ever. Sutton breaks with tradition to prove that a delicious pizza does not have to be a health time bomb. He leads the way to innovative pizza creations anyone can prepare at home--and none of the recipes contain oils or cheese of any kind!

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