Way back in 2014, I reviewed Debbie Adler’s vegan & gluten-free baking cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats and adored it. I was therefore thrilled when Debbie let me know she has a new vegan cookbook coming out imminently: Sweet, Savory and Free. Over the past couple of months I’ve been enjoying cooking from it and today I’m sharing Debbie’s recipe for sriracha hemp noodles, plus giving away two free copies of the book.
Sweet, Savory and Free diverges a little bit from Debbie’s first book in that it covers all sorts of recipes, not just gluten-free baking. Every recipe is now free of the top 8 allergens and refined sugar. This time around all of the recipes are also oil-free. If you had asked me on the spot to name 10 meals or recipes that have all of those characteristics, I probably would have struggled, but Debbie has filled this entire book with delicious, beautiful, creative fare. Like in her first book and Instagram account, the writing is funny and personal.
With this book, you can start by making your own homemade hot sauce and other staples that may often be off-limits to folks with allergies. Personally, I delved right in to the entree recipes and started with the coriander dal.
I took a couple of small liberties with this dal; after cooking through Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen I can’t resist making a curry with a proper tempering. Plus, I always have problems with legumes’ texture if they’re cooked together with acidic ingredients. So I cooked the lentils separately in a sauce pan the broth and coconut milk, and cooked the rest of the mixture in a saute pan, using a tiny bit of oil (shh!). I also increased the coconut milk to use a whole can, so that I wouldn’t have any leftover. Otherwise, I followed the quantities and seasonings in the recipe as written, seasoning to taste. It was so phenomenally delicious that I couldn’t believe it! I love the punch that the cherry tomatoes added, and the spice quantities were spot on. This recipe made about 4 large servings accompanied with rice.
Next I dug into the sriracha hemp noodles. A lot of cold noodle recipes call for peanut butter or almond butter; soy sauce; and sesame oil or seeds (as well as gluten-ful noodles). But Debbie’s recipes are gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and sesame-free. So these sriracha hemp noodles call for sunflower seed butter, coconut aminos, and hemp seeds, along with gluten-free spaghetti – I chose brown rice noodles. I was super skeptical about this recipe, especially because I’ve tried using sunbutter in this capacity before and felt underwhelmed. But in the interest of fairness, I decided to follow the recipe precisely, except for (you guessed it) adding just about a half teaspoon of vegetable oil to cook the aromatics in the sauce. (I really am not adept at the liquid saute technique espoused by many oil-free recipes). I served the noodles with some stir-fried vegetables to make a complete meal.
As it turns out, my skepticism was entirely unjustified. These sriracha hemp noodles were packed with flavor, nutty and delicious. Debbie really has a handle on how to season recipes using allergen-friendly alternatives; I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe and will probably make it often. I’ve always been a fan of hemp seeds but it didn’t previously occur to me to use them as a garnish for Asian-inspired dishes, but I think I’ve picked up that habit now thanks to Sweet, Savory and Free.
After two great recipes, I’m really excited to keep cooking through the other chapters of the book. Some more tasty sounding recipes include the spanakopita lasagna, pumpkin ravioli with pepita pesto, Moroccan stuffed cabbage, heart of palm cakes, superseed crunchy crackers, and tiramisu cupcakes.
The commitment to making all recipes oil-free makes some of the baked goods in this book a little bit involved. Oftentimes, when a rich ingredient is needed in place of oil, Debbie turns to coconut milk. If you’re someone who tends to be sensitive to coconut flavor then you may want to take note of this. But there are some other creative solutions used as well, including mashed avocado in a crust, and tortillas in place of lasagna noodles.
Sweet, Savory and Free is a plant-based cookbook that will be perfect to turn to for anyone who needs allergen-free recipes. It’s also great for anyone like me, who is vegan without other food allergies, but really enjoys experimenting with different ways of making things. Seriously – I usually eat gluten like twice a day, and it’s not uncommon for me to finish a whole bottle of soy sauce in one week, but I love Debbie’s recipes and will continue to make them after publishing this review.
Giveaway time! Now that I’ve rambled on enough about the book, who wants a copy for free? Two lucky readers located in the United States will win a book; use this Rafflecopter widget to enter. Entries will close on Saturday, June 3rd at 11:59 pm EST.
And now for the sriracha hemp noodles recipe! Please enjoy, and leave a comment if you give this delicious recipe a try!
Sriracha Hemp Noodles
Nutty sriracha hemp noodles, made with a sweet and spicy sunflower butter sauce. Recipe reprinted from Sweet, Savory and Free with permission from Debbie Adler and BenBella Books; notes are written by me. From Debbie: "Enjoy these noodles as a special treat, because they really are!"
- 16 oz gluten-free spaghetti (I used brown rice spaghetti)
For the sauce:
- 3 tbsp coconut aminos (or use low-sodium soy sauce or tamari if not soy-free)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
- 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (low-sodium or sodium-free recommended)
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sriracha (use homemade or an allergen-friendly brand if needed)
- 1 tbsp coconut nectar (or use agave nectar or maple syrup)
- hemp seeds for serving
- chopped green onions or scallions for serving
- red pepper flakes (optional) for serving
Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.
Add the coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger to a medium sauté pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the sunflower seed butter, broth, rice vinegar, Sriracha, and coconut nectar, and stir to combine. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and let simmer until the sauce thickens a little, about 5 minutes.
Add the noodles to a big bowl and toss with the sauce. Top with the hemp seeds, scallion, and red pepper flakes. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Shannon's note: I had a serving of these while still hot and enjoyed them that way too.)
SUNFLOWER BUTTER: Many store-bought sunflower butter brands have oil or sugar added, so check the label if this is a concern. I noticed that Trader Joe's brand is made with only sunflower seeds. You can also make your own.
OIL-FUL VERSION: I modified this recipe by sauteeing the garlic and ginger in a bit of grapeseed oil, and added the coconut aminos along with the other sauce ingredients.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this cookbook. Debbie and her publisher are generously providing the giveaway copies too. All opinions are my own.