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Veggie chefs make tasty treats without the meat

<p>Summer is the time for delicious foods that can pack a punch while keeping things on the lighter side. What better place to look for some fresh ideas than two new veggie cookbooks? Raw foodie Ani Phyo and vegan Terry Romero introduce cuisine hot off the presses.</p><div> </div>

Who’s that lady?

Vegan chef Terry Romero. The 37-year-old Queens resident co-hosted the vegan cooking show “Post Punk Kitchen” and is a columnist for VegNews. She also co-authored “Veganomicon,” “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” and “Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar.”

The scoop:

“Viva Vegan,” Romero’s first solo cookbook, audaciously ventures meat-and-cheese-lessly into the heart of Latin American cooking—and brings you 200 vibrant recipes that don’t skimp on taste or authenticity.

Her philosophy:

“So many elements of Latin American cooking are naturally vegan,” says Romero. “You have beans, rice and an abundance of fresh vegetables, like corn, chili peppers and squash, and there’s so many fruits. You can get the whole spirit, texture and flavors of Latin food very easily without the meat.”

Favorite recipe:

The creamy corn-filled empanada. “It’s really great, especially now with all the summer corn coming in,” says Romero.

On-the-go tip:

“At Latin American restaurants, find out if they use lard in their beans, and see if they use chicken broth in the rice,” advises Romero.