Move over, beef; veggies are what’s for dinner. As more and more people become aware of the negative impact eating large amounts of meat has on the environment, vegetarian and vegan dining has gone from mocked hippie ideology to trendy mainstream lifestyle, combining the current wellness and health obsession with growing social consciousness and action against climate change. Embracing a plants-only diet is now more accessible and approachable than ever: vegan or vegetarian meals are available everywhere from the menus of world-renowned restaurants to your neighborhood diner. You can even find them in the frozen food aisle. But nothing beats a good home-cooked meal, so plant-based cooking is coming to the home kitchen, and cookbook authors are here to help.
Many of the food world’s top chefs, bloggers, restaurateurs, and writers are on a mission to show readers just how versatile and crazy-good vegetables truly are, and their books can teach you how to make everything from a meatless barbecue that’s as good as the real thing to salads that have been elevated to an art form. Whether you’re a newbie to plants-only eating or a long-term vegetarian or vegan looking for fun new recipes to try, these are the best vegan and vegetarian cookbooks to keep on your shelf at home.
As the Avant-Garde Vegan, Gaz Oakley is a superstar of the online vegan food world with over a million subscribers to his YouTube channel and nearly 500,000 followers on Instagram. Famed for his inventive, flavor-packed vegan recipes and infectious passion for cooking, earlier this year Oakley released his third book, Plants-Only Kitchen, which features over 70
Former New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything” series are some of the most ubiquitous cookbooks around; chances are you or someone you know has an edition on their shelf at this very moment, right next to Joy of Cooking. In the early aughts, Bittman was one of the first (alongside legends like Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero) to try and show the American public just how approachable, healthy, and delicious meatless cooking could be with How To Cook Everything Vegetarian; the book was a runaway success and celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2017. The updated version, which features everything from meat-free renditions of globetrotting classics like paella to creative salads and pasta for fast weeknight dinners, also has tons of new info and charts, as well as a beverage section for teas and smoothies.
Heralded as the ultimate guide to veganism, Veganomicon is a veritable bible that any vegan or vegetarian would be remiss not to have on their shelf. Written by two of most acclaimed vegan cookbook writers of our time — restaurateur, chef, and Post Punk Kitchen creator Isa Moskowitz and bestselling cookbook writer Terry Romero — it was first published in 2007 as part of the first wave of plants-only cookbooks aimed at the general public. Now a staple of the genre, the new tenth-anniversary edition features over 250 lip-smacking vegan recipes, as well as low-fat, gluten-free, and soy-free options and plenty of gorgeous photos to inspire and delight. The book also outlines cooking and prep techniques, so if you’re a beginner, Moskowitz and Romero are there to guide you, with a healthy dose of their sassy, smart wit added for good measure.
Chef José Andrés is known for many things: his innovative small-plates presentation, his many restaurants around the States, and, perhaps most notably, his charity work with World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that provides healthy meals to survivors in the wake of a natural disaster. But in addition to feeding the world, Andrés’ boundless energy and enthusiasm is also dedicated to a different quest: Getting people to be as in love with vegetables as he is, which is the core goal of Vegetables Unleashed. This passionate cookbook, written with food writer Matt Goulding, shakes up old ideas about vegetables and veggie-only recipes to show the true breadth of vegetarian cooking, as Andrés shows readers how to create dishes from around the world using only vegetables, as well as getting creative with tried-and-true staples like lentil stew. If you have ever thought that vegetarian dining was boring or staid, this book will prove you wrong.
Transforming the diverse, vibrant dishes and cuisines of the African diaspora into vegan and vegetarian-friendly meals, chef and activist Bryant Terry’s beloved 2014 cookbook takes readers and eaters on a journey of culinary and historic discovery. A pioneer of the food justice movement, which states that everyone has the right to healthy, high-quality meals, Terry educates his readers on the versatility and power of plant-based cooking, showing how traditional recipes can evolve and change while still remaining true to their heritage and culture. In between over a hundred delicious African, Caribbean, and Southern
If you’re the kind of cook who loves elegant, restaurant-style plating and trendy preparation techniques, this elevated vegetarian cookbook from Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Fox and restaurateur Noah Galuten will be right up your alley. The stylish tome is a reverential treatise on vegetables as seen and handled through a chef’s expert eyes and hands, with the authors explaining how to bring out and best express the many flavors, textures, and smells of vegetables through 160 innovative recipes, like a carta da musica flatbread topped with truffled pecorino and decorative leaves.
Who says Latin food can’t be vegan-friendly? Certainly not Terry Hope Romero, one of the co-authors of the best-selling Veganomicon and other vegan and vegetarian cookbooks. It’s a well-known fact that many Latin American countries love their meat, from roasted pork and goat in Mexico to the steaks and asados of Argentina, but in her first solo cookbook, Romero transforms over 200 classic Latin American recipes, like tamales, empanadas, stews, and churros, into vegan-friendly alternatives without sacrificing flavor or texture. Romero’s passion and love for her heritage and the culinary traditions of this multicultural part of the world shine through in every recipe, and she also brings her own delightful twist to some
Fried chicken. Gumbo. Hot biscuits with butter. Southern food is the epitome of comfort, but sadly, most of it is not vegan-friendly. So if you’re a Southern-food lover looking to go vegan, chef and blogger Jenné Claiborne is your guiding star. Her cookbook features 100 recipes for vegan-friendly Southern classics, like Cauliflower Fried Chicken and Jalapeño Hush Puppies, as well as her own inventive takes on staples like collard greens. And, of course, there are plenty of sweet potato
When you get in the habit of purchasing your produce from a supermarket instead of a local farmer’s market or CSA, you tend to forget about the seasonality of vegetables. Supermarket chains import veggies from all over the world regardless of whether they’re in season in your area, but learning to cook with the seasons is one of the best parts of embracing a plant-based diet. It’s healthier for you and for the planet, and you develop a deeper connection to nature, as chef Josh McFadden discovered. His and food writer Martha Holmberg’s James Beard award-winning cookbook is an ode to seasonality, full of wisdom and practical advice on the benefits of growing and eating with the seasons, shared over the course of 225 recipes. Equal parts cookbook and meditative text on living in tune with nature, Six Seasons is one of the most transformative, thought-provoking vegetarian cookbooks out there.
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