5 Vegan Cookbooks Everyone Needs In Their Collection

There are a ton of vegan cookbooks available.  After all, vegan eating has come a long way.  No longer does it feel like you're feasting on cardboard slathered with Elmer's glue (although I remember liking Elmer's glue as a child....).  There truly are so many options!  Whether you choose to eat vegan, vegetarian, or are meat-based diet but looking for some vegan options to throw in from time-to-time, these cookbooks are the perfect addition to your kitchen.  

A vegan diet can be inexpensive or expensive.  Really, it's very similar to a meat-based diet.  It just depends on the recipe.  I've had many of you email me about the high cost of veggies asking for advice on cutting the costs.  Here's my advice:
  • First, if you make recipes that consist of in-season ingredients this will help tremendously.  Whether you shop at a farmer's market or supermarket, in-season is almost always less expensive.
  • Second, there are some recipes, both traditional and vegan, that just simply call for very expensive ingredients.  You have to decide if you really want to try the recipe that badly or not. 
  • And third, you can almost always use frozen veggies, which are usually inexpensive and always available.

I've also received numerous questions about weight loss and a plant-based diet.  Many of you have not lost the weight you thought you would after switching.  Remember that the difference between a vegan diet and a whole food plant-based diet is that added fats, oils, and sugars are eliminated.  I will share with you that I did lose a bit of weight when I initially switched, but I had not fully eliminated added fats or sugars.  I was still using cooking oils, oil in salad dressings, avocados and nuts regularly, and sugar.  I've just eliminated those almost completely (still eating avocado and nuts but not as often) and I began losing weight almost immediately.

That being said, two of these cookbooks use added fats and/or sugars, however, there are plenty of really good recipes that you can either strip the fat out or that don't contain added fat or sugar.

I've listed my 5 favorite cookbooks from my own collection and offered my take as to why I like them.  I'm hoping the information will give you the opportunity to determine if they are right for you and your family or not.  (the links are affiliate links).

The How Not To Die Cookbook is one of the 2 cookbooks that I reach for every single week (the other is below).  The recipes adhere completely to the whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet so you can make every recipe without any adjustments required.  The recipes make delicious, reasonably priced meals.  I crave many of the recipes including Chickpea & Cauliflower Curry, Braised Tempeh & Bok Choy with Spicy Ginger Sauce, Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, and the Bean Patties.  The Summer Gazpacho is AMAZING with fresh veggies, and the Vegetable & Red Bean Gumbo is something I make a large batch of and eat with a green salad throughout the week.  If you're new to the WFPB diet, this will be an invaluable addition to your kitchen. 

The Plant Pure Nation Cookbook (companion to the documentary of the same name) is the other cookbook that is my absolute go-to.  It is also WFPB compliant and full (FULL I tell you) of delicious recipes.  It offers a really nice section on building your pantry as well as a list of substitutions if you're trying to make changes to a traditional recipe.  There are so many recipes that I use over and over such as Warm Spinach & Mushroom Salad, Blue Cheez Dressing, Caesar Dressing, Vegan Mushroom Gravy (YUM!), French Dip Sandwich (sooooo good), Beanie Veggie Loaf, and there's just so many more.

These first 2 books are the two I would absolutely recommend as your first vegan/WFPB cookbooks.

Veganomicon - written in 2007 (but updated in 2017), this book is a fantastic choice for so many basics.  While the authors do use added fats and/or sugars in many of the recipes, there are some really good options that either don't use them or can be adjusted.  The baked goods (muffins, cookies, etc.) are really good, as are many of the sauces.  The Eggplant Rollatini recipe is delicious (I don't fry it in oil, just a little water), as are many of the flavored tofu and tempeh recipes.  I've found soups to add to my regular rotation and the Grilled Ranch Salad and Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry (I fry in veggie stock not oil) are recipes I use a lot.  In general, this is my go-to book for basics.  Originally written in 2007, this is the updated version in which they added 25 more recipes.  It's very nicely written and is huge (432 pages) with a nice variety of recipes. 

Vegan For Everybody is by America's Test Kitchen.  If you've ever tried recipes put out by America's Test Kitchen before, you know that this will likely be a winner.  And it is.  They've tested (and re-tested) every single recipe in order to come up with some delicious combinations and have added their trademark "why this works" at the beginning of each so you can learn a bit more about the recipe.  I've found some delicious sauces to use over burrito bowls, on pasta, or over roasted veggies.  I also continue to make the Mushroom Pizza with Cashew Ricotta, Baja Style Cauliflower Tacos, Chickpea Salad Sandwiches, Grilled Portobello Burgers and the Black Bean Burgers (I bake instead of fry in oil).  The recipes do use added oils and/or sugars so it takes some adjustments in order to cook most of them but there are some really delicious finds.

Plant-Strong by Rip Esselstyn (best known for the Engine 2 diet) has many very good recipes.  I will tell you that the first 136 pages of this 292 page book is information about a plant-strong diet.  While there are some recipes that weren't my favorites (which happens in most cookbooks) there were some really good ones that I keep in my regular rotation including The Bouldin Creek Spicy Scrambler, Zeb's Waffles, Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadillas, Guacamole Hummus, Kale Butter 2.0, & The Mad Greek Gyro.  If you're looking for a few more recipes to add to your collection, this cookbook will give you exactly that.

What Vegan Cookbooks Do You Love? 


daisy g said...

I will definitely be putting some of those on my next library request list. I'm not vegan, but I do lean toward a more plant-based diet. I never liked meat as a kid, so I stopped forcing it on myself when I was in my late teens. I always have plenty of energy and am pretty spry, so I can't say it's been anything but the right decision for me.
I can't wait to try some new stuff! Thanks for the reviews!

VegiChik said...

I have been vegetarian since 1997 & vegan since 2007! Welcome to truly living green😀!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thank you so much for both of your kind words and encouragement!