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Best Vegan Cookbook

Embracing a vegan lifestyle has made you feel better than you’ve felt in years. The thing is, you’re still a rookie when it comes to whipping up delicious vegan meals that everyone can enjoy, including your meat-eating friends. That’s where having an arsenal of good vegan cookbooks comes in.

Years ago it would have been tricky finding a plant-based cookbook, but with veganism on the rise, they have been popping up everywhere and are easy to find. There’s everything from basic vegan meal prep to favorite comfort foods and exotic recipes with a vegan twist. Major supermarkets now stock their shelves with every manner of vegan food and ingredient, so it’s not difficult to find what you need.

With so many cookbooks out there, how do you decide which one to choose? Do you go with one with familiar recipes with or do you try something different?

To help you decide, we feature six vegan cookbooks you can buy online. Read on to see which one interests you.

Top Pick Best Comfort Food: Southern Vegan: Delicious Down-Home Recipes for Your Plant-Based Diet 

This vegan cookbook by native southerner, Lauren Hartmann, chef and founder of the food blog Rabbit and Wolves, is filled with 60 much-loved rich, buttery, decadent southern comfort foods, vegan-style. If you don’t want to miss out on the tastes you grew up loving, we recommend this cookbook.

Whether you are just starting out on your vegan journey or you have embraced the lifestyle for decades, this cookbook will guide you through dozens of recipes that focus on foolproof cooking methods and easy substitutions.

From a proper southern brunch that includes recipes such as Giant Gooey Toffee Cinnamon Rolls and Black Pepper-Chive Biscuits and “Sausage Gravy” to Cheesy Biscuit Vegetable Pot Pie, Pecan-Crusted Tofu with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Collard Green Carbonara, you’ll be happily chowing down on down-home foodie favorites.

Oh, and don’t worry about dessert; Mississippi Mud Cheesecake, Berry-Peach Cornmeal Cobbler and Red Velvet Funnel Cake are just some of the drool-worthy, plant-based sweet dishes you’ll have fun creating – and eating.

These comforting recipes perfectly capture the rich flavors of the South, all while helping you discover a delicious plant-based side of everything fried, stewed and barbecued. Once you master these recipes, you’ll feel confident to serve these hearty dishes to your family and friends.

Pros:

  • Familiar ingredients that can easily be purchased in a grocery store
  • Neatly laid out, easy to read
  • Good food photography

Cons:

  • Some recipes are long and involved
  • Not gluten-free
  • Some recipes us processed food ingredients

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Top Pick Best Japanese Food: Vegan JapanEasy: Over 80 Delicious Plant-Based Japanese Recipes 

Japanese cuisine is inherently vegan, as the main ingredients in so many recipes include vegetables, rice, soy products and noodles. Nonetheless, popular dishes like sushi, barbecue and soup broth include fish and meat. If you’re craving Japanese-inspired food vegan-style, then you may want to try this cookbook.

Author Tim Anderson is not Japanese and he’s not vegan, but that doesn’t mean his enthusiasm for creating delicious plant-based recipes is not grounded in experience. He studied Japanese food history in college, lived in Japan for two years, owns a restaurant and slowly began to incorporate some vegan-inspired dishes into his home cooking.

The recipes in this book center around the satisfying flavors found in Japanese cuisine, such as fermented soybean and rice products. While fish is used in many non-vegan dishes in the form of dashi, it can be easily substituted with a seaweed and mushroom-based version that’s every bit as delicious. The recipes in Vegan JapanEasy tap into Japan’s wealth of recipes that are already vegan or very nearly vegan – so there are no sad substitutions and or skimping on flavor.

Anderson also spends a considerable amount of time explaining the various ingredients he uses in his recipes, with suggestions on how to stock your pantry with essentials. He even includes tips on how to use the ingredients in non-Japanese dishes.

Pros:

  • Simple, easy to follow recipes
  • Attractive layout with good photos
  • Helpful descriptions and background on ingredients

Cons:

  • Some recipes include glutamate which is a food sensitivity for some people
  • Author is not vegan

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Top Pick Best Variety: Evolving Vegan: Deliciously Diverse Recipes from North America’s Best Plant-Based Eateries―for Anyone Who Loves Food

Actor and avid traveler Mena Massoud offers up a collection of diverse and delicious vegan recipes inspired by food and tastes from all over the world. This cookbook is a treat for anyone who loves to experience the cuisine of various cultures and prefers to do so from the comfort of their home kitchen.

The Evolving Vegan cookbook celebrates both flavors and stories from a wide array of plant-based eateries located in cities from across North America. One of the cooks you’ll meet in the pages of this cookbook is Cyrus Ichiza from Ichiza Kitchen in Portland, Oregon, whose Taiwanese mother inspired him to share his Southeast Asian roots through authentically flavorful vegan dishes. You will also learn the behind-the-scenes secrets of San Francisco’s Peña Pachamama, a Bolivian plant-based restaurant that serves national dishes like pique macho and aji de fideo.

Recipes are from ethnic-based North American restaurants plus recipes Massoud has tweaked from restaurants she has visited, favorites from her home kitchen and from her mother’s kitchen. The book also includes helpful tips for lifelong and transitioning vegans with information on pantry essentials, references, metric conversion charts and a list of the restaurants she profiles in the book.

Pros:

  • A fine assortment of diverse vegan recipes
  • Simple and easy to follow
  • Recipes include soups, sandwiches, desserts, breakfast items, appetizers, entrees and sides.

Cons:

  • Some recipes include tree nuts and soy which are allergens for some people

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Top Pick Best for the Beginner: The Plant Based Diet for Beginners: 75 Delicious, Healthy Whole Food Recipes

If you are new to the vegan lifestyle or just starting to explore different ways to introduce veganism into your eating regime, then you may want to consider this cookbook that makes the transition to a plant-based diet easy, with recipes and essential info for beginners

The Plant-Based Diet for Beginners by Gabriel Miller is filled with tasty recipes that take the difficultly out of adopting to a whole-food vegan diet free from meat, dairy and eggs. In this attractive book, you’ll find 75 recipes for dishes such as Walnut Crunch Banana Bread, Savory Sweet Potato Casserole, and Oat Crunch Apple Crisp. Detailed instructions and simple every day ingredients that you can find at your grocer makes this very user friendly, so even a novice chef can excel.

The book also includes nutritional information for each recipe, a guide to eating a plant based diet even when you don’t want to cook, a metric conversion table, how to stock your kitchen with essentials and resources for those just starting out. It even has a shopping list and sample menus.

Pros:

  • Perfect for beginner chefs just starting out
  • Packed with helpful information
  • Easy-to-follow recipes

Cons:

  • All recipes are salt, oil and sugar free

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Top Pick Best All Around: The Friendly Vegan Cookbook: 100 Essential Recipes to Share with Vegans and Omnivores Alike

You’ve been a vegan for a few years now and you love it. But you find it a challenge to have dinner parties with friends who not only eat meat, but also look down on your plant-based diet, stating that it’s boring, tasteless and not for them.

If you’re looking for a vegan cookbook that has recipes that will change their mind and have your carnivore friends eating their words – literally – then this book by the founder of World of Vegan and the author of Plant-Based on a Budget just may be what you need.

Michelle Cehn and Toni Okamoto have teamed up to create the ultimate kitchen resource for longtime vegans as well as the vegan-curious with 100 foolproof, flavor-forward recipes. This book includes rigorously tested favorites like fettuccine Alfredo, sushi, pot pie, breakfast burritos, mac ‘n cheese, chewy brownies and pop tarts, all vegan compliant. Pages are also devoted to shopping lists and directions for making your own staples like nut milks, dressings, pasta sauces and bread.

Cehn and Okamoto also share their go-to kitchen tips to make meal planning a breeze, helpful shopping lists, and directions for making your own staples—nut milks, dressings, pasta sauces, and breads – as well as essential ingredients like nutritional yeast, healthy fruit, tofu and vegan butter.

For the real kitchen novice, there is even a section on essential kitchen items to have like a chef’s knife, pots and pans, non-stick skillet with a lid, measuring cups and spoons and using a microwave, and well as cookware and kitchen utensil tips for beginners, like how to use immersion blenders, blenders and ramekins.

Pros:

  • Tested recipes
  • Includes menus
  • Each recipe includes portion size, prep and cooking time

Cons:

  • Some recipes include soy products and gluten which are food sensitivities for some people

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Top Pick Best Original: Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed [A Cookbook]

The secret to some of the best recipes is the intricate blend of spices that enhance the innate flavors of the food. In this cookbook by renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry, Afro-Vegan is filled with the reworking and remixing of the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora. Filled with more than 100 new and creative culinary combinations, you will be amazed at the depth of flavor infused into each dish.

Some of the recipes in the book include Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil, a recipe inspired by the Kenyan dish irio, and Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad with dried apricots, carrots, and almonds, which is based on a Moroccan tagine. Paying homage to a popular Brazilian dish incorporating classic Southern ingredients is the Creamy Coconut-Cashew Soup with Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes, and the Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts combines the Ethiopian grain teff with stone-ground corn grits from the Deep South and North African zalook dip.

More than just a collection of recipes, this cookbook also includes the author’s insights about building community around food, along with suggested music tracks from around the world and book recommendations.

Pros:

  • Has a section focused on making spices, sauces and blends
  • Includes menu and seasonal suggestions
  • Beautifully presented
  • Unique recipes

Cons:

  • Some recipes list a lot of ingredients

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Things to look out for:

Consider these things when looking for a vegan cookbook so you will choose one that best suits your needs:

Ingredients: Just because a recipe is considered to be vegan-compliant, doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy. Many common ingredients in vegan dishes are highly processed, such as meat substitutes like seitan (wheat gluten) and veggie ground round. As well, many recipes have ingredients like gluten, soy, corn and monosodium glutamate (MSG), all of which can create digestive issues for people who have sensitivities to these ingredients. Before purchasing a vegan cookbook, check through the recipes to make sure they don’t include anything you, a family member or friend may be sensitive to. Finally, make sure that the ingredients listed are ones you can buy locally or online, so that you are not left with a cookbook you can’t use.

Ease of use: Not everyone likes following a recipe that lists a dozen ingredients and three pages of steps. Take some time to look through the pages of a cookbook to see if the recipes match your cooking style. If you like to throw together a few ingredients that cook in less than 30 minutes, then find one that follows those guidelines. If you are more experimental and take great pleasure in discovering new ingredients, flavors and spices and don’t mind taking the time to compile and cook it all, then choose a cookbook that has more complicated or involved recipes.

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