I am not vegan, but I have been getting into vegan cooking lately and like to incorporate at least one or two vegan meals into the weekly rotation. But my knowledge is limited, and I’d like to expand my repertoire. So I’m looking to find the best vegan cookbook out there.
If you’re dabbling in veganism or fully committed, let’s find a great cookbook!
Although I haven’t committed myself or my family to a full-time vegan diet, there are a number of reasons I like to cook vegan meals regularly.
– It’s ethical
This is one of the main reasons people adopt a vegan lifestyle. Modern industrial meat production is typically very cruel for the animals, and wreaks havoc on the environment. Going vegan is friendly to both the animals and the planet.
Take a look at the ugly side of factory farming of animals.
– It’s cheaper
Meat is expensive, especially when you try to buy quality meat that is responsibly farmed if you’re concerned about the ethical issues mentioned above. So why not cut it out of a few meals each week? It’s a great way to save on the grocery bill.
– It’s healthy
While the debate about how healthy animal products are rages on, there is a definite benefit to vegan eating that I’ve noticed: it adds variety to my diet. Getting enough calories and protein from plant sources has me cooking with ingredients I probably wouldn’t otherwise use. This means new vitamins and minerals in my diet, which is a big plus!
– I have vegan friends
As more people choose a vegan lifestyle, this means that even if you’re not, you’ll likely have friends who are. If you like to entertain like I do, you might find yourself needing a few vegan meals up your (apron) sleeves so you can still host (and impress) these friends.
So we’ve made the case. Let’s find a great book! Some quick points to consider when picking a guide: do you like “pretty” and immersive cookbooks with pictures and anecdotes? Do you want a cuisine-specific guide? Are you a novice or experienced vegan cook?
by Angela Liddon – $12.00
Overview: Oh She Glows is a hugely popular blog, with recipes frequently popping up on Pinterest. I’ve made a number of her recipes and many of them have become regulars in my household. This book highlights Liddon’s casual, honest voice and some gorgeous food photography.
This book offers more than 100 recipes featuring healthy, fresh ingredients ranging from breakfasts, to smoothies, to dinners, and even staple items. Some people criticize the small number of entree-type recipes, while others (like me) appreciate this wide array of dishes. Overall, this seems like a well-rounded cookbook for the beginner or seasoned vegan.
by Dana Shultz – $17.95
Overview: Shultz is another popular vegan blogger with a big following that led to the creation of this book. Shultz and her editors did a good job staying close to the philosophy and aesthetic of the blog.
This book offers 101 recipes, again ranging from staples to breakfasts to entrees and drinks. Cooks rave about the desserts! This book also has some nice features such as a nutritional index for all the recipes and quick notes on the highlights of each recipe—whether it’s a one-pot meal, gluten-free, the cooktime, etc.
One small criticism is that the typeface is a bit hard to read, but very few reviewers have anything negative to say about this one!
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz – $17.95
Overview: Moskowitz is a famed vegan cook who’s penned a number of hugely popular vegan cookbooks. Readers love her accessible, humorous style.
This book is her latest. It focusses on holiday foods, reimagining holiday “staples” such as candied yams, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin anything. Although the book is organized by holiday, many of the recipes could still be useful year-round.
However, many of the recipes are a bit more complex and “special occasion” so it might not be the best for everyday cooking.
by Richa Hingle – $11.50
Overview: Much of Indian cooking is traditionally vegetarian. Therefore, Indian food and veganism are a natural pairing. Hingle includes recipes from many different regions in this book.
Nevertheless, this book doesn’t simply rehash traditionally vegan Indian dishes. Hingle also brings a lot of ingenuity to the table, reformulating non-vegan dishes and using modern methods to save time and make improvements to traditional dishes. The book also includes a nice beginning section to go over topics like the basics of Indian cooking, working with spices, and useful kitchen tools.
The main criticisms revolve around the complexity of many of the dishes. I find this to be common with Indian food, though—there are often many steps and ingredients in one dish, which is part of what yields such rich, complex flavors. As such, this isn’t a convenience cookbook, but one that will bring real variety to your kitchen.
There are so many great vegan cookbooks out there; it’s hard to pick the absolute best one!
For an everyday meal kind of cookbook, I think the Oh She Glows book is an excellent choice. The recipes, at least those I’ve tried, are simple, delicious, and work. Sure, you can find many of the recipes on the blog, but I find it really useful to have them all in once place, easily accessible in my kitchen. In this “everyday food” category, the Minimalist Baker comes in a close second!
For “special food,” or to expand your vegan cooking repertoire even further, both the Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook and Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen are great choices. I’ve done a vegan Thanksgiving, and I really could have used Moskowitz’s guide! I also love the idea of becoming more versed in both Indian and vegan cooking.
While you’re waiting to get a new cookbook, try out one of my favourites from Oh She Glows, 15 minute creamy avocado pasta. Yum!
What’s you’re best vegan cookbook? Let us know in the comments!