9 best vegan cookbooks, tried and tested

Stacey Smith
Tuesday 20 October 2020 14:30
Food & Drink
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Veganism is one of the fastest growing movements in America today, with tons of people practising this way of living in the US alone. So if you choose to eat vegan food for health, animal-welfare or environmental reasons, it’s undoubtedly now a widely recognised way of life, and supermarkets are making it easier for us to avoid animal products, too.

Instead of focusing on what’s missing though, these tried-and-tested cookbooks celebrate the myriad ways plants can be made into exciting plates of food, full of flavour and brimming with health benefits. While most of these books are exclusively vegan, some feature vegetarian recipes with vegan alternatives.

The Modern Cook's Year

One of our favorite chefs of all time, Anna Jones’ third book is a tome dedicated to seasonality. It gently winds its way through the months, highlighting ingredients when they are at their best. It also touches on mindfulness and reconnecting ourselves to the act of cooking. Taste always comes first, but ingredients are never used gratuitously either. Although not 100 percent vegan, Anna believes in having at least a few days a week with no animal products at all and provides plenty of easy switches to make recipes vegan. The photography is beautiful throughout, and there are over 250 recipes (so you really get your money’s worth), while all instructions are clear and concise without veering into a preachy tone. We want to cook everything in it but as the temperature drops, the velvet squash broth with miso and soba is ideal.

Vegan in 7: Delicious Plant-Based Recipes in 7 Ingredients or Fewer

Being a vegan can feel complicated enough sometimes, without the added hassle of over-the-top recipes containing hard-to-find ingredients. That’s where Dutch food blogger Rita Serano comes in with her new book that’s full of plant-based recipes, all of which contain just seven ingredients or less. As well as blogging and developing recipes, Rita is also a food photographer – demonstrated with page after page of delicious-looking plates. Although the recipes are simple, they are still nourishing, low in fat and free from refined sugars. We can’t wait for the temperature to rise so we can try her refreshing summer rolls using rice paper and a rainbow of veg.

Plantlab

Matthew Kenney is something of a pioneer when it comes to plant-based food. He’s got a legion of fans thanks to his numerous restaurants in the States, and more recently he’s opened Essence Cuisine in East London. It was here we were won over by his beautifully presented, contemporary take on raw, plant-based food. This book continues that theme – you’ll find over 100 recipes split into categories for every level of chef, whether that’s fundamentals, advanced or professional. Everything is beautifully presented and full of color – we’ll be trying to impress guests at our next dinner party with the Californian hearts of palm ceviche and finishing with the cinnamon chocolate cake with coconut sorbet and spiced pineapple cream for dessert.

Vegan: The Cookbook

Containing over 450 recipes that take inspiration from cuisines the world over, restaurant owner Jean-Christian Jury first chose to explore a vegan lifestyle after surviving a heart attack. The result is this cookbook: the ultimate vegan compilation. It talks you through stocking the essential vegan pantry, then moves on to tackle everything from starters and soups, to main courses and desserts – nothing is left out. We love the far-flung countries this book covers, from Armenian eggplant dip to Guatemalan spinach enchiladas with lentils, our eyes were opened to a whole world of plant-based possibilities. It finishes with a guest chef section too, featuring recipes from the likes of Alexis Gauthier, chef patron of the Gauthier Restaurant in Soho.

Wholefood Heaven in a Bowl: Natural, nutritious and delicious wholefood recipes to nourish body and soul

Having made a name for themselves on the street food scene, serving up scrumptious Buddha bowls from their beloved Citroen H Van at summer festivals like Glastonbury, the Baileys have created their second cookbook. This time you’ll find a mix of veggie and vegan recipes, all designed to be eaten from a bowl or cooked in one pot. The 60 to 70 recipes only contain wholefoods, meaning food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Many of the dishes are wheat- and gluten-free too, with some also being raw. There’s plenty of useful information on the benefits of eating this way in the book, and recipes cover breakfast through to dessert recipes.

Power Vegan Meals: High-Protein Plant-Based Recipes for a Stronger, Healthier You

When embarking on a plant-based diet, many people worry that they won’t consume enough protein and other essential nutrients. This book turns that fear on its head, providing protein-rich recipes designed to support an active lifestyle. Maya Sozer, a private chef, co-founder of food blog Dreamy Leaf and Instagram sensation, provides a full breakdown of nutritional content for each recipe, which is really useful if you’re keeping an eye on your macronutrients. We particularly loved the comfort food section – think cauliflower mac and cheese, spaghetti with black bean walnut veg balls and polenta pizza.

The Vegan Cookbook: 100 Sensational Recipes to Inspire and Invigorate

This cheap and cheerful paperback is a great way to update your mid-week meal repertoire. Ingredients are mainly easy to find and recipes are straight forward to create. Australian blogger Adele (founder of the highly successful Vegie Head blog) draws inspiration from around the globe, bringing us over 100 nutrient-rich, plant-based dishes. The pan fried sage and basil gnocchi was both satisfying and a doddle to create.

This Cheese is Nuts!: Delicious Vegan Cheese at Home

One of the foods we’d miss the most if we made the switch to being a full-time vegan would be cheese. Or would it? Here, wellness warrior Piatt (author, podcast host, plant-based chef, motivational speaker, meditation guide, yoga teacher and singer) talks us through the myriad of ways that nuts can be turned into cheese. Yes, really. Crazy as it may sound, all you need is a few simple ingredients and a powerful food processor and you’re well on your way to creating healthy, tasty “cheese”. Be warned though: you will need a basic dehydrator to create many of the more complex recipes. We think the smoked almond cheddar spread will be a great addition to a beetroot burger and there’s even a classic fondue recipe. As well as the cheese recipes themselves, Piatt also demonstrates how they can be used in the dishes chapter – stuffed red potato bites anyone?

Alternative Vegan: Healthy Plant-Based Recipes That Break the Rules

If you’re looking for a more flexible approach, you’ll appreciate Reginato’s collection of adaptable meals. Acknowledging that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your diet, this book contains over 75 healthy recipes with the option of adding in seafood or eggs if you’d like. Of course, if you do want a fully vegan meal, recipes can easily be adapted. After all, five years ago Reginato, founder of food blog 8th and Lake, would never have thought she’d be writing a vegan cookbook. She was more accustomed to eating junk food and it was only after a trip to Italy she truly discovered how delicious healthy eating could be. There’s hearty vegan options that meat-lovers won’t be able to resist, speedy recipes that can be knocked up in under 30 minutes and a section that celebrates left-overs. We particularly like the look of her savoury sweet potato nests for our next breakfast or the easy to make “cupboard curry”.

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