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Many people today are trying to eat less meat or cut it out completely. Whether for health reasons, ethics, finances, or caring for the planet, more and more people are turning to plant-based meals and vegetarian cooking. The rise in plant-based recipes, convenience foods, and trends like Meatless Mondays show that there's a growing interest in vegetarian cooking. While vegetarians know how broad, diverse, and satisfying vegetarian food can be, and for the most part may not even think about meat, meat eaters sometimes need a little more convincing.
Luckily, many amazing cookbooks and food writers are out there championing vegetarian food and vegetable-forward cooking. The books on this list are just some of our favorites to have on hand and refer to whether we need help with the basics of cooking and preparing vegetables, or looking for flavors and recipes that excite our tastebuds and inspire us to try something different. Whether you're looking to learn how to incorporate more vegetables into your meals or you want to learn how to replace meat in creative and delicious ways, these cookbooks have everything you're looking for and more. Some may even have you not look back.
Read more: Cookbooks Everyone Should Have
Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide To The World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, With 125 Recipes By Joe Yonan
The 2020 release of "Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes" by Joe Yonan came out at an opportune time as beans seemed to be having a moment at the start of the pandemic. People were turning to reliable, non-perishable foods like dried or canned beans in order to limit grocery trips. Through this, many rediscovered just how good beans and other legumes can be.
Yonan's love for legumes stems from how versatile and underrated they are, and given that most cultures have bean-centered dishes, he claims that it's easy for everyone to point to a bean dish they love. With the numerous varieties of beans that exist, this cookbook demonstrates that legumes add as much as meat can in a meal if not more. This cookbook teaches you how to work with different types of beans, lentils, and chickpeas, and has a variety of salads, dips, snacks, and stew recipes.
He also makes sure to include techniques for whether you're cooking on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in an Instant Pot, so you'll feel confident using whatever you have. While this book doesn't include any meat, he'll show you how to make legumes shine without ham, or chorizo, including a flavorful bean broth. As Yonan told Saveur, "To me, bean broth rivals chicken broth in its rich flavor."
Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables And Unbreakable Family Bonds By Hetty Lui McKinnon
Vegetarian pioneer Hetty Lui McKinnon will have you cooking vegetables in unexpected ways in "Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds." See vegetables in ways you've never thought of before, with McKinnon's imaginative uses of various vegetables. She'll have you sneaking them into your meals in surprising ways to ramp up flavor, like adding eggplant to brownies, or seaweed to a brown butter pasta.
While McKinnon has built a career on plant-based cookbooks, this cookbook is written as an homage to her late father, who worked at a produce market. In her newsletter, she describes him as a banana monger, who always came home with crates of fresh fruits and vegetables. While there's a beautiful theme of healing and grief in the cookbook, at the heart of it, it's all about the celebration and joy of seasonal produce that her father instilled in her. Each chapter is dedicated to a vegetable, demonstrating how one vegetable can be prepared and enjoyed in multiple ways. Through the recipes, you'll learn a deeper appreciation for vegetables, and build expertise in how to make them sing.
Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed By Bryant Terry
The chef-activist Bryant Terry brings you a world of intriguing vegan recipes that celebrate recipes from the African continent, and the African diasporas of the Caribbean and North America, and demonstrates the ties between these regions through food. "Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed" is full of new takes on traditional dishes that will make you forget meat entirely. With recipes that draw on various cuisines that are often not as represented in food media, you'll be learning just as much about history and culture, as about how to prepare tasty dishes using only plant-based ingredients.
This cookbook might even introduce you to new ingredients that you've never tried before, with ancient grains like teff and millet, that are as good for you, as they are delicious. It's also a great resource for learning how to make spice mixes from scratch, and how to create flavor without adding ready-made flavor enhancers. With recipes like berbere-spiced black-eyed pea sliders and muscovado-roasted plantains, it's as delicious as it is educational.
How To Cook Everything Vegetarian By Mark Bittman
"How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by food journalist Mark Bittman has been an extensive guide to cooking vegetarian meals since it hit shelves about ten years ago. Looking back, Bittman admits to NPR that he may have fallen into the trap that vegetarian cooks sometimes do, by having relied too heavily on cheese and eggs. Now, in this revised Tenth Anniversary edition, Bittman focuses more on dairy-free choices, with an exciting chapter based solely on beverages like smoothies, juices, shakes, coffees, and teas.
Beverages often get forgotten in cookbooks, even though many people drink their fruit and vegetables, relying on a smoothie as a breakfast or mid-day pick-me-up. Bittman offers a dynamic range of tasty beverage recipes, whether it's a refreshing cucumber and ginger seltzer, a protein-packed smoothie, how to use juice in cooking, or the basics of how to brew coffee and iced tea. This chapter is extensive and has all your drink needs covered.
East By Meera Sodha
Meera Sodha takes you on a flavor journey through recipes from South to East Asia, drawn from her vegan recipes column in The Guardian. If you think you know your way around this region, you'll be pleasantly surprised at all the tricks you'll learn using the spices and condiments you probably already own. In "East," the recipes are incredibly diverse, in terms of ingredients, flavors, spice levels, and cuisines.
With recipes that are inspired by cuisines like Thai, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and more, there is something for everyone. Expand your salad or noodle repertoire, as well as your curry knowledge, and if you think you hate tofu, you just haven't tried Sodha's recipes. She can turn even the staunchest meat eater into a lover of East's plant-based dishes. The peanut butter and purple sprouting broccoli pad thai or the Japanese twist on cacio e pepe will have you wondering how you lived so long without Sodha's genius.
Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook: 75 Classic Recipes To Satisfy Your Cravings By Alexia Wilkinson
If you thought that you couldn't enjoy traditional soul food recipes without meat, think again. Alexia Wilkinson's "Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook: 75 Classic Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings" is the proof. While more people might be eating vegetarian, partially vegetarian lifestyles, or generally looking to eat less meat for whatever reasons, Wilkinson writes that soul food and other traditional Southern recipes are not incompatible with that, as some may think. In fact, many traditions are based on the celebration of vegetables.
This cookbook has got everything from traditional vegetarian soul food recipes and vegetarian ways to make your meaty favorites like flavor-packed meatless barbecue sliders to gumbo, and even "meatloaf". Wilkinson's first gained popularity on her YouTube channel as Just Lexx, where she shared her love for vegetarian Southern cuisine. Her cookbook explains the history of soul food, the nuances and differences between Southern Food and soul food, and the traditions and meanings behind it. At its heart, this book is based on the love of community and the comfort of delicious and nutritious food.
Meatless By Marth Stewart
If you're new to vegetarian dishes, this book has got you covered in every way possible. Introducing people to all the ways you can make everyday and special meals without meat, "Meatless" by Martha Stewart is an extensive guide for newbies and seasoned vegetarian cooks alike. You'll learn how to make practical daily dinners you love, including casseroles, sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, pasta dishes, and even delicious small plates to serve at dinner parties.
The is more than a cookbook. "Meatless" is more like a roadmap to how to become a better cook, without missing meat at all. It also has advice on menu planning and learning the basics of cooking vegetarian meals with high nutritional value. Stewart even gives tips on how to stock your home to promote vegetarian cooking, like adding dried beans, herbs, and spices to your pantry. With a foolproof recipe on how to make a vegetarian stock or pasta sauce, this is great for all beginner cooks, especially if you want to adapt vegetarian cooking into your life without missing out on any dishes you like to eat.
The Mexican Vegetarian Cookbook By Margarita Carrillo Arronte
Mexican food is as diverse and complex as it comes, and there are so many naturally vegetarian recipes that exist that author Margarita Carrillo Arronte wanted to showcase. Considering that she isn't a vegetarian herself, she spent years diving into the history of Mexican cuisine discovering a vast plant-based heritage. In "The Mexican Vegetarian Cookbook," there are no meat, dairy, or gluten substitutes — just recipes that don't include these to begin with but exist because of how delicious they are.
Arronte wants to change the misguided thinking that Mexican food revolves around meat when this hasn't been the case historically. In fact, she argues that the further you go back in history, the more vegetarian the cuisine is. The recipes in this book feature a lot of the traditional like mole sauce, salsas, adobos (marinades), and some with a twist, like vegetarian ceviche, and watermelon and tequila jicama salad. Cook in a way that celebrates the unique techniques and vegetable-centered foods that showcase the beauty and diversity of Mexican cuisine.
The Vegetarian Cookbook For Kids: Easy, Skill-Building Recipes For Young Chefs By Jamaica Stevens
A great way to get kids to eat and love fruit and vegetables is to get them involved with the preparation or cooking. "The Vegetarian Cookbook for Kids: Easy, Skill-Building Recipes for Young Chefs" is full of kid-friendly recipes and also has easy-to-follow steps for them to learn how to make by themselves without adult supervision. While this cookbook is aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, it's a great resource for the whole family. For parents and caregivers, it's full of ideas on dishes to make that will be packed with veggies and appealing to kids.
Author, Jamaica Stevens is an expert in childhood enrichment through diverse activities. Having been a preschool teacher for numerous years, she was motivated to start an organization that provides children of all ages with quality extra-curricular programs like outdoor movement classes, dance, yoga, art, cooking, music, and bilingual classes. She founded Jamaroo Kids in 2004 to do just that.
While Stevens has taught over 10,000 classes to children, she also leads programs aimed at training educators across 150 schools and childcare centers. Her passion for childhood development is evident in this book, as it's a colorful guide and exploration into the world of fresh produce that will inspire kids (and adults) to learn more about fruit and vegetables and build confidence in the kitchen.
Ultimate Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals For Everyone By Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver's first all-vegetarian cookbook doesn't diverge from Oliver's overall philosophy of making cooking accessible to everyone, no matter what level of skill. Combining this with his passion for getting people to eat more nutritious meals, it was an obvious next step to make a vegetarian cookbook, given all the benefits of plant-based eating. However, he doesn't want health to be at the forefront of "Ultimate Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone," because this book is all about flavor. Oliver wants you to love the taste of these vegetarian dishes, above all else.
Oliver looks to all corners of the world for ways to maximize flavor in his recipes. From harissa, tahini, and miso to beer, he amplifies vegetables in exciting ways and doesn't rely on old-fashioned tricks like covering everything in cheese, or cream, or relying heavily on meat substitutes. This book is full of tantalizing recipes aimed at people who want to make that step of eating vegetarian as a lifestyle, or just to cook more vegetarian meals but aren't sure how to.
The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook By Salma Hage
For people looking to eat more plant-based foods, Middle Eastern cuisine is an obvious answer. Foods like falafel, hummus, and a variety of mezze plates, have become favorites among many vegetarians. "The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook" goes even beyond these, celebrating the largely vegetarian cuisine. If you're not used to cooking without meat, Salma Hage can guide you through that journey, because it was hers too. When her son and grandson decided not to eat meat or fish anymore, Hage had a major adjustment to make, which she writes, was not easy. Having relied on fish or meat in her cooking, she had to be creative to make satisfying meals for her family to enjoy. Along the way, she developed a deep passion for vegetarian cooking and she hopes to share it with this book.
Thinking back to her childhood, Hage realized that there were so many dishes in her Lebanese heritage and other Middle Eastern cooking that focused on legumes, pulses, grains, herbs, fruit, and vegetables. But she also has some exciting new takes on traditional dishes. You can find a recipe for succulent chickpea kibbeh (instead of the usual lamb kibbeh), or a version of Damascus kibbeh with potato, pine nuts, and coarse semolina that has a crispy shell and soft center. For Hage, the beauty of these dishes is not about what you leave out, but about what you're adding to your meal that's going to make it inviting.
Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook By José Andrés And Matt Goulding
Chef, activist, and humanitarian Jose Andres is on a mission to get everyone to eat more vegetables and to change how we think about them. With a contribution from food journalist Matt Goulding, this book is more than a cookbook — it's a dazzling masterpiece that can stimulate and inspire even the most anti-vegetable eater. Along with all the diverse ways to cook vegetables — including grilling, frying, roasting, and marinating — "Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook" is also filled with interesting and thought-provoking writing about tackling food waste and food policies that will challenge you while you cook up a storm. While Andres is not a vegetarian, his philosophy is based on the benefits of eating more vegetables, for the health of both people and the planet.
Andres' rebellious nature is palpable through the recipes, and with his tips, you could make some of the magical dishes he's become famous for at his award-winning restaurants, like his vibrant gazpachos that pay homage to his Spanish roots, or the Beefsteak towering tomato burger that totally changes how we view vegan burger patties.
The 30-Minute Vegetarian Cookbook By Lisa Turner
For those looking for quick and easy ways to make a delicious meal, this cookbook will convince you that vegetarian recipes are the way forward, even on busy weeknights. With advice on timesaving food preparation, or make-ahead recipes that can be incorporated into other dishes with ease, this is perfect for the busy person looking to make more health-conscious but stress-free meals.
Author Lisa Turner has been a vegetarian for more than 25 years and has mastered the art of juggling a busy lifestyle with making healthy and satisfying dinners. Especially for the days when she doesn't have a lot of time or doesn't feel like cooking, she's come up with easy fixes that help avoid ordering in, or buying premade dinners. In "The 30-Minute Vegetarian Cookbook," you'll find 100 recipes that promise a tasty meal in under 30 minutes, promoting a coking lifestyle that you can actually sustain. Whether it be curries, stir-fries, pizzas, flatbreads, salads, bowls, or breakfast options, you'll find dishes that would please any appetite.
Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook: 125+ Simple, Healthy Recipes For Living Well By Sanaa Abourezk
The Mediterranean diet has been praised for its health benefits for years, and this book takes you on a journey of the vibrant cuisines around this region, from the West to the East, with a focus on the abundant vegetarian dishes that exist. Including recipes from Spain, France, Syria, Egypt, Greece, Morocco, and more, there's so much to learn about all the ways this sea connects people through food and ingredients.
Although each country's cuisine is unique and diverse (including from region to region, or even village to village), Sanaa Abourezk has identified the key ingredients that are shared by all in "Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook: 125+ Simple, Healthy Recipes for Living Well". A love for olive oil, onion, garlic, herbs, cheese, and grains, is the foundation for most Mediterranean cooking, and understanding this goes a long way in learning how to build flavorful meals.
Beyond the recipes, this book also teaches the philosophies and culture of eating in the Mediterranean, which enhance the benefits of the food, like the idea of slowing down and sharing meals with friends and family, eating seasonal produce, and eating lunch as a main meal, and a lighter dinner. All in the hopes of being able to enjoy food and life more, and hopefully, improved health.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.