Looking for the best vegan cookbooks for beginners? Even in 2019? These 10 books will help your plant-based journey start on the right foot.
Let's get to the books...
Thug Kitchen is a website that became popular thanks to its no-nonsense – some would say ‘aggressive’ – style of encouraging you to eat your vegetables. Littered with curse words and insistent demands, this cookbook follows the website in teaching you not only how to make food but why you should be focusing on healthier living, and the skills you need to go about improving your diet for the better.
If you’d like over a hundred recipes and a bunch of useful skills, but you’re sick of dealing with ‘holier-than-thou’ cookbooks featuring women with perfect hair, Thug Kitchen is a great pick for you. The food is fresh, bright, and full of flavor; the recipes are easy to follow; and you’re sure to get a laugh as you stumble across the latest ridiculous use of a curse word in a cookbook setting.
One of our favorite things about Thug Kitchen is that it has a whole piece dedicated to properly cooking tofu. Combine their advice with a nice tofu press and you're off to the races!
Forks Over Knives took veganism and helped to make it mainstream. The documentary won awards and hearts the world over, and the cookbook is following in its footsteps. This book has the same facts-based approach to cooking as the documentary had to veganism, so it’s the perfect choice if you’d like a smart, whole-foods-based cookbook that doesn’t rely on fake meats and cheeses but on fresh, wholesome cooking.
If fake meats is something you're into, though - you may want to check out our article on seitan.
It also comes with over 300 recipes – so if you’re just starting out in veganism, you can make a meal a night for a little under a year without repeating anything twice.
Oh She Glows is one of the best websites for finding vegan recipes; Angela Liddon’s recipes are always delicious, easy to make, and feature plenty of fresh produce to help keep you healthy. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, Oh She Glows has a veganized recipe for it; and here, in her first cookbook, she puts the best up front and center with her classic beautiful photography and easy-to-follow recipes.
This is a book that’s really ideal for anyone at any stage of veganism. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been vegan for years, this book will give you a bunch of ideas for new meals that can add something to your repertoire. It’s guaranteed to be a book that will last you for years to come; just like Angela’s website, when you think you’ve exhausted it, you’ll find something new and interesting that you weren’t expecting.
If you'd like to try some of her recipes before you go for the whole cookbook, Angela's vegan chili (featuring homemade vegan sour cream!) is a great way to go.
If you’re into a more experimental style of cooking, Veganomicon should be one of the top picks on your list. It’s not a simple cookbook for homely food; instead, it’s bursting with interesting flavor combinations that are sure to challenge and inspire you. Drawing from almost every cuisine imaginable and combining them all into a vibrant fusion style, Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero provide over 250 recipes with beautiful photography to help you get inspired in the kitchen. Plus, this book doesn’t rely on you using a bunch of vegan ‘replacements’ – no fake eggs or meats are required here, just good old fashioned food and lots of new spices.
So if you’re feeling a little uninspired when it comes to the kitchen – if you’re tired of the tried and true, and are looking for something explosive and interesting – this will be an excellent purchase.
Have you had a slow cooker sitting at the bottom of your cupboard for years? Have you just transitioned to veganism, and you’re missing having a whole host of easy recipes to put on while you’re at work? Or has someone just given you an interesting new birthday present, and you’re looking for a way to make it more than a paperweight?
Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker is Robin Robertson’s latest slow-cooking cookbook, and it incorporates the body of knowledge that she’s amassed over years of creating recipes for slow cookers. It’s a very informative book – instead of just throwing different things into your slow cooker and hoping for the best, this book takes into account the water proportion of different vegetables and the way your particular slow cooker works to create excellent recipes that won’t all come out like stodgy soups. Instead, you can use your slow cooker to its full potential.
If you’re looking to take your slow cooker game to the next level, look no further than this book.
Minimalist Baker is another of the internet’s best plant-based websites. Its major calling card is in the name: all of Dana Shultz’s recipes require ten ingredients or less, a single bowl, or under 30 minutes to prepare. Her first physical cookbook follows the same formula, and all of the 101 recipes within its pages are super-simple to create, taste great, and are filled with vegetables and whole grains to keep you healthy and satisfied.
If you’re someone who doesn’t necessarily like to cook, or someone who’s short on time and would appreciate a little extra simplicity in the kitchen, this cookbook is a great option for you. It comes with handy tips on what you need to stock your pantry with, and the recipes are tried and tested by the online community – so you know they’re good. If you prefer to keep your cooking minimal, the Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking is a great choice.
Luckily, Indian food is one of the best cuisines to find vegetarian food in; unluckily, ghee, paneer, and cream can make finding vegan Indian food somewhat difficult. It’s easiest to make your own, but truly replicating a good Indian dish requires a heap of skill and spices. Richa makes it easy. Her cookbook streamlines complicated procedures to make them easier to understand, and she’s quick to offer alternative spices for when you’ve run short of one. Instead of having to scour the internet for just the right way to do something, she’s there with a short explanation and an easy-to-follow guide.
The recipes are varied and imaginative, so you need not worry that you’ll be purchasing a book filled solely with dahl recipes. It teaches you how to make flat breads and desserts, and there’s plenty of opportunity to incorporate new vegetables and protein-heavy legumes. If you love Indian food but find the process of making your own to be daunting, this is the book for you: beautiful photography and clear instructions make it easy, plus the recipes are to die for.
To decide whether you like her style, check out Richa's recipe for five types of vegan naan.
Have you ever said those words? Did – or does – the thought of having to give up cheese scare you? Does seeing someone tuck into a limp salad with a few unhappy-looking chickpeas on it make you crave a burger even harder?
Luckily, just the cover of this book makes it easy: you can have burgers as a vegan too! This book features 125 recipes that go against everything you might’ve thought a vegan can’t eat. It’s the one-stop-shop for anyone who’s craving a little bit of meat and dairy, whether you’re transitioning to veganism or have been one for a while. Featuring a bunch of vegan cheese recipes, an assortment of different sauces, and a whole swathe of meals including desserts, this is a book to get if you’re missing the old life or want to start experimenting with vegan substitutes for things.
It’s not a wholefood book, by any means – don’t look into its pages if you’re expecting to find carefully pictured quinoa salads – but if you’re wanting something that’ll take away any excuses you have about eating vegan, this is it.
This is a really classic cookbook – no frills, no special angle, just good, tasty food, photographed well and full of flavor. Isa Moskowitz is a beloved cookbook author because of her focus on food that anyone can make, and this book features home-cooking recipes at their very best. You can pick up most of the ingredients at the supermarket, and most of the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less – no need to fiddle around with elaborate techniques when you’ve got a table of people waiting for dinner.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful book, or that the photography isn’t spot-on. This book abounds with beautiful pictures and witty observations from Isa, designed to show you that cooking needn’t be difficult nor a chore. Delve into some easy home cooking with this book – it’s sure to pay itself off in no time.
Have you just come over to the vegan lifestyle? Looking for a way to transition without having to buy a whole bunch of fancy new ingredients from the organic store? This is a great pick for you: it’s potentially the most informative book on the list, with testimonials from people who have tried the recipes and different sections to help you keep things straight. There’s no unnecessary complication here: just solid, delicious, easy-to-make meals that’ll take the pressure off you in these early stages.
So don’t worry about sourcing ten different types of beans and soaking them each for different amounts of time – focus instead on keeping it simple, making things that are delicious, and spending time enjoying life.