Top 10 Plant-Based Diet Cookbooks


For the last month or so our family has been focusing upon eating plant-based meals. Yes, we still have some organic chicken, wild fish and shrimp in the freezer to use up, but we are moving more fully towards a plant-based diet. Normal I would infuse 2-3 meals a week that were meatless in the menu plan, but now it is turning more into like 6. We've already nixed most dairy, and we've really seen and felt the difference.


For us this movement has been a gradual process over the last few years. After recently watching Forks over Knives, along with a few other haunting documentaries about meat production, (and bouts of hot dog food poisoning) we have not been in the mood for juicy meaty burgers, well at least right now. Ask me again next year and we'll see. (I promise we aren't turning into California hippies, well maybe a little, ha). Since at home we will be working towards eating pretty clean, we are the pretty easy-going type so we won't be freaking out about things as we dine out, or over at someone's house. We are implementing the 80/20 rule. 


The main thing we've noticed so far overall is more energy, and I noticed that my skin cleared up too. (Although, sadly as I had some major slip-ups on my recent road trip my skin began to meltdown again).

I am already a huge fan of Heidi Swanson's books and she has usually been my go-to for excellent plant-based recipes but, I also wanted to explore more options. Here are the top ten plant-based cookbooks I've checked out over the last few months at our local library, are in my queue or am interested in.






1: Power Foods - This one is still in my queue but I am such a fan of Whole Living recipes that this has to be a winner. It has received excellent reviews too.

2: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian - A nice gigantic resourceful go-to for so many different vegetarian options, and how to prepare vegetables and grains I've never heard of. You really can't go wrong with Mark Bittman, right?!

3: The Kind Diet - I am always a little hesitant when a celebrity is on the cover of any cookbook, although two exceptions have been this cookbook, and Gwyneth'sI've cooked a handful of recipes and treats from The Kind Diet and we have loved every single one so far. Everything from Apple Date Cinnamon Oatmeal, to Sweet Potato Lentil Stew to Peanut Butter Cups, yum.

4: Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook - Naughty language, especially when it is lying out on the kitchen counter and my five-year old daughter who can read now is questioning various word definitions! If you get past the lingo, the layout of this book is nice and has lots of usual information and facts about grains, and plant-based eating. Still wanting to try another recipe from here, the first one I tried bombed out in a bad way, ka-pow.

5: Raw Energy - Impressed by what reviewers have to say about this one, who doesn't want to supercharge their body, yes! I look forward to seeing it in person. I am in need of some great easy and healthy snacks that mix it up a bit.

6: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - Another huge cookbook like #2, but full of useful and definitive information about healthy vegetarian cooking. They say the author Deborah Madison is the Julia Child of vegetarian cooking, wow. It has been sitting on my counter un-cracked for weeks. I'm a little intimidated by its size.

7: Spork-Fed - A sister owned vegan food company based out of L.A. who use local, seasonal and organic ingredients. I can't wait to pick this one up. Their website shares more information, and they offer online vegan cooking classes. 

8: Mayumi's Kitchen: Macrobiotic Cooking for Body and Soul - I'm fascinated and am interested in learning more about the Macrobiotic diet. I didn't know much about it until thumbing through this book and this book. It has nice clean and minimal photography and eating miso soup and seaweed for breakfast seems to be encouraged. Interesting concepts here.

9:  Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health - I really enjoyed this documentary (showing on Netlfix now) I love their goal which is to "help people live healthier lives through their food choices."

10:  The Engine 2 Diet - At Whole Foods I thumbed through this books and picked up a few of the recipes they had printed off, I also watched Rip's Kitchen Rescue on Netflix where he helps people evaluate their current food choices, shop, and cook plant-based meals. We're all big fans of Rip's Big Bowl cereal, I made a huge batch of it and the girls keep asking for more.

A few others I look forward to getting my hands on...

Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi - Saw this at Anthropologie and it looks gorgeous! I'm a sucker for good food photography and cookbooks in general.

La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life - Stunning photography, their website blows me away. Ooh la la.


Eat for Health -  A friend recommended this one and says it is excellent.

What are your favorite plant-based diet and meal cookbooks, websites, blogs, etc...? Are you a plant-based eater? I would love to hear about it!



24 comments:

Tuesday said...

Alicia Silverstone's book is really lovely and pretty inspiring! I employed the 80/20 rule three years ago and I haven't eaten meat since that day! I guess once you start to eliminate it from your diet you feel the benefits and subconsciously that 20 turns quickly into 0. The no pressure approach to vegetarianism!

http://www.56torivington.blogspot.co.uk/

Lady Grey said...

I was going to say... how could this list NOT include Ottolenghi's Plenty? It's the most amazing vegetarian cookbook ever! Then I saw your added note...
Also La Tartine Gourmande is beyond amazing too.
I'm going to try out The Kind Diet after reading this post. I never gave it a chance, but now I will : )

Karyn said...

I love Mark Bittman's vegetarian cookbook and Heidi Swanson's, as well. Thanks for the other recommendations!

Megan Healey Taylor said...

Oooh, thanks Rach! We've been doing a bit of the same, and I've been looking for some new books. :)

letterjay said...

I love Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I took the dust jacket off, her pose with a spoon might add to the intimidation. I highly recommend trying the pasta and lentils in buttery mint sauce or the walnut potato croquettes, both are wonderful and a great place to start!

Christine said...

I totally agree that Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is my go to book. I was surprised at how much I liked the Alicia Silverstone book as well! I almost never buy the celeb books! Others you might be into are The Conscious Cook from Tal Ronnen, Veganomicon from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Laurel's Kitchen from Laurel Robertson, and all the Mollie Katzen books. Congrats on the change!

Bridget said...

While I hate the title, Appetite for Reduction is a fabulous vegan cookbook. I am not vegan (my body has a really hard time absorbing non-meat-based iron)---but, there are great nutrient-rich meals within those pages, and lots of things that you can adapt. My biggest problem with all of these things is definitely boredom, but being able to have lots of resources really helps. The bonus? It's all real food. I checked out a Hungry Girl cookbook from the library, and I got really grossed out.

Reachel Bagley, Fashion Consultant said...

We'll have to talk more about this. Andrew and I are actually vegetarians, and we just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is ridiculously interesting. So glad I got to meet you! You are even cuter and sweeter in person than on your blog.

Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) said...

I love my books by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Made switching over to plant-based easier, though like you, I still eat seafood and chicken occasionally. (My family isn't so happy about making the huge switch, so I'm working on it.)
http://www.compassionatecook.com/

Also, I also love Celine Steen's books and her blog, have cake, will travel. http://havecakewilltravel.com/ It's beautiful. She's coming out with a new book soon too.

tizaav said...

I love vegetarian cooking for everyone. I've been holding it hostage for the past few months 'cause the book is actually my mom's :)
I love that it is basically "normal food" but offers variations of each. Think black beans, several different ways.
She keeps it informative yet VERY simple.
I'll check the others out. Thanks!

Angela Walley said...

It's wonderful to see a vegan-friendly post on your lovely blog!

s.calder said...

Loved Forks Over Knives. I have been trying to make the plant-based switch ever since. I loves Rip's bowl and homemade almond milk. Have you tried Rip's Engine 2 Lasagna yet? Seriously good. Even my husband liked it so it was a winner in our house. I have to admit I am terrible at using real cookbooks anymore, even though I love the look and feel of them. I mostly use blogs and a few kindle books. Some of my favorites so far include: peasandthankyou.com, ohsheglows.com, kblog.lunchboxbunch.com, greenkitchenstories.com, the FOK blog, edibleperspective.com, the Chef and the Dietitian youtube videos, Dreena Burton (she has a killer chickpea curry that I make in the crockpot), sproutedkitchen.com. I modify recipes based on the sugar, salt, and oil content and have had a lot of success and a few fails. Hope to hear more of your plant-based adventures! It sure is fun!

RBV said...

I love your blog. I also love that mark Bittman book. He makes everything so simple but gives a bunch of suggestions on how to mix it up. It makes veg. Cooking way less intimidating. I just got the Millennium cookbook which is a five star vegan restaurant. The recipes are not that hard but if you do all of the sauces and all of the steps they take a while and a lot of ingredients. Every single one I have tired has been a hit and once i make it once it seems pretty easy to change up and make a bit quicker for next time... Although it can be nice to really put some time into a meal.

Carrie said...

I don't know much about any of these, but I want to! Please feel encouraged to post more about your journey, tips for feeding kids, your favorite recipes, etc. I find this topic endlessly fascinating and I've told my husband dozens of times if I didn't have 3 picky boys to feed I'd reduce our 3-4 nights of meatish meals per week to zero.

I did check out Clean Food by Terry Walters from the library a while ago and I loved it! You should definitely look into that one.

Caroline B said...

I switched to a vegan diet three years ago and saw an immediate difference in health, mood, and overall energy."Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a fantastic cook book. And although there have been no new post in a year or so, the archives on the blog "Vegan Yum Yum" remains a great resource- I swear by her mac and cheese pt.2 recipe. Once commit some basic recipes and handy veg alternatives to memory, you will find cooking vegan meals easier and easier. Good Luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been a vegab for 2 years..started with Food Inc, love of animals, and of course HEALTH!:) I follow a healthy vegan diet and incorporate green smoothies and green juices on a daily basis. Just got some routine blood work done to see how my levels were doing and my doc told me that I have the best metabolic profile in her entire practice...perfect heatlt, yes!! So happy with my lifestyle...keep at it!!

Alie said...

thank you for posting this! after this pregnancy we're going back to vegan (well, plant-based, and more of an 80/20 like you) eating. the only struggle i had with it was finding enough variety and recipes to try, so this compilation will help me so much! please keep us posted on your food journey.

Lucy said...

Thanks for all the great ideas, we have been working on eating healther at our house too!

amy h said...

We've been adding more and more vegan/vegetarian meals, too. I really like "Appetite for Reduction." Super practical, good recipes. I get irritated with recipes with tiny amounts of strange, expensive ingredients, or things that take an hour and a half to make. Her recipes are nice and easy, but don't taste bland.

Sarah said...

Great list! We went vegan in February after a similar progression: watched Forks over Knives, read the China Study...bam! Whole family on whole foods! (Plants only). I like The Savvy Vegetarian for recipes and info (she's on Facebook too) and The Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine/Dr. Neal Barnard are great resources too. Good luck, and I will continue to follow your plant-y progress here; love your blog!

Brittany said...

i love anything neal barnard has written and i'm a huge fan of alicia's the kind diet. i'd also recommend the book chloe's kitchen.

My Hideaway said...

I was a strict vegetarian for 10 years and have been about 99% veggie for the last 8 years (I occasionally eat organic chicken now and more dairy ). Anyway, Deborah Madison's book is good; I use it more as a resource than as a cookbook. Also, the Moosewood Cookbook is kind of the original bible of plant-based cooking, published in the 70s, and it's a good place to start since you're new to plant-based eating. Also, there's one called Quick Vegetarian Pleasures that I think I used to use a lot. There are so many great vegetarian books! And variety is really not a problem, at least it hasn't been for me for almost 20 years. :)

Stephanie said...

Great post Rachel! I need more vegetarian meal ideas (who doesn't?!). Would love to hear more about specific meals you just love too :) xo

slickpig said...

Oh man! You really need to check out Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks. Vegan with a Vengeance, Veganomicon, and Appetite for Reduction, are all on my top cookbooks. She creates truly amazing and simple dishes.

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