It’s time to update my list of favorite vegan cookbooks. This year, I’m not kicking any of last year’s recommendations off Good News Veg Island. They’re Evergreen Treasures. Some of my new additions have been around for years — it just took me a while to find them. Two are vegetable-forward, not 100% vegan. But both are so good, I had to include them in my list.
My Cookbook Checklist:
Thinking of investing in a new cookbook, or sending one as a gift? Here are the questions I ask before taking the cookbook plunge. If the answer is no, I don’t consider it:
- Celebrity Authors: Is it written by a Kardashian or a famous person who became famous doing something other than cooking? If so, chances are that person did not actually write the book. Do you really think Gwyneth Paltrow cooks her own dinner?
- Chef-Level Challenges: Is it an amalgamation of recipes developed by a celebrity chef who runs a world-famous restaurant? If so, more often than not, the chef-author assumes you have a slew of sous chefs helping behind the scenes. Millennium, Ottolenghi, Candle Cafe, and Greens are all fabulous restaurants. So fabulous, each has snookered me into buying their cookbook on the way out the door. Don’t be fooled. Buy a book you’ll use, not one that winds up being aspirational, or leaves you feeling like a chef-failure.
Top 7 Vegan-ish Cookbook Picks of 2023
to be used, not perused…
The Buddhist Chef’s Homestyle Cooking, by Jean-Philippe Cyr. Non-fussy, flavorful vegan recipes developed by an exceedingly good looking Buddhist. I loved his first one, and he knocks it out of the park with this one, too.
The First Mess, by Laura Wright. I stumbled upon Laura’s vegan blog by accident, then stayed on her website for a while. Smitten by her simple, seasonal recipes, I bought the book.
Perfectly Good Food, by Margaret Li and Irene Li. I wasn’t sure this book belonged on a vegan blog, because, well, it’s not vegan. But it shares a value important to many of us, vegan or not: sustainable, zero-waste cooking. Buy this book and you’ll never look at that brownish, slightly flaccid stem of broccoli in your vegetable bin quite the same way again.
Oh She Glows for Dinner, by Angela Liddon. I got hooked on Liddon’s recipes from her website — her dal curry with (tons of hidden) broccoli roped me in. She’s been developing recipes for years, and is a pro when it comes to creating family-friendly and vegan-skeptical meals (with ingredients like hidden broccoli).
Vegan Richa’s Everyday Kitchen, by Richa Hingle. Fast, flavorful, fabulous. I use this book at least once a week. Richa’s website is a winner, too. One of my favorite home cooks, Richa knows her stuff.
Gracias Madre Cookbook, by Gracias Madre. I broke one of my rules of cookbook-buying when I sprung for this one. It’s written by the staff of a famous restaurant in L.A., Gracias Madre. Hands-down, one of my favorite restaurant meals ever. Fresh, delicious Mexi-Cali cooking. And, surprise, surprise, not one of the recipes in this book requires a professionally trained sous chef. (Note: if you are in L.A., the Gracias Madre Happy Hour is one of the best deals in town, and a great way to sample the food while staying within your budget).
Tenderheart, by Hetty McKinnon. Astute readers of Good News Veg will recognize Hetty’s name, my Culinary Crush. Her book is a beautiful love letter to vegetables, and family bonds. (Vegetarian, not vegan).
What’s certain to be on every Best Vegan Cookbooks of 2024 is in production now … keep posted for the Beantown Kitchen Cookbook launch date (and book parties!).
Whether you’re a seasoned vegan cook or just beginning your plant-based journey, these cookbooks are sure to inspire and guide you. Remember, the right cookbook can transform your kitchen into a haven of health and flavor!
Stay tuned to Good News Veg for more updates on vegan cooking and the latest in plant-based culinary delights!