It used to be that a plant-based diet was a fad among hippies and animal welfare advocates. But as more people realize that eating meat can be disastrous for the body and the environment, there’s now a conscious effort to incorporate more plant-based meals into the everyday diet.
So like it or not meat-lovers, plant-based diet is going mainstream. And for those who are willing to take the plunge into this new culinary world, this can seem to be overwhelming: Where does one start? Will the food be easy to make? Is it going to be flavorful? And what the heck is the difference between going vegan or vegetarian?
First things first, a vegan diet is more selective than a vegetarian diet. Vegans will only specifically eat grains, veggies, and fruit but not meat and meat-based products. This includes milk, eggs, honey, cheese, and all other kinds of animal by-products.
Vegetarians, meanwhile, are fine with eating animal-based food products as long as the animals have been treated well and are raised sustainably with no or less impact on the environment.
Beyond the eco-philosophy though, most people shift to a vegan diet because it’s the only option that does not trigger their food allergies. People who are lactose-intolerant will find a vegan diet appealing. Some who are allergic to gluten will prefer vegan cooking because it can easily be adjusted to fit their non-gluten dietary needs.
Whatever your reason, going vegan is easier these days because there are lots of vegan cookbooks available. These cookbooks will allow you to make vegan dishes on your own so you don’t have to eat meals in an expensive vegan resto.
Some of these cookbooks will also offer an illuminating window into cooking techniques and preparations for making plant-based foods as delicious as meat-based ones. Whether you’re a beginner or a long-term vegan looking for new recipes to add to your culinary repertoire, there’ll be a cookbook for your needs.
In this list, I’ve included the best of the new and some old-time favorites that have withstood the test of time. From recipe collections to cooking techniques and tips, these cookbooks will help you navigate through the work of vegan foods whether you’re a newbie or a professional looking for fresh food ideas. Here are my top ten vegan cookbooks for healthy living.
If you want more options, you could try looking for vegan recipes in baking cookbooks and dessert cookbooks. Many cookbook authors will offer substitution information so that you can make vegan versions of their recipes. Or, to make things easier still, why not try a vegan meal kit?
The Best Vegan Cookbooks
- Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between
- Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face
- The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples
- Veganomicon, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook Hardcover
- Sweet Vegan Treats: 90 Recipes for Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, and Tarts Hardcover – Illustrated,
- Food52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen Hardcover – Illustrated
- Vegan Meal Prep: Ready-to-Go Meals and Snacks for Healthy Plant-Based Eating Paperback
- Vegan Holiday Cooking: 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors Paperback – Illustrated,
- Eating Vegan: A Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners Paperback
- Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes Hardcover – Illustrated
1. Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between
This book features some 200 vegan cooking recipes that have been rigorously tested by the professional team of chefs at America’s Test Kitchen.
Written in a succinct and clean style, this book includes helpful sections on the basics of cooking beans, grains, and nut milks. The recipes like to use oil though so if you’re into a whole food plant-based diet that omits all varieties of oil, this book may not be for you.
For newbies, however, this is a great book to start their plant-based diet. It has a picture for every recipe so you’ll know what to expect when cooking it. There are also informative tidbits on how the chefs developed each recipe and why the flavors will work.
Some examples of recipes that are popular among the readers include mushroom frittata, vegan pancakes, meatless meatballs, and vegan brownies.
2. Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face
If you’re hankering for the comfort food of your childhood minus the animal products, then this cookbook is for you.
Written by YouTube foodie sensation Lauren Toyota, it features more than a hundred familiar recipes that have been veganified. It’s not for strict vegans, since it uses plenty of added fat, salt and sugar. For the newbie, however, this is a nice compromise between abandoning the familiar and venturing into new culinary flavors.
Readers liked it because there are a lot of recipes for vegan sauces and cheese. Some of the popular recipes here include vegan versions of Philly cheesesteak, mac ‘n’cheese, and ramen. There are a lot of photos to accompany the recipes, with Lauren’s personal stories and tips featured all throughout the pages written in her engaging and hilarious voice.
3. The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples
This cookbook will teach you how to make your own vegan ingredients from scratch. It features recipes for making vegan butter, whipped topping, sour cream, cheeses, and non-meats that pack a lot of flavor.
While this is an intermediate vegan cookbook, the recipes are uncomplicated and easy to follow. There’s an introduction for each recipe that goes into the specifics of how the recipe was developed. It also features a lot of full-color photos.
Readers like the cookbook for its handcrafted approach to vegan cooking. Book author Miyoko Schinner is well known for her gourmet approach to vegan cooking and this collection showcases her culinary style. Some of the recipes that readers love are the vegan ice cream, almond milk yogurt, and her popular vegan butter.
4. Veganomicon, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook Hardcover
This is an update of a beloved classic. There are 25 new dishes added to its more than 250 recipe inventory. It has also tweaked its book design; most recipes now have their own pages and some of the mini-intros have been updated to include more tips and notes.
This is a comprehensive cook book that should appeal to both newbies and pros. It has recipes for all kinds of occasions with soy-free, gluten-free and low-fat options. There are also quick recipes for those don’t like multi-step directions.
As a collector’s item, this anniversary edition is gorgeous. It has a nice, sturdy hardcover that’s glossy. The inside pages are now thicker and the cover illustration looks great. The photos are also now in color.
5. Sweet Vegan Treats: 90 Recipes for Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, and Tarts Hardcover – Illustrated
For vegans with a sweet tooth, this cookbook features entirely plant-based recipes for making desserts. All the recipes don’t use too many ingredients and they’re detailed but easy to follow.
The recipes are accompanied by an informative intro on vegan ingredients and the basic kitchen tools that one will need. It also features some time-saving techniques as well as helpful troubleshooting tips for the intermediate cook.
The photos are well-curated and yummy to look at. Author Hannah Kaminsky puts her food photography skills into good use in this collection.
Some noteworthy recipes in the book include the chocolate chip cookie pie, baklava tart and the silken chocolate mousse cake. Those with food allergies will find this cookbook pleasing and very helpful.
6. Food52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen Hardcover – Illustrated
If you’re looking for hassle-free vegan recipes to add to your cooking repertoire, then this collection of sixty recipes should appeal to you. Author Gena Hamshaw is a clinical nutritionist and the writer of one of Food52’s popular vegan columns.
This is a collection of new recipes and some old favorites from her column. It avoids most commercial vegan substitutes and relies more on produce and whole foods to bring flavor into vegan dishes. Some ingredients, however, may not appeal to strict vegans; it uses lot of coconut oil and tofu in its recipes.
Even though Food52 recipes are generally high level cuisine, this cookbook is simple and easy to follow. Plus every recipe is accompanied by a photo of the dish.
7. Vegan Meal Prep: Ready-to-Go Meals and Snacks for Healthy Plant-Based Eating Paperback
This cookbook is useful for prepping a week-long menu of vegan dishes. It features 8 meal preps that will appeal to a variety of dietary needs and tastes.
Each meal prep includes a meal plan, a shopping list, an equipment list, a step-by-step prep day action plan and 5 recipes for the week. If you ever need a jump start for your New Years resolution to go vegan, this is the ideal cookbook for you.
It’s written comprehensively, with shopping lists that feature ingredients that are easy to find. There are even freezing, storing, and reheating instructions for everything. Readers, however, noted that there are no photos to accompany the recipes.
Some samples of the dishes featured include Tofu-Spinach Scramble, Quinoa and Kale Bowl, Miso Spaghetti Squash, Pesto Pearled Barley and Kale Chips. All in all, there are 70 recipes in this cookbook.
8. Vegan Holiday Cooking: 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors Paperback – Illustrated
If you’re looking for vegan recipes to cook for the holiday season, then this cookbook is for you. It substitutes your favorite meat-based holiday favorites with vegan alternatives.
Instead of ham, there’s a recipe for Mushroom Wellington with Gravy. For a traditional stuffing alternative, there’s the Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing. The recipes are curated for different holidays throughout the year but anyone can use them for any festive occasion.
The book is easy to read and features a lot of photos. From appetizers to desserts, this cookbook has everything to make your holiday feast a success.
9. Eating Vegan: A Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners Paperback
This book contains 75 vegan dishes that are flavorful and are easy to make. It’s curated for the newbie vegan cook and features ingredients that are easy to find.
It also contains an informative section on vegan cooking. There’s a chapter that teaches you techniques for cooking basic vegan staples like beans, lentils, grains, and tofu. It also offers suggestions for making beginner’s starter meal plans to ease the transition to plant-based dieting smoothly.
Some examples of the dishes include Corn Chowder, Cashew Mayonnaise, and a Mac and Cheese recipe that uses potatoes, carrots, and cashews as a base for the cheesy sauce. On the downside though, this doesn’t have enough photos. Still, those that are included are gorgeous and colorful.
10. Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes Hardcover – Illustrated
This cookbook puts its own riff on comfort food by using plant-based substitutes to creatively build up the recipe from the ground up.
There’s a chapter for vegan essentials but most of the book is divided into basics, including breads, appetizers, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and desserts. There is also a section on making your own veggie meat.
Each recipe outlines easy step-by-step directions so you can recreate your favorite meat dishes. You can also mix and match some of the more basic recipes to make your own vegan meal. Readers love this book because it’s also designed to also use up your leftovers in creative ways. Some popular dishes featured in this book are the Garlicky Cheese Biscuits (a la Red Lobster) and the Quinoa Bacon.
VEGAN FOR EVERYBODY: FOOLPROOF PLANT-BASED RECIPES by the American Test Kitchen
The recipes from this cookbook are kitchen-tested, and can easily be done by both newbie and veteran veggie cooks.
It doesn’t have as many recipes as the classic Veganomicon but then it doesn’t aspire to be a comprehensive recipe book. Rather, it’s focused on making relatable vegan dishes that anyone can easily cook.
This means that it doesn’t use exotic ingredients or meat substitutes. This cookbook focuses on making you more comfortable in using a variety of beans, grains and vegetables so that you won’t need to find meat alternatives.