By Lora O’Brien
Slowly but surely, it seems that veganism is spreading. So much so, it’s reported that at least half a million of us Brits alone are ditching animal products from our lifestyle and adopting a vegan diet. Once confined to a small section in the supermarket, vegan foods are booming, with whole aisles dedicated to them. High street food chains such as Marks and Spencer and Pret A Manger now have a selection of vegan friendly food that people can grab and go. It seems that it’s high fives all round for veganism.
Yet some still struggle with vegan living. How do you make cookies without eggs or butter? What can you add to your cafe latte if your local coffee shop thinks almond milk is a beauty product or something? And What on earth can you eat at BBQs, Thanksgiving or Christmas?
The answers to all of these questions can be found in vegan cookbooks. You’ll learn about balancing meals, nutrition, and so much more. And above all, these cookbooks, which make a great gift, by the way, debunk the misconception that vegan food is bland. Vegan or not, your mouth will well and truly be watering after a flick through the pages of these volumes.
If you’re vegan, then you probably already know about The Edgy Veg. Candice is the super funny personality behind the popular YouTube channel and now cookbook. If you’ve ever watched their videos then you’ll know that Candice and her husband James work to reinvent the way people see vegan food. Instead of smoothie bowls and salads, the vegan duo have made it their mission to create childhood favourite dishes in a vegan fashion; nothing is off-limits! From hearty dishes like pumpkin chili and loaded fries to more obscure recipes such as charcoal lemonade, their cookbook is a bible playing homage to their fun and delicious recipes.
Best suited to: Those looking for every day recipes that you can make time and time again. It has recipes to suit every mood; from salads and burgers to homemade kombucha and matcha ice cream.
Our favourite recipe: The Shredded Hogtown Jackfruit; it’s like pulled pork and the photo alone just makes my mouth water with food envy.
This is a vegan cookbook with a no bullsh*t approach. That’s basically Thug Kitchen’s defining characteristic. Launched way back in 2013 as a blog, Thug Kitchen now has over 750,000 Facebook followers and has even had Gwyneth Paltrow confessing her love. Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis, the two voices behind Eat Like You Give a F**k, are deeply passionate about steering people away from drive-thru’s and in the direction of the produce section of the supermarket. They’re all about teaching people how to cook real food, but food that also tastes the bomb. Their first cookbook has over 100 recipes ranging from meals, snacks and sides and caters to all types of cooks from beginners to those who tend to think of themselves as the next Jamie Oliver. In the words of Matt and Michelle: “Sh*t is about to get real!”
Best suited to: Those who aren’t offended by a little swearing, and who are keen to make the same kind of dishes they enjoyed before going vegan – just in a healthier vegan-friendly fashion.
Our favourite recipe: Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos. Just the name has me conjuring up visions of a group of friends outside in the sunshine eating bomb food!
This is a cookbook for those souls that are thriving when it comes to the vegan lifestyle. They already know that being vegan makes you happier and has you feeling loads healthier. Not to mention a diet free of animal products means that, one meal at a time, you’re consciously choosing to live a greener, kinder life, and who doesn’t want to make the world we live in a better place?
Kathy Patalsky, the blogger behind Healthy.Happy.Life – a community of millions of people – and she makes a real effort to prove that following a vegan diet is fun and yum! So as healthy as salads can be, expect to find heartier recipes in this book, such as the Vegan Philly Cheese Sandwich, and the Ultra Creamy Cashew Veggie Pot Pie.
Best suited to: Those long-term vegans and those newer to the lifestyle. There’s a fabulous section dedicated to tips and tricks on how to turn your kitchen into one that’s vegan friendly, helping you on your journey.
Our favourite recipe: The Garden Veggie Frittata is making me incredibly excited for breakfast these days.
If you don’t know who the Minimalist Baker is then where have you been living? Since 2012, Dana Shultz alongside her husband John, has been providing us with drool-worthy, healthy recipes. This cookbook features 101 entirely plant-based recipes that are mostly gluten-free and 100% tasty. There’s a selection of everything, from entrées to side dishes, filling breakfasts and decadent desserts. In fact, this is THE book to buy if you’re looking to cook meals that will go down a treat with whoever eats them. And the best part? You’ll have fun along the way, but don’t expect to make too much mess; almost all the recipes can be made in one simple bowl.
Best suited to: Those who like to make as little mess as possible, as most of the recipes require 10 or less ingredients, can be made in one bowl, and take 30 or less minutes to make. Voila!
Our favourite recipe: The Rustic Garlic & Asparagus Tofu Quiche is going to be perfect for summer.
This is a cookbook for those wanting to vegan but who find excuses like, ‘I can’t imagine living without cheese!’ Or, ‘But vegan food tastes like cardboard, right?’ Excuses, be gone! Kristy Turner will teach you that vegan food is not only tasty, it can be inexpensive when you cook from scratch – and it’s also fun! This cookbook is perfect if you’re looking to fall in love with the right kinds of foods.
Best suited to: Those keen to explore veganism without excuses. From newbies to vegan pros – there’s something for all to learn.
Our favourite recipe: Tempeh Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pecan Parmesan – just saying it fills my tummy with roars of delight!
The Oh She Glows cookbook will always be a must-own for me. It was the first book that, much like the title, taught me you could glow from the foods you eat as opposed to feeling sluggish and breaking out. Angela Liddon, the brains behind Oh She Glows, has created a cookbook that is brimming with 100 recipes that will keep us satisfied from breakfast, to protein snacks, to main meals and delicious desserts.
Oh She Glows is a fabulous cookbook to invest in if you also find yourself plagued with food intolerances, as there are allergen friendly, gluten-free and soy-free options throughout the book. And whether or not you’re vegan it’s a wonderful way to bring plant-based foods to the table more often. There’s even a section dedicated to helping to make your pantry (or kitchen cupboards for most of us) more natural and lists clearly the types of kitchen equipment you may want to look to invest into.
Best suited to: Those vegans looking for a go-to bible of recipes, or those looking to transition to veganism.
Our favourite recipe: The Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte is just heaven on a plate.
You may already be familiar with Ashley Melillo, the creator behind blog Blissful Basil, and for good reason – girl knows how to cook! Blissful Basil has been an inventory for fun ways to use plant foods for some time, and now she’s finally gone and created a cookbook to help us all out. Now we can have a piece of Ashley in our kitchen at all times with this cookbook bringing over 100 plant-based dishes that will delight vegans, appeal to vegetarians and also surprise those meat-eaters among us.
What’s more is that, if you find yourself a real sugar junkie, this book is perfect as the majority of recipes are free from gluten, soy and refined sugars. You’ll be inspired to find new ways to bringing a little sweetness to your cooking without all those processed rubbish.
Best suited to: Those of us who are looking to spice up their vegan repertoire with new and exciting recipes. Also great for those of us looking for an accessible way of learning to create new dishes – without sugar.
Our favourite recipe: Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Tangy Slaw & Avocado Creme. Hands down.
You may know her as the infamous ditsy Cher in Clueless, but since then Alicia Silverstone has turned into an inspirational guru when it comes to eat a plant-based diet. Her website The Kind Life alongside her bestselling book The Kind Diet has reached and introduce thousands of people to build a new relationship with both their food and health. And all of that wisdom, alongside some wonderful recipes has been morphed into this cookbook.
But this is more than just a cookbook – it’s also a memoir, too. And alongside the wonderful photography and insight into Alicia’s world, we also get a really authentic introduction into why we should embrace an animal-free diet. Think of this as a healthy guide as well as a cookbook, and you’ll truly learn lots whilst reading it. Prepare to become empowered!
Best suited to: Fans of Alicia, of course, and also those who are keen to learn more about a vegan, plant based diet. This is truly one for all of us, and there’s something for watch of us to learn whether you’re a newbie or a pro.
Our favourite recipe: The Radish Omeboshi Pickles are so great to make and keep on hand to add a little tangy flavour to salad and rice bowls.
All the recipes in this cookbook are either raw or very lightly-cooked, and there is such a versatile number of dishes that you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking one to try. A raw diet has a reputation for lacking in a bit of flavour, but there’s nothing bland about these recipes. In fact, they deliver a balance between comfort foods and complexity that is sometimes missing in raw cookbooks.
Best suited to: Those who love raw food recipes and are looking for new, exciting dishes to try. Also those who are just keen to add a try more raw recipes here and there.
Our favourite recipe: The Eggplant Oregano Steaks with Lemony Broccoli and Spicy Chickpeas is a recipe bursting with flavour, colour and texture.
You probably already know about the comfort food Queen of veganism Isa Chandra Moskowitz, as she already has a bunch of successful cookbooks under her belt. Vegan goddess Isa is dedicated to making fun and fabulous vegan food whatever the occasion. Here, she’s put together a book packed full of recipes that will have everyone at the table happy, even confirmed carnivores!
From finger food to get your party off to a great start, to appetizers and casseroles, roasts and an array of snazzy side dishes there is something for all of us to fall in love with. And if you thought Isa missed out my personal favourite meal type then you’re wrong; there’s a whole section dedicated to cakes, cookies, cobblers, loaves, pies and even frozen treats. This cookbook will quite literally take you through each and every Holiday from New Year’s to Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July and right back to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas which you can mix and match all year round. And with over 250 seasonal recipes, there’s bound to be a whole lot of holiday cheer this year. No wonder it got 100% 5 star reviews on Amazon!
Best suited to: Those who host family events often and want a fuss-free way to please all. Also great just for those who LOVE yummy vegan foods.
Our favourite recipe: The Seitan & Waffles with Pomegranate Syrup – divine!
This fab cookbook comes to you from the same people who brought us the groundbreaking film of the same name. Yep, Forks Over Knives brought about a total revolution in the way we eat, thanks to the experts behind the film and book, who aren’t afraid to make waves. For example, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn insists that eating meat, dairy, and oils injures the lining of our blood vessels, causing heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes, whilst Dr. Colin Campbell reveals how cancer and other diseases skyrocket when eating meat and dairy is the norm—and plummet when a traditional plant-based diet persists. And more and more experts are adding their voices, saying: There is nothing else you can do for your health that can match the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Our favourite recipe: Sunny Orange Yam Bisque is filling, tasty, and nutritious