Welcome to the Ultimate Vegan Cookbook Guide for 2019!
My seasonal kitchen is not vegan. As the season’s pass, however, Bob and I find ourselves less and less inclined to eat meat.
We care about the environment and our health. That is certainly one motivation for moving away from cooking with animal products.
Truth be told, the primary reason it’s taken so long for us to move toward a vegan diet is culture, tradition, and familiarity. We were both raised on meat and potato diets as children. These hearty American meals have a nourishing nostalgia all their own.
So, neither of us have vegan cooking skills, but we’re working on it!
And, that is how this Ultimate Vegan Cookbook Guide came about. It’s the result of our research, experimentation, and gradual move toward a plant-based diet. We hope you find it useful!
There are affiliate links sprinkled throughout this post. It’s like a focused browse through the bookstore with us as your guide.
In addition to recommended cookbooks, you’ll also find links to blogs, podcasts, and other informative and entertaining resources for vegans and the vegan-curious alike.
Finally, we’re interested in learning about your go-to vegan cookbooks. Please leave recommendations in the comment section below. Thanks!
Why every kitchen needs a vegan cookbook
Making vegetables the center of the meal is a new kitchen skill for many of us. Whenever I want to master something new, I turn to the experts. You have to admit, the experts on vegetables are the vegans.
All the resources listed in this Ultimate Vegan Cookbook Guide complement their recipes with technique tutorials to up your seasonal kitchen game. Learning to use new ingredients that are easier on the digestive system and the planet is a noble pursuit. Doing so while also never losing out on flavor and texture is a double win that is sure to change diets more easily and with greater pleasure.
What is vegan?
For some, the word vegan refers to the composition of their diet. It defines the ingredients they use for their daily meals. For others, veganism is a more comprehensive term for a lifestyle that avoids all animal products, not only in meals but in home and lifestyle products, and medicines as well.
Here’s a more comprehensive definition for the term vegan.
A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals. ~ The Vegan Society
The 2019 vegan food pyramid is posted below so you can see the basic building blocks of a vegan meal.
What’s the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
Simply put, vegetarians do not eat animals but may consume products that come from animals like eggs and dairy. See the vegetarian food pyramid below for comparison.
The climate link
Simply wanting a healthier diet, or not wanting to be a party to harming animals are primary motivators for many vegans. However, some are motivated to veganism because of scientifically proved links between meat and dairy products and the greenhouse gasses that are escalating the effects of global warming.
Earlier this year, the United Nations released a report linking diet and climate. The BBC offers this overview of their findings.
Food production also contributes to global warming. Agriculture – together with forestry – accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock rearing contributes to global warming through the methane gas the animals produce, but also via deforestation to expand pastures, for example. ~ BBC
While not the focus of this article, It’s worth having a well-rounded understanding of the current movement toward veganism before investing in cookbooks. This way, you’ll have a broader context for understanding the lifestyle.
So much more than Meatless Mondays
Meatless Monday is a community-driven campaign that is over 100 years old. Simply stated, nutritionists say that the average American eats 15% more meat in their diet than is necessary. An average week has 21 meals, so if we remove meat from 3 meals each week we can make a positive impact on our health.
Did you know that Meatless Monday is actually an organization that promotes this concept? See their video below to learn more.
The Top 4 Vegan & Vegetarian Cookbooks of 2019
Per Amazon, these are the 4 top-selling vegan cookbooks in 2019:
- Fast and Easy Vegan by JL Fields – this is the 6th vegan cookbook by JL, a coach and instructor at universities and to individuals. She became a vegan after an experience with a goat and never looked back! My favorite chapter? It’s title Five Ingredients and teaches you how to make tasty vegan meals with water, oil, broth, salt, and pepper.
- The Vegan Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Heather Nicholds – this book came about when Heather met with JL to talk about pressure cookers. One quick lesson with chickpeas later, and she was sold. Now you and I can learn to cook vegan with the press of a button as well!
- The Vegetarian Keto Cookbook by Rodales – OK, I know, this isn’t vegan. But, keto is such a thing these days and it is so very restrictive that I think vegan keto is a real challenge, so I’m including this resource from the reliable people at Rodales. You can always skip the recipes that have dairy and eggs.
- The No Meat Athlete Cookbook by Matt Frasier – No Meat Athlete is a program designed by Matt Frasier. This cookbook offers the best recipes Matt has to offer to get the protein you need for optimal performance from a plant-based diet.
The Top 4 Vegan Cookbooks of All Time
The all-time vegan best sellers on Amazon are a little different. These time tested cookbooks for vegans come in a variety of styles to meet most any kitchen personality.
- The Thug Kitchen and its 101 Book take the number one and number two spots on the list! If you like your language as spicey as your chilis, these are the books for you!
- Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz – 150 vegan recipes for weeknight cooking that won’t disappoint!
- Vegan Recipes in 30 Minutes by Shasta Press – this book is designed to give the novice and the experienced vegan what they need to cook nourishing and flavorful meals in a flash.
Vegan Cookbooks for Meat Eaters
While researching for this article, I was shocked (shocked!) by this category of vegan cookbooks. It’s great that there’s a market for this theme of conversion by flavor.
Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Ellen DeGeneres’ personal chef, Roberto Martin and Quentin Bacon (no lie!) is the first recommendation I have for you. While this is a best-seller, I think review feedback is helpful here. Customers report that the recipes require specialty items that make them difficult. Given how many top-selling vegan cookbooks are for people on-the-go, you might want to wait and find this one on sale.
But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kristy Turner has created a vegan cookbook with recipes so flavorful she promises you’ll never miss cheese…or meat! This is a very popular cookbook with lots of great reviews. Seems like a kitchen staple to me.
The Meat Lovers Meatless Celebrations by Kim O’Donnell created this cookbook to support the Meatless Monday campaign. Originally published in 2012, it remains one of the top Amazon sellers for vegan cooking.
The Skeptical Vegan by Eric C Lindstrom answers the age-old question: what do you bring to a gluten-free, nut-free, macrobiotic, nightshade-free, oil-free, vegan potluck? I say getting the answer is worth the price of admission right there! This is not a cookbook, but rather a memoir.
As stated earlier, easy vegan and vegan cooking in 30 minutes or less is a popular theme among these cookbooks. In addition to the ones already listed, here are 4 more for your consideration.
Top of the list is Oh She Glows and Oh She Glows Everyday cookbooks by Angela Liddon. This is a New York Times best selling author and the cookbooks are recommended by many of the writers mentioned in previous sections.
Veganomicon, updated for its 10th Anniversary Edition, is by the aforementioned Isa Chandra Moskovitz, and Terry Hope Romero. What I like about this particular cookbook is it comes with menus to help plan seasonal gatherings.
Next up, The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking. It offers 101 entirely plant-based recipes that require minimal ingredients and few appliances. I love this website and imagine the cookbook is just as appealing.
My final recommendation for easy vegan cookbooks is the Vegan Cookbook for Beginners by Rockridge Press. The appeal of this book is that it comes with shopping lists. I live in a rural area and having a shopping list can save me hours and miles.
So, you know your way around a kitchen and you’ve got skills. Great! Here are recommended vegan cookbooks for chefs and seasoned cooks.
The Bosh! Series by Ian Theasby and Henry David Frith is a comprehensive collection of vegan cookbooks written by chefs. They not only have recipes but give readers a deep dive into all that the lifestyle encompasses from health benefits to climate impacts.
Check out Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans by chef Natalie Slater. The tagline for the book is, vegan recipes that’ll punch your tastebuds in the mouth! What readers seem to love about this book is the combination of humor, pop-culture references, and out of the ordinary recipes.
The final recommendation for this section on complicated vegan cookbooks is from Chef Tal Ronnen and based on his LA restaurant called Crossroads. The cookbook, by the same name, claims to reinvent vegan cooking and eating. His fans seem to agree!
International & Ethnic Vegan
Mmmmm, all the flavors of the world and veggies-centered meals! That is my version of heaven. Here are four recommendations for international flavors and vegan recipes.
Afro-Vegan by Chef and food activist Bryant Terry is at the top of my next cookbooks to buy. These recipes include the flavors of the Caribbean, Africa, and the American South in new plant-based versions.
Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking by Kittee Berns was named best vegan cookbook of 2015 by Powell’s Books. This cookbook starts with the basics of Ethiopian cooking, vegan style, and then build upon those ingredients recipe by recipe.
Chloe’s Italian Vegan Kitchen by Chef Chloe Cascarelli brings a vegan twist to one of the best comfort cuisines in the world. How she’s able to make her loyal following love pasta with vegan cheese has my curiosity peaked!
We’re closing this section with East Meets Vegan: The Best of Asian Homecooking, Plant-Based and Delicious by Sasha Gill. This cookbook promises a vibrant tour of Asian through 90 plant-based recipes sure to satisfy any appetite.
Health and Weightloss Vegan
These Vegan Cookbooks have recipes that are healthy and wellness-focused.
Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary, Plant-Baed, Ayurvedic Cookbook by Sasha Rose Katabi. These recipes are designed to heal and are recommended based on your Ayurvedic type. Ancient and fascinating, and very flavorful.
Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor takes the old and downtrodden staples of vegan diets like kale and quinoa and gives them new life and new flavor. the meals are designed for optimal nutrition and healing.
Raw Vitalize by Mimi Kirk and her daughter, Mia Kirk White is a lovely cookbook to help restart your health regimen one raw meal at a time. These meals are designed with a busy modern lifestyle in mind. The book is complete with meal plans and shopping lists.
The Alkaline Diet for Beginners by Dr. Tim Kennedy. If you struggle with fatigue, inflammation, and a number of other modern maladies, this may just be the diet reset your body is craving. Learn about the link between pH and wellness with each meal and learn to feel better.
What’s life without dessert? Here are my top picks for vegan dessert cookbooks!
Favorite Desserts Made Vegan by Lara Albrecht offers vegan dessert recipes with the holidays in mind. That’s an ambitious goal and I’m glad to see Lara’s fans think she’s hit the mark!
Gluten-Free Vegan Baking for Every Occasion by Sara McGlothin is another crazy-ambitious cookbook in my mind. I’ve not made the complete conversion to thinking of good baking without thinking butter, eggs, maybe even lard. This cookbook is free right now on Kindle Unlimited, so I’m giving it a try. Wish me luck!
Rawsome Vegan Baking by Emily von Euw is a popular vegan dessert cookbook by a very popular and award-winning food blogger. The book is bedazzled by stunning photos and made accessible to newbies with easy directions.
We’re closing up this section with Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Cara Reed. This cookbook isn’t just about desserts. there are bread recipes as well and I’m eager to taste!
Instapot for Vegans
A few years ago I was introduced to the Instapot by a visitor to one of our parties. I’ve never looked back and use mine for canning and weeknight meals. Here are a few more top picks for Instapot vegan cooking in addition to the ones mentioned above.
The Vegan Instapot Cookbook by Nisha Vora. This cookbook is authorized by Instapot if you are looking for a weighty recommendation. The plant-based recipes come with an overview of the appliance and detailed best practices.
The Complete Vegan Instapot by Barb Musick is another cookbook sanctioned by the good people at Instapot. It comes with an overview of the appliance as well. It says its pressure cooking without the pressure!
Hot off the pressed is Vegan 500 by Mary Goodrich. Why 500? Because that’s how many quick, easy, nutritious and flavorful recipes are contained in this one-stop-shop for vegan Instapot cooking.
I’m closing this section with Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nusinow. The description of this vegan cookbook is much like the other three, but I’m impressed that it is written by a registered dietician.
For Vegan Skeptics
These books break down the nutrition of wellness.
How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger. This book, recommended by the Dalai Lama, reviews the scientific evidence behind the only diet that can help prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death. Recommended to my by my friend Jody, it’s already on my list!
Becoming Vegan, the express edition by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina offer the latest science on food production and animal welfare, nutrition and veganism, and disease prevention with a plant-based diet.
Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone answers the question, what one thing could you do to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The answer, obviously, go vegan!
I’m closing this section with a book that goes beyond veganism. It is a scientific exploration of diets that create health and longevity in populations the world over for centuries on end. Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, MD was first delf-published. You’ll want to know what this physician and biochemist has to say about the way we eat and the quality of our lives.
The Best Blogs and Podcasts for Vegans
Top Vegan Blogs
Hands down, research shows the number 1 vegan blog for the past couple of years is The Minimalist Baker. These days, the site defines its audience by saying ‘all eaters welcome’ but best as I can tell all recipes are vegan. I am familiar with Dana Shultz and her team because they have an excellent ‘how to start a blog‘ library that is great for those of us who fear the tech side f the profession.
Next up…Vegan Richa, eating plants until we photosynthesize. Richa specializes in Indian flavored vegan recipes, but that’s not all she’s dishing up! She’s developed easy and flavorful vegan recipes for keto diets, gluten-free, and many other specialty diets.
You’ll remember Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows in the lists above. She started out as a blogger, and now has a top-ranked site that boasts over 1,000,000 followers. Always inventing new ways to support the vegan lifestyle, she now offers the Oh She Glows recipe app.
You can find an in-depth and well-researched list of top vegan blogs at this link.
Top Vegan Podcasts
I searched iTunes for top-rated vegan podcasts. Here are the top 3 5-star recommendations for your listening pleasure!
- Food for Thought Podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau – this 14-year-old podcast is a powerhouse of information on all things vegan from recipes to animal welfare, from travel tips to social commentary.
- Our Henhouse is an award-winning vegan podcast by Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan. This is one of 3 podcasts produced by the couple who focus on animal welfare in all its expressions.
- Live Planted, practical vegan living by Alyssa. A conversation style podcast by a girl living her dream life and wanting you to do the same.
So, those are my lists. I would love, however, input from fans. List your favorite vegan blogs and podcasts in the comments section below!
Vegan Biographies & Memoirs
Oblivious, a vegan memoir by Sande Nosonowitz is the tale of a young woman seeking to align her values with her choices and ends in a vegan lifestyle.
Vodka is Vegan by Matt and Phil Letten is the bro version of defending the plant-based lifestyle. This is the story of two brothers awakening to health, fitness, and wellness.
Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want To Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin is a vegan manifesto buried in a tart-mouthed diet book. I’ve read this one and can affirm it’s a fun read with a powerful message.
Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World by Victoria Moran. Designed to speak to the everyday Jane and Jow who want to explore veganism without its preachiness, this book is as well loved today as when it was published in 2012.
The Vegan Seasonal Kitchen
The seasonal life is a vegetable-forward lifestyle that begins in the garden and is practiced in the kitchen. While we welcome all eaters here at Lorrie Season, there is a special place for the vegetarian and the vegan as those who celebrate life through food choices consciously.
The vegan seasonal kitchen will have a strong commitment to farmers markets, food preservation, and daily meal planning and meal prep at home. It relies on high-quality resources like the ones listed in this guide. And, finally, it is a place to experiment and be curious about flavor and nutrition as it is expressed through plant-based foods every month of the year.
Growing Greens at Home
One way to support your vegan seasonal kitchen is by learning to grow salad greens indoors every month of the year. I’ve created an expensive email course and invite you to take it today!
this course was designed to encourage you to grow salad greens during the winter months. It is equally informative for anyone wanting a seasonal lifestyle but with limited time or space for gardening. It’s an easy email course that will provide safe and nutritious greens anytime you have a craving!
The course begins with a free download of the Plant Diary from the Kitchen Garden Planner and Journal. It’s the easiest way I know to track my indoor growing methods with detailed notes about growing success and obstacles to good harvests.
Come Join the Party!
If you enjoy seeing life through the lens of the changing seasons, I invite you to stay connected. This is a community of activist-oriented gardeners, cooks, and nature lovers.
If you want a loving community to be a part of your seasonal life, please do anyone (or ALL!) of the following:
- Sign up for the newsletter and get my herbal teas and tisanes recipe book for FREE! Tea is always a welcome addition to any time in the kitchen.
- Join our FREE Facebook group where we’re always talking gardens and kitchens.
- Follow me on Instagram and watch the seasons unfold on my 5-acre homestead in Harpers Ferry, WV.