In my quest for coming up with my “top 5″ lists, I had a very difficult time paring it down to only 5 for cookbooks. I love cookbooks and find myself reading them like novels. Therefore, this list departs a little and there are 6 gems. This could have been much longer, but I wanted to limit it to the books that I have used the most often or continue to get inspiration from. Also, there are some authors, particularly Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Nava Atlas that could easily take up the entire list, so I really had to restrain myself in picking some of their books.
The truth of the matter is that there are 6 entries because I could not decide between Veganomicon and Vegan Brunch. I literally went through both of them, counted how many recipes I’ve made, and found that there was only one recipe separating the two, so they both made the cut. I also purposely omitted dessert cookbooks because those are some natural favorites and I wanted cookbooks for everyday meals. Perhaps I’ll do a top five vegan dessert cookbooks blog post in the future.
My top 6 vegan-friendly cookbooks in no particular order are as follows:
1. Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. This cookbook is known as the bible of vegan cooking and it’s sub-title is aptly named, “The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.” I initially bought this book many years ago after rummaging through it at Barnes and Noble and spotting the savory and sweet crepes’ recipes. Isa and Terry have all of the bases covered here. There is everything from appetizers, dips, brunch, salads and dressings to “sammiches,” soups, casseroles, one-pot meals, desserts, and more! If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take one cookbook with you, this would be it. In addition to the crepes, some of my favorite recipes from Veganomicon include Marinated Italian Tofu, Chickpea-Noodle Soup, and Pumpkin Crumb Cake with Pecan Streusel.
2. The Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler. This is one of the first cookbooks I remember buying when I became vegan. It was very helpful when I was still trying to figure out how to prepare tofu. In the beginning, I was terrible in working with tofu, but this cookbook gave me the confidence I needed to overcome that obstacle. Today, tofu is one of my favorite foods. Some of my favorite recipes from The Tofu Cookery include Herb Stuffed Shells, Tofu Spaghetti Balls, and Pumpkin Pie (this pie recipe is hands down the best pumpkin pie recipe I’ve made to date).
3. Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Since I love to entertain and usually cook my own holiday meals, I loved the theme for this book. I have given it high praise in previous blog posts, but I cannot say enough how much I love this cookbook. It has a great layout, organized by holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Easter, Independence Day and more. Some of my favorite dishes from Vegan Holiday Kitchen include Mixed Baby Greens with Pears and Glazed Pecans, Quinoa and Lentil-Stuffed Golden Squashes, and Kale and Carrot Strudel. This is a must-have for the holiday chef!
4. Good Time Eatin’ in Cajun Country: Cajun Vegetarian Cooking by Donna Simón. While this book has the word “vegetarian” in the title, most of its recipes are vegan. The only non-vegan ingredient mentioned in some of the recipes is honey. Honey can be easily substituted with agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup or whatever your favorite vegan sweetener is. I love this cookbook because a lot of my family is from the South and I like the idea of greens, mac and cheese, and other spicy meals. Most of the recipes are very simple to make and usually don’t require hard-to-find ingredients. My favorite recipes from Good Time Eatin’ in Cajun Country are Collard Greens, Parsley Potatoes, and Banana Bread.
5. Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. I love to cook a hearty soup during the colder months, and this cookbook has ideas for all-year round. Even though I have many cookbooks with soup or stew recipes, this is the first one I pick up and usually is the one I find my prized soup recipe in. Favorites in Vegan Soup and Hearty Stews for All Seasons are Hearty Winter Roots Soup, Mock Chicken Noodle Soup, and Taco Soup. Even my husband loves the mock chicken noodle which uses tofu instead of chickens.
6. Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. One of the disappointments in eating out sometimes as a vegan, is finding delicious and exciting breakfast options. This cookbook is our go-to for all things breakfast and brunch. My omni husband regularly uses it when he’s in the mood for a yummy tofu scramble. There is a nice mix of sweet and savory brunch ideas, as well as side dishes, breads, drinks, and toppings. Some of our favorite Vegan Brunch recipes are Perfect Pancakes, Swiss Chard Frittata, and Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs.