I haven’t spoken about it much on here but I’m something of an animal lover and have a history of dipping in and out of vegetarianism and veganism; my most significant stint of meat-free living was a decade from my teens to my 20s (and it was no mean feat trying to be a vegan in the early 90s let me tell you) and my last attempt was a 6 month stint last year which failed miserably due to poor planning. But I can’t shake the feeling that I want to move back to plant-based living and help my boys appreciate a more veggie focused existence, particularly as I learn more about the environmental toll that meat production takes and the health benefits that we get from eschewing meat and dairy in our diet. So, I feel that in order to succeed I need to do two things; phase meat out of my diet rather than go ‘cold turkey’ and do some serious menu planning so that I don’t put undue stress on my hubbie who does the majority of our cooking. To that end I’ve pulled out my fave vegan recipe books for inspiration and thought I’d share them with you in case you’re contemplating a more plant-based life yourself, so without further ado, here are my 5 favourite vegan recipe books.
Eat Smart – Niomi Smart
The first cab off the rank is the first vegan cook book that I bought. It’s written by a Youtuber who is well known for her healthy lifestyle and ‘What I Eat in a Day’ series and I’d been following her as I started to ponder giving up meat again; I love her enthusiasm for simple, colourful dishes and that her recipes aren’t populated with obscure ingredients or involve lots of overnight steeping and 57 steps, as I am far from a domestic goddess. Actually, let’s put that another way; I’m bloody useless in the kitchen and the extent of my expertise essentially lies in making a good cup of tea, pouring wine and putting together various snacks, lunch boxes and basic meals for my children (when I say meals I mean toast and pasta just to be clear – or ordering a takeaway) So Niomi’s mix of simple meals, that use everyday ingredients, float my boat. And it obviously helps that the book is super pretty – as is she – so it’s a dream to flick through!
Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook – Thug Kitchen
Now I’m no prude but found the overuse of the ‘F’ word and the language in the book a bit irritating so almost like this book despite that as I decided to ignore the rhetoric and just focus on the recipes. It’s very eclectic and not focused on any particular cuisine; it goes from Almond Caesar Salad to Mexican delights such as BBQ Bean Burritos with Peach Salsa to Lentil Tacos with Slaw and then mixes in a bit of Asian with things like Ginger-Mushroom Summer Rolls and Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad. And I kind of like that. It also has a couple of pages covering basic tools – that are useful to have in the kitchen – and pantry staples/basic herbs that are handy to have to get you firing on all vegan cylinders.
Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking – Dana Shultz
From the obscene to the crazily wholesome, this one is written by another US couple, as with the Thug Kitchen, but the similarities end there as this one feels very simple and basic, hence the name of course; this gives you the foundations of plant-based cooking and features more the everyday – rather than rolling up your sleeves and trying something a bit fancier – kind of recipes. Think angel hair pasta with a harissa-based sauce, a simple tomato and lentil ragu to classic vegan lasagne and then yummy treats such as peanut butter fudge swirl ice cream and vegan vanilla cupcakes. This book appeals to me as a wannabee cook/chimp in the kitchen as it’s not overwhelming, they’re pretty simple recipes and it all feels attainable. The only thing to be aware of is that it’s American of course so be prepared to translate cups and ounces. Check out their website as well as there are recipes on there and it gives you a flavour of their food philosophy: plant-based recipes requiring 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare.
Get the Glow – Madeleine Shaw
I stumbled upon Madeleine Shaw after doing some reading around diet – and how to get your outward glow from a nutrition perspective – and realised that that is exactly what her food philosophy is: nourishing ourselves from the inside out. She’s a nutritional health coach so knows her stuff and her message is simple: ditch the junk and eat foods that heal your gut, so you can shine from head to toe and really get the glow. It’s a beautifully illustrated recipe book with mouth-watering photography, so again easy on the eye as is Madeleine’s Instagram feed which shows a lot of her recipes and great food inspo. I must mention that this isn’t technically a vegan cookbook but a lot of it is vegetarian and can be tweaked if you want to make certain dishes wholly plant-based.
Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen – Richa Hingle
And as a girl from Birmingham (in the UK) where curry is our local pride and joy, I had to finish with an Indian recipe book of course and this is a great one! Billed as traditional and creative recipes for the home cook (so I’m not scared off..) this is the first cook book from Richa Hingle, the recipe developer, blogger, and photographer behind VeganRicha.com. I have yet to do this book justice as there are so many dishes that I want to have a play with, but current standouts are Chickpea Curry – which we’ve made so often that the page is crispy and fingerprint smeared – Masala Potatoes and Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets.
So, they are my favourite vegan cookbooks. Do you have any recommendations as I’d love to add to my collection?