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Best Overall: Vegan for Everybody at Amazon
"Curated by America’s Test Kitchen, this collection of 200 recipes is a comprehensive guide to vegan cooking for home chefs."
Best for Weeknights: Isa Does It at Amazon
"Restaurateur Isa Chandra Moskowitz shares her tried-and-true tips for making plant-based food from scratch—often in 30 minutes or less—with minimum cleanup required."
Best for Affordable Ingredients: Plant-Based on a Budget at Amazon
"This guides readers through saving time in the kitchen by being efficient with leftovers, preparing dry mixes, buying canned goods, and using frozen veggies."
Best for Baking: Bakerita at Amazon
"Blogger Rachel Conners’ debut cookbook is a fabulous primer on baking soy-, gluten-, grain-, dairy-, and refined sugar–free treats that actually taste good."
Best for Beginners: The Plant-Based Diet for Beginners at Amazon
"Most of the 75 recipes can be prepared vegan or vegetarian—ideal for those learning to omit animal by-products from their current cooking repertoire."
Best for Kids: The Vegan Cookbook for Kids at Amazon
"Musick reviews basic skills, like accurate measuring, safe chopping, and slicing, and cleaning up in tangent with explaining how to use standard cooking tools"
Best for Entertaining: Bad Manners: Party Grub at Amazon
"By insisting the 'only real VIP of any party is food,' these plant-based pros make feeding a hungry group manageable."
Best for Quick Meals: Fast Easy Cheap Vegan at Amazon
"'It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken' whiz Sam Turnbull’s collection of inexpensive meals is equally light on prep and cooking time."
Vegan lifestyle trends are generating much buzz—and for good reasons. Vegconomist recently reported that 11 percent of global consumers now identify as vegetarian, 20 percent as flexitarian, and 3 percent as vegan, "signifying that one-third of consumers around the world are following a diet based around the moderation or elimination of animal produce."
This dramatic increase in demand has prompted grocery stores and food-based businesses to scale up the number of plant-based products available for customers looking to stretch Meatless Mondays into a more habitual routine, but learning how to best utilize legumes, grains, produce, and seasonings in an array of new entrées can be overwhelming. If you’re thinking of making the switch to a vegan diet, the following is sure to come in handy for sourcing meal ideas, grocery lists, nutritional advice, and more.
Here are the best vegan cookbooks.
Best Overall: Vegan for Everybody
Many useful visuals
Nutritional info for recipes
Intro section is lengthy
Curated by America’s Test Kitchen, this collection of 200 recipes is a comprehensive guide to vegan cooking for home chefs. Eating meat- and dairy-free should involve much more than steamed veggies and baked tofu, thus ATK's culinary experts break down how to be adventurous with plant-based staples, such as miso, aquafaba, seitan, and nutritional yeast. Vegan newbies will also appreciate the detailed intro section about stocking a kitchen and pantry with products likely to be used most frequently, along with step-by-step instructions for making pricey favorites, like almond butter and vegan mayonnaise, from scratch.
Number of Recipes: More than 200 | Pages: 336 | Date Published: 2017
Best for Weeknights: Isa Does It
Cooking times stated
Defines culinary terms
Text size is fairly small
Restaurateur Isa Chandra Moskowitz shares her tried-and-true tips on making plant-based food from scratch—often in 30 minutes or less—with minimum cleanup required. Dishes like coconut chana saag, dragon noodle salad, puttanesca pomodoro, and down-home curry are low maintenance in terms of the number of ingredients and kitchen appliances needed, and showcase how to use meatless protein sources (such as cashews, lentils, and chickpeas) to make vegetable-centered cuisine heartier.
Number of Recipes: 150 | Pages: 320 | Date Published: 2013
Best for Affordable Ingredients: Plant-Based on a Budget
Bulk shopping advice
Basic for those adept at vegan cooking
“Frugal, but delicious” is the motto behind author and meal planning whiz Toni Okamoto’s book, which contains 100 recipes. Okamoto also guides readers through saving time in the kitchen by being efficient with leftovers, preparing dry mixes, buying canned goods, and using frozen vegetables. Her easy-to-follow instructions for whipping up quick eats, like homemade granola clusters, tempeh hash, and peanut butter ramen stir fry, often require seven ingredients or less.
Number of Recipes: 100 | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2019
Best for Baking: Bakerita
No nut-free modifications
Bakerita blogger Rachel Conners’ debut cookbook is a fabulous primer on baking soy-, gluten-, grain-, dairy-, and refined sugar–free treats that actually taste good. Her straight-forward recipes are organized into seven sections encompassing baked goods well suited for breakfast, like baked chocolate doughnuts and one-hour cinnamon rolls, in addition to more decadent sweets, such as salted maple pecan tart with pretzel shortbread crust and "brookies"—chocolate chip cookie and brownie hybrids fans swear are scrumptious.
Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 288 | Date Published: 2020
Best for Beginners: The Plant-Based Diet for Beginners
Most recipes can be made vegetarian, too
Nutritional values included
Doesn't have many images
For the “veg-curious,” pro chef and farmer Gabriel Miller has written a crash course on whole-food, plant-based eating just about anyone can master. Most of the 75 recipes can be prepared vegan or vegetarian, ideal for those learning to omit animal by-products from their current cooking repertoire. A number are also gluten- and nut-free, and don't contain salt, oil, or sugar. Vegan rookies can put Miller’s grain cooking specs to good use when making chocolate and peanut butter quinoa, crispy rice and bean tostadas, and falafel burgers for the first time.
Number of Recipes: 75 | Pages: 168 | Date Published: 2019
Best for Kids: The Vegan Cookbook for Kids
Kitchen safety tips
Math skills practice
Adult supervision needed
“That Was Vegan?” blogger Barb Musick’s easy-to-follow instructions are aimed at introducing kids and tweens to 50 plant-based meals and snacks by taking on a new role in the kitchen: the cook. Musick also reviews basic skills, like accurate measuring, safe chopping, and slicing, and cleaning up in tangent with how to use standard cooking tools, like a colander, food processor, and Dutch oven. Young readers really seem to be fans of her family-friendly renditions of enchilada casserole, cinnamon swirl pancakes, and baked tempeh bacon.
Number of Recipes: 50 | Pages: 156 | Date Published: 2020
Best for Entertaining: Bad Manners: Party Grub
Includes cocktail recipes
Predominantly references large serving sizes
Featuring more than 100 recipes for a variety of celebratory occasions, this cookbook from Forked Up podcast hosts Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway infuses humor into every ounce of time spent in front of the oven via colorful jokes and gritty dialogue. The duo even dishes up the benefits of eating a healthy diet—especially in terms of ditching prepackaged fare loaded with preservatives when entertaining guests. By insisting the “only real VIP of any party is food,” these plant-based pros make feeding a hungry group manageable with recipes like pumpkin french toast casserole, breakfast tempeh, and Mexican lasagna.
Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2021
Best for Quick Meals: Fast Easy Cheap Vegan
Food storage tips included
Not a photo for every recipe
It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken whiz Sam Turnbull’s collection of inexpensive meals is equally light on prep and cooking time. She sets readers up for success by sharing how to make certain meal bases, like avocado pesto and maple Dijon dressing from scratch, along with the importance of experimenting with a variety of flavors in hopes of appealing to different palates. Her sage knowledge as a recipe developer is apparent by kudos from fans for recipe standouts, such as sweet Korean lentils, caramelized onion pasta, and creamy Tuscan mushrooms.
Number of Recipes: 101 | Pages: 248 | Date Published: 2021
The best bang for your buck is America’s Test Kitchen’s "Vegan for Everybody" cookbook (view at Amazon). More experienced plant-based cooks are also likely to find new dishes worth trying in "Bad Manners: Party Grub (view at Amazon) and "Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker" (view at Amazon).
How do you become vegan?
“Take your time. No one said you have to become vegan overnight. Focus instead on foods that make you feel your best and incorporate them with ease over time,” says culinary and integrative dietitian Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD. “It also doesn't have to cost a lot. With plant-based proteins, such as beans, peas, and lentils, and a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains available in all forms, maintaining a vegan diet can be quite affordable. Use these foods as a base vs. relying on meat and dairy alternatives, which can be expensive—and not always healthier.”
Is a vegan diet healthy?
Moore recommends that you keep an eye out for certain nutrients, such as iron, B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. While this may take a little extra planning, to get those, you might look for B12 in fortified grains or sprinkle nutritional yeast onto vegetables or in sauces regularly. For omega-3 fatty acids, Moore says to reach for walnuts, flaxseed, or microalgae, and get iron from foods like spinach and black beans.
What's the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
Vegans do not consume animal byproducts in any form. This includes meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, all dairy products, and honey.
While vegetarians also abstain from eating meat, some still incorporate eggs or dairy products, like milk and cheese, into meals. Vegetarian diets are more flexible, and there are several subsets of the diet, which are defined by which animal products are eaten. For example, some vegetarians eat eggs, but no dairy and vice versa. Other forms of vegetarianism include pescatarians, who eat fish, but not meat, and flexitarians, who eat a plant-based diet most of the time, but may occasionally eat meat or fish.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Rachel Werner is an eco-conscious vegan and professional foodie who has been profiling farmers, chefs, restaurants, and food-based businesses for more than seven years. Her enthusiasm for food styling and photography is evident in the content she’s created for a variety of regional and national publications, such as Fabulous Wisconsin, BRAVA, and Hobby Farms Magazine. See examples of Rachel’s work “behind the camera” via the vegan lifestyle Instagram account @trulyplanted.