Vegan lifestyle trends are generating buzz. Whether you've been following a plant-based diet for years or you are looking for ways to stretch Meatless Mondays into a more habitual routine, learning how to best utilize legumes, grains, produce, and seasonings in an array of new entrées can be overwhelming. A vegan cookbook is sure to come in handy for sourcing meal ideas, grocery lists, nutritional advice, and more; we rounded up the best ones below.
Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes: A Cookbook
An instant national bestseller, private chef Charity Morgan’s debut cookbook is intense with flavor and creativity that makes you want to get in the kitchen.
Morgan is a professionally trained chef with a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but you don’t have to be a pro to follow along. She adopted a plant-based diet and routinely prepares meat-free meals for her celebrity clientele, including professional athletes and musicians. If you’re wondering the types of foods she prepares for them, borrow a page from her book. Though her recipes don’t contain animal products, she has clever ways of transforming plant foods into mouth watering dishes, such as “toona” poke bowls, “fysh” and chips, and walnut chorizo tacos.
Price at time of publish: $30
Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 288 | Date Published: 2022
Best for Weeknights
Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats: Tasty Plant-Based Recipes for Every Day
One of the misconceptions about vegan cooking is that it’s time consuming and requires hard-to-find ingredients. While this may be true of some recipes, Rachel Ama makes cooking vegan food enjoyable, easy, and approachable—even on busy weeknights.
Many of her recipes in this cookbook only require one pot and are quick to come together. Several customer reviews mention how easy and beginner-friendly the recipes are. Dishes like sweet potato falafel, Caribbean fritters, tabbouleh salad, and plantain burgers are full of vegetables and inspired by Ama’s Caribbean and West African roots. Just keep the conversion table in the back of the book handy since the recipes use metric measurements.
Price at time of publish: $40
Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2019
Best for Affordable Ingredients
Plant-Based on a Budget: Delicious Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal
“Frugal, but delicious” is the motto behind author and meal planning whiz Toni Okamoto’s book, which contains 100 recipes. The cookbook came about after Okamoto's website, Plant-Based on a Budget, became a hit.
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.
Price at time of publish: $22
Recipes: 100 | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2019
Juan Umaña, vegan chef and owner of Vengan Pa’ Ka, says it's important to stimulate your receptors with fat, acid, salt, and sweet flavor profiles. "You will be delighted with every bite if you break down each component of the dish into different layers that will highlight the next flavor profile, like tamari-marinated seared tofu (salt), Spanish rice (acid), maple-roasted carrot-ginger puree (sweet), and carrot-top pesto (fat)," Umaña says.
Best for Baking
Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker
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.
Price at time of publish: $25
Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 288 | Date Published: 2020
Best for Beginners
Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen: Epic Anytime Recipes with a World of Flavor
If you’re a brand new vegan or just dipping your toe into the world of plant-based cuisine, you’ll likely stumble across the highly successful vegan food blog Vegan Richa at some point. Award-winning recipe developer Richa Hingle has mastered the art of (and won awards for) crafting step-by-step recipes that explode with flavor but don’t lose you along the way.
Hingle is best known for her Indian-inspired recipes, but her second cookbook is inspired by cuisines around the world. Her easy-to-follow recipes are beginner- and allergen-friendly with more than 100 recipes that can be made gluten-, soy-, and nut-free. In its pages, you’ll find doable and delicious recipes like sweet and sour chickpeas, black bean burgers, and kung pao cauliflower as well as Indian-inspired dishes like curry fried rice and mushroom matar masala.
Price at time of publish: $26
Recipes: 140+ | Pages: 288 | Date Published: 2017
"When you source plant-based produce locally and in season, flavor cannot be matched—and vegetables are your main component. An organic heirloom tomato from your local farmer’s market only needs a little salt to beat a conventional, store-bought tomato that has been stored in cold temperatures and driven hundreds of miles before it hits your palate. If you have great ingredients, you will have to do less to heighten their flavors." — Juan Umaña, Vegan Chef and Owner of Vengan Pa’ Ka
Best for Kids
The Vegan Cookbook for Kids: Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Young Chefs
“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, 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.
Price at time of publish: $16
Recipes: 50 | Pages: 156 | Date Published: 2020
Best for Entertaining
Bad Manners: Party Grub
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. 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.
Price at time of publish: $27
Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2021
Best for Quick Meals
Fast Easy Cheap Vegan: 101 Recipes You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less, for $10 or Less, and with 10 Ingredients or Less!
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.
Price at time of publish: $25
Recipes: 101 | Pages: 248 | Date Published: 2021
When it comes to must-have pantry ingredients, Umaña suggests keeping the following on hand at all times: tamari (for umami flavor), tahini (for added nuttiness or to make savory sauce, vegan cheese, and dressing), sesame oil (add just a few drops, though, as it's quite flavorful), nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor), herbs (buy fresh, dehydrate, and use year-round), and kombucha vinegar (Umaña suggests infusing with herbs and peppercorn to make a green goddess dressing).
The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma's Kitchen
For those eager to learn how to prepare meatless Asian cuisine, Joanne Lee Molinaro’s debut cookbook will be a welcome addition to any plant-based kitchen. The vegan versions of traditional Korean fare, such as banchan, tteokbokki, kkanpoong tofu and gamja guk, are the clear forerunners of recipes she’s curated. Plus, the narration synonymous with Molinaro’s TikTok @thekoreanvegan is authentically depicted in captivating food photos in addition to personal reflections on the author’s lifelong journey to embracing her passion for cooking—details which make this title a compelling read even when one is done using the oven.
Price at time of publish: $35
Recipes: 80+ | Pages: 336 | Date Published: 2021
Vegan Soul Food Cookbook: Plant-Based, No-Fuss Southern Favorites
When some people switch to vegan or vegetarian diets, they might miss the flavorful comfort classics of Southern cooking. Luckily, author Nadria Jenkins-El has just the trick. Her cookbook is filled with 101 Southern classics, from biscuits and gravy, to Cajun fried chicken, to gumbo. Of course, each and every recipe is 100 percent vegan.
The plant-based variants on comfort foods are packed with flavor, though the ingredients are easy to find. In addition to the recipes, the author includes shopping tips, advice on shifting to the vegan lifestyle, and labels that show if a recipe includes gluten, nuts, oils, or soy. Though there are very few pictures included in the cookbook, the recipes themselves are easy-to-follow and result in hearty, flavorful meals.
Price at time of publish: $15 for paperback
Recipes: 101 | Pages: 178 | Published: 2020
Best New Release
Vegan Fast Food: Copycat Burgers, Tacos, Fried Chicken, Pizza, Milkshakes, and More!
Nothing hits the spot quite like good old-fashioned junk food. Cookbook author and YouTuber Brian Watson built his brand on cooking replicas of burgers from well-known fast food chains. When he made the switch to veganism, his recipes did, as well. “Vegan Fast Food” contains over 50 recipes, ranging from “chicken” sandwiches to “meaty” hamburgers.
There are many ways plant-based ingredients can imitate non-vegan ones, and Watson goes over how to recreate cheese sauces, juicy hamburger patties, and fluffy French toast sticks. Some iconic items include vegan versions of the McDonald’s Big Mac, KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, Panda Express’ Kung Pao Chicken, Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl, and even a Wendy’s Frosty.
Price at time of publish: $25
Recipes: 50+ | Pages: 176 | Published: 2022
If you're looking for vegan twists on familiar favorites, try Charity Morgan’s "Unbelievably Vegan." More experienced plant-based cooks are also likely to find new dishes worth trying in "Bad Manners: Party Grub" and "Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker."
What to Look for in Vegan Cookbooks
When shopping for a cookbook, it’s imperative to consider your current cooking skills and interests. Many texts are written explicitly for beginners, while other titles are crafted with the assumption that the reader already has foundational knowledge of certain culinary techniques; dietary requirements; and more. Reviewing the introductory section of most books can provide an overview of the content and the author’s intended audience.
Stunning food photography is a big draw for the foodie crowd. However, the aesthetic of the pictures should be informative as well as eye-catching. It's helpful if there are step-by-step images and/or finished product photos of the majority of recipes in a book. Graphics, such as illustrations of kitchen gadgets or pantry organization charts, are also practical visuals to keep an eye out for.
The average yield in regard to the number of servings per recipe is an important detail to scan for when perusing cookbook options. If you have a large family, but most of the dishes are meant to serve three to four people, check the introductory section to see if the necessary info is included on how to double or triple recipes (or make smaller versions for single individuals or two-person households).
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.
What kind of vegan cookbook should I get?
Many people might think that vegan cookbooks are filled with nothing but recipes for salads or fruit smoothies, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Vegan cookbooks cover a wide variety of flavors, foods, and cuisines from all around the world. Vegan cooks are a creative bunch, and have found ways to recreate comfort foods using only plant-based ingredients.
So what kind of cookbook should you get? Well, what kind of food do you like? There are vegan cookbooks for Mexican food, Indian food, Southern soul food, cookbooks for kids, cookbooks that focus on bread-making or desserts. Whatever you need, there is probably a vegan cookbook out there for it.
How do I find a vegan cookbook that fits my skill level?
Cookbooks aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Some cookbooks have very involved recipes that may intimidate beginner cooks. Others have simple, easy-to-follow recipes that are great for beginners, but may bore the more experienced cooks. In order to find a cookbook that fits your skill level, check out a preview of the cookbook online. Most booksellers will have photographs or previews that let you see what the recipes will be like. Do the steps make sense to you? Do you recognize most of the ingredients on the lists? Be sure to read up on customer reviews as well, and see if they have any comments on how easy or difficult the recipes are to make.
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.
Lacey Muinos is a food and wellness writer who also happens to be vegan. She adopted a plant-based diet more than five years ago and never looked back. Over the years, she’s amassed an impressive collection of vegan cookbooks.
Allison Wignall, who updated this article, is a writer who primarily focuses on food and kitchen products. While not a vegan herself, she has many friends who are, and has enjoyed countless plant-based meals with them (including a delicious vegan lasagna). Her work has been featured in publications including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
Juan Umaña is a vegan chef and the owner of Vengan Pa’ Ka, a farm-to-cart mobile food truck in Madison, Wisconsin.