The 8 Best Vegan Cookbooks in 2021

Expand beyond brown rice, lentils, and tofu

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Our Top Picks

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, 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. 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. Before deciding on a title, think about how often you want to make vegan meals and your level of expertise in the kitchen. As with all cookbooks, they range from basic to advanced and some are more suited for kids or for quick meals as opposed to elaborate dishes aimed to impress at a party.

Here, the best vegan cookbooks.

Best Overall: Vegan for Everybody

Vegan For Everybody
 Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Many useful visuals

  • Nutritional info for recipes

What We Don't Like
  • 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 can 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

What We Like
  • Cooking times stated

  • Defines culinary terms

What We Don't Like
  • 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

What We Like
  • Low-cost tips

  • Bulk shopping advice

What We Don't Like
  • 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

Expert Tip

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

What We Like
  • Paleo-friendly

  • Stunning photos

What We Don't Like
  • 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

What We Like
  • Most recipes can be made vegetarian, too

  • Nutritional values included

What We Don't Like
  • 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

What Our Experts Say

"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

What We Like
  • Kitchen safety tips

  • Math skills practice

What We Don't Like
  • 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, 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

What We Like
  • Includes cocktail recipes

  • Comical jargon

What We Don't Like
  • 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. 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

What We Like
  • Modifiable recipes

  • Food storage tips included

What We Don't Like
  • 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

Prep Tip

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).

Best New Release: The Korean Vegan

What We Like
  • Stellar photos

  • Personal stories throughout

What We Don't Like
  • Hardcover edition is pricey

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.

Number of Recipes: More than 80 | Pages: 336 | Date Published: 2021

Final Verdict

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).

What to Look for in Vegan Cookbooks

Expertise

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.

Images

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.

Serving Sizes

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).

FAQs

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.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. United State Department of Agriculture. Cashews, unroasted. October 30, 2020.

  2. United States Department of Agriculture. Lentils, raw. April 1, 2019.

  3. United States Department of Agriculture. Chickpeas. April 1, 2019.

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