There are so many reasons to start a vegetable-forward diet this year, whether it’s for your health, the environment or your concern for animals. And it’s never been easier to fully embrace a vegetarian lifestyle than now. You can find all the ingredients you need through a CSA, your local farmers market or even the grocery store down the street. But how can you turn what you bought into a satisfying and delicious meal? Buy a great vegetarian cookbook.
With thousands of veggie-focused cookbooks... available, it’s tough to narrow it down to the one that you’ll ultimately rely on. Not to worry. We vetted the best of the best and came up with eight vegetarian cookbooks that fit many types of eaters.
Originally, The Moosewood Cookbook came out in 1974 as a self-published, spiral-bound notebook that the founder of the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y planned to sell to customers and give to kitchen staff. The author, Mollie Katzen, thought the book was a great way to standardize the restaurant’s recipes and allow customers to cook some of the eatery’s then-exotic food — like hummus — at home. She never imagined the book would kick off a vegetarian revolution and become one of the... bestselling vegetarian cookbooks of all time. This 40th-anniversary edition of the book leaves most of the author’s handwritten recipes and illustrations untouched from the original and includes updated versions as well as new recipes.
When the cooks at America’s Test kitchen put out a cookbook with “foolproof recipes,” you can take their word for it. They test their recipes multiple times until they arrive at the best possible version for you to cook at home.
This cookbook is the first book the kitchen has devoted to completely vegetarian fare. Inside, you’ll find beautiful photos and recipes for everything from snacks to filling main dishes. There are 300 recipes that you can make in less than 45 minutes, 500 that are... strictly gluten-free and 250 that are vegan. The book offers plenty of ideas — like chickpea cakes and wild rice and mushroom soup — that make vegetarian cooking accessible to everyone.
It’s easy to fall into a carb-heavy lifestyle once you give up meat (and even if you don’t!). Legumes, soy, dairy and grains are all staples of a healthy vegetarian diet. Unfortunately, combining your love of vegetarianism with paleo cooking means you’ll need to make a few adjustments to the ingredients you typically stock in your kitchen.
The Accidental Paleo looks at plant-based eating from a meat lover’s perspective. Each recipe carefully layers flavors, textures and colors — like the spinach... and artichoke dip and butternut squash lasagna — to please carnivores and vegetarians alike. The cookbook has grain-free meal ideas that work for the whole family and keep everyone full for hours.
Unfortunately, so many of America’s classic Southern comfort foods center around meat, like fried chicken, shrimp and grits and sausage gravy. But, if you want to capture that down-south flavor while keeping your diet strictly vegetarian, turn to The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook. Fruits and vegetables play a huge role in Southern cuisine and the author, Justin Fox Burks, wants them to take up more real estate on your plate. Enjoy dishes like okra fritters with creole mustard sauce, vegetarian... red beans and rice with andouille eggplant and grilled peach ice cream.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
Giving up meat doesn’t mean you have to give up protein, too. There are so many plant-based ingredients that will give you the protein you need to stay fueled throughout the day. The High Protein Vegetarian Cookbook takes those foods — like beans, nuts, dairy and quinoa — and combines them in delicious ways that even hardcore meat eaters will love. With recipes like mushroom and wild rice burgers, dark chocolate black bean brownies and hearty vegetarian chili, no one in your family will miss the... meat once dinnertime comes around.
Sometimes, it seems like the authors of vegetarian cookbooks think you have all the free time in the world to make elaborate recipes. They send you on wild goose chases to find specialty ingredients or offer 10-ingredient ideas that supposedly turn carrot slices into vegetarian lox. Luckily, this Whole Bowls cookbook keeps it simple. All the ingredients go into a single bowl (which means fewer dishes) and you can prep many of the meals ahead of time to grab out of the fridge on a hectic... weeknight. Recipes include combinations of curried falafel and kale, and black bean, butternut squash, black rice and chimichurri. The book is great for busy college students or parents that need to get a fast and tasty dinner on the table for the entire family.
For vegetarians who want to get some solid skills in the kitchen, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is the holy grail of cooking resources. This 10th-anniversary revamp of the famous cookbook gets rid of any outdated techniques and includes ingredients that weren’t widely available back when the first edition was published in 2007 (like oat milk instead of soy milk). Plus, many of the recipes were updated to be vegan-friendly, too.
This is the kind of cookbook that you keep around... for years to come, even after you’ve built up a solid repertoire of techniques. Whether you’re a flexitarian, take a solid no-meat stance or just want to explore more vegetable-forward food, this cookbook won’t let you down.
If you’re the type of cook that likes to eat your food first with your eyes and then your mouth, then this vegetarian cookbook full of vibrant recipes photos is for you. All the recipes focus on exciting ways to cook with vegetables and draw inspiration from the author’s Mediterranean roots. There’s a multi-vegetable paella, a quinoa and grilled sourdough salad, a caramelized garlic tart and so many more dishes that you’ll be eager to add to the menu.
The structure of the book is also helpful if... you already have the main ingredient that you want to shape your recipe around. Each chapter is devoted to a different category of vegetable — like pulses or leaves — to keep you organized.
At The Spruce Eats, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your kitchen. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.