The 8 Best Vegetarian Cookbooks of 2020

Eat the rainbow…

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: "The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook"

“Packed full of photos, this book's recipes not only look delicious but also come with key step photos to walk you through tricky techniques.”

Best Basic: "Meatless"

“As per usual, Martha Stewart’s guidance in the kitchen is much appreciated, especially when it comes to vegetarian cooking.”

Best for Beginners: "Simply Vegetarian Cookbook"

“Rest assured there are plenty of simple recipes for the many different scenarios that arise during busy weeks.”

Best in a Time Crunch: "The 30-Minute Vegetarian Cookbook"

“An introduction section compares animal proteins to plant-based proteins on a per-gram basis, so you know exactly how much you’re getting with your swaps.”

Best Blog-Turned-Cookbook: "Love Real Food"

“This book covers it all; from breakfast all the way to happy hour and desserts."

Best Mediterranean: "Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook"

“These 125+ recipes showcase Mediterranean classics like eggplant moussaka and spanakopita as well as inventive dishes that may surprise you."

Best Celebrity: "Ultimate Veg"

“Dishes like veggie pad thai, summer spinach pancakes, and veggie chili will appeal to vegetarians as well as omnivores who just want to go meatless a few nights each week.”

Best Photography: "Plenty More"

"These refined, elegant, and restaurant-worthy dishes prove 'vegetarian' goes way beyond basic salads.”

Best for Overall: "The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook"

America’s Test Kitchen does it again—providing a comprehensive (700 recipes), foolproof resource for those seeking vegetarian recipes. And, to sweeten the deal and appeal to a very wide audience, 300 of those recipes require 45 minutes or less, 500 are gluten-free, and 250 are vegan-friendly, all clearly labeled within the book. Packed full of photos, these recipes not only look delicious but also come with key step photos to walk you through tricky techniques. The introduction details pantry and equipment essentials, offers knife lessons, and includes a lengthy produce guide. Whether you’re following a strict vegetarian diet or not, recipes like summer vegetable gratin, twice-baked potatoes with broccoli, cheddar, and scallions, and frittata with asparagus and goat cheese will have you returning to this book time and time again.

Best Basic: "Meatless"

As per usual, Martha Stewart’s guidance in the kitchen is much appreciated, especially when it comes to vegetarian cooking. An informative introduction covers “protein powerhouses” to educate readers about the many sources of plant-based proteins. The 200-plus recipes are even grouped into suggested themed menus, such as “fall harvest feast” (featuring stuffed acorn squash with quinoa and pistachios and mushroom, spinach, and scallion tart) or “summer farmers market lunch” (featuring smooth tomato gazpacho and zucchini “pasta” with tomatoes and walnuts)—perfect for those days when you’re having a hard time deciding what to make or which dishes pair best together.

Best for Beginners: "Simply Vegetarian Cookbook"

The name of the game here is simplicity, because, as author Susan Pridmore puts it, “There are enough things to be stressed about in life. Dinner shouldn’t be one of them.” Instead of organizing by meal course, the book is divided up by type of ease (such as “five ingredients,” “30 minutes max,” and “slow cooker and pressure cooker”), so you can rest assured there are plenty of simple recipes for the many different scenarios that arise during busy weeks. An educational introduction breaks down vegetarian protein sources, provides carb swaps, and includes a produce cooking guide. And recipes like butternut squash and barley risotto and chickpea and coconut curry soup will appeal to vegetarians and omnivores.

Best in a Time Crunch: "The 30-Minute Vegetarian Cookbook"

Vegetarian or not, most people don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. These 100 recipes will ensure you have a delicious, satisfying meal on the table in under 30 minutes (quicker than delivery in most cases), leaving you plenty of time to go about your day. Even better? These meals also cap around 10 ingredients, so rest assured you’re not looking at any excessive grocery lists. From breakfast to dessert, this book covers it all. An introduction compares animal proteins to plant-based proteins on a per-gram basis, so you know exactly how much you’re getting with your swaps. Nobody will miss the meat when you serve up recipes like mushroom spaghetti bolognese, kidney bean and pumpkin chili, and raw pistachio and cashew halva. And better yet, you’ll have even more time on your hands to enjoy them.

Best Blog-Turned-Cookbook: "Love Real Food"

The popular blog Cookie + Kate has gotten the cookbook upgrade, and the result is not disappointing. The book focuses on real foods, aka whole foods, as author Kathryne Taylor dives into nutrition, vegetarianism, and even food safety for dogs (Cookie, her dog, is a large part of her popular site and book). This book truly covers it all; from breakfast all the way to happy hour and desserts, recipes like apple crisp breakfast parfaits, butternut squash chipotle chili, and spicy cucumber margaritas will keep you coming back for more. There are even suggested menus, if you’re having trouble figuring out which dishes pair together well, such as “fall game days” and “prep-ahead party options.”

Best Mediterranean: "Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook"

The Mediterranean diet and vegetarianism go hand in hand, so a cookbook that combines the two makes perfect sense. These 125+ recipes from Sanaa Abourezk showcase Mediterranean classics like eggplant moussaka and spanakopita as well as inventive dishes that may surprise you, like sweet and sour beet dip and lentil and mushroom lasagna. The book also offers readers a comprehensive introduction to Mediterranean cooking, explaining Mediterranean basics like key pantry ingredients and offering shopping tips.

Best Celebrity: "Ultimate Veg"

British celebrity Jamie Oliver created "Ultimate Veb" to highlight “brilliantly easy, delicious, and flavor-packed vegetable recipes.” Dishes like veggie pad Thai, summer spinach pancakes, and veggie chili will appeal to vegetarians as well as omnivores who just want to go meatless a few nights each week. Oliver himself declares this book “is not just for vegetarians.” There are plenty of vibrant photos to show off these veggie-forward recipes as well as pics of Oliver’s culinary travels and adventures around the globe. There’s even a chapter of “one-pan wonders” for those nights you simply don’t want to spend a long time cleaning. 

Best Photography: "Plenty More"

Following up the award-winning "Plenty," Yotam Ottolenghi published another stunning vegetarian cookbook full of vibrant, mouth-watering photography that will inspire anyone to get in the kitchen and eat more vegetables. The book is organized by cooking method, with chapters like “braised,” “grilled,” “tossed." Recipes like ricotta pancakes with gooseberry relish will ensure you’re getting your fruits and veggies in early for breakfast, all the way until your evening dessert of meringue roulade with rose petals and fresh raspberries. These refined, elegant, and restaurant-worthy dishes will expand your horizon, showing vegetarianism goes way beyond basic salads.

Why Trust Us?

The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a cookbook enthusiast herself, collecting dozens over the years and always turning to them for inspiration, whether it’s a time-consuming weekend baking project or just a quick Monday night dinner. Having worked in the cookbook publishing world in the past, she knows what it takes to create a quality book that delivers something new and exciting to readers—particularly in an increasingly online world.

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