The 9 Best Vegetarian Cookbooks in 2022

"The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook" is our top pick

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The Spruce Eats / Amelia Manley

The Spruce Eats Top Picks

"The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook" is our No. 1 pick because it contains a whopping 700 recipes, an A-Z veggie guide, kitchen tool care tips, and photos to illustrate tricky techniques. Beginners, however, will benefit from the "Simply Vegetarian Cookbook," which includes convenient five-ingredient and one-pot recipes.

Whether you're vegetarian or veggie-curious, introducing new plant-based meals into your recipe rotation is a fun way of exploring the cuisine. One of the best ways to do that, of course, is via cookbook. The following titles make plant-based eating simple and appealing for anyone, whether you're a beginner or looking for a specific type of dish, something quick and easy, or desserts to make with your kids.

Here are the best vegetarian cookbooks.

Best Overall

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well With 700 Foolproof Recipes

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well With 700 Foolproof Recipes by America's Test Kitchen

Amazon

What We Like
  •  A-Z veggie guide

  • Kitchen tools care included

  • Photos for tricky techniques

  • Contains 700 recipes

What We Don't Like
  • Limited breakfast options

America’s Test Kitchen does it again with another comprehensive (700 recipes) and trusted resource for those seeking vegetarian recipes. 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 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 a strict vegetarian 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.

Price at time of publish: $35

Number of Recipes: 700 | Pages: 472 | Date Published: 2015

Best Basic

Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes by Martha Stewart Living

Amazon

What We Like
  • Grain cooking chart

  • Many small plate recipes

  • Each recipe has a photograph

  • Wide variety of categories

What We Don't Like
  • No section specifically for breakfast or lunch

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, plus mushroom, spinach, and scallion tart) or “Summer Farmer’s 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.

Price at time of publish: $26

Number of Recipes: 200+ | Pages: 384 | Date Published: 2013

Prep Tip

"An equal mix of cooked grains and beans/lentils can be used to create easy patties or fillings," says Shruti Mishra, professional plant-based chef and Zesty Kitchen co-creator. "To add flavor and texture, add a handful of a well-grounded seed mix and nuts, like sesame, coconut, and flax."

Best for Beginners

Simply Vegetarian Cookbook: Fuss-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love

Simply Vegetarian Cookbook: Fuss-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love by Susan Pridmore

Amazon

What We Like
  • Quick meals

  • Produce prep information

  • Includes 5-ingredient and 1-pot recipes

  • Options for vegans

What We Don't Like
  • Few photos in beginning sections

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-ingredient recipes, 30-minute max recipes, and slow cooker and pressure cooker recipes), 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. Recipes like butternut squash and barley risotto, chickpea and coconut curry soup, and more will appeal to vegetarians and omnivores.

Price at time of publish: $17

Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 228 | Date Published: 2018

Best in a Time Crunch

The 30-Minute Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Healthy, Delicious Meals for Busy People

The 30-Minute Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Healthy, Delicious Meals for Busy People by Lisa Turner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy-to-find ingredients

  • Vegetarian protein chart

  • Dietary restrictions are labeled

What We Don't Like
  • Little to no advanced cooking information

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 you’re not stuck with 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. Better yet, you’ll have even more time on your hands to enjoy them.

Price at time of publish: $18

Number of Recipes: 100 | Pages: 220 | Date Published: 2019

Prep Tip

To up the flavor when cooking plant-based meals, Mishra says there are two versatile spices that stand above the rest: cumin and cayenne pepper.

Best Blog-Turned-Cookbook

Mumbai Modern: Vegetarian Recipes Inspired by Indian Roots and California Cuisine

Mumbai Modern: Vegetarian Recipes Inspired by Indian Roots and California Cuisine by Amisha Dodhia Gurbani

Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes family recipes

  • Inspired by the author’s culture

  • Beautiful photography

  • Flavorful recipes

What We Don't Like
  • Some ingredients may be hard to find

Amisha Dodhia Gurbani is the founder of the popular blog Jam Lab and author of this vegetarian cookbook that’s inspired by Indian and Californian cuisines. It contains more than 100 recipes that users describe as easy to follow, delicious, and filled with rich flavors.

Originally from Mumbai and a current northern California resident, Gurbani brings a unique perspective to traditional Indian cooking with recipes, including breakfast naan pizza, aloo tikki arancini with saffron aioli, and masala chai tiramisu. She pays homage to her culture while infusing it with California flavors. Readers love the personal touches in the cookbook and the author’s love for her mother, who inspired and passed down many of the recipes.

Price at time of publish: $35

Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 400 | Date Published: 2021

Best Mediterranean

Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook: 125+ Simple, Healthy Recipes for Living Well

Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook: 125+ Simple, Healthy Recipes for Living Well by Sanaa Abourezk

Amazon

What We Like
  • Grocery shopping tips

  • Low price point

  • Contains 125+ recipes

  • Ingredient sourcing can be done locally

What We Don't Like
  • Minimum photos throughout

Mediterranean cuisine and vegetarianism go hand in hand, so a cookbook that combines the two makes perfect sense. More than 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.

Price at time of publish: $17

Number of Recipes: 125+ | Pages: 202 | Date Published: 2020

What Our Experts Say

"Most soups and pasta can be thickened using nuts, like cashews and pistachios, soaked/roasted well and then blended with coconut water. These give them a creamy texture and also a sweet taste." - Shruti Mishra, Professional Plant-Based Chef and Zesty Kitchen Co-Creator

Best for Kids

The Vegetarian Cookbook for Kids: Easy, Skill-Building Recipes for Young Chefs

The Vegetarian Cookbook for Kids: Easy, Skill-Building Recipes for Young Chefs by Jamaica Stevens

Amazon

What We Like
  • Recipes are clearly labeled

  • Includes easy instructions that kids can follow

  • Helps kids build confidence in the kitchen

What We Don't Like
  • A few harder-to-find ingredients

Kids are notorious for being picky eaters, so when chicken nuggets are off the table in vegetarian households, what can you feed them that they’ll actually eat? Former preschool teacher Jamaica Stevens offers dozens of meatless ideas that kids will not only enjoy, but can also prepare themselves.

Written for children ages 8 to 12, this book empowers kids to take meals and snacks into their own hands. It teaches them basic cooking skills that makes preparing and eating vegetarian meals fun. Recipes are labeled when they require under 30 minutes, fewer than five ingredients, or just one pot for the quickest of meals.

Price at time of publish: $15

Number of Recipes: N/A | Pages: 122 | Date Published: 2021

Best Photography

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Amazon

What We Like
  • Stellar photos

  • Unconventional recipes

  • Organized by cooking method

  • Extensive

What We Don't Like
  • Not organized by meal type

Following up the award-winning "Plenty," Yotam Ottolenghi published another stunning vegetarian cookbook full of vibrant 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,” and “Tossed."

Recipes such as ricotta pancakes with gooseberry relish create delicious ways to use fruits and veggies in early breakfasts, 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.

Price at time of publish: $35

Number of Recipes: More than 150 | Pages: 352 | Date Published: 2014

What Our Experts Say

"Keeping some roasted nuts and seeds in either maple syrup with added spices like ginger helps add that extra crunch to any meal." - Shruti Mishra, Professional Plant-Based Chef and Zesty Kitchen Co-Creator

Best New Release

Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook: 75 Classic Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings

Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook: 75 Classic Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings by Alexia Wilkerson

Amazon

What We Like
  • Healthy but comforting recipes

  • Quick options

  • Easy to follow

  • Limits butter, oil, and sugar

What We Don't Like
  • Only includes 75 recipes

Soul food is comforting. With Southern roots, this down-home style of cooking often calls for ample sugar, oil, and fat to amp up the flavor. However, this vegetarian cookbook offers soul food recipes with a meat-free twist. The recipes are lower in fat and sugar, so you can cut back without missing your favorite comfort dishes.

This meatless cookbook includes easy-to-follow instructions for making classics, including grits, mac and cheese, collard greens, red beans, and much more. Soul food often takes a whole day of watching the stove, but this cookbook includes recipes that are perfect for busy weeknights without compromising on flavor.

Price at time of publish: $16

Number of Recipes: 75 | Pages: 134 | Date Published: 2022

Final Verdict

America's Test Kitchen's comprehensive "The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook" has everything any plant-based eater could ever need to make incredible meatless meals. For those just starting out, we recommend the "Simply Vegetarian Cookbook,"

What to Look for in a Vegetarian Cookbook

Cost

Set a maximum spend limit prior to shopping, as cookbook prices vary greatly. New print copies can be as low as $13, but some cost as much as $40. Used texts and ebooks can be more affordable alternatives worth hunting for when sticking to a budget is a top priority.

Recipe Count

It’s usually preferable to get as much “bang for your buck” as possible. The average number of recipes in most cookbooks ranges from 70 to 200. That said, it can also be wise to take note of other information included that might be helpful to home cooks, like whether it contains sample grocery shopping lists or alternative ingredient and cooking instructions that omit common allergens, such as peanuts, wheat, dairy, soy, etc.

Author

Cookbook authors are often popular food bloggers, professional chefs, certified nutritionists or cooking challenge champs. Knowing more about the writer’s background can indicate how useful the book is going to be long-term. If the person has more of a “Meatless Monday” approach to vegetarian food, opting for a book created by someone who primarily eats plant-based may be a better call in terms of reliable content.

FAQs

What exactly is a vegetarian diet?  

Vegetarianism exists in myriad forms. The main description of this dietary lifestyle is abstinence from certain animal-derived foods, but some types meat or other ingredients may be permissible depending on the specific kind of vegetarian one is. Examples include: lacto-ovo vegetarians, who consume dairy products and eggs, but not poultry, fish, or red meat; lacto vegetarians, who adhere to the same dietary plan as lacto-ovo vegetarians, but don't eat eggs; ovo vegetarians, who will eat eggs, but no dairy products, like cheese or milk; and pescatarians, who only eat fish, fully omitting red meat and poultry from meals and snacks.

What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian diets?

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 (as described above).

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

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.

This piece was updated by Rachel Werner, an eco-conscious vegan and culinary writer who regularly creates content related to plant-based eating. Her product reviews, food styling and photography have also been featured in a variety of regional and national publications, such as TheKitchn, Fabulous Wisconsin, BRAVA and Hobby Farms Magazine. Keep tabs on Rachel’s work “behind the camera” via the vegan lifestyle Instagram account @trulyplanted.

Lacey Muinos, who also updated this article, is a food and wellness writer. She’s followed a plant-based diet for more than five years. Her collection of cookbooks is quite impressive.

Sources

Shruti Mishra is a professional plant-based chef and co-creator of Zesty Kitchen.

Tessa Nguyen is a chef, registered dietitian, and Taste Nutrition Consulting founder. Tessa is also the Dietetic Internship Coordinator for Diversify Dietetics, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the racial and ethnic diversity in the field of nutrition by empowering nutrition leaders of color. 

Additional reporting by
Rachel Werner
rachel werner

Rachel Werner is a writer and author whose work has appeared in Fabulous Wisconsin, Entrepreneurial Chef, and the book "Wisconsin Cocktails."

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Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos has written about health, wellness, food, and skincare for five years. Her work has appeared on LIVESTRONG, Insider, and Eat This Not That. 
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