When it comes to modern eating habits, one thing is clear – veganism is on the rise. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant delivery menu without at least one vegan option. The best thing about all this upswing is that there are now some excellent vegan cookbooks that exhibit how a meat-free diet can reap great rewards.
Rather than viewing veganism as the absence of one thing, these books highlight how it can be a celebration of the abundance of life’s other edible joys. Yet to gain the tastiest outcomes, we could all do with a bit of guidance and the best vegan cookbooks can do just that.
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From simple one-pot meals you can throw together in a hurry, to lengthy, more challenging recipes, there’s something in this list for everyone.
How to choose the best vegan cookbook for you
What ingredients do you need?
There’s no getting away from the fact that some recipes are more demanding than others, and that’s before you’ve even started cooking.
Certain recipes may also require ingredients that are difficult to source, and you may need to go to specialist food shops, so a little bit of planning might be necessary. If you’d rather not mess around with complex dishes, choose a cook that mentions simple, quick or one-pot recipes.
How long do you want to spend preparing food?
Do you want dinner ready in 20 minutes or in two hours? Keep hunger at bay by making sure you check how long the recipes in a cookbook takes. Some books will clearly state the entire cooking time and others might need you to do a bit of maths.
Other key features to avoid and look out for
- Check there’s an index, so you can easily filter the type of food you want to cook. Got loads of potatoes? You should be able to flick the back and see all the tattie recipes rather than leafing through every page.
- Check for a clear list of ingredients and simple instructions, and make sure you have all the necessary appliances or dishes before starting the recipe.
- Pictures are a bonus. Not only can they be inspiring, but they’ll also be a good gauge to whether or not you’re on the right path.
Best vegan cookbooks at a glance
The best vegan cookbooks to buy
1. Flavour (Ixta Belfrage, Tara Wigley and Yotam Ottolenghi): Best for impressing guests
Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon
Anything Yotam Ottolenghi does is a bit of a showstopper and the Flavour cookbook, co-written with the excellent Ixta Belfrage and Tara Wigley, might be the best yet. The recipes have all the hallmarks of Ottolenghi’s big, bold, flavourful cooking. That means hard-to-find ingredients such as cascabel chillies, hibiscus flowers and dried black lime are necessary in some cases, but there’s nothing you can’t find on the internet.
However, the real stars of the show are the delicious vegetables, which are treated in unexpected ways to deliver powerful flavour. Yes, some of the recipes are time-consuming, but the heartiness delivered by that famous spicy mushroom lasagne will hit home so hard you won’t mind spending the extra time waiting for dried mushrooms to rehydrate.
There’s one caveat: it’s not strictly a vegan book, but of the 100 recipes, 45 are vegan and a further 17 are easily adapted.
2. The Self-Care Cookbook (Gemma Ogston): Best for healthy meals
Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon
We’re in no way advocating that food will heal you, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting a good dose of all the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep everything ticking along. This book’s full of healthy recipes that do just that. They’re simple to make and this book has you covered whether you’re cooking for yourself or the entire family.
It’s full of guidance for parents too – such as how to make sure your children are getting enough protein in their meals. It’s also beautifully presented with vibrant photography – we feel good just looking at it.
3. Vegan JapanEasy (Tim Anderson): Best for Japanese food
Price: £19 I Buy now from Amazon
When you think Japanese food, a vegan-friendly ingredient list doesn’t usually spring to mind. This book is here to prove otherwise. With a few substitutes, many Japanese staples are made accessible to vegan bellies for that umami hit we all crave.
No longer will you be denied the creamy deliciousness of a katsu curry when it’s made with cauliflower. What’s more, recipes such as fried tofu in dashi, gyoza and onigiri hit all the high notes of spicy, sweet, sour, salty and rich.
JapanEasy is separated into several categories such as big and small dishes, seasonings and sauces, rice dishes and plenty more. So whether you’re looking for some easy Japanese snacks or a big steaming bowl of noodles, this book has you covered.
4. Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats (Rachel Ama): Best for those with a sweet tooth
Price: £14 I Buy now from Amazon
Vegan Eats is full of beautiful Caribbean and West African flavours to spice up a dull week. When a salad won’t cut the mustard, you’ll want to embark on the culinary journey set out in this easy-to-follow book.
Jam-packed with stir-fries, burgers and waffles, there’s a lot to happily stuff your face with here. The recipes are also a doddle to follow, with no personal asides or unnecessary narration. What’s more, at the back you’ll find a “basics and essentials” section, which demonstrates how to create typical vegan replacements such as milk and egg alternatives.
5. Jackfruit and Blue Ginger (Sasha Gill): Best for Asian fusion cooking
Price: £14 | Buy now from Amazon
India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Japan are the chapters in Sasha Gill’s smash-hit vegan cookbook, which seeks to break down some of Asia’s rich and varied cuisines. The creativity on display gets a firm nod of approval, with recipes such as sweet potato ‘belly’ gua bao, in place of pork belly, and the must-try Peking jackfruit pancakes. There’s even a recipe for butter “chicken” curry, which is worth the price of the book alone.
Despite the variety, the ingredients in this book are anything but intimidating, and you’re likely to discover surprise combinations. If you’re a fan of Asian fusion dishes and rich flavours, this is the book for you.
6.East (Meera Sodha): Best for flavourful Southeast Asian cooking
Price: £14 | Buy now from Amazon
Since 2016, chef and food writer Meera Sodha has published two hugely celebrated veggie cookbooks, and sees the constraints of a vegan diet as nothing but a catalyst for creativity. While there are some vegetarian options in this book, the huge selection of vegan meals are not to be ignored.
Potato dosa with pea and coconut chutney? Yes please. Black dal? That too! And salted miso brownies? You get the gist. This book celebrates recipes from across Southeast Asia, with plenty of chapters to get stuck into. There’s also an alternative contents page that splits up recipes by season, if that’s how you prefer to cook.
7. One Pot Vegan (Roxy Pope and Ben Pook): Best for easy vegan meals
Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon
Filled with 80 vegan recipes, which can all be mastered in – you guessed it – one pot, Roxy Pope and Ben Pook aim to take the fuss out of vegan cooking with this simple cookbook. The duo currently have a huge online following and for good reason. One Pot Vegan offers up plenty of classic, accessible recipes such as smoky sausage cassoulet, cinnamon sticky buns and pizza.
All the recipes are not only incredibly easy to make, but also child-friendly. We love the book’s clear language and honesty, plus it contains helpful extras like nutritional value breakdowns. With all these boxes ticked, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
8. Be More Vegan (Niki Webster): Best for new vegans
Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon
Despite the heading “a young person’s guide to going (a bit more) plant-based”, age has little to do with anything in this book. It’s an incredibly informative guide for anyone looking to navigate a plant-based diet for the first time. Niki Webster is also an experienced health coach, so has plenty of tips on how to fill up on the good stuff.
As far as recipes go, it covers everything from lunchbox ideas to big dinners – many of which can be done with very few ingredients. There’s even an entire section on toast-toppers, for those who love a bread-based lunch. British classics like Shepherd’s pie also make an appearance, as well as a host of snacks and desserts. This is an all-rounder of a cookbook, ideal for first-time vegans.