9 best vegan cookbooks
Whatever your reasons for opting for vegan food, we’ve found the best recipe books to ensure you’re never short of inspiration
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Whether you’re new to veganism or have been an advocate of the merits of a plant-based diet for many years, Veganuary is without doubt a great time to refresh your culinary skills.
Over the last year, it’s been impossible not to notice the surge in new titles promoting a vegan diet.
Once, it might have been hard or expensive to find some of the more obscure ingredients listed, but now almost any supermarket you walk into will offer a selection of nut milks, tofu and coconut yoghurts.
Vegan food is no longer limited to the super healthy (although there’s still plenty of that below).
Instead, delicious dairy free desserts and juicy plant-based burgers prove that nothing is off the cards if you choose to cut out animal products.
Of course, you don’t need to be vegan to enjoy these recipes. You might want to pack more veggies into your diet, or perhaps you’re looking to reduce your meat intake.
Whatever your reasons, these plant-based cookbooks offer delicious meals with flavours from around the world.
Planted by Chantelle Nicholson: £25, Amazon
Having worked under Marcus Wareing and now chef patron at Tredwells in London, the talented Chantelle clearly knows how to create a show-stopping dish or two. She’s a huge advocate of aquafaba (the chickpea byproduct that makes an excellent egg white substitute), which can make wonderful lemon meringue tarts. Comforting bowls of spelt tagliatelle with crispy rosemary and hazelnut butter nestle alongside chargrilled runner beans with romesco, tofu, oregano and lemon panzanella. Truly mouth-watering, whether you eat meat or not.
Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid: £8.99, Amazon
The idea for this veg-packed cookbook came about after greengrocer Fraser Reid started selling soup bags in his Dundee store. Thanks to their simplicity, they proved to be a hit with novice cooks and seasoned pros alike, prompting Reid to share his recipes. This book takes us on a journey through the seasons, highlighting veg when it’s at its best. Think winter spiced carrot to kick off the New Year and pumpkin and lemongrass in autumn. The summer months aren’t neglected either, with Italian white bean and cherry tomatoes sounding perfectly refreshing. All recipes are vegetarian and 95 per cent are vegan.
Veganeasy! Delicious Food in 5 Ingredients by Denise Smart: £15, Hive
Vegan food is often unfairly labelled as dull but, with this book, Denise Smart proves that quite a lot can be done with just five ingredients. From smoky sweet potato and beetroot hash for breakfast, through to summer olive tart for more substantial mains, she’ll even show you how to rustle up an orange polenta cake, which you’d never guess contained so few ingredients. There’s a helpful chapter at the front detailing vegan sources of iron, protein, calcium and the like, along with a list of the recommended daily amounts you should be aiming for.
BBC Good Food Vegan Meals: £12.99, WHSmith
You can always rely on a BBC Good Food recipe to work, as each one is triple tested. This new plant-based collection includes 110 recipes, all with full nutritional information. Balanced with carbohydrates, fats, protein and veg, the recipes are healthy but always delicious. We’ll be taking the no-cook festival burrito into the office with us and making the satay tofu skewers with garlic and ginger pak choi next time we have guests. As well as using lots of veg, recipes also involve ingredients such as seitan, which are becoming increasingly easier to find in supermarkets.
BOSH! by Henry Firth, Ian Theasby: £20, Amazon
In case you needed any convincing about plant-based food, the fastest-selling vegan cookbook ever is probably a good place to start. The BOSH! boys, otherwise known as Henry and Ian, have one aim: to get us all eating more plants. Recipes are easy to follow, perfect if you’re just starting out. We like the section at the beginning which groups recipes together to create one impressive feast. From a Tex-Mex fiesta with jackfruit tacos and cauliflower buffalo wings, to the big BOSH! roast with mushroom wellington, rosemary and thyme roast vegetables, and red wine gravy, there’s something for everyone.
So Vegan in 5 by Roxy Pope, Ben Pook: £20, Amazon
Roxy and Ben from the popular So Vegan YouTube channel have created more than 100 recipes that couldn’t be easier to follow. Careful to keep things cheap and cheerful, you’ll find easy to source ingredients that don’t require complicated gadgets. If you’re worried that using only five ingredients may leave your taste buds less than tantalised, fear not – you’ll be rustling up the likes of jerk tofu burgers that a serious flavour punch. We hear that Paul McCartney and Coldplay’s Chris Martin are fans, and if it’s good enough for these guys, it’s good enough for us.
What Vegans Eat by Brett Cobley: £16.99, Amazon
Most vegans are used to assumptions that their diets are limited to a few sad lettuce leafs. We know that this is far from the truth and Brett’s book aims to show that there’s no cuisine you have to forgo if you choose to embark on a vegan lifestyle. From everyday spicy sub bean sandwiches, to gourmet gratins, you’ll find a dish for every occasion. Better known by his Instagram and YouTube channel name, epivegan, Brett ditched the animal products two and half years ago and hasn’t looked back.
The Dirty Vegan by Matt Pritchard: £20, Waterstones
Dirty Sanchez star Matt Pritchard is the face of The Dirty Vegan, BBC’s first ever (and some might say long overdue) vegan cookery show. To accompany the TV series, the tattooed Welshman has created this book containing 80 filling recipes, with a keen eye on nutrition – something he feels passionate about as a stuntman and athlete. While Matt describes the recipes as “proper healthy vegan food – none of this Michelin Star sh*t”, that’s not to say they aren’t exciting – think squash and ‘shroom momos with yuzu dip and crispy bang-bang tofu with peanut & chilli stir-fry.
Leon Fast Vegan by John Vincent, Rebecca Seal and Chantal Symons: £25, Amazon
Leon revolutionised fast food when they arrived on the high-street with their healthy grab-and-go concept. As well as rolling out restaurants up and down the country, the founders have also penned a few cookbooks along the way. Now, they’re turning their attention to vegan food with this collection of 150 recipes. Split into three sections, you’ll find substantial meals, whether that’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as tempting side dishes and, of course, a sweet section. Globally inspired, expect the likes of vegan sushi, Mexican tacos, Vietnamese pancakes and American burgers – all of which will be on the table with minimal faff.
The Verdict: Vegan recipe books
A celebration of great produce, Chantelle Nicholson’s book is a stunning collection of recipes that will impress both meat eaters and vegans. We constantly had to remind ourselves that the dishes we were drooling over were in fact free of animal products. Planted has well and truly earnt its place on our bookshelf.
Stacey Smith is the founder of food and drink website Crummbs