Best Vegetarian Cookbooks

Being an adventurous vegetarian, I’m always looking for new meal ideas. There are some great websites out there with tasty vegetarian recipes, but sometimes I just need a book of pictures and themes for inspiration. And some of the most creative chefs just don’t have their menus online.

So if you’re looking for some great vegetarian cookbooks, this list is full of tried and true recipes for different cuisines, occasions and family members – all vegetation or vegan.

No matter if you’re new to trying some meat free meals or you’ve been a vegetarian for years, these books are highly rated for satisfaction. Check ’em out!

Vegetarian Celebrations

Festive Menus for Holidays & Other Special Occasions

Featuring fresh seasonal produce, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources, here are menus that will appeal not only to vegetarians but to people on low-cholesterol diets, the lactose intolerant, and vegans – those vegetarians who eat no eggs or dairy products. Meals for major holidays and other festive occasions include a Southwestern brunch for New Year’s Day, a vegan Valentine’s Day, a Pennsylvania Dutch Easter lunch, an Eastern European Rosh Hashanah, Irish classics for St. Patrick’s Day, a Memorial Day picnic, an Independence Day barbecue, a Sephardic Seder for Passover, a family Thanksgiving, and an American Country Christmas. There are also imaginative vegetarian dishes for informal buffets and smaller celebrations, from intimate suppers to afternoon tea. This new, updated edition now features recipes modified to reduce fat content and includes a nutritional analysis for each menu. From New Year’s Day to year’s end, Nava Atlas’s collection of healthy holiday fare is a true celebration of vegetarian delights.


Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
~Albert Einstein

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food

Marking how mainstream vegetarian cooking has become, the next must-have for the vegetarian cook’s shelf comes from New York Times Minimalist chef Bittman, an avowed meat eater. And that ensures one of this massive compendium’s many attractions: a wealth of recipes that don’t scream vegetarian and plentiful guidelines to make cooking vegetarian as intuitive as cooking with meat. Like his now classic How to Cook Everything, this book opens with terrifically useful, straightforward discussions of essential ingredients, appliances and techniques, which Bittman builds on throughout in to-the-point sidebars and illustrated boxes. The recipes flow thick and fast in his theme-and-variations style: Green Tea with Udon Noodles is followed by concise instructions for making it 17 different ways, while Coconut Rice gets five additional takes and Kidney Beans with Apples and Sherry four; other lists (six Great Spreads for Bruschetta or Crostini, 10 Garnishes for Pozole with Mole) abound and inspire. New vegetarians and vegetarians cooking for omnivores will appreciate Bittman’s avoidance of faux meat products in favor of flavorful high-protein dishes like Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce and Bechamel Burgers with Nuts. Even owners of the original book will find much new to savor while benefiting from Bittman’s remarkable ability to teach foundational skills and encourage innovation with them, which will help even longtime vegetarians freshen their repertory.


I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.
~A. Whitney Brown

The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

While most vegan cookbooks are anemic, underfed volumes-some no-brainer pasta recipes, a few things to do with tofu, maybe some oddball desserts-this slam-bang effort from vegan chefs Moskowitz and Romero (Vegan with a Vengeance) is thorough and robust, making admirable use of every fruit and vegetable under the sun, without once asking readers to make do with fake meat products and egg replacements. Instead, the eccentric authors offer dozens of novel, delicious ways to get excited about eating meat-, dairy- and egg-free. Take Southwestern Corn Pudding, a winning casserole rich with coconut milk and an unexpected dash of maple syrup-a likely MVP at your next Thanksgiving (whether it’s centered around turkey or tofu). Almost as addictive are Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms, which get their bite from fresh herbs, and Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions and Spiced Pita Crisps, a transcendent Middle Eastern comfort food. Vegan breakfasts get overdue attention: sitting in front of a hot stack of velvety Blueberry Corn Pancakes and hearty Blue Flannel Hash, who’s going to miss the bacon? Best of all is the wide selection of terrific desserts: everything from Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies to decadent Caramel-Apple-Spice Cupcakes boldy fill the space where most eggless, milkless and butterless cookbooks fear to tread.


I won’t eat anything that has intelligent life, but I’d gladly eat a network executive or a politician.

~Marty Feldman

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

The elegant simplicity and exquisite flavor of Deborah Madison’s food make her one of America’s leading cooks. In Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, she offers more than great food: her book includes comprehensive information about ingredients and techniques, plus more than 800 recipes. The recipes range from dishes as familiar as Guacamole to those as distinctive as Green Lentils with Roasted Beets and Preserved Lemons, and Cashew Curry. The 124-page chapter titled “Vegetables: The Heart of the Matter” is a virtual book of culinary revelations; you could use it as a manual on buying and preparing vegetables. Madison provides equally inspired recipes and guidance for everything from grains and soy to dairy foods and desserts.


Vegetarian – that’s an old Indian word meaning “lousy hunter.”
~Andy Rooney

The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook
275 Hearty and Healthy Meat-Free Recipes

Anyone who thinks that they could never give up meat will find true enlightenment in The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. Eating vegetarian does not mean giving up hearty, filling, and, most importantly, deliciously satisfying food. Vegetarian cuisine is not often associated with indulgence, but in this book food writer, chef, and cooking instructor Robin Robertson provides recipes for hearty, soul-satisfying–yet surprisingly elegant–dishes that will entice vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike. Hoisin Eggplant Balls are a rich and flavorful appetizer, replacing that old standby, the chafing dish of little meatballs. In Compari-Scented Vegetable Stew with Fennel and Orange Zest, cured olives and chickpeas provide a substantial backdrop for a heavenly mingling of the more delicate flavors, resulting in an intense and sophisticated entr%uFFFDe. Ginger-Sesame-Glazed Portobello Steaks over Wasabi Mashers relies on an aromatic marinade to add complexity to these “meaty” mushrooms. Familiar comfort foods are also well represented: Mushroom Barley Soup, Flaky Potpie, Layered Vegetable Lasagne, and more. Even the most elegant recipes in the book are surprisingly easy to prepare, and each offers the many advantages of a vegetarian diet without depriving anyone of their beloved indulgences.

Totally Vegetarian
Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian

This all-purpose vegetarian cookbook from the host of the PBS series Delicious TV’s Totally Vegetarian offers about 200 accessible recipes-from appetizers (Fried Polenta Squares; Roasted Eggplant Caviar) to sweet finishes (Maple-Baked Pears; Nutty Shortbread Cookies; Banana-Chocolate Chip Cake). Fiore’s reassuring voice makes even the (somewhat) complicated dishes seem doable; lots of variety in the ingredients and flavors make the book a handy resource for vegetarians in need of daily ideas. Some of those ideas fall into the obvious: of course there are recipes for Lentil Stew and Seared Tofu, and a few too many rely on mock meat and fish products. But there are plenty of innovative dishes along the lines of Black-Eyed Pea and Arugula Salad with Honey Vinaigrette, and Rosemary-Roasted Winter Vegetables for anyone wanting to stay interested in meat-free cuisine-as well as helpful adaptations to inspire vegans, too.

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You Are

Vegetarian cooking instructor Robertson (Vegan Planet) turns her attention to the growing number of slow cooker owners. Starting with Slow Cooker Basics, she takes the user through the ins and outs of the appliance from the size of machine suitable for good results to cooking times and 10 quick tips for cooking success. She also devotes a small section to those vegetarian ingredients, such as seitan, that nonvegetarians may not be familiar with. Branching out from the traditional casseroles and stews so popular in the early days of the slow cooker, she tackles appetizers, soups and desserts as well, using the appliance with great effect to produce vegetable stocks as well as flavorful offerings like the Indian-inspired Curried Cauliflower Soup with Chutney and Cashews as well as Asian-influenced Hot and Sour Soup. The fundamental chilis and stews are not forgotten, but beans and grains so essential to the vegetarian diet put the slow cooker to best use. Pastas and vegetables nicely round out the book.


Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook
Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Tasty Vegetarian Recipes

Perfect for students, but just as valuable for health-, time- and budget-conscious grown-ups, Raymond’s updated cookbook offers 142 quick and easy recipes for all kinds of vegetarian delights, including breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, pastas and stirfries. With the knowledge of a nutritionist and the warmth of a mom, Raymond urges her readers to embrace meatless cooking for its ease, its economy and its benefits for both people and the environment. For those new to vegetarianism, she covers techniques for smart shopping and kitchen tricks; for the truly harried, her 10 “No-Time-to-Cook” recipes prove that a decent and healthy meal can be whipped up sooner than you can say “Pizza to go.” The recipes draw on various cuisines-there’s Greek-Style Scrambled Tofu, Black Bean and Yam Quesadillas, Pad Thai and Pasta Primavera-and are uniformly simple and delicious. Raymond also offers vegan recipes, drinks and desserts. With readily available ingredients, prep times that never exceed 20 minutes (and that are often in the single digits) and directions that rarely call for any appliance more complicated than a blender, this volume should be required reading for any student vegetarian.


Vegetarian: A person who eats only side dishes.
~Gerald Lieberman

The Vegan Table
200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion

The Vegan Table is your one-stop source for creating the perfect meal for your friends and family. Whether you’re hosting an intimate gathering of friends or a large party with an open guest list, author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, crowned the “Vegan Martha Stewart” by VegNews magazine, will answer your every entertaining need. Inside you’ll be treated to practically limitless recipe and menu ideas, making it easy to satisfy any and all palates and preferences. From romantic meals for two to formal dinners, casual gatherings, children’s parties, and holiday feasts, you can keep the party going through every occasion and season.


I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.
~Isaac Bashevis Singer

The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook
350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating

This uniquely accessible collection draws together the best vegetarian recipes of Italy-350 in all. ‘Pasta and pizza may be Italy’s most eye-catching exports, but it is the country’s varied and sensible use of vegetables that provides the best inspiration for American cooks,’ writes Jack Bishop. ‘Asparagus spears coated with a little olive oil and roasted to intensify their flavor; thick slices of country bread grilled over an open fire and topped with diced tomatoes and shredded basil from the garden; or a fragrant stew with fennel and peas-Italians enjoy these dishes because of what they do contain, not what they don’t.’ Many of the recipes were gathered by Bishop during extensive travels throughout Italy. Some are family favorites, adapted from those of his Italian grandmother. All deliver perfect results with a minimum of effort. Serving suggestions for each recipe make planning vegetarian meals easy.


We don’t need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could.
~James Cromwell

Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant
Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant

In Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, 18 of the Moosewood Collective’s chefs each contribute a chapter of vegetarian recipes from a different regional cuisine. Recipes are straightforward, and sources (and substitutes!) are given for hard-to-find ingredients. In addition to the Asian cuisine one might expect to find in an international vegetarian cookbook, there are some surprising and tasty options from Eastern Europe, Armenia, and the Middle East, as well as both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish recipes. The suggested menus encourage mixing; tomorrow’s dinner could include Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup) from Chile, Spinach Nori Rolls from Japan, and Mango with Yogurt from India. The main dishes are so hearty that your guests may not notice they’re meatless.


If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

Cookin’ Southern Vegetarian Style

For a taste of life in the south, this cookbook captures all the hominess of Southern cuisine with a dose of healthful eating in recipes that are vegetarian versions of standard favorites. Included are the sumptuous vegetable and fruit dishes and baked goods that have graced Southern tables for ages. Plus recipes handed down through generations showcasing other well loved combinations of favorite foods: tomatoes and green beans, biscuits and piping gravy, watermelon and pecan pies. You’ll go back to a time and place where the pace is slow and friendly, close to the earth, and full of good food.


To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly
Quick Vegetarian Meals Your Kids Will Love!

Better Than Peanut Butter and Jelly: Revised Edition, includes the latest information on nutrition, health food, and organic products. Packed with tasty new kid-tested recipes and informative tips to make healthy cooking easier than ever, this new edition has everything adults need to create fun meals kids will enjoy.


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  1. […] This cookbook is in my list of top 10 Vegetarian cookbooks. See the list here: Best Vegetarian Cookbooks : Why Veg. […]

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