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Check out my picks for the best vegan books out there, hand-picked to help you on your adventure.
Being vegan since 1994, I've read and reviewed many vegan books. The collection below are my favorites, and I hope they help to increase your knowledge of veganism and make your learning curve easier. :)
Be sure to check back occasionally - I'm always reading and will consistently add more books to this page.
Artisan Vegan Cheese
Okay, now that I have your attention. ;)
If you're turning your back on dairy cheese but you're just not happy with the non-dairy substitutes out there, then learn to make your own vegan cheese. It's really not difficult. But there is some important steps to take so you are successful!
And that's where this fantastic cookbook comes in. You'll delight in making plant-based cheeses that actually taste amaaaaazing!
You can get as deep and involved as you want in the cheese-making process, or keep it simple.
For instance, some of the recipes require Rejuvelac to add that flavor that makes it actually, truly taste like dairy cheese. You can make your own (which takes time and effort, I won't lie to you!) or you can buy Rejuvelac (I find mine at Whole Foods). Or simply choose recipes that don't require Rejuvelac at all and you'll still end up making a cheesy recipe that you'll find special and your taste buds will love.
But this is not a book that only covers cheese. There's fondue recipes, appetizers, entrees, and desserts too!
Here are some standout faves from the book...
Holy cow! Get this book NOW! (Hey, that rhymes.) Truly, if you're a cheese lover you'll be VERY glad you did!
We each have our very own unique "Why I went Vegan" story. Mine unfolded in a way that's probably similar to many others. And I thought it might be fun to share with you the best vegan books I have come across thus far in my life as a Vegan.
Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness, and the Future of Life on Earth
Shortly after hubby Jeff and I met, he decided to just drop meat, chicken and fish out of his diet completely. We had many long talks about this decision, which prompted me to read this book for myself to see what conclusion I might come to.
This was the very first book I read that had anything to do with vegetarianism (as I'm sure is the same for many, many Veggies out there.) It really opened my eyes to the impact our diets have on our bodies and the planet. Diet For A New America is considered to be one of the most important books to the vegetarian/vegan movement -- a must read!
What really struck me about this book were the descriptions of the horrendous, inhumane and unhealthy living conditions of the animals we raise for food. I remember being moved to tears! And it was then and there I decided to "Just Say No" to eating meat. At this point, skipping the eggs and dairy also was just a little too much for me to handle.
This is the 25th Anniversary Edition. Congratulations, John Robbins!
But within a few months, I found myself cutting out the eggs. That was fairly easy. The dairy was a little more difficult.
But what was insanely tough for me was cutting out the CHEESE! I grew up in an Italian household, and we loved us our cheese! I added cheese to just about everything I ate; salads, soups, sandwiches, even apple pie! In fact, I remember the day I decided to "quit cheese cold turkey" - Jeff and I stood hovering over our kitchen garbage with cheese in hand and together we made it a grand affair: "Goodbye Cheese!"
Now, since I was a HORRENDOUS cook, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing in the kitchen, our diet consisted of mostly salads, pasta and sub sandwiches that were FILLED with raw veggies. This is when I discovered the power of vegan foods to lose weight. Within a very short time I shed 15-20 pounds! These pounds just melted off so quickly and easily, it was nearly miraculous.
But did I miss my cheese? HELL, YES! (Processed vegan cheeses hadn't REALLY begun to hit the stores yet, so those weren't an option.)
One day, when perusing the books in our little organic co-op, I came across what turned out to be my very first vegan cookbook. And after not eating any cheese for months, it was SO refreshing to be able to create vegan cheeses, vegan cheese sauces and vegan cheesy meals without one single speck of animal products.
But after over 10 years of using this book, and after all my pages were tattered and torn and smeared with food drips, I finally broke down and purchased the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Uncheese Cookbook. Of course, the Anniversary Edition is a work of art too...
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook: Delicious Dairy-Free Cheeses and Classic "Uncheese" Dishes
What makes this Anniversary Edition of her original Uncheese Cookbook so special is that Joanne has MANY options for making each recipe; these include flavoring options, gluten-free options, and handy little lists that tell you which of the more popular allergens are NOT contained within any specific recipe (i.e. Free Of: Gluten, Soy, Nuts, Corn).
Leave it to Joanne Stepaniak to change right along with the times! Joanne, you RAWK!
Now that my veganism was underway, and since there weren't any restaurants in our area that catered to Vegans, I needed to learn how to cook. And FAST. So I went out and purchased as many vegan cookbooks as I could.
MANY of the recipes I created over the years were disgusting. I was VERY picky and gave a lot of books away as I tried to find those vegan cookbooks that catered to my taste buds -- wholesome, rich-tasting and guest-worthy. And over the years my vegan cookbook collection grew.
May All Be Fed: Diet For A New World
Since John Robbins was basically my idol at this point, I purchased another book he authored. This book helped to shed light on how an animal-based diet contributes to the starvation of so many people around the world. Wow, what an eye-opener. But that's only 1/2 the book. The other half? RECIPES. Some of the most delectable recipes I had ever made at the time.
This is one of the best vegan books if you'd like to learn how flavorful vegan meals can be using almost ALL whole foods and nearly zero processed or packaged foods. Some of my standout faves include...
The Tempeh Cookbook
Dorothy R. Bates
I had been using a lot of tofu, and was having fun with it. But it was right around this time that I discovered Tempeh, and I'm so very happy I did. Tempeh has its own distinct, slightly-nutty flavor. It's PACKED with nutrients and is a fantastic source of protein in a vegan diet. Plus, since it's fermented it's healthier for you than plain ol' tofu. I've heard it could be an acquired taste, but Jeff and I latched onto it immediately. And luckily, I found a fabulous little book full of tasty tempeh recipes.
This is one of the best vegan books if you'd like to understand how many dishes tempeh can be used in, like some of my favorites...
The Millennium Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine
It was around this time that we discovered the infamous 5-star Vegan Millennium Restaurant. If you've never had 5-star vegan food, this is the place to put on your list. Of course, it will take a little trip to San Francisco, California! But if you happen to be there, be sure to check it out. Here I discovered their cookbook which I couldn't wait to read from cover to cover, just like a novel. ;)
These recipes aren't really for beginners, as there are many steps to each recipe (usually), but you can certainly dissect the recipes and create "just the sauce", for instance.
This is one of the best vegan books if you ever need a fancy shmancy vegan meal that will impress. Check out some of these delectable dishes I've created...
The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors from the Millennium Restaurant
Be sure to check out Eric Tucker's latest. You really cannot go wrong with any of Chef Tucker's books. The guy is a genius. I mean, his restaurant Millennium is the only place I have ever had a meal that LITERALLY brought tears to my eyes, it was that over-the-top sensational.
The recipes are QUITE complex and require a pretty high skill level. So I'm featuring it here because I know you will pick up so many amazing cooking tips that you can apply to your own cooking to improve your skills. Eric Tucker, I love you! :)
The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant
Joy Pierson, Bart Potenza, Barbara Scott-Goodman
A fun little trip to New York City brought us to the infamous Candle Cafe. So, of course, I had to buy their cookbook!
This is one of the best vegan books if you'd like to learn to create casual and homey-tasting yet completely flavorful dishes, with nice big portions. Here are some of my stand-out faves...
Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York's Premier Sustainable Restaurant
Joy Pierson, Angle Ramons, and Jorge Pineda
The Candle Cafe has a hoity toity sister restaurant called Candle 79 which Jeff and I happened upon quite by accident. The food was not only gorgeous to look at, but it was so special to know that everything served was vegan and so sublime. Of course, it WAS a little spendy, so this has made it onto my list of best vegan books because I think it's pretty rad they have a cookbook to share their amazing and artistic dishes with all of us.
The Sexy Vegan Cookbook
This has to be one of the funniest books I have read in a long time -- and it's a COOKBOOK! This is one of the best vegan books for those who want to learn how to make "vegan junk food" using whole foods. Plus, Brian teaches you to make your own vegan sausage, tempeh bacon, vegetarian Canadian bacon and vegan chorizo too.
This book is amazingly refreshing and the recipes are TO DIE FOR (...okay, okay, to live for). You MUST pick this one up today. Highly recommended!
Here are some of my faves from this hilarious and spot-on delicious vegan cookbook...
And what cookbook collection would be complete without DESSERTS? My all-time favorite pick EV-ER...
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule
Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
Who doesn't LOOOOVE cupcakes? This is one of the best vegan books if you'd like to learn to create adorable and perfect little cupcakes for people big and small! Every single cupcake I've made from this book has been just amazing. Kudos to Isa and Terry for these delectable little creations. Imagine sinking your teeth into these delicious morsels...
Here's a photo of one of the Vegan Banana Split Cupcakes that I made. Isn't it pretty? And SOOOO delicious, with delectable buttercream frosting piled high.
But beware: You can't just eat one! Oy!
My Sweet Vegan: passionate about dessert
Don't you love a cookbook that has LOTS of photos so you can see what the finished dish should look like? That's what you will find in this superb dessert cookbook.
I am in awe of Hannah Kaminsky who not only has figured out how to make desserts that cause some serious drool action, but because she has figured it all out at such a young age. As the book tells us, she was making award-winning desserts while she was still in high school. Go girl!
But don't be fooled - these desserts are not always easy to whip up. Hannah has a level of expertise that some of us can only dream of. This is one of the best vegan books because if you have the time and determination, you can create some sweet masterpieces.
Here's a sample of some of the recipes you'll find...
More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally
What I love so much about this cookbook is that it hits an area of vegan baking that many vegan cookbooks do not. Here you will find vegan desserts like pies, cookies, muffins, scones, cornbread, puddings, even "jello". Of course, there are still yummy cakes and delicious frostings to spread on top so she covers all the bases. This is one of the best vegan cookbooks because it is unique, and you will find lots of tips throughout.
Let's switch gears for a second and talk RAW VEGAN COOKBOOKS...
The Raw Gourmet
So, there we were. Jeff and I were vegan for just about 10 years. And as happens to many Vegans we became interested in RAW FOODS! This was the very first of the raw vegan cookbooks I ever picked up on the topic.
This is one of the best vegan books if you'd like to learn to make some of the more basic raw foods, like soups, dressings, sauces and salads. Most of the dishes feature a beautiful presentation. The majority of the recipes don't require a dehydrator, although you WILL need one for pizza and pie crusts, and to make burgers. Oh, and there's LOTS of pictures too!
Here's a sample of some of the recipes you'll find...
Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods
I feel that I REALLY hit the jackpot when I discovered this fantastic book. The cover of the book says the recipes are irresistible, and I must agree! I have absolutely loved everything I've made out of this book!
There are 4 sections to this fabulous treat of a book. Part One talks about the basics of raw foods. Part Two helps you to stock your raw foods pantry. Part Three is all about raw foods prep and techniques. And Part Four contains some of the most scrumptious raw foods recipes I've had the pleasure of making.
This is one of the best vegan books if you're looking to go beyond the basics of raw foods to start creating slightly more complicated meals that you can feel comfortable serving to guests. Many of the recipes require soaking, sprouting and/or a dehydrator -- so they can be time consuming. But if you have the time, your taste buds will love you forevermore. I recommend this book for those who like raw foods AND cooked foods as some of her recipes require very light steaming.
Here are my standout favorites...
Raw Food Made Easy For 1 or 2 People
Although I'm not a diehard raw foodist (by any stretch of the imagination), I REALLY love raw foods in the warmer weather. One of my friends is a raw foods chef in Chicago (SomeLikeItRaw.net -- Hi Vanessa!) and one day I was picking her brain for some EASY raw foods recipes. This is the book she steered me towards.
This is one of the best vegan books if you want to learn how to make raw foods that take just a few minutes to prepare. Almost every recipe simply requires either a blender or a food processor. The recipes make just enough for -- as the title states -- 1 or 2 people, but the recipes can be doubled or tripled.
I really enjoy...
Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow
Matthew Kenny and Sarma Melngailis
My friend Vanessa in Chicago also recommended this beautiful masterpiece to me. The recipes are usually time consuming and many times require expensive or hard-to-get ingredients. But the recipes are delicious, and are served at the authors' restaurant: Pure Food and Wine in New York City.
If I lived anywhere NEAR New York, I would simply visit the restaurant and let THEM do all the work, but alas I'm on the opposite side of the country. So to the kitchen I go. ;)
This book is truly a work of art. The photos are magnificent (and there are LOTS of them), and the recipes are divine. This is one of the best vegan books if you want to create gourmet raw foods -- particularly for a dinner party.
But be warned -- NOT for beginners. You will need a lot of time, and many recipes require a dehydrator to turn out right. Most of the entrees have 2-3 mini recipes within the whole, which is kind of nice because you can pull out just ONE of those mini recipes to use on its own or in a different dish. For example...
Next, I'd like to share with you some of the best vegan books that focus on vegan nutrition that I feel every Vegan (or Vegan wanna-be) might want to consider reading at some point. So here are some of my favorite vegan nutrition books, in no particular order...
One of my all-time favorite docs, brilliant beyond words, has created this long-awaited work of art.
Not only will you learn "How Not To Die" as Dr. G gets entirely specific about how to avoid the top diseases that afflict humans, but as he does on his popular nutrition science-backed website NutritionFacts.org, he does it all with a sense of humor that makes the boring stuff actually fun and interesting to learn.
That in itself would be a MOST excellent book. Case closed.
But no, Dr. Greger takes it one step further to demonstrate how he makes all of this information work for his (and his family's) everyday life with tips about what to eat and why and how to work it all into your life too!
Buy this book! 'Nuff said!
Three cheers for Dr. Greger! :)
Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition
Brenda Davis, R.D. & Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.
Looking for the perfect vegan reference book? My favorite go-to book to learn "all things vegan nutrition" has been E-X-P-A-N-D-E-D.
Welcome to Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition. It's Becoming Vegan: Express Edition on steroids! Talk about information overload in the BEST way.
As usual, the brilliant authors Davis and Melina (Vegan Dietitians) cut through the crap and get down to the brass tacks about anything and everything you want to know about plant-based nutrition but can't seem to find the answers to. Over 600 pages all about protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals, what you need to know about healthy weight loss/gain, vegan pregnancy, nutrition for kids/seniors/athletes, and sooooo much more.
It's all here for YOU. This is an awe-inspiring work of art. Seriously.
If you're Vegan (or Veg-Curious) do yourself a favor and get this book today. Read it cover to cover, or just keep it handy to flip open to a chapter you're curious about. I promise you will use this book over and over and over again.
Bravo Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina.
I bow down to you! :)
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.
The book title says it all. Dr. Campbell conducted what has become known as "Grand Prix of epidemiology" by The New York Times. You'll discover the link between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as obesity. His findings point to one simple fact: removing animal products from your diet can have a dramatic effect on reducing and reversing these ailments.
This is one of the best vegan books if you're looking for hard facts about why eating a vegan diet is one of the best things you can do to move yourself toward the healthiest person you can be.
(This book has changed many lives. I hear it over and over again. A must read!)
My vegan book collection keeps growing. I can't stop reading! Here I will list more books I think you will enjoy about choosing the vegan diet, in no particular order...
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
The Food Revolution really opened my eyes to how food is produced in the U.S. and the impact it has on our environment. Due to the way meat is produced these days, the saturated fat and cholesterol contained therein is raised to never-before-seen heights. Not only that, but the simple raising of these animals for meat is using up our water supply -- water that is becoming more and more scarce every year. John also discusses the topics of antibiotics, insecticides, and the frightening side of genetic engineering (GMO's).
This is one of the best vegan books if you're eating food produced in the United States. Period.
Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings---And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally
Neal Barnard, M.D.
I've noticed an underlying malady among people today -- that of munching out on chips, cookies, cakes, candies and other sweet foods. I can understand this phenomenon because I used to do the same thing! I couldn't understand why I would get a craving for sweets at the same time every day (in the evening), so I picked up this book. I am so happy that I did!
This is one of the best vegan books if you'd like to learn more about why you crave sugar, and how to break the sweets cycle. For those who are non-Vegan, you'll learn why it seems nearly impossible to remove cheese from your diet -- it's not your fault (whew!), it's a matter of biochemistry -- and Dr. Barnard will help you to understand what you can do to break this addiction. Non-vegetarians will discover that when you crave meat there's a very good reason!
And through it all you'll come out with 7 simple steps to break craving cycles and how to tame your appetite, including the importance of the glycemic index. Oh, and the back of the book is filled with more Joanne Stepaniak recipes! Whoo-hoo!
World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony
Will Tuttle, Ph.D.
The World Peace Diet is absolutely brilliant. I've read so many vegan books over the years -- too many to count, really. The way Dr. Will Tuttle approaches so many of the topics in this book made for an absolutely fascinating read.
This is one of the best vegan books to discover how -- through eating -- we contribute to our culture's values and paradigms at the most primal levels.
It's been a very, very long time since a book captured my attention from the start, and nearly every single page had at least one sentence on it that blew me away. Each and every chapter was a compelling read.
I am so proud to be vegan, and this book helped me to remember why.
Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness
I love this book! It's one of the best vegan books for bodybuilders because it really lays out a clear path for those who are (or are interested in becoming) a bodybuilder while enjoying a vegan diet.
Robert teaches you how to get started in bodybuilding, creating a solid nutrition plan, smart training, and even how to find a sponsor and turning your success into activism and outreach! Cool! Lots of great pictures. Also fab recipes and menu plans for bodybuilders. Go Robert! Good job. :)
Go Dairy Free is jam-packed to the brim with incredibly helpful tips about going completely dairy free. This, of course, includes removing casein, a milk protein, which happens to be in the ingredients of many so-called "vegan" products.
Alisa teaches you everything you could ever want to know about living dairy free, including information about where to get your calcium, dealing with dairy allergies, restaurant dining, shopping for and preparing dairy-free dishes, dairy substitutes, and of course recipes -- lots of them!
This is one of the best vegan books to read if you want to give up dairy -- hands down.
Please note: In very few recipes she gives some non-veg options for ingredients just in case you must give up dairy yet still choose to eat some animal products such as eggs and chicken broth. But these are so few and far between, such a teeny part of the book, and since she still gives vegan options along with those few non-veg options, it is still finding its place in my Best Vegan Books list.
Hope this list of what I feel are the best vegan books, cookbooks, nutrition books, and best books on veganism overall has been helpful for you.
Going vegan has been the biggest adventure of my life. I highly recommend it. Enjoy the process and have a blast. :)
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