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 contains some of 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.
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 we 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...
Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Caper SauceSavory Vegetable Pot PieBarbecued Tempeh-Chipotle Burgers with Grilled PineappleChocolate Mousse Pie (OMG!!!!)
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 we 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 Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American Chefs
Calling all cooks! THIS is the book for you.
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is so incredibly over-the-top amazingly helpful. There's really nothing else like it. You'll fall in love with it. You'll want to marry it! :)
This is really and truly the BEST book for recipe-free cooks (which is what we teach here at VeganCoach.com) because it will help guide you to the flavors that work perfectly with any plant-based ingredient you're playing with.
If you've been hanging with us here at VeganCoach.com you know that we're HUGE fans of using Flavor Matching. You'll see Flavor Matches sprinkled throughout our entire site because they take the guesswork out of which herbs/spices/seasonings to use in your cooking.
This book is THE MOTHER LODE of flavor matches. I promise you will love every inch of this book and use it for years and years and years. You'll want to give it as gifts to all the home cooks you know.
By the way, even if you're cooking WITH recipes, you can use flavor matches to improve or add to any recipe you whip up.
I predict you'll have hours of fun with this one. Happy cooking!
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...
Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes (tastes like good ol' fashioned wedding cake)Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream FrostingMarble Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Frostingand my most favorite: Banana Split Cupcakes!!
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...
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. :)