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Looking for the best VEGAN Cookbooks...

  • Peter Sep 5, 2008 01:26 PM

Folks-

I'm trying to put together a list of the absolute BEST vegan cookbooks. (This is a little tricky in that I'm not a vegan myself. And now that I think about it, I wonder if there are that many vegans on Chowhound.)

Anyway, take a look at this list:

http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/...

Tell me...

1. Did I miss anything?

2. Is there anything on that list that's not really all that great?

Thanks in advance!

Peter

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  1. "Millennium," "Veganomicon," "The Professional Vegetarian Chef," and "Great Chefs Cook Vegan." The last one is incredible.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      I'm intrigued by your praise for Great Chefs Cook Vegan. Can you tell me more about it? The amazon reviews weren't very helpful. Are the recipes complicated? It sounds like it is a very pretty book, with wonderful sounding food, but is it actually useful too? Very interested but want more info ...

      1. re: LulusMom

        I would say that this is a cookbook for entertaining: knock their socks off dishes, not weeknight family fare. Some of the ingredients are hard to come by, but I can find most of them in Bloomington, IN. If not, substitutions can be made. What I really like is how it stretches your imagination as a cook. I'm not a vegan, but I love to cook vegan occasionally, just for the challenge. This book pushes me in a good direction.

        1. re: pikawicca

          Gotcha. With a 2 year old underfoot, I do what I can, but I need cookbooks right now that don't push me *too* much.

    2. I bought How It All Vegan shortly before I bought Vegan with a Vengeance (which I love). I found How It All Vegan to be rather boring--uninspired recipes, overly cutesy writing. VwaV I've cooked from much more often--but be forewarned, it's not a healthy cookbook (and it doesn't claim to be, but for some reason quite a few people think that "vegan" must be synonymous with "healthy".

      One cookbook that I think is missing from this list is The Voluptuous Vegan, and not just for that vibrant cover! It's by Myra Kornfeld (who was a pastry chef at Angelica Kitchen, I think when Peter Berley was there). These recipes are NOT quick--definitely time-consuming. But I find them to be more "gourmet", if fussy. I've always enjoyed what I've cooked from it.

      FWIW, I'm not a vegan either, but I do enjoy the challenge of cooking vegan meals (and I eat many of them!)

      1. Peter
        your link did not work for me--eek

        i agree with Nofunlatte's post 100% but would add that veganomicon (2nd book) is even better than VwaV. the author of HiaV has at least one other book as well, and i think it was considerably weaker than HiaV, with even more pinup photos and stupid recipes.

        ETA: veganomicon is not really the 2nd book, there were some baking & cupcake cookbooks by the same author/duo that came out between the major cookbooks

        4 Replies
        1. re: soupkitten

          oh great-- the link is working for me now, and i see all of these are on the list. if regular veg books are fair game i think crescent dragonwagon's, jeanne lemlin's, and didi emmonds' books are good-- most recipes vegan or convertible.

          i also like the little vegan monsters cookbook-- lots of gluten-free/celiac recipes in there too.

          1. re: soupkitten

            The cupcake book is called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

            1. re: KTinNYC

              thanks KT, i knew that- but couldn't think of the name, didn't take time to google it. i shouldn't post when i'm sleep deprived, i'm sure i'm less than helpful. :-P

              1. re: KTinNYC

                I've cooked from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and LOVED it...great cupcakes! Easy to make and you couldn't even tell they were "vegan"....love her writing style too...2 thumbs up for this one.

            2. In addition to the ones already mentioned, I can recommend a new book by Jae Steele called Get It Ripe. Dreena Burton's other two books, The Every Day Vegan and Vive Le Vegan are also really helpful resources. (Her blog just won an award for best vegan blog.) I gave my daughter The Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and she says it is great but I have not tried it myself.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mvi

                Get It Ripe!

                I just made the Lime Coconut Cake with Lime Coconut Buttahcreem Icing for my birthday party yesterday... IT. WAS. FABULOUS. I doubled the recipe to make a two-layer and infused the coconut milk of the cake (not the icing) with lime leaf.

                Recipes for Mulled Wine and After-Dinner Rooibos Chai are spot on as well, super easy. Another cookbook for my lust list (I found this copy at the library!).

                A big thumbs up on How to Cook Everything Vegetarian as well. Mark Bittman is an engaging writer and I love how most recipes have several variations and suggestions on how to adapt a recipe to make it vegan.

                Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks is another amazing book... it's vegetarian Jewish with geography and history lessons worked in. The Yaprak Dolmasi (Turkish stuffed grape leaves) recipe is to die for.

                 
                1. re: AgentLapis

                  Oh, now I have to make that Lime Coconut Cake- I have not tried it yet. Thanks!

              2. Do I sense a meat-eaters prejudice that vegans or vegetarians don't enjoy food?! ("And now that I think about it, I wonder if there are that many vegans on Chowhound.")
                As a vegetarian and avid cook who enjoys flavor, smell, texture and the look of food, it is possible to eat well without meat.

                Now off my high-soyhorse - cookbooks I use and enjoy (I haven't used all from your list):

                Vegenomicon - I use it and enjoy many of the recipes. It does seem a tad 'twigs and grains' to me at times.

                How to Cook Everything Veg - my default daily cookbook

                Vegan Lunch Box - I've used tons of her recipes from the web and am waiting for the release of the book

                The two Greens Restaurant cookbooks by Deborah Madison

                My very favorite - Veg Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. About half of the reicpes are vegan but an incrediably useful cookbook for everyone including meat-eaters.

                1 Reply
                1. re: alwayscooking

                  I cook from all the Deborah Madison books regularly and love them. Recently the Cookbook of the Month here on the Home Cooking board was "Flexitarian Table" by Peter Berley with Zoe Singer. It features a series of menus for each season of the year and each menu has both vegetarian/vegan and meat option components. It's an intriguing book and worth consideration.

                  We are not vegetarian nor vegan but, like Lulu'sMom, like to have several non-meat meals each week.

                2. Anyone know anything about Vegan Fire and Spice? My amazon search for Great Chefs Cook Vegan showed me this as an alternative, and it looks interesting.

                  I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I do like cooking without meat once or twice a week, and love lots of strong flavors, so thought this might do the trick. You know what I hate (and this happens all the time now that I live in the south)? People think that if you don't want meat, you don't want strong flavors. Exactly the opposite for me!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I'd add Vegan Gourmet to the list. I have the original and I have heard people don't like the revised version as much but I haven't seen it so can't compare. I also love Vegetarian Celebrations by Nava Atlas. Virtually all of those recipes have vegan modifications available.

                  2. My husband and I are long-time vegans (30+ and 15+ years). Our cookbook collection includes:
                    Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman
                    The Vegan Epicure by Hermine Freed
                    Sinfully Vegan by Lois Dieterly
                    My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky
                    Spicy Vegan by Sudha Raina
                    The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O'Brien
                    The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein
                    Everyday Vegan by Jeani-Rose Atchinson

                    along with a several on your list.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: lgss

                      Which of these do you find yourselves turning to most often? Which have the tastiest, best written recipes?

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I cook from Vegetarian Celebrations all the time, and I have 2-3 go-to recipes from Vegan Gourmet (tempeh burgers with mango salsa is amazing - so good! I cannot serve it without people asking for the recipe.) But in general, I don't like crunchy granola, natural/healthy tasting foods. That's just not my style of eating or my taste preference. A lot of vegan & vegetarian cookbooks seem to use ingredients that I just don't cook with. My preference is for dishes that just happen to fit in with what we eat - no faux meats, no substitute ingredients, etc.

                        So, most of what I cook on a daily and weekly basis are recipes I've collected over the years that just happen to fit in with vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but are from regular cookbooks & magazines. I love Sunset and have a ton of Sunset recipes, for example. I have a bunch from Gourmet, Bon Apetit, newspaper clippings, friends, etc. My favorite pizza recipe was clipped from Vogue. Most of these I've made so often I can make them by heart. I also cook from the Gourmet cookbook (Ruth Reichl-edited big yellow thing.)

                        I forgot to add this other cookbook I use ALL the time - though it's vegetarian, not vegan, and most of the dishes do use eggs, or cheese, or butter (everything uses butter.) It's French Vegetarian Cooking from the "In a Nutshell" series and it is a wonderful little gem. I have two other books from this series and they are nothing special but this one is just terriifc.

                        1. re: drucie

                          I LOVE French food, so I'll be on the lookout for that one. Thanks for the tip. And many times, like you, I have simply adjusted a recipe to fit with my own eating habits. Once you get in the habit of doing it you can read almost any cookbook (ok, maybe not Henry's Big Book of Pork BBQ) and think of how you can adjust things.

                        2. re: LulusMom

                          Others we have which I failed to include on the list:
                          150 Vegan Favorites by Jay Solomon
                          The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld

                          Of the ones I listed earlier, we've used Simply Vegan a lot, so much so that we make some of the dishes without getting the cookbook out. Of the ones listed by the original poster we use ExtraVeganZa a lot. We also have Vegan Planet, My Sweet Vegan, Vegan World Fusion, and recently go Alternative Vegan. We also have a number of vegetarian cookbooks the recipes of which we veganize and de-glutenize. We use Lorna Sass ' Short-Cut Vegetarian and Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure (which I didn't mention earlier) a lot. We're renovating the kitchen so our cookbooks are less organized than usual.

                          1. re: lgss

                            We also have Gabonaételek by Nap Ajándékai but haven't had a chance to translate the recipes from the Magyar (Hungarian) yet. So far, just the index and some of the ingredients.

                      2. These are not vegan but many of the recipes are in fact vegan or easily adapted for vegans: Madhur Jaffrey World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, many other indian cookbooks including MalviDoshi's two gujarati bookshttp://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Along-Ganges-V... and Chandra Padmanabhan's south indian books, excellent http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sea... - I could eat veg indian cooking happily for the rest of my life.

                        Another area for wonderful vegetarian/vegan recipes is the mediterranean, and Paula Wolferts books, particularly, provide terrific vegetarian dishes, including Mediterranean Greens and Grains and Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean.

                        1. I have Sarah Kramer's "La Dolce Vegan" and I think it's horrific. Most of the recipes are absolutely disgusting and use HUGE quantities of "vegan cheese", "vegan mayo", etc. If her other books are at all similar I would cross them off the list right away.

                          1. Folks-

                            Thanks so much for all the great replies. I'll start collating the suggestions and see what should be added.

                            Now here's a question that I asked earlier but no one really answered:

                            Are there any books on that list that should NOT be there? In other words, they're just not really that good.

                            Oh, and here's the list again so you don't have to scroll all the way back to the top:

                            http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/...

                            Thanks in advance!

                            Peter
                            http://www.FlashlightWorthy.com

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Peter

                              We have a lot of vegan cook books and use them all. I have recommended some of our favorites to you. Have you read any of these cookbooks yourself? Can you share which ones you like or dislike? I have not found any that are "not that good"- so can't add to that, I am afraid. Good luck with your list.

                              1. re: Peter

                                Peter--I would NOT include How It All Vegan in this list. I have this cookbook and find it not worth the money. The authors are earnest and well meaning, but I think the recipes are dull and too many of them seem like just a hodgepodge of leftovers. I've tried a couple of recipes and have been very disappointed. I think the book also could use some editing with respect to serving sizes (there's a recipe in the children's section for nutty broccoli that calls for *four* cups of broccoli, yet serves 1-2. I hope this is a typo, because it's a rare ADULT that will eat that much broccoli in one setting! Also, one recipe calls for 1/8 cup Braggs or soy sauce, yet in other recipes the amount is listed as 2 Tbsp; both of these are equivalent.

                                That said, some of the non-food recipes (i.e. shampoo) look interesting, though I haven't tried them. And I can see where this book would appeal to people who haven't spent much time in the kitchen. But I really don't think it belongs on a "best" list. I notice that you have another book by the same authors on this list (The Garden of Vegan). I have not looked at that one.

                              2. I would be very cautious about listing five star Amazon books as the best vegan cookbooks without actually trying them,award winning or not. Many vegan cookbooks are very bad and get five stars simply by virtue of being vegan. I would cross off any that rely heavily on processed foods. I would remove Joy of Vegan Baking.

                                1. One vegan cookbook I rely heavily on is Lorna Sass' "Complete Vegetarian Kitchen" (all the recipes are vegan). Her recipe for Oriental Baked Tofu is the best tofu recipe I own. I also love her recipes for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Peanut Butter Granola Cookies.

                                  Although the author tends to emphasize the use of a pressure cooker in most of her recipes, she always includes standard stovetop directions as well. She also has a handy section in the front of the book on the Principles of Food Storage.

                                  1. Anything by Ian Finn "Punk Cookery," "To Cook is Divine" "Gluten-free Guide to Vegetarian Recipes" etc.
                                    Also: Bharti Kirchner, Molli Katzen, Deb. Madison, the New Farm Cookbook.

                                    1. Just adding yet another title to this growing list and recommendations for vegan cookbooks:
                                      "The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals". Here's the link at Amazon:
                                      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI...

                                      I haven't read through it yet, but I've seen some high recommendations in the blogs I read. Looks interesting to me who is neither vegetarian nor vegan. BTW: I own 2 Madison books and use them frequently. I believe there's room for some meatless, etc. meals on our daily menus.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Yes, I saw this book on Heidi Swanson's blog today, and was intrigued by it. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/... Not vegetarian or vegan either, but sometimes have trouble eating meat, so I'm always interested in veg meals.

                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                          Yes Katie.... That's where I first saw reference to this book. Looks like it would be a good addition to any kitchen library......

                                      2. The Joy of Vegan Baking book is awesome. Also, Tofu 1-2-3 is a really good one. Any book by Isa Chandra is a winner as well.

                                        1. Not completely Vegan, but I like the Rebar restaurant cookbook.

                                          1. Recently got Vegan Lunchbox, Pure & Simple, Vegan Soul Kitchen, and Vegan Lunchbox Around the World

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: lgss

                                              Another vote for anything by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (Vegonmicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, and Vegan cupcakes take over the world) - wonderfully written books and everything I've cooked from them I've loved.

                                              They also have online video classes which I found helpful too - http://www.theppk.com/

                                              Good luck!

                                              1. re: geekgirl2000

                                                Bought Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for my SIL but made one of the recipes before I sent it. Might have to buy another copy for my husband.

                                            2. Two + years later, I would like to add "Easy Vegan" and "Supermarket Vegan," both full of quick, delicious dishes that require no weird ingredients. I am also withdrawing my rec for "Veganomicon." The more I've cooked from this book, the more errors I've found.

                                              1. My friends rave about The Flying Apron Cookbook. I haven't tried it out yet, but one of them is a professional vegan baker, so I trust her :)

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                  We have Flying Apron cookbook, and have eaten at their bakery. They made our wedding cake. Now that we see the recipes we know why their baked goods are so tasty...loaded with sugar. I make some of the recipes with less sugar than they call for and usually substitute xylitol for some of the sugar.

                                                  1. re: lgss

                                                    And why do you think that xylitol is better than sugar?

                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      Because it doesn't feed strep mutans so better for my teeth.

                                                2. Clean Food
                                                  http://terrywalters.net/clean-food/

                                                  1. Are you looking for only cookbooks that are exclusively vegan? Because, while I don't think most vegan cookbooks are that great, and tend to use non-vegan cookbooks more often, many of the cookbooks on that list are not entirely vegan (Bittman's book, Moosewood, etc), so I think the name is a little misleading.

                                                    How about calling the list "best vegan-friendly cookbooks", and allowing inclusion of non-vegetarian cookbooks as well?

                                                    1. Well, it won't be out until next fall, but Robin Asbell has a wonderful one at the publishers as we speak titled Big Vegan. She's been working on it a long time, and it will be very comprehensive. A real goodie.

                                                      1. Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Mokowitz (Veganomicon) arrived today. I strongly disliked Veganomicon but this is a great cookbook! It's VERY light on "fake" things (the thought of vegan cheese, vegan mayo, etc. grosses me out), instead being full of foods that are "naturally" vegan. I honestly want to cook almost everything in this book.

                                                        1. I'm late to the party on this one. I'm a chowhound who has been vegan for 20 years. Almost all of the great cookbooks have been covered here. I do have one vegan baking book to add. The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza is excellent. I've made 6 cookies from it so far and they have all been excellent. It's as good as Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar, which I also love.

                                                          My favorites are How to Cook Everything Veg., Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, Anything by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, et al.

                                                          I'd remove the Joy of Vegan Baking and La Dolce Vegan. I find them both to be useless and a complete waste of money.

                                                          Thanks for the great topic!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: janehathaway

                                                            I second Mediterreanena vegan. It's very homey comfort food (my favorite is cabbage and rice!)

                                                            Like others, I don't care for the crunchy/granola/salad stuff, I prefer traditional hearty meals.

                                                            Lorna Sass's vegetarian pressure cooking, while not all vegan, is mostly vegan or very easily made vegan.
                                                            Also, a lot of asian vegetarian (not n. indian) books are pretty much vegan. I swore there was a book I got in the library called Asian vegan or something, but I cant seem to find it on Amazon (not the Parekh book, which I haven't tried).

                                                            Edit: Found the title! It's called Asian Vegetarian Cooking:
                                                            http://www.amazon.com/Asian-Vegetaria...
                                                            Mostly a collection of recipes and not a lot of didactic details, but I like its authenticity.

                                                            Finally, there are vegans on chowhounds ;-)