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Looking for a Vegan Cookbook that isn't heavy on tofu

I'm looking to incorporate more vegan cooking into my life for health reasons, but I really, truly dislike tofu. I was a vegetarian for two years and tried to cook tofu in a million different ways and I just don't like it. So I'm wondering if someone has found a good cookbook that relies more on grains, lentils, beans, etc. rather than on tofu and fake meat products (which I also loathe).

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  1. you might try 660 curries. It's not vegan, or even vegetarian, but of course Indian food can be very vegan friendly. And no tofu!

    1. I went vegan for Lent last year and since then have gone back to my normal eating habits but. the cook book I used almost exclusively was The Kind Diet. Alicia Silverstone wrote it and while her "voice" is a bit shrill and twee, a lot of the recipes are very good. I still incorporate many of them in my life. Some tofu and seitan/tempeh based but a lot of them are not. Check it out at the library or go on Amazon.com to see the index of recipes.


      1. Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. Not a completely vegan cookbook, but most of the recipes are or could easily be adapted. This is a cookbook that really focuses on vegetables, and I've made some real winners from it. None of the recipes are vegetarian "versions" of meat dishes. They are just naturally vegetarian dishes from all over the world.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MelMM

          +1 on this truly awesome & underrated older cookbook. all the recipes i've cooked from it are keepers.

        2. Not completely vegan, but I would check out Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking and her website, 101cookbooks.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: mollyomormon

            my wife is a vegan of 12 years that just recently got diagnosed with Celiac's...and a soy allergy to boot!

            A book I've been using a lot lately is the "food allergen survival guide" lots of recipes in there and many variants on soy free vegan.

            Soy free vegan is a little more challenging but far from impossible. We've been doing a lot of bean and brown rice dishes for complete proteins. Black bean tortilla soup, shepherds pie with mung and pinto beans, and lots of lentil dishes since they cook quickly and don't require soaking.

            best of luck to you!

          2. Spice- Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean by Ana Sortun has lots of vegan recipes in it. The carrot puree is utterly fantastic (and you must make your own harissa- it makes a HUGE difference). Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian also has lots of vegan recipes.

            1. The Rebar Modern Food Cookbook is great. It's like, 99% vegetarian, and about half of the recipes have instructions on how to modify them to become vegan. There is minimal tofu involved.

              1. I'd look for Indian cookbooks. Pure veg = vegan, and tofu is not a common ingredient there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                  There may be different types of "pure vegetarian", but I don't think "pure vegetarian" in the sense I've usually heard it used is quite the same thing as vegan, either in Indian / Ayurvedic or Chinese Buddhist cuisine. I know of plenty of pure vegetarians who eschew pungent foods like garlic, leek, onion, etc (which vegans don't avoid), but will eat dairy, whether it's in ghee, or in processed mock meats. Yes, there are pure vegetarian Indian places that use coconut oil or other things instead of ghee, but I would imagine in most cases that it's done either for cost reasons or to be accommodating to vegans.

                2. There are exceptions, but I tend to find vegan cookbooks somewhat limited - I often prefer to adapt stuff from normal cookbooks. Plenty of "normal" cookbooks have recipes which are either vegan or easily adaptable to being vegan, and I think there's plenty of delicious vegan food you can make without even looking at a block of tofu.

                  One cookbook which is not vegetarian, but in which I've found a lot of great recipes is Alice Water's "Chez Panisse Vegetables" ("The Art of Simple Food" is also good, but has some overlap). You could check out Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbooks and his online recipes and see if you like his style - some of the recipes are complicated or use hard to find ingredients, but he definitely uses a lot of vegetables and grains.

                  Ethnic food has lots of choices... Indian, Persian, Mexican, Chinese, etc. foods have lots of great vegetable, legume, and grain based dishes. I thumbed through "New Food of Life" recently (a Persian cookbook), and thought there seemed to be plenty of recipes that could be easily made vegan. I like Fuchsia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty" (Sichuan cookbook), though without tofu or wheat gluten, might be hard to make more than a handful of dishes.

                  I thought 'Vegan Soul Kitchen' looks pretty good, though I haven't cracked open my copy recently. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" is huge, and has some good recipes that can be prepared a number of different ways. I enjoy his web log and NYT column as well. You could check out the Real Food Daily or Angelica's Kitchen cookbooks; these will probably have some recipes featuring tofu or seitan, but also have quite a few recipes for grain, bean, and vegetable based dishes.

                  We find lots of great recipes online, both from vegetarian and non-vegetarian sources. I also try to avoid fake meat most of the time at home, and in some cases, I'll use lentils, mushrooms, or other things instead of "meat", and there are some interesting nut-based and / or roux based sauces, creams, and "cheese" that can provide some richness and savory flavor if you enjoy that sort of thing.

                  I don't cook with tofu a whole lot at home, but I do enjoy it... I hope at some point you're able to learn to appreciate tofu in some of the areas where it shines.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: will47

                    ps - I don't have either, but you might want to check out the books referenced here:

                    I have skimmed through the Millenium cookbook, and definitely thought a lot of the recipes sounded delicious. I don't know if they're the kind of thing you're looking for, but definitely a lot of plant based stuff.

                    Maybe if you let us know the kind of things you like to eat (instead of the couple of things you don't like to eat), we can provide some more specific ideas.

                  2. Middle Eastern cuisines have many vegan dishes. I would check out Claudia Rosen's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

                    1. I only recently started to seek out vegan dishes.

                      I agree that a lot of not as obvious vegan-friendly cookbooks are out there if you search in the right food cuisines (Indian, Middle Eastern, and even Caribbean).

                      I also really like Olive Trees and Honey, which is a vegetarian cookbook from around the world. World Vegetarian is a safe bet, too.

                      For vegan-only cookbooks, I like Planet Vegan by Robin Robertson and The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein.

                      1. Veganomicon is a fabulous book with many very elegant vegan recipes.

                        1. since the subject is still going-- i've been cooking from "very vegetarian" by jannequin bennett (think i spelled that name right) lately. it's an older vegan cookbook i've had for a while. at first glance the recipes don't look like they'd knock your socks off, but i've really liked everything i've cooked from it, and many of the recipes are less fuss, & less crazy-expensive vegan ingredient heavy (it's written by the chef of an award winning vegan restaurant). i, for one, am starting to hate the trend of vegan cookbooks where *every* recipe, feeding 2-4 involves $8 worth of specialty meat substitute, large amounts of maple/agave/organic brown rice syrup, or seventeen kinds of obscure, heavily processed (and 3* price) vegan ingredients. this book really gets down to real ingredients. keep an eye out for this book if you're in the market for reliable and doable vegan recipes.

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                          1. re: soupkitten

                            Thanks Soupkitten! I'm going to keep my eye out for that one. My biggest problem with the Alicia Sliverstone cookbook is that I had to go Whole Foods for a lot of the ingredients and I prefer to now spend that much money.

                          2. I really like The Vegan Gourmet - it's a bit different. Not your "vegan in 15 minutes" type recipes.
                            Also How It All Vegan & the follow up The Garden of Vegan written by heavily-tattooed-into-vintage clothing women from Vancouver BC are both charming http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...