The Best Vegan Cookbooks

I’ve had a lot of people ask for cookbook recommendations over the years and I always have trouble remembering good ones on the spot. Here are a few of my very favorites! I have received and given many of these as gifts over the years and I can say with certainty that ain’t nobody mad about getting a dope vegan cookbook for the holidays or a birthday or maybe for no reason at all.

 

Books for new vegans or people trying veganism out

Veganomicon: This was the first vegan cookbook I ever owned and it’s still stored within close reach on my bookshelf. It’s full of classic comfort food and approachable recipes that will be scarfed down by vegans and meat-eaters alike. I also highly recommend Isa Does It.

Vegan for Everybody: Full disclosure, I’ve worked at America’s Test Kitchen for three years and watched this book be developed in front of my very eyes (I actually even wrote an article about being vegan and working at America’s Test Kitchen). The recipes are dishes you’d recognize: mac and cheese, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies. What sets this book apart is the “ah-ha” moments the test cooks had while developing the recipes (turns out, using the starchy liquid in a can of chickpeas makes muffins light, fluffy, and perfectly moist).

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: Before there was Vegan for Everybody there was Complete Vegetarian. I have used this cookbook a ton and am still inspired by recipes from it all the time. I wrote this post about Korean BBQ Tempeh Wraps back in 2015 and now I just really want one.

But I Could Never Go Vegan! I got this book as a gift and I’ll admit that the title turned me off a little. I was already vegan! But I started trying some of the recipes and actually ended up really liking this book. I especially like the baking section, which I find approachable.

The Moosewood Cookbook: I inherited my mom’s copy from 1992, which is stained and creased and I love deeply. Mollie Katzen is a genius and trailblazer. The Gypsy Soup is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Again, not totally vegan, but lots of vegetarian and easily veganized recipes.

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday CookingOne of the only blogs I’ve consistently followed for about six or seven years (!?!). Really good recipes from everyday/weeknight to fancier means for hosting.

Books for people comfortable eating a lot of vegetables


Plenty:
 Pretty much anything Ottolenghi cooks will reliably be orgasmic. While these books are not specifically vegan, there are loads of vegan (or easily veganiz-able) recipes. The dude loves plants and knows how to give broccoli the prime rib treatment. Also fabulous:  Plenty More & Jerusalem

In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes: I also love anything by Deborah Madison and think she’s a genius. Unlike Ottolenghi, you might have everything in your house (the recipes are unfussy and delicious).

Vegetarian India: Super solid book of Indian recipes. I reach for this often.

What about you? What are your favorite vegan/veg-centric cookbooks?

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Confit Tomato Polenta Lasagna

OK, so calling this recipe a lasagna is taking more than a few liberties. It’s basically just a bunch of delicious tomato-y bean stuff covered in a blanket of polenta and baked. There is no pasta and no real layering magic, just a lot of tasty stuff throw together in a pan and heated up. It’s the perfect way to use up some good tomatoes at the end of the season. I, myself, am in denial that summer is over, so I’ll probably be making this on repeat for a few weeks. It’s also accidentally free of gluten so #winning or something.

P.S. This recipe goes out to Salem and the sexy vegan guy she’s trying to get with.

Confit tomato lasanga

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

Hearty splash of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a pan)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (slice any large ones in half)

2 cloves very finely minced garlic

1 can canellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (get the kind packed in oil — this is my favorite brand)

1 tube of precooked polenta, sliced into 1/2 inch disks (this is the kind I get)

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup basil, chopped finely

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Confit tomato polenta lasagna

Preheat oven to 350*

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add olive oil (enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan). Add the sliced red onion and a bit of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes, until they’re soft and starting to caramelize a little. Add the cherry or grape tomatoes and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the tomatoes just begin to burst. Add the garlic and white beans and sundried tomatoes and cook for another couple minutes until you have a beautiful mess of garlicky tomatoes and beans. Pour the tomato mixture into a 9×11 casserole dish and top with sliced polenta.

In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, chopped basil, and a small splash of olive oil. Spread the bread crumbs over the polenta and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350* for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are bubbling up on the sides. Serve hot.

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Vegan Buttermilk Biscuit Nectarine Cobbler (for 2!)

Guys! It’s a recipe! No, you’re not drunk (well, maybe you are, I’m not judging). But I really wrote a new recipe and it’s something worth celebrating.

As I mentioned in my last post, this summer was bananas, so I’m finally catching up on posting some of the stuff I cooked and baked. This cobbler was SO good I had it on standby for whatever stone fruit I had in my kitchen (nectarines are still my favorite, but peaches and plums in this are 💯. This little guy is perfect for two people (or, let’s be real, one person sitting in bed watching Game of Thrones eating it by themselves).

Filling
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon margarine
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ pounds fresh nectarines (pit removed and sliced into 1/2 inch slices)
1 tablespoon water
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Biscuit Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup almond milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice (mix to make “buttermilk”)
2 tablespoons margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400*

Combine brown sugar, margarine, nectarines, and salt in an 8×4″ loaf pan and stir. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven. In a bowl, whisk together water, lemon juice, vanilla, and flour, then stir into the nectarine mixture. Set aside.

For the topping, whisk flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Add “buttermilk” and melted margarine and stir until dough forms. Using a spoon, drop roughly 1 tablespoon-sized pieces of dough on top of the nectarine mixture. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

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Vegan Guide to Boston Part III

Hey y’all, it’s really been a minute, hasn’t it? This summer has been an absolute trash fire in terms of having my life together, so I guess I’ll fill you guys in from the beginning.

Back in April, Ben and I went to South Africa. Ben decided that was a good time and place to propose, to which I was like… you brought a diamond ring with you? To a foreign country? Are you dumb? And he was like “yes, spend the rest of your life with me pls.”

So we got engaged and then a little while later Ben heard back from graduate school and learned that he got into University of Chicago and after a lot of yelling and tears and laughing and indigestion we decided to move to Chicago! So then we were tasked with figuring out how to move all of our worldly possessions from Boston to Chicago and finding an apartment and quitting our jobs and finding a new job all while casually planning a wedding and learning to be adult humans. Casj.

Anyway, the last three months have been an absolute nightmare in terms of being cool and normal, so blogging has taken the back seat to the back seat. It’s like 3 cars back from the back seat at this point. But! We now have an apartment and our things and our physical selves are in the Midwest so it’s all going to be O K A Y. Probably. Hopefully.

Before we say goodbye to Somerville and Boston once and for all I wanted to do one final Boston restaurant roundup. I’ve written about the vegan scene in Boston a few other times (Part I is here and Part II is here). Here are a few more of my faves!

veggie crust

Veggie Crust – located in my home sweet home Somerville, this pizza spot has some pretty dope IndoChinese fusion pizzas and pretty much everything can be made vegan! My favorite is the Cauliflower Manchurian pizza which has this super delicious sauce and ginger, garlic, and fresh basil and MMMMM.

al FreshCo – OK this is technically not a restaurant, but a cool, Boston-based food business that I totally dig. They deliver meal kits of locally-sourced veggies and grains BY BIKE. Most of the ingredients are grown or processed in Massachusetts and are super simple to assemble. Check them out.

Punjabi Dhaba  I was really late to discover the magic of Punjabi Dhaba, but I’ve gone at least five times in the last two months, so that’s something. They have a variety of veggie options and they’re all fucking delicious and come with different chutneys and are just the greatest. It’s cash only. You’ve been warned!

(Chacos and my disgusting feet not included)

J.P. Licks – I grew up going to this place and have been delighted to see a variety of soy-, coconut- and hemp-based flavors that are pretty awesome. They rotate flavors in and out, but I particularly like the Chunky Peanut Butter, which is hemp-based!

JPLicks
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