Michael Pollan sums up how we should eat in the simplest possible way, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Those are wise words to live by. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a ridiculous burger to the face every now and then, but in between it’s probably best to eat some real, unprocessed, plant-based foods.
These days, it’s easy to find a wicked vegetarian or vegan meal at a restaurant. But if you don’t have the cash, you have to rely on your own kitchen, pantry, and skills to make something awesome. The good news is that it’s a great time to be a vegetarian or vegan cook. The culture is moving away from the over-processed and suspect faux meats of Morningstar Farms and the seitans of the world. What we’re seeing now are whole plant-based dishes and plant forward dishes with wide-ranging influences.
I run a kitchen. Four out of seven days that kitchen is vegetarian. The rest of the time we’re eating organic, grass-fed, antibiotic-free animal proteins along with the veggies and grains. Call it flexitarian. Call it omnivorous. Labels don’t matter when the food is awesome for you. So let’s leave the judgement at the door and enjoy this list of essential vegetarian and vegan cookbooks that every cook ought to own.
10. THUG KITCHEN: THE OFFICIAL COOKBOOK: EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A F*CK — THUG KITCHEN
Starting off as a meme, Thug Kitchen has blown up into a full on movement for vegan cooking. People seemed to really dig vibrant food and talking like a “thug.” According to Thug Kitchen’s own NSFW ads for their cookbook “Thug Kitchen can help you cut through the bullsh*t in language you can understand.”
This would all be a great tongue-and-cheek meme that probably would have passed after the usual 15 minutes if not for the solid quality of the recipes. So, add this one to the shelf and “Eat like you give a f*ck!”
9. THE ‘OH SHE GLOWS’ COOKBOOK — ANGELA LIDDON
Angela Liddon got her start with a very popular vegan blog. Liddon’s blog churned out delicious recipe after delicious recipe and won award after award, which led to The Oh She Glows Cookbook. The cookbook combines easy-to-follow home recipes that anyone with a low or high kitchen skill set can follow along with. The focus on plant-based and whole foods means you know exactly what you’re getting, and it’s delicious every time.
8. VEGETARIAN INDIA: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE BEST OF INDIAN HOME COOKING — MADHUR JAFFREY
Madhur Jaffrey is the bridge between West and East when it comes to mastering pan-Indian cuisine. Her cookbooks, TV shows, and lectures are legendary. Tackling the world of Indian food can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, but Jaffrey is able to make every recipe in Vegetarian Indian seem straight forward and easy to master. Pulling recipes from Jaffrey’s amazing book will add a much needed layer of depth to any home cook’s rotation of meals.