Check Out These Vegan-Friendly Cookbooks to Help you Through Veganuary
Vegan-Friendly Cookbooks to Help you Through Veganuary
Many people at this time of year, inspired by campaigns such as Veganuary and Meat Free Monday, decide to reduce their meat consumption, and if you’re new to a meat-free diet, it can be a challenge to come up with exciting and nutritious meals. I dropped meat from my diet a few years ago now, and due to a dairy intolerance, I also avoid that whenever possible. Whilst not vegan, I do follow a primarily plant-based diet and have built up quite a collection of recipes and cookbooks.
Before we dive into the books, let’s firstly consider the benefits of a plant-based diet and the consequences of reducing our meat intake for ourselves, the animals and the planet.
It is widely accepted that a diet free of meat and dairy (plant-based) has many plus points over a diet high in animal products. Our health is a primary concern for each of us, and a well-planned, balanced plant-based diet can contain all the nutrients that our bodies need. Much research suggests that a plant-based diet is linked to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduced heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancer.
Preventing animals’ exploitation is often a critical factor in deciding to become vegan, whether through emotional attachment to animals or a belief that all animals are sentient creatures entitled to a right to live freely. Many of us recycle to live a greener life, and we can also reduce our carbon footprint by avoiding animal products. The production of meat and other animal products places a significant burden on the environment – from animal feed and water (crops grown as animal feed are direct contributors to deforestation) to the transport required to put that food on your table.
Whatever your reason for reducing your meat intake, here’s a selection of my favourite ‘go-to vegan-friendly cookbooks to help you through Veganuary.
- Vegan for Everybody – Produced and published by America’s Test Kitchen, this was one of the first vegan cookbooks that I purchased. The well-worn and dog-eared pages of my copy are a testament to the many foolproof plant-based recipes I have made over recent years. Despite having bought many more vegan cookbooks since this one, it is still one that I return to from time to time as the recipes are timeless. This book is ideal for anybody new to plant-based eating and who is looking for step by step recipes and tips on how to optimize a plant-based diet.
2. Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget by Olivia Biermann – I was introduced to this book by BooknBrunch when publisher Robert Rose Inc. offered a complimentary copy to review. I had heard of Liv B via her YouTube channel and had even made a couple of her recipes, so I jumped at the chance to check out the book (read the review here). Despite most things being available online these days, there are some things that I believe you need to feel and touch, and one is a cookbook. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an excellent book for those beginning their plant-based journey, offering simple recipes using ingredients that many of us would already have in our cupboards and kitchens. It also includes recipes for many vegan staples such as cheese sauce (the Holy Grail of vegan cooking) and the ‘best-ever’ tofu cubes. If you’re looking for recipes to take you from breakfast to a late-night supper, this is the book for you.
3. Vegan One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay — While this is from the UK, it’s a quick win for anybody wanting to introduce more plant-based meals into their routine without spending hours in the kitchen and many pounds (or dollars) on ingredients. Miguel has become known as the £1 Chef in the UK after his earlier One Pound Meals cookbook was published (basically preparing meals for under £1). He is on a crusade to help people understand how simply we can transition to a plant-based diet. It’s an excellent book for people wanting to use simple ingredients like canned or dried pulses and everyday vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Some recipes are traditional like “Leek Quiche”, and others have a twist on core ingredients like “Roast Parsnip & Carrot Gnocchi with Pine Nuts and Spinach.”
4. Fresh India by Meera Sodha – technically, this is a vegetarian cookbook, but it is effortless to switch up the recipes to make them vegan with just a small change or two. It is one of my most favourite cookbooks. It’s an inspired take on Indian cooking, centred around what Meera refers to as, “the Gujarati way: creative, fresh, and always vegetable first.” It is most definitely a book about vegetables that will gently and supportively influence you to cook a different cuisine type. It also considers the environment by encouraging the use of seasonal and local cuisine. I cannot praise Meera highly enough, and all of the recipes that I have made from this book (and her other books, Made In India and East) have turned out perfectly. They’re also quite adaptable in that if you don’t have the exact ingredient, you can substitute it for whatever you do have, meaning less waste in the kitchen.
5. Greenfeast – Spring, Summer by Nigel Slater – for those familiar with my writing or my blog, you will know that I am a massive fan of Nigel Slater; award-winning author, journalist and television presenter, and a fantastic chef. I have recommended other books of his here so imagine my joy to receive a signed copy of this book as a birthday gift in 2019. Again, not a genuinely vegan cookbook as some recipes call for dairy or eggs, but a collection of recipes that I find straightforward to ‘veganise’ by replacing dairy and eggs with plant-based alternatives that are readily available in most grocery stores. Comprised of recipes that Nigel has created over the years, it is packed full of light and vibrant comfort foods – precisely the type of food I like to eat. When I need inspiration in the kitchen and also want the challenge of cooking something new, I flick open the book and cook whatever is on that page. I have done that time and time again and am yet to be disappointed. My favourite recipe resulting from this challenge is the simple but satisfying “Orzo Peppers” on page 144. If you find that you also love this book, then check out the sister book, Greenfeast – Autumn, Winter.
Do let me know if you make any of the dishes from these books and feel free to message me with your own plant-based tips and recipes – I’m always looking to learn from others.
Love what you see with these vegan-Friendly cookbooks to help you through Veganuary? Want further inspiration for weekly menus? Then take a look at my previous Journal entry Three plant-based recipes that are ideal for Spring You can also check out my food blog at www.inspirationalchickpea.com and Instagram @inspirationalchickpea
With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel.
A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for industry publications.
Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli