Being vegan has increased in popularity in the last few years. Whether for ethical reasons, health or weight loss, there are plenty of reasons to take the step away from a meat-based diet. Knowing where to start isn’t always as easy though, and some people are deterred from even trying because they think that it’s either too expensive or difficult.
The truth is that it’s easier than ever to find good vegan alternatives today, and unlike a couple of years ago, there are thousands of vegan resources available. These vegan cookbooks give you hundreds of options to choose from. We’ve narrowed it down to a top 10 list for you.
Shayanne has over 10 years of experience in the food industry. She has two culinary degrees (one in baking and pastry, and the other in culinary arts), and for the last four years, she has owned and operated her own small business, Bleu Moon Bakery. They are 100% vegan and specialize in allergy-friendly custom cakes and treats.
With that much experience in the industry, we knew we had to ask Shayanne to take a look at our buying guide and offer some extra insight and tips. To see more of her culinary work, you can check out her Facebook and Instagram.
Chances are you might already know about veganism, but many people tend to lump vegan and vegetarian diets together. While it's true that neither eat meat (with a few exceptions - a pescatarian, for example, will still eat fish), there is still one main difference between the two that is explained below.
One of the main differences between a vegan and a vegetarian is that vegetarians will still consume animal by-products, such as dairy, honey and eggs. As previously mentioned, there are also some vegetarians that will still eat fish and/or chicken as well. Some also animal products like leather. If a vegetarian cookbook is what you're looking for, check out this article instead!
If you have ever seen the vegetarian meat alternatives in the store, such as vegetarian hotdogs or "meatballs" and the like, they are most likely made by tofu, tempeh or seitan. That said, there are plenty of vegetarian meat alternatives out there. Despite popular belief, can they taste just as good and are sometimes better for your health.
Tofu is made from condensed soy milk and pressed into blocks, while seitan is made from wheat gluten that is made into a kind of dough. Neither of the two has much flavor on its own, but they are really good at absorbing the flavor of whatever ingredients and spices they are cooked with.
Tempeh is an Indonesian food staple and is made from fermented soybeans. Unlike tofu and seitan, tempeh does have a flavor of its own, and the mild nutty flavor is a great pairing for a variety of dishes. Even better, it has a higher protein content and dietary fiber than tofu.
Becoming vegan means going far beyond the things that you put in your mouth. Aside from not eating any animal by-products, being vegan can also mean that you don't use any animal products in your personal life either, including clothing and cosmetic products. For the sake of this article, though, we'll focus on food.
As previously mentioned; becoming vegan will serve as a real eye-opener to just how much animal and animal products you actually consume. The fact is that animal products are often hidden in the product you use on a regular basis.
Most people know that dairy and eggs are not considered vegan and are obviously animal by-products, but how about honey or that piece of innocently looking strawberry candy?
A plant-based diet is pretty much what it sounds like; a diet consisting of mainly plant-based products like fruits, legumes and vegetables. But unlike a vegan diet, a plant-based diet may include small amounts of meat as well.
People on a plant-based diet might also still continue to use animal products and by-products such as leather and honey. While there are many similarities between the two, you could say that a plant-based diet is a lot less strict than a vegan diet and allows for a much greater variety, both in terms of diet and lifestyle.
You will be surprised to learn just how many animal products you actually do consume on a daily basis without thinking about it. When you're starting your new vegan lifestyle, you will have to get used to reading labels and learning exactly what the product you are using contains.
You might pick up a bag of snacks from the supermarket or a pack of chewing gum from your local convenience store without thinking much about it. But did you know that piece of candy might contain animal products?
Gelatin is an ingredient very commonly found in candy and jams, among other things. Gelatin is what gives the product its jelly-like texture and helps it set and solidify.
What you might not know is that gelatin is an animal product. It's made by boiling bones and tendons from cows or pigs, and the resulting product is this jelly-like ingredient.
Another common ingredient in ice creams, sauces, or meringues is albumen. In short, albumen is the white part of an egg, and like gelatin, it adds a certain texture to various foods. For example, it helps meringues get their fluffy and airy texture and maintain their shape.
While neither food coloring nor honey actually contains any animal products, neither of them is considered vegan. Many times, artificial food coloring has been tested on animals, which makes them unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle.
Honey, on the other hand, is a product that has caused a debate in the vegan community. There are some vegans that will still consume honey, while others will avoid it altogether. The majority of vegans do, however, consider honey to be a non-vegan food and as such do not include it in their diet.
When you first become a vegan, it can in many ways feel like trying to navigate a minefield. The fact is that as a beginner or even as someone who has been vegan for years, you will occasionally make mistakes, and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up over it!
Remember that everyone has been in the same situation as you at some point. Instead, learn from it and move on. Eventually, it will get easier and you will learn to recognize and avoid common mistakes.
At some point, you might feel overwhelmed and start questioning your decision to become vegan. Some may benefit way more from tackling a vegan lifestyle one step at a time than jumping into it 100 percent. That's why we hope that the following cookbooks will give you the best chance of success by taking it easy.
Without further ado, here are the best vegan cookbooks we could find that will suit all of your vegan needs.
*Please note that these cookbooks were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Shayanne Brents.
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America's Test Kitchen
Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan for Everybody
Forks over Knives: the Cookbook
Isa does it
Sweet Potato Soul
The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot
The Homemade Vegan Pantry
Chloe's Vegan Desserts
Vegan Cookbook for Beginners
But I Could Never Go Vegan!
Best Overall Vegan Cookbook
A Plethora of Alternatives for (Former) Meat Lovers
The Healthiest Vegan Cookbook
A Vegan Cookbook Packed with Quick Recipes
The Best Cookbook for Comfort Food
Delicious Recipes for Your Instant Pot
The Best Recipes for Pantry Staples
Over 100 Vegan Dessert Recipes at Your Disposal
The Best Cookbook for Beginners
Bring out the Natural and Delicious Flavors of Vegan Ingredients
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While veganism isn't exactly something new, you couldn't find that many books or information about the subject a couple of years ago. Thankfully, you have all the resources you could possibly wish for today, and all are available at the click of a button. Here's what we recommend looking out for when searching for the perfect cookbook.
One way to make the transition into a vegan diet easier is to consider what you have been eating until now and find vegan alternatives to your favorite foods.
Aside from cooking foods that you like, think about how much time you are willing to spend on cooking. If you're low on time or prefer to get your cooking over and done with, then stick to cookbooks that offer you meals that are quick to throw together.
The good news is that no matter what your preference might be, there is sure to be a cookbook available that fits that purpose (including the ones in our ranking above)!
For first-time vegans or the vegan with a busy schedule, quick vegan meal recipes are not hard to find. A really great and simple recipe cookbook to check out would be Vegan Yack Attack on the Go! by Jackie Soban.
It's one of my personal favorites. It includes delicious recipes and many meal prep options for you to make ahead and grab and go, so it's perfect for the busy vegan.
It might seem like a contradiction to choose "meaty" foods when you are trying to go vegan, but you are definitely not the first vegan who enjoys the taste and texture of meat.
Thankfully, there are plenty of meat substitutes available that will satisfy your cravings while still being completely vegan. There are also plenty of vegan recipes that cater specifically to people who do enjoy the taste of meat and have a hard time giving it up.
For the meat lover, transitioning to a vegan diet can be difficult, whether it be for health or lifestyle. Finding recipes of your favorite meat dishes but with delicious alternatives and replacements is not hard to find.
One of my personal favorites that does just that would be Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans by Natalie Slater. This book is filled with delicious recipes and quirky remarks that will keep you laughing and enjoying.
As with everything in life, you should of course pay attention to any allergies or sensitivities that you might be dealing with; this applies to a vegan diet as well. Many times you will be able to substitute whatever ingredient you are allergic to. The good news is that many of the greatest cookbooks do a good job of offering you alternatives.
Having food allergies is an issue that I can personally relate too well to. It makes sticking to diets pretty tricky. A book that I really enjoy that helps me substitute allergens in recipes is The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen. Honestly, it's all in the title. It's definitely a book to check out if you need options.
Sometimes you just want a little something sweet, or you want to indulge in something that's not 100% healthy. Whether you have a sweet tooth or just enjoy junk food, there is a vegan alternative available for that as well!
But that being said, you should probably take all things in moderation. Just because it's vegan, it doesn't mean it's healthy.
If you have a sweet tooth, you have come to the right person. Being a vegan bakery owner and chef, I didn't learn how to bake vegan in school. It was a lot of trial and error and reading many, many vegan cookbooks.
Just as with meat-based diets, there are plenty of different vegan diets to choose from as well. As previously mentioned, the options for diets and sub-genres of the vegan diet are close to endless, but here are a few of the popular ones.
Usually, these kinds of diets aren't as strict about what you eat, as long as it's plant-based. People that follow a plant-based diet are usually more relaxed about what they eat and don't mind treating themselves to something sweet every once in a while. You will also find people from all walks of life who just want to eat healthier without having to follow too many rules.
A plant-based diet doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it may seem, at first. Yes, all vegetables and fruits are fair game, but with the growing community of vegan eaters, the options are becoming endless. From faux meats to faux cheeses, there are so many alternatives to choose from these days.
A raw diet is also what it sounds like; the food you consume is mostly raw or is cooked only up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. While eating a raw food diet alone doesn't make you vegan, most raw foods are vegan.
High Carb Low Fat (or HCLF) diet works just the same in a vegan diet as it does in a regular diet; the difference, obviously, being that the vegan diet doesn't contain any animal products. The majority of the calorie intake on an HCLF diet comes from carbs, about 70-80%, and they're usually starchy foods and fruit.
This means lots of bread, pasta, potatoes and ice cream, among other things. At the same time, you are generally cutting out most free oils and only consume a limited amount of high-fat foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
While there is nothing wrong with a vegan cookbook that was written 20 years ago, the vegan diet has come a long way since then. Today you can find recipes for many different foods that didn't exist 20 years ago. You will also find plenty of books with new and upgraded recipes that taste even better than the originals of the past.
Along with the books themselves getting an upgrade, the same can also be said for the ingredients. Many vegan ingredients available today weren't available in the past and as such you won't find them in any of the recipes of an older book.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, but especially when you are just starting out, it can be a good thing to try out more modern recipes with flavors that you might be more familiar with. If anything, it will make the transition a lot easier.
Cookbook authors will sometimes re-publish older books under a new name with many of the same contents. Make sure that you're getting the latest version and that you don't end up with several different versions of the same thing (no matter how spectacular that particular author is).
Here are some more delightful cookbooks, most of which have vegan options included in the ranking.
In today's age, it's becoming easier and easier to find vegan options both in restaurants as well as the supermarket than a couple of decades ago. Even so, taking that first step might seem intimidating for the absolute beginner. A good cookbook is a great place to start.
Author: Vicky Taylor
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