Vegetarian Cookbooks

Cheryl Zielke
Cooking Vegetarian

Vegetarian cookbooks can be found in many forms, shapes, and styles. With so many choices, finding the right cookbook for you can be a time-consuming task. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner, the following tips are sure to inspire your culinary talents toward healthy vegetarian cuisine with ease and enjoyment.

Types of Vegetarian Cookbooks

Since there are a variety of vegetarian types, it follows suit that there are also a variety of cookbooks written for each specific type. Understanding the definitions below is the first step in finding a vegetarian recipe collection appropriate for you.

Vegan: Of the strictest form, this type of diet eliminates all meat, eggs, dairy, poultry and fish. Only the consumption of plant foods is carried out.

Lacto: The addition of dairy products only to the vegan food list.

Lacto Ovo: This kind of vegetarianism included eggs and milk, but no meat or fish.

Macrobiotic: Strict vegetarianism with the added twist of specialized cooking techniques. Also follows the practice of seasonal eating.

Fruitarian: The consumption of fruits and nuts only. Many juicing cookbooks follow this regimen.

Raw or Living Foods: All food is plant-based and uncooked - which may seem contradictory here, but there are cookbooks related to its preparation.

Cookbook Descriptions

From quick, easy, everyday choices to low-fat, gourmet, or special occasion options, it is important to know ahead of time what your main goal is for searching out vegetarian cookbooks. For example, if you are feeding a family of five, it is most likely you need simple, family-friendly vegetarian recipes that you can serve in a flash. Paying close attention to the title's descriptive words or by-line is your second most important step.

There are also books written for many different cultures, including American compilations with its "mock" recipes for traditional meat dishes to Asian cuisine with its roots dug deep into the plant world of foods. Ayurvedic cooking is popular among vegetarians due to its ancient medicinal system of healing and nourishing with foods, herbs and spices. Popular, traditional ingredients from the Mediterranean have also found their way into books related to vegetarian eating. These recipes will often include eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers and olive oil to name a few.

Top 10 Recommendations

While there are literally hundreds of choices available, here are 10 recommended books for each category of possible finds. Your local library is a great resource for sampling recipes before purchasing to ensure the book is right for you.

  1. Moosewood Restaurant New Classics - this top-selling book sold over 2 million copies. This is the ninth book written by the owners and operators of The Moosewood Restaurant, located in Ithaca, New York. Not only will you find recipes covering nearly every region of the world, there are definitions, descriptions, detailed instructions, and tips throughout the pages to guide you comfortably and easily in the world of vegetarianism of all types.
  2. Pretend Soup: And Other Real Recipes…A Cookbook for Preschoolers - also written by Mollie Katzen from Moosewood, this collection of recipes is a must for kids. It is most appropriate for children age 3 to 6, but older children will also benefit. Illustrations, step-by-step instructions, and kid-friendly recipes make this book fun and educational.
  3. Veggie Meals: Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals - the Food Network's quick chef leads you into uncomplicated vegetarian food preparation.
  4. Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen - Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Dishes - as the title explains, this book is for the strict vegan only. Written by Donna Klein.
  5. Cooking The Whole Foods Way - vegetarian menus, meal planning, useful techniques and buying tips are included. Written by Christina Pirella, the 500 recipes do not include dairy, sugar, or meat. Instead, the author recommends simple substitutions like brown rice syrup for white sugar, and beans and fish for replacing meat.
  6. Ayurvedic Cookbook - filled with ancient Indian medicinal recipes, this book is for the true vegan who has lots of time and energy devoted to the lifestyle. Amadea Morningstar, the book's author, is no amateur when it comes to this type of eating.
  7. Authentic Chinese Cuisine for the Contemporary Kitchen - Bryanna Clark Grogan does a thorough job at presenting a genuine Chinese eating style.
  8. Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites - While the majority of vegetarian dishes are low-fat, the Moosewood clan offer a fine collection of premium dishes served at the restaurant with a thumb's up response.
  9. Angelica Home Kitchen - if you are looking for comfort food without the meat, this book is for you. Leslie McEachern shares over 100 organic vegetarian favorites from her famed restaurant in New York,
  10. Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook - written by one of the best-known macrobiotic experts, Aveline Kushi makes this cookbook a dreamy experience for healty, fresh, and interesting meals.

Can't do without those weekday meals ready to serve after a long day, check out vegetarian dishes for the slow cooker too!

Happy Veggie Cooking!

Vegetarian Cookbooks