Vegetarian cookbooks to up your green game

I love cookbooks. It’s a love instilled in me by my mother, who would sit with a cookbook on a Saturday morning, paging through and looking for something that struck her with inspiration.

For me, vegetarian and vegan cookbooks provide the most inspiration. My love of vegetables only took shape in the past decade, and I love finding new ways to draw out their flavor and create vibrant, vegetable forward dishes.

Below are a few of my favorite vegetable-based, vegetarian, or vegan cookbooks to shake up your meal routine.

Six Seasons / Joshua McFadden

It’s rare for a cookbook to completely change the way you think about food, but Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons did just that for me. Centered around the idea that we should be utilizing vegetables at the peak of their season, McFadden walks you through a growing year, with a variety of recipes to utilize produce in new ways, with flavors and cooking methods that flow with the six defined seasons in the book. This is one cookbook I find myself going back to time and time again.

Vegetable Kingdom / Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry writes fun cookbooks. With playful, vegan recipes that incorporate his family’s cultural backgrounds, Terry adds to the complete experience with suggested music to play while cooking, and tips on how to be a better consumer of vegetables. I’ve found that true vegan cookbooks can have an air of pretentiousness to them, which is what makes Vegetable Kingdom such a breath of fresh air. For Terry, the most important thing for any home cook is to enjoy the food you make.

Start Simple / Lukas Volger

Simplicity isn’t something all cookbooks strive for. Certainly, there are a few on this list that are packed with recipes with 15+ ingredients. Volger’s book is perfect for busy weekdays, all of his recipes playing off of a core list of 11 ingredients. By reducing the shopping list, Volger allows the home cook to explore new ways to use each of these ingredients, resulting in easy, nutritious meals to get you through the week. You may not find inspiration for a holiday feast in these pages, but Volger will help you learn to cook outside of the box.

Whole Food Cooking Every Day / Amy Chaplin

Two years ago, I struggled my way through the Whole 30, by the end subsisting on clementines and zoodles, and bored of every bite. This is the book I wish I had during that month. An absolutely packed cookbook, filled with easy recipes for many of the things we pay $15 for at markets and cafes, like homemade nut butters, bircher bowls, compotes, as well as vegetable forward meals. Chaplin’s book has been a godsend during quarantine, helping me eat healthier and allowing me to still enjoy some of my cafe favorites during lockdown.

Flavor / Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi certainly doesn’t need my recommendation. One of the most popular food writers not named Ina Garten, he is famous for recipes that pack a ton of flavor, as well as a ton of ingredients. The encyclopedic ingredient lists have made some of his books less approachable, but I absolutely love his latest, Flavor. Whether the recipe is simple or challenging, taste is never sacrificed. His staple ingredients like tahini, preserved lemons, and Za’tar are all here, but he also incorporates new ones into his arsenal. A perfect book to explore in the kitchen.