Ecorazzi’s Food Editorial Series is brought to you by Ecorazzi Eats Restaurant Week happening in vegan, vegetarian, & sustainable restaurants across the US on October 12-19, 2011.
If someone said to me ten years ago, “In a few years vegan cookbooks are going to be dominating best sellers lists and retail outlets,” I’d have said doubtfully, “Yeah right – I wish.” It turns out, no wishing was necessary. Vegan and vegetarian cookbooks are everywhere. From healthy vegetables and whole grain foods to sugary cupcakey goodness, we now have our pick of hundreds of titles created by compassionate chefs.
We’re here to give you one heck of a list of some of the best vegan cookbooks out there. With each title, we also recommend one of the best recipes, or in some cases a few of the best. Did we miss your favorite book? Add it in the comments, and please recommend your favorite recipe too. Bon appetite!
Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Brunch, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
If you’ve been in the vegan scene for even a day (or if you’ve paid attention to best selling cookbooks), you’re already familiar with the genius collaboration between Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. These vegan masterminds have created an empire of delicious cruelty free recipes. This list could have easily been filled with their cookbooks, but I decided instead to cluster them together into one powerhouse group. I happen to own all of these cookbooks and use at least one of them once a week. If one were to randomly visit 100 vegan’s homes and check their cookbook selection, 99 of them would have at least one of these books. And rightfully so. Each is filled with creative easy to follow recipes for all occasions. Sample some recipes in advance on the Post Punk Kitchen website.
What to try:
Veganomicon – Cashew Ricotta (use it in lasagna, stuffed shells, or eat it with a spoon.), Pistachio Rosewater Cookies
Vegan with a Vengeance – Raspberry Blackout Cake with Ganache-Y Frosting
Vegan Brunch – Banana Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast)
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World – Red Velvet Cupcake
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar – Peanut Butter Blondies
Vegan Yum Yum
Cookbook author and foodie blogger Lauren Ulm created a masterpiece when she cooked up Vegan Yum Yum. The vegan world fell in love with her blog and her beautiful photos, and then her cookbook. Personally, it’s my go-to recipe source. With a nice sampling of side dishes, main courses, soups and drinks, it’s without a doubt one of the best books out there. Also, the 100 recipes (for the most part) call for easy to find ingredients. Some cookbooks have you out there scouring the shelves of health food store for rare spices or extracts. Ulm gets all the taste while keeping it simple.
What to try:
Smoky Miso Tofu
Creamy Broccoli Dal
Seven Spice Udon
The Angelica Home Kitchen
Photo Credit: Domestic Dharma
Chef Leslie McEachern has been a pioneer in the cruelty free scene since Angelica’s Kitchen began in 1976. The New York City location was actually the very first all veggie restaurant I dined at back in 1993. The cookbook not only offers 108 delicious recipes but also explores the politics and consequences of our eating habits, supporting local farms and more. This book doesn’t rely on the tastes and textures of meat. Instead, it explores all the wonder that the vegan world has to offer. No imitations necessary.
What to try:
Chickpea-garlic soup w/rosemary & olive oil
The Kind Diet
Photo Credit: Peas In A Blog
The Kind Diet doesn’t just offer up scrumptious recipes. It goes beyond and discusses Alicia Silverstone’s decision to give up meat, the health benefits of a vegan diet such as weight loss and clear skin, and of course the environmental reasons too. Silverstone is a true animal lover and from The Kind Diet, she created The Kind Life, her website all about how to live with a small footprint. For her, a vegan diet is more than just animal free. It also encompasses things like local foods and fair trade purchases to be kind to people, animals and the planet. If you want to try before you buy, Alicia posts some of the recipes on her site including these peanut butter cups.
What to Try:
Azuki Beans w/Kabocha Squash
The Conscious Cook
Tal Ronnen was the chef who helped Oprah through her 21 day vegan experiment. He’s the guy who catered Ellen and Portia’s wedding. If he’s good enough for them, you know he’s at the top of his game. For those vegans who still like the texture of meat, this cookbook is for you. He’s one of the developers behind the product gardein which he uses in a lot of recipes. In this book you’ll get 75 recipes, with a protein base at the heart. Tal Ronnen likes fat in his food and doesn’t skimp on the oil. If you enjoy a hearty meal, The Conscious Cook will satisfy your cravings. Case and point, the recipe recommendation below which you can try in advance.
What to Try:
Bloodroot, a vegetarian restaurant located in Bridgeport, CT has a two volume set of cookbooks that are bound to become a regular kitchen staple. The first book has 300 vegetarian recipes (with many vegan recipes or dishes you can easily adapt to being vegan). The second volume is all vegan and contains 350 recipes. So, in two volumes you’ve got access to 650 recipes. Not too shabby. My favorite chocolatier and the head of Lagusta’s Luscious vegan chocolate shop in New Paltz is a former Bloodroot chef and sings its praises day and night. (One of the recipes below is her creation.) In the cookbooks, you’ll also find essays on health, art, music and literature. Talk about an all-encompassing cookbook! Take a test drive with some of the recipes offered on their site.
What to Try:
Lagusta’s Lemon Curd
Onion phyllo tart
The Candle Café Cookbook
Photo Credit: Cape Ann Vegan
For New Yorkers, Candle Café and its sister location Candle 79 need no introduction. Every vegan craves it, and every vegan brings their omnivorous friends and family there to show them what the best vegan food tastes like. Happily, you don’t have to be in NY to enjoy the tastes of the Candle world. They shared 150 recipes in their cookbook. You’ll find restaurant favorites like the seitan chimichurris and the seitan piccata. Also, look out for their new cookbook coming out in November 2011. They already have blurbs on the back from people like Tal Ronnen, Biz Stone, Kathy Freston and Dr. Oz.
What to Try:
Vegetable Lasagna with Herbed Tofu Ricotta
Chocolate Mousse Pie
The Joy of Vegan Baking
Photo Credit: Brittany’s Veg Kitchen
‘The Joy of Vegan Baking’ by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is one of the standard books in every vegan home. Her recipes are moist, delicious and features cakes, crepes, pies, puddings and pastries. I remember hearing Patrick-Goudreau a few years ago at the animal rights conference Taking Action for Animals down in D.C. When she says, “the joy of vegan baking,” she really means it. She said that being vegan is joyful. Not inflicting harm on others is a kind of happiness like no other. She urged others to share that happiness. Because being vegan isn’t about sacrifice. It’s about taking joy in your decision to live ethically. I agree. And I certainly like to have my joy with a side of cake from her cookbook. Try some recipes before you buy.
What to Try:
(Main image photo credit: Flickr/Creative Commons – And yes, those are vegetarian sausages. )