Just 10 years ago, vegan cookbooks were something of a minority curiosity, a preserve for those that were deemed a bit ‘hardcore’ in their life choices. Whilst full of good intentions, very few of these vegan cookbooks were truly inspirational or original. They often consisted of bland, typical fair whose main aim was to ‘replace’ the animal products in a vegan diet, as opposed to developing a truly inspirational, tasty, original recipes – they just didn’t get it. Often, those who wrote these vegan cookbooks had no idea how to cook truly vegan cuisine and seemed to have trouble coming out of the ‘replace-meat’ mindset. That’s not to say there wasn’t some classic and truly inspirational vegan cookbooks that ‘got it’ (see below) but they were rare; rare in an already rare culture.
Fast forward to now and veganism is increasingly in popularity, and so are vegan cookbooks. Where as, not so long ago, one was limited in choice when searching for vegan cookbooks, you are now boggled with choice. There are many vegan cookbooks out there, but what to choose?
Vegan cookery is an art form, thus vegan cookbooks merit more just than a ‘replace-meat and two veg’ mentality. Below you will find user reviews of some of the more popular vegan cookbooks.
The Vegan Cookbook by Alan Wakeman
Perhaps a little dated now, but this book was pretty revolutionary in it’s time. First published in 1986, it’s ‘datedness’ is starting to show, but it’s a classic. There is a handy section on vegan nutrition, and shows you how to make your own vegan milks, vegan creams and vegan cheeses etc, as well as being packed full of tasty recipes. This is one of the first vegan cookbooks that started looking at vegan cooking as an artform and creating rich textures, layers and flavours. If you are a collector of vegan cookbooks, this is a ‘must have’.
Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
One of the few vegan cookbooks to have glossy pictures, which are delightful to look at and all of the recipes I’ve tried so far are fantastic. Despite the title, these are not recipes solely for brunch purposes. I thoroughly recommened.
Vegan Cooking For One by Leah Leneman.
Now, despite what I said about ‘meat substitutes’ above I am going to include one vegan cookbook that uses such ‘ingredients’. I wouldn’t normally, but the only reasons I have is because I like the idea of of vegan cooking for one and vegans often find themselves to be the only vegan in the house, and, well, some vegans like ‘meat-replacers’. The recipes used here are quick, tasty and easy, if a little too reliant on substitutes and wheat. The author sets out weekly meal plans if you are into such things. So, basically, this book is ideal if you are a lazy vegan cooking for one, as well as beginners. If you do not fall into those categories, you may well be disappointed with this books contents. I’m personally in two minds about this vegan cookbook, but find this book handy for quick recipes when I’m looking for some ideas, I rarely stick to the actual recipes. I also avoid the ‘meat-replacers’ in this vegan cookbook.
More reviews coming soon on vegan cookbooks