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Our 9 Favorite Vegetarian Cookbooks

December 30, 2014

You know how some people are obsessed with stamp collections or fantasy football teams? Well, we're obsessed with cookbooks. Here, in Books We Love, we'll talk about our favorites.

Today: Our favorite vegetarian (and vegetable-forward) cookbooks.

Cookbook  Moosewood

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There's a whole lot of focus on you come January first -- you've concentrated on feeding people and gift-giving for the past two months and now you're expected to ring in a new you along with the new year. But what if you're pretty happy with you? Or you're too tired and in too much of a cookie coma to come up with (and stick to) a whole list of resolutions?

We've found an easier resolution: New Year, New Vegetables. Because while you're statistically unlikely to stick to a juice-and-steamed-rice diet for the next twelve months (and why would you, anyway?), cooking more vegetables -- and more vegetarian meals -- is a resolution that's both attainable and an excellent reason to pick up a new cookbook or two.

To get you started, here are a few of our editors' and our community's favorite vegetarian cookboks. Add a few to your shelf and that new you will be eating pretty well in 2015.

Go-to encyclopedias for vegetarian recipes:

Other vegetarian (and vegetable-forward) cookbooks:

What are your favorite vegetarian and vegan cookbooks? Tell us all about them in the comments! 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Gregory Delzer
    Gregory Delzer
  • Chieko Makino
    Chieko Makino
  • Eric White
    Eric White
  • Sally
  • Gita
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Gregory D. March 15, 2017
Good list, but it's a sin that no one has mentioned Vegetariana by Nava Atlas.
Chieko M. June 25, 2016
My favorite is Anna Jones' " A modern way to cook". I will check Heidi Swanson's book listed here to see if it has a similar approach.
Eric W. September 9, 2015
My favorite is probably the most unusual one I have found ... Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey: Najmieh Batmanglij. It contains recipes from the all along the Silk Road, many of them very different from other vegetarian cookbooks I have found.
Sally July 9, 2015
Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman is wonderful. I also turn to Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero quite often. Those are in addition to many already referenced in the comments, as well as some lovely food blogs.
Gita July 8, 2015
I've got a number of books from Mollie Katzen & Deborah Madison (Greens in San Francisco--yummm!), 2 of the Anna Thomas books, a Madhur Jaffrey, "Diet for a Small Planet," etc. I stopped eating meat in my early teens during the 70s. Anyone remember "Laurel's Kitchen" from way back then? Still have my wee paperback copy. Recently checked out Ottolenghi's "Plenty More" from the library & may bite the bullet (as long as it's a meatless one!) & buy a copy. BTW, there's a really good reference book called "Herbs & Spices" by Jill Norman--great explanations--even gets into the subtle differences between, say, brown & yellow mustard seeds; it's on Amazon, too.
Penny H. July 8, 2015
It's an oldy "Good Foods Without Meat" by Ann Seranne. I had a copy in the 1970's, lost it in a move to a retirement facility, then moved back into a house and needed it again. It has the best and most versatile Rice Pilaf recipe (page 210) I've ever found. Still available used on Amazon.
Rose July 8, 2015
What about Anna Thomas and the three vegetarian epicure cookbooks? Excellent, delicious recipes.
NuMystic July 10, 2015
Did you know that Anna Thomas is also a major screenwriter? She wrote the Oscar winner "Frida" starring Salma Hayek!
erin July 8, 2015
In case anyone who's a newer cook (like me) sees this thread, I've found the blogs Connoisseurus Veg and Oh My Veggies super helpful, easy to execute, and full of great flavor.
kath7927 July 8, 2015
I recently bought My New Roots by Sarah Britton. You can check out her blog at A beautiful book - recommend by Heidi Swanson on her favourites list. I love Mollie Katzen too!
Joan S. July 8, 2015
I've had the Moosewood Cookbook since about 1977 and the recipe for cauliflower pie with grated potato crust has been a favorite all these years. And I've never found a ratatouille recipe I like any better. I'm not, by the way, a vegetarian, just a lover of vegetables.
Jack February 5, 2015
Which book is the picture on the left from? That dish looks fantastic!
Karen May 11, 2015
It looks like it's Fennel with Capers and Olives from "Plenty"
Karen May 11, 2015
Actually, it looks like it's from "Plenty More". See
Nancy B. January 9, 2015
The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon---yup, thats a real name. My GO TO book for everything vegetarian.
susan G. January 5, 2015
I'm from the '70s generation of vegetarians, so Katzen, Thomas, The Farm, Lappe were my first and best teachers. Close on, American Wholefoods Cuisine is a basic, comprehensive and tasty "Joy"-ish book by the Goldbecks. Crescent Dragonwagon gets better and better (love Cornbread Gospels). Heart of the Plate, Katzen's latest, is amazing and delicious.
Honeylishuss January 5, 2015
I live in Australia but have been to the USA many times. I too was a vegetarian in the '70's and these books you've mentioned sound fantastic. I'm going to order them all.
Donald January 5, 2015
I love meat, but I could go weeks surviving on Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian Cookbook." It has over 650 recipes, stories, tips. You know this is the way she says and cooks at home. It's sensational!
Mattheworbit January 5, 2015
Oh dear! I see why so many people see vegetarian fare as something "lighter", for "detoxing" etc. For truly great veg food that is satisfying and not just a sometimes food, you can't go past the following Demi Gods of veg cuisine (not big names, but loved by those in the know): Bryanna Clark Grogan's books (particularly World Vegan Feast or Nonna's Italian Kitchen), her blog is at Dreena Burton is another fave - tasty wholefood veg - has loads of her free recipes. Julie Hasson is great too. This is all the sort of stuff you can eat and enjoy everyday with bold, complex flavours and innovative techniques.
patsy January 5, 2015
My treasured copy of "Diet for a Small Planet" by Frances Moore Lappe whichI have had since the 70's - and still use it.
Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman another oldie but goodie and
The Green Kitchen by David Frankiel and Luise Vindahl
renee.twersky January 4, 2015
"The Voluptuous Vegan" by Myra Kornfeld (I'm not vegan) and "The Vegetarian Feast" by Martha Rose Shulman.
Honeylishuss January 2, 2015
Vegetarian Planet does not get good reviews - funny tho.
Pamela January 2, 2015
Those mentioned, ans also Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons (the soups chapter alone!)
Honeylishuss January 1, 2015
The most adventurous recipes for vegetables come from Yotam Ottolenghi in Plenty and Plenty More!