Vegetarian/Pescatarian cookbook ideas?

My sister asked for a cookbook for Christmas, with the following requirements: "I'd like a cookbook with vegetarian or pescatarian recipes that do not take very long to prep and don't have a ton of ingredients I'd have to buy. Lots of ingredients are fine if they are in the pantry, just not a ton of fresh ingredients because the planning ahead part is what I don't like. Ideally the recipes wouldn't take too long to make so I could do it after work."

Our cookbook maven Marian suggested Vegetable Literacy, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and/or The Art of Simple Food I/II, so those are all contenders. Anything else I should consider?

Lindsay-Jean Hard


TobiT November 12, 2014
I love everything I make from Vegetarian Planet.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 12, 2014
These answers are very helpful -- thank you all! I'm going to have to add a lot of these to my wishlist as well.

And in case this thread is helpful to others, I wanted to share that Naomi Duguid also emailed in and suggested Nettie Cronish's book on Flexitarian cooking.
ktr November 12, 2014
The Happy Herbivore is a good cookbook that is vegan and uses ingredients that most of us already have in our pantry. I did a lot of cooking from it while in school because I needed quick, easy, cheap meals.
cookinginvictoria November 12, 2014
I don't think that you can go wrong with Deborah Madison, but I would opt for Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone rather than Vegetable Literary. VCFE is an encyclopedic tome, but it contains many delicious and approachable recipes and techniques that can be cooked with pantry ingredients and easy to find produce. I would also consider Melissa Clark's Cook This Now. This is the cookbook that I most often reach for when I don't know what to make for dinner. The recipes are reliable, creative (but not complicated or fussy), contain many ingredients that are often found in one's kitchen and are seasonally driven. This is not strictly speaking a vegetarian cookbook (it contains meat and poultry dishes too), but there are many fish, vegetable/fruit and whole grain recipes.
HalfPint November 12, 2014
Have a look at Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. Lots of good vegetarian recipes. For fast food, I also recommend Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food which is designed for cooking mostly from the pantry.
hardlikearmour November 12, 2014
Though not a vegetarian or fish cookbook Bittman's How to Cook Everything Fast may be a good choice. It does have a reasonable number of recipes your sister could use, and meets the rest of her criteria pretty handily.
Kira B. November 12, 2014
I absolutely adore The Vibrant Table Cookbook (Tagline reads: always vegetarian, mostly vegan, sometimes raw). Additionally in my cookbook arsenal is The Sprouted Kitchen (whole foods, though not strictly veg.) & Smitten Kitchen (85/105+ recipes are veg.) * ALL books tell lovely stories and have beautiful photos, which I think is critical in a cookbook, particularly one that will be a gift. Enjoy!
ChefJune November 12, 2014
Best Fish book out there, imho, is Rick Moonen's "Fish without a Doubt." It's an old book, but "Sunday Suppers at Moosewood" is a big fave at this house.
Susan W. November 12, 2014
I don't own it myself, but a friend of mine has Martha Stewart's Meatless. There are pretty Martha style photos and I she served a pea hummus, roasted edamame salad and a vegetable stew that were delicious.
Susan W. November 12, 2014
I also second Mark Bittman's Vegetarian. I love his cookbooks.
luvcookbooks November 12, 2014
Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The Tipsy Baker blog has reviews of some of the recipes, including a two ingredient honey sorbet!
I own Vegetable Literacy and love it very much, but a person who wants to cook with pantry ingredients and doesn't stock, say, burdock and salsify may not use it much.
Nancy November 12, 2014
some old or oldish classics with lovely & reliable recipes - Anna Thomas, Vegetarian Epicure II; Julie Sahni, Classic Indian & Vegetarian Grain cookbook; Madhur Jaffrey, World of the East Vegetarian Cooking [various Asian cuisines); P. Scaravelli, Cooking from an Italian Garden; Faith Willinger, Red White & Greens; any Elizabeth Schneider (tend to be like encyclopedia of fruits/vegetables with shopping, storage, cooking ideas & recipes)...
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