Plant Power: 32 Cookbooks Featuring Delicious Recipes for Meatless Meals

These 32 recommended cooking titles offer tasty options for vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, and anyone who wants to reduce their meat consumption or just loves good food.

It is difficult to know the exact percentage of vegetarians and vegans in the world, but India consistently tops the list as the country with the highest number, with an estimated 38 percent of the population identifying as vegetarians. While vegetarians generally abstain from meat products, many consume dairy, eggs, and honey. Vegans, on the other hand, abstain from consuming or using all forms of animal products, including but not limited to leather and beeswax.

Beyond dietary veganism, in which adherents rely on an exclusively plant-based diet, other subsets include raw veganism; so-called junk food vegans, who consumer highly processed foods; and whole foods vegans, who avoid processed foods and focus on high-carb, low-fat options. Increasingly, many are opting for the label "plant-based" to reduce stigma associated with veganism. In a 2014 survey by the Human Research Council, health and animal protection were cited as two of the primary reasons for choosing a vegan or vegetarian diet. Other reasons included environmental concerns, taste preference, social justice, religious and spiritual beliefs, and social influence.


With a growing interest in sustainability, and increasing awareness on the environmental impact of the livestock industry, many consumers are turning to plant-based meal options to reduce their carbon footprint. Reducitarians and flexitarians (also called semi-vegetarians) are among the vegetarian-adjacent, eco and/or dietary-minded individuals who opt to reduce their meat consumption by following a mostly, but not strictly, plant-based diet. Social movements such as Meatless Monday and Veganuary are encouraging omnivores to experiment with plant-based options, and the growing availability of plant-based proteins and meat alternatives is making the transition more attractive to consumers who may have been reluctant to try vegetarian or vegan meals in the past.

With vegan meat replacements such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat gaining a wider market in the fast food and restaurant industries, meat alternatives are making it easier for people to experience vegan options. Available in stores such as Safeway, Target, Publix, and Walmart, Beyond Meat is becoming increasingly accessible, and Impossible Foods is gaining in both the grocery and restaurant market, making headlines with the introduction of Burger King’s Impossible Whopper in 2019.

Media Awareness

From vegan influencers to documentaries, plant-based lifestyles are growing in popularity. According to a 2013 survey by The Vegan Truth, 42 percent of respondents cited an educational film as the reason they transitioned to veganism. In October 2018, the International Vegan Film Festival hosted its inaugural festival, citing the idea of "a healthier, compassionate, environmentally friendly lifestyle that can be achieved through the consumption of plants and animal-free alternatives" as guiding philosophy.

Veganuary, a social movement that is heavily driven by celebrity and influencer support, has also led to a shift in the way people think about animal consumption, encouraging individuals to commit to a vegan diet for the month of January.

Whether embarking on a new lifestyle, looking to reduce animal consumption, or aiming for a more sustainable diet, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to experimenting with vegan and vegetarian recipes. Starred redstar titles are recommended for all library collections.

Gricel Dominguez is a Librarian at Florida International University. Stephanie Sendaula is Associate Editor, LJ Reviews.



Frazier, Matt & Stepfanie Romine. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts—And the Rest of Your Life. Experiment. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781615192663. pap. $24.95.
Bringing creativity to each protein-packed meal, from hearty veggie hoagies to tahini green beans, this accessible resource by marathoner Frazier (and nutritionist Romine) proves that athletes can, indeed, survive and thrive on a plant-based diet.

redstar Hamshaw, Gena. Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals. Ten Speed. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780399579059. $24.99.
Popular food blogger and recipe developer Hamshaw succeeds in making vegan cooking approachable and fun. With a focus on balance—and simple yet filling mains—she utilizes grains in creative ways to offer dishes such as curried tomato stew with chickpea dumplings.

Horn, Nadine & Jörg Mayer. Vegan Everything: 100 Easy Recipes for Any Craving–From Bagels to Burgers, Tacos to Ramen. Experiment. 2019. 224p. ISBN 9781615195886. pap. $19.95.
Featuring advice on shopping, storing, freezing, and maximizing your budget, this guide proves that vegan food doesn’t have to be expensive to be satisfying and filling. The recipes are ideal for busy people on the go.

redstar Mason, Taymer. Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion. Experiment. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781615193608. pap. $24.95.
Covering Bajan, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Creole, and other cuisines, the patties, pies, and rice dishes here make this collection stand out from other Caribbean-inspired cookbooks. Mason also includes a section on how to make alternative, gluten-free flours.

redstar McQuirter, Tracye & Mary McQuirter. Ageless Vegan: The Secret to Living a Long and Healthy Plant-Based Life. Da Capo. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780738220208. pap. $24.99.
With an emphasis on choices for vibrant, healthy aging, the McQuirters share their personal journeys and provide guidance for embarking on a vegan lifestyle—delving into the foundations of a vegan diet. The book includes plenty of classics, smoothies, and plant-based entrees.

Moskowitz, Isa Chandra. The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion. Little, Brown. 2016. 448p. ISBN 9780316221894. $32.
Moskovitz presents the ultimate holiday cookbook with fun party foods that run the gamut of flavors, and are sure to impress non-vegans. She also includes alternatives for those with food allergies and intolerances.

redstar Oakley, Gaz. Plants-Only Kitchen: Over 70 Delicious, Super-Simple, Powerful and Protein-Packed Recipes for Busy People. Quadrille. 2020. 244p. ISBN 9781787134980. $27.50.
Oakley is known for creating deceptively simple-looking, gourmet vegan dishes. Here, he offers recipes that emphasize simplicity for busy cooks, ranking the difficulty level per dish and offering meals that meet needs for high protein intake and special diets.

Oakley, Gaz. Vegan 100: Over 100 Incredible Recipes from Avant-Garde Vegan. Quadrille. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781787131248. $24.99.
Oakley brings bold flavors and chef-inspired dishes to the mix. He includes homemade dairy replacements and recipes that range from classic British plates to cook-out favorites.

Pakron, Timothy. Mississippi Vegan: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart. Avery. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780735218147. $35.
Popular food blogger Pakron brings his relatable voice to this standout collection of Southern favorites. With insight into what makes a good recipe, he presents a fresh take on Southern classics (think Creole chex mix) alongside revamped soups and salads.

redstar Terry, Bryant. Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed. Ten Speed. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9781607745310. $27.50.
Award-winning chef Terry celebrates African American cuisine while turning an eye to health concerns, and drawing inspiration from the diaspora. Uncomplicated options with easy-to-find ingredients add zest to vegan meals. Menu suggestions enhance the cooking experience.

redstar Terry, Bryant. Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes. Ten Speed. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9780399581045. $30.
Bryant’s essential resource offers a variety of flavors, with an emphasis on Afro-Caribbean spices. Most recipes come with a playlist of songs to serve as a soundtrack.

Toyota, Lauren. Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face. Ten Speed. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9780399580147. pap. $22.
In her first cookbook, food blogger and YouTuber Toyota serves up vegan classics and comfort food, with options ranging from pancakes to wonton soup and "filet-o-tempeh" burgers. These are tasty meals that will please a range of palates.

redstar Wright, Laura. The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons. Avery. 2017. 296p. ISBN 9781583335901. $30.

Award-winning blogger Wright is known for her approachable vegan cuisine. Her debut cookbook features meal-planning advice for all occasions, from quick lunches to make-ahead meals to holiday mains. Icons indicate dishes that are free of gluten, nuts, oil, or sugar.


Berens, Abra. Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables. Chronicle. 2019. 464p. ISBN 9781452169323. $35.
Arranged alphabetically by type of vegetable, this handy resource makes it easy to discover new recipes, embrace a different cooking method, and discover more cooking possibilities.

redstar Ghayour, Sabrina. Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes. Mitchell Beazley. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781784725754. $34.99.
Popular chef Ghayour offers a standout collection of Persian cuisine with meat-eaters in mind; her flavorful recipes (for example, spiced green bean and tomato rice) show the breadth and flavors of vegetarian cooking, from simple to complex.

Korkosz, Michal. Fresh from Poland: New Vegetarian Cooking from the Old Country. Experiment. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781615196555. pap. $19.95.
With classics from pierogies to sauerkraut, this collection makes old country favorites new again, particularly shining in the areas of bread and sweets. Most of the recipes have fewer than five steps and even the pierogi dough is newbie-friendly.

Makan, Chetna. Chetna’s Healthy Indian: Vegetarian: Everyday Veg and Vegan Feasts Effortlessly Good for You. Mitchell Beazley. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9781784726621. $29.99.
Great British Bake Off star Makan presents meals that are quick and easy, but never lacking in flavor. There are plenty of curries, dals, rotis, and chutneys to enjoy, and the UK/U.S. glossary is an added perk.

Ottolenghi, Yotam & Ixta Belfrage. Ottolenghi Flavor. Ten Speed. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780399581755. $35.
Writing with flexitarians in mind, acclaimed chef and author Ottolenghi presents a combination of vegan and vegetarian pairings and meals. Many dishes (such as one-pan orecchiette puttanesca) require dedication, but are well worth the effort.

Rousseau, Michelle & Suzanne Rousseau. Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking–150 Vegetarian Recipes. Da Capo. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780738234670. $30.
An introduction to the history and flavors of West Indian/Afro-Caribbean cuisine, and the richness of roots, vegetables, and fruits. Modern takes on traditional flavors, with recipes like avocado-ginger spring rolls, add a twist to classic ingredients.

redstar Sodha, Meera. East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing. Flatiron. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250750730. $35.
Similar to her popular Guardian column, Sodha presents low-effort, high-reward cooking; home cooks, especially those new to vegan and vegetarian cooking, will be won over by her creative approaches to dinners and desserts as well as her reassuring guidance throughout.

Taylor, Genevieve. Charred: The Complete Guide to Vegetarian Grilling and Barbecue. Quadrille. 2020. 160p. ISBN 9781787134270. $22.99.
Not only does Taylor showcase plant-based grilling options, she also elevates BBQ with creative methods of preparing asparagus, green beans, sweet potato, and more. Included are options for cooking on a griddle or using a frying pan.

redstar Taylor, Kathryne. More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body. Rodale. 2017. 272p. ISBN 9781623367411. $27.50.

Taylor is known for her popular blog, Cookie and Kate. In this collection, she shares meals (such as carrot, arugula, and wild rice salad) for all occasions, from snacking to dinnertime. A great starting point for anyone new to vegetarianism.

Yonan, Joe. Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes. Ten Speed. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9780399581489. $30.
More than a humble guide to beans, this inventive resource offers creative ways to cook and prepare an essential source of protein (think: chickpea pralines along with several variations of salads and dips).


Bittman, Mark. How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Houghton Harcourt. 2017. 832p. ISBN 9781118455647. $35.
Revamped with color photos, the 10th anniversary edition of Bittman’s guide to vegetarian cooking, which was first published in 2007, remains a classic with its invaluable cooking tips and techniques alongside straightforward recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

redstar Jaffrey, Madhur. Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking. Knopf. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9781101874868. $37.50.
An in-depth introduction to India’s rich tradition of vegetarian cuisine, from dishes served in the home to meals served at festivals and ceremonies. Jaffrey includes soups, dals, grains, and more.

Katzen, Mollie. The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition. Ten Speed. 2014. 248p. ISBN 9781607747390. pap. $19.99.
With a handwritten design, this classic has the feel of grandma’s recipe stash. There are no photos; just listings of traditional American fare (vegetarian, of course). It’s the kind of food you’ll find at a local cafe that’s been around forever.

Madison, Deborah. The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Ten Speed. 2014. 665p. ISBN 9781607745532. $40.
Originally published in 1997, the updated version remains relevant with its conversational advice on getting comfortable in the kitchen. In addition to practical guidance on salads and soups, Madison offers expert ways to elevate grains.

redstar Madison, Deborah. Vegetable Literacy. Ten Speed. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9781607741916. $40.
Part cookbook, part scientific exploration of herbs and vegetables, this must-have guide by award-winning chef Madison, who brought vegetarian cooking to the mainstream, goes deep into the nature of plants, including varieties and accompaniments to enhance their use.


redstar Anthony, Michael & Dorothy Kalins. V Is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks–From Artichokes to Zucchini. Little, Brown. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9780316373357. $40.
This compendium is a veritable dictionary of vegetables with recipes, prep tips, and illustrations. Most sections include two to three recipes per vegetable and range from roasted to raw options.

Bittman, Mark. Dinner for Everyone: 100 Iconic Dishes Made 3 Ways–Easy, Vegan, or Perfect for Company. Clarkson Potter. 2019. 432p. ISBN 9780385344760. $40.
Putting a new spin on dinner, Bittman offers three versions of each dish, with traditional options alongside vegan takes. Similar to his other books, he offers practical substitutions for dietary needs.

redstar McFadden, Joshua & Martha Holmberg. Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. Artisan. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781579656317. $40.
Chef McFadden presents dishes based on seasonal vegetables. From artichokes and asparagus to turnips and squash, this guide moves through the seasons, offering fresh twists that will make even the humblest vegetable stand out.

redstar Modern Flexitarian: Plant-Inspired Recipes You Can Flex To Add Fish, Meat, or Dairy. DK. 2019. 256p. ISBN 9781465492463. $30.
Plant-based dishes that can stand on their own or be combined with non-vegan options for a flexitarian diet. The book includes tips on easing into a more plant-based diet, recommended servings, nutrient intake, and substitutions.

This article originally ran in LIbrary Journal's September 2020 issue

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Laura R.

Thank you so much for this article. It's wonderful to finally see some vegan representation in Library Journal. Librarians are so aware of social issues, but there is a disappointing lack of discussion about the needless suffering of animals and the impact of animal agriculture on the planet (not to mention the health of communities near factory "farms"). I hope that our field will start being more aware of how aligned a vegan lifestyle is with our other librarian values.

Posted : Sep 09, 2020 02:17



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