I have been a solid vegetarian for about two years now, and can genuinely say it is one of the best health-conscious decisions I have ever made. Not only is it better for the environment to abstain from eating meat (the mass-production of meat is terrible for our planet), but it can also bring with it a great deal of health benefits. As a plant-based eater, I am more likely to reach for a fruit or veggie than something containing meat or dairy.
That’s another thing- I have also completely cut out dairy from my diet. I was a strict vegan for about a year, but around last April I decided to re-introduce cage-free eggs for health related reasons. If you have the willpower and ability to do so, I would also highly recommend experimenting with a dairy-free diet. You will be shocked by how good your body feels!
I do not want to gloss over the fact that some people do need to consume meat to stay healthy, such as those with allergies to beans, soy, and other sources of vegetarian protein. For someone who literally needs meat to survive, I completely understand and place no judgment. Also, some people just don’t want to give up animal products, and that is your choice as well, not mine!
With that being said, I have compiled a list of my favorite cookbooks for my other plant-based homies. Whether or not you’re a strict vegetarian or vegan, I’m sure you will love the delectable recipes in these cookbooks!
Frugal Vegan | Katie Koteen | $9.99
Admittedly, I paid a lot more than $10 for this cookbook. I bought it about a year ago while vacationing in Canada with my family, and picked it up for a whopping $18 from Urban Outfitters. I’m happy I did, though- this cookbook has been extremely helpful to me. Being a broke college student, I can’t always be going out spending a hundred dollars on groceries, so this book has come in handy teaching me which produce items are cheaper than others. This cookbook is definitely aimed towards a crunchy, healthy, salad-loving vegan, so if you’re more into comfort food fixes, this probably isn’t the book for you. For me personally, I actually love the flavorful, earthy, creative dishes included in this book- especially the breakfast ideas and Mexican food recipes. I’m also dying to try “wacky cake”, which is a super cheap, vegan dessert made famous during The Great Depression.
Budget Bytes | Beth Moncel | $14.40
This cookbook is perfect for people who are maybe new to vegetarianism/veganism, and aren’t sure if it’s a commitment they want to stick with. That’s because this isn’t a plant-based specific cookbook- it has all sorts of recipes that cater to many different dietary needs. At the end of the book, Beth Moncel actually lists all of the vegetarian/vegan dishes, so that you can easily pick them out or customize them to fit your needs. If you’re someone looking for great vegetarian comfort food, this is the best book I can offer. As you can see, some of the pages are even starting to fall out because I’ve opened it so much! My personal favorite dish is the loaded enchilada pasta- I just forgo the shredded cheese and use nutritional yeast instead! This is another great cookbook for frugal eaters- Beth Moncel is noted worldwide for her number-crunching abilities. She also has a website, for those of you interested in doing some further reading.
The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook | Nicole Cormier | $7.98
I received this book as a going-away-to-college present from my mom, and honestly, I’m still grateful to her for doing so. Some of the recipes were a ‘lil fancy for me, but many of them were easy and contains ingredients I could find at my dining hall (so no grocery shopping needed!). These recipes also yield a lot of servings, so a little can definitely go a long way. Once I get settled in my dorm, I’m dying to try the Quick and Easy Vegan Biscuits- I’m sure it would go delicious with a can of soup! This cookbook also contains a ton of vegan dessert recipes, and many of them are bake-free! Along with the recipes, the book also provides information about how much each serving is expected to cost you, along with nutritional values for the dishes. I personally love that feature, because as a vegan, it’s easy to slip up on important nutrients and proteins if you don’t stay conscious about what you’re eating.
Love Real Food | Kathryne Taylor | $24.99
Love Real Food is actually my mom’s favorite vegetarian cookbook, and while it’s a bit pricier than the others, I absolutely love it as well. The book is huge, containing a large variety of healthy recipes along with cooking tips, measuring notes, and guidelines for eating healthy. Just like Beth Moncel, Kathyrne Taylor also has a well-known blog called Cookie + Kate, where she shares even more recipes and fun additions (and a seasonal produce guide!). Similarly with Frugal Vegan, these recipes are designed to be as natural and earthy as possible, so just keep that in mind if crunchy salads and quinoa bowls are not really your gig. I’m personally looking forward to making her banana pecan shakes and customizable instant oatmeal mix, because I am always looking for new healthy breakfast options. Another thing I appreciate about this cookbook is the detailed allergy information at the bottom of every page- Kathryn makes sure you know if the recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and soy-free- and if it’s not, she explains how to customize it to fit your dietary restrictions. Thank you, Cookie + Kate!
Vegetarian Cookbook for Beginners | Rockridge Press | $10.79
Last but certainly not least, I have the perfect cookbook for beginners on their newfound vegetarian journey. This book not only contains 150+ recipes, but also includes a 14 day meal plan to get you started. The book also contains a glossary of several dietary/food terms used, such as the dictionary definition of gelatin (which is made of boiled animal skin and bones, by the way). It’s important to have an understanding of not only what you’re putting in you body, but also why it can be impactful to both your health and your diet. I would definitely recommend this book to fellow ovo-vegetarians (meaning someone like me, who is a vegetarian and also abstains from dairy), and I’m also happy with the amount of comfort-food dishes in the book. Picky eaters with a limited food palate (yes, that includes me), rejoice!
Coming up next: My Skincare Routine for Oily, Sensitive Skin