Thinking about embracing a vegan diet? We’ve picked the eight best vegan cookbooks – from the new breed of gorgeous plant princesses – to inspire you
Vegan is the new paleo. We were all over the meat-heavy paleo diet last year, but this year everyone seems to love kale again. Plant-based diets are so trendy that even celebrities have been going vegan including Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Lopez. Alongside traditional veganism – which is basically not eating anything that ever had parents including all meat, fish, eggs, dairy and honey – two new strands have seen a rise in popularity. Firstly, raw veganism, where you not only ditch all animal products but also say your goodbye to cooked foods altogether. Secondly, more flexible approach to veganism – we like calling it Flexi-veganism – where devotees mainly live on non-animal products but if they fancy meat or fish once in a while, they won’t get their hemp sandals in a twist.
1. THE FLEXI-VEGAN QUEEN
The Earth Diet by Liana Werner-Gray (24th November 2014)
In a nutshell: If you are looking for a lifestyle change, but feel like you still want to eat meat and fish occasionally the Earth Diet book offers a large variety of delicious recipes. Also, it’s a good excuse to pimp your kitchen with some new gadgets. There are some great vegan alternatives to traditional comfort foods like burgers and chocolate.
The promise: The book advocates that by cutting out all processed foods from your diet, you will loose any excess weight and your body will detoxify and heal.
What you’ll need: In order to follow all the recipes in the book and make full use of it you will need a few items in your kitchen: a juicer, food processor or blender and a food dehydrator.
Who is the author: Liana Werner-Gray, the author of this truly beautiful book, is originally from Australia and was diagnosed with a tumour at the age of 21 after having lived on junk food for several years. She decided against traditional treatment and instead pumped her body full of nutrients eating only whole unprocessed foods. After three months of changing her diet her tumour was gone and Liana continued to follow what she called the Earth Diet and helped other people on their journey to heal their bodies. During Liana’s healing period she created healthy alternative recipes of her favourite foods such as hamburgers, pizza and chocolate.
What’s the idea: The Earth Diet is essentially a diet that is full of nutrient-dense foods that are unprocessed. It centres around the idea that if we eat organic whole foods our bodies will heal and reach optimum health. The recipes in the book include a section of juices, smoothies, milks and milkshakes, raw vegan main dishes, main dishes for meat eaters, condiments and desserts. The Earth Diet suggests that 70 per cent of what you eat should be plant-based, but it is not as restrictive as a vegan-only diet and encourages you to personalise it to suit you. But this is not just a diet, it’s an entire lifestyle. The book includes direction on how to make your own moisturiser, toothpaste and perfumes from natural products.
Steal a tip: For fresh breath chew on ginger slices or a few leaves of parsley, mint, or cilantro.
Available on Amazon for £13.48
2. THE PIONEER
Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr (19th January 2015)
In a nutshell: This vegan cookbook is full of veg-tastic recipes. Kris Carr and chef Chad Sarno have teamed up to create recipes that are free from animal products for both passionate amateur chefs and complete cooking newbies.
The promise: This plant-based diet promises glowing skin, shiny and strong hair, healthy joints, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and spending less money on your weekly shop.
What you’ll need: to pimp your kitchen with the following gadgets – nut milk bag, juicer, blender, food processor, coffee grinder, steamer basket, sushi mat, spray bottle and dehydrator
Sugar, a.k.a. the legal drug – Kris Carr
Who is the author: Kris Carr is one of the pioneers of the latest plant-based lifestyle trend. Her documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer led to a worldwide boom in plant-based eating – people started swapping their steak for a kale salad and their Coke for green juice. The reason Kris started to adopt a plant-based diet is because she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 sarcoma cancer back in 2003. This was her personal turning point, she decided to break off her unhealthy relationship with processed food and start eating a nutrient-dense, plant-loving diet. Living with stage 4 cancer for 12 years Kris feels more vital and healthy now than she ever did before. In order to create crazy sexy kitchen she partnered up with world-renowned raw food chef Chad Sarno.
What’s the idea: the crazy sexy diet is based on cutting out all foods that might irritate the body, such as meat, dairy, refined carbohydrates, wheat, processed foods, artificial sweeteners and trans fats. All of these are acidic inflammatory foods. It also encourages eating more raw and juicing or blending consistently. The book offers both recipes for easy, quick meals and ones for fully fledged amateur chefs. Recipes are categorised into juices, smoothies, breakfast, soups and stews, sandwiches and wraps, starters, salads, mains, sides, condiments, snacks and desserts. Kris Carr not only got herself a chef to help her create delicious dishes but also got dietitian Jennifer K. Reilly to do a Q&A to convince even the most passionate meat eaters that you can live healthily without eating animal products.
Steal a tip: Kris Carr’s tip for reducing cooking times of legumes is to soak them in water overnight.
Available on Amazon for £11.19
3. THE VEGGIE-LOVING YOGA GURU
SUPERFOODS by Julie Montagu (12th March 2015)
In a nutshell: Super foods follows a philosophy that advocates a diet that is largely plant-based. But it also allows for some flexibility, if you do eat the occasional piece of meat it’s not like you’ve failed the entire diet.
The promise: This diet will make you feel vitalised, boost your immune system and improve your overall wellbeing.
What you’ll need: to stock up on your grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts and superfoods.
Who is the author: Julie Montagu is a yoga and nutrition teacher based in London. She teaches yoga in one of the hottest studios, TriYoga in Chelsea. She calls herself the ‘Flexi Foodie’. This already tells you what sort of diet you can expect, one that leaves room for flexibility. Julie Montagu also created the new online nutrition course The Flexi Foodie Academy. As a mother or four, we can only admire this veggie-loving yoga guru.
What’s the idea: the word Flexi already suggests that this is not a strict ‘you can’t eat meat or dairy ever again’ approach. It tries to decrease or eliminate animal products, refined sugar, processed foods and refined oils. But if you do occasionally like to enjoy a piece of steak make sure to even it out by adding a side that’s full of plant-goodness. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains are on the ‘eat more of’ list. Considering that we live in a world with conflicting ideas about what is considered a healthy diet, we think the Flexi-approach points towards the right direction. You can expect to find mains, side, breakfasts, sweet treats, portable lunches ad fast-track savers in the book. The portable lunches and fast-track savers are so useful, because they tackle the everyday practicality of eating healthy.
Steal a tip: If you suffer from calcium efficiency grab a fig. Julie says that figs contain more calcium than most other fruits. In fact one serving of dried figs equals 12 percent of your RDA (required daily amount) for calcium.
Available on Amazon for £12
4. THE VEGAN FOODIES
The Great Vegan Protein Book by Celine Steen & Tamasin Noyes (19th March 2015)
In a nutshell: Vegans and vegetarians often get asked how they get their protein. This book is filled with recipes of vegan protein-rich dishes, answering the question once and for all.
The promise: you will get your protein in without eating animal products.
What you’ll need: To follow most of these recipes you need to make sure you’ve always got the right ingredients to hand. Foods such as tempeh, tofu and seitan – a type of wheat meat – may not be staples in your cupboard yet if you’re a newbie to veganism.
For fresh breath chew on ginger slices or a few leaves of parsley, mint, or cilantro
Who is the author: Celine Steen is founder of Have Cake, Will Travel a famous blog full of inspirational recipes and has also co-authored 500 Vegan Recipes and Vegan Finger Foods. Tamasin Noyes is the founder of veganappetite.com and has worked as a tester for a number of well-known vegan cookbooks.
What’s the idea: The idea behind this book is to once and for all answer the question vegan and vegetarians get asked on a regular basis ‘how do you get your protein?’. The Great Vegan Protein Book is divided into four sections each of which is dedicated to a different source of protein: beans and legumes; grains, nuts and seeds; tofu and tempeh and seitan. Filled with more than 100 recipes this is a great guide for people who are already vegan and want to up their protein intake. But it will also benefit those who are playing with the idea of adopting a vegan diet but aren’t sure on how to get enough protein.
Steal a tip: If you’re making baked potatoes and scoop the inside out to make space for fillings, these leftover potato insides make a great soup thickener.
Available on Amazon for £14.99
5. THE RAW VEGAN
The Unbakery by Megan May (9th April 2015)
In a nutshell: This book will have you eating not only vegan but also raw in no time. From making vegan cheese to preparing pizza bases made from nuts, this book has a raw vegan solution for most dishes out there.
The promise: a raw, vegan diet fights diseases and re-energises the body.
What you’ll need: a blender, juicer, food processor, dehydrator and spiraliser.
Who is the author: Megan May was born and raised in Waimauku, New Zealand, on an organic market garden and small farm. Hence, from the outset she had a good relationship with organic produce. But at the age of six she was diagnosed with allergies to gluten, dairy and sugar. As a child this proved difficult for her because when she did eat something that she wasn’t supposed to Megan suffered from stomach pains. Ignoring her allergies during her mid-twenties left her with malignant melanomas, hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue, parasitic infections, depression and the bone density of a sixty-year-old. This is when Megan decided to make a change to her diet.
The Unbakery offers beautiful recipes that make raw vegan food look like something you would get served in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
What’s the idea: to find wellbeing and pleasure through a raw plant-based diet. This book is geared towards people who aren’t afraid to go all the way, giving up animal products as well as cooked foods. The Unbakery offers beautiful recipes that make raw vegan food look like something you would get served in a Michelin starred restaurant. The author’s love for cooking and natural food is demonstrated on every single page. There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, salads, dinner, dessert and drinks.
Steal a tip: Megan’s tip to save time with your smoothie making is to freeze ripe foods, this way you always have a banana or pineapple to add to your smoothie without having to waste time chopping.
Available on Amazon for £16.59
6. THE VEGAN SUPER-BLOGGER
The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon (12th March 2015)
In a nutshell: This book is geared towards people who want to eat delicious vegan recipes, there are no cheats – sorry meat lovers.
The promise: you will get glowing skin and your energy levels will increase significantly.
What you’ll need: a food processor, blender, cast-iron frying pan, enamelled dutch oven, large rimmed baking sheets, julienne peeler and a nut milk bag.
Who is the author: Angela Liddon struggled with an eating disorder for a decade. Self starvation followed by binge eating resulted in her developing Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Five years ago, she started eating a vegan wholesome diet. After starting to embrace a vegan diet full of plant-goodness, her IBS disappeared and her skin started to glow. Liddon’s blog, ohsheglows.com attracts millions of visitors a month and has over 600K followers.
What’s the idea: The idea is to follow the authors journey on a completely vegan diet, that tastes delicious. As the author explains, when she started her journey it didn’t all happen in a day, it was a process. Hence, you are not expected to throw out everything you’ve got in your fridge, a lifestyle change never happens overnight. You will find everything you need in from breakfast, smoothies, juices, tea, appetizers, salads and soups to mains, sides, power snacks, desserts and homemade staples.
Steal a tip: Liddon says that some might run into difficulties blending oats which is required for some of her recipes. If so, mix oats and water or nut milk and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This should soften the oats and sort out your blending problem.
Available on Amazon for £11.89.
7. THE PRACTICAL PLANT DIVA
Keep it Vegan by Áine Carlin (28th August 2014)
In a nutshell: This is a cookbook withrecipes for both fully-fledged vegans and newbies. What sets it apart from other books is that you need less equipment to follow these recipes.
The promise: your mental health will improve, your energy levels will increase, you’ll sleep better and your entire body detoxifies.
What you’ll need: you will need a blender and a food processor.
Who is the author? Formerly dairy-obsessed, Áine turned vegan literally overnight. Why did she do it? She moved to Chicago and loved the food and cheap prices but after a year of indulging, she was lethargic, had gained a weight and felt worse than she had ever before. So she decided to change what she put in her mouth.
What’s the idea? Geared towards people who simply want to be vegan, this book provides a range of delicious recipes that you can follow without having to buy a whole heap of new equipment. You will be happy to find recipes that cover your breakfast, lunches, dinners and parties. Of course there is also an entire section dedicated to all of you who have a sweet tooth, with vegan strawberry cheesecake and chocolate brownies.
Steal a tip: One tip for quick and easy homemade crisps is to place sweet potato peelings in a roasting tin. Coat with one tablespoon olive oil and one teaspoon smoked paprika. Season and bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius…Voilá!
Available on Amazon for £4.99.
8. THE HEALER
Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward (29th January 2015)
In a nutshell: You don’t have to be a chef in order to live the deliciously Ella lifestyle. Offering delicious and easy to prepare recipes is what Ella is all about. And if you don’t want to go all the way and still have your salmon, that’s okay too.
The promise: Healing the body from the inside out. Plant-based, whole foods are used to give your body everything it needs in order to heal itself.
What you’ll need: a food processor, blender, juicer, jelly bag and sieve.
Who is the author: Ella Woodward was a total sugar monster, lived off sweet processed foods all through her childhood and time at university. In summer 2011 she was diagnosed with a rare illness called Postural Tachycaria Syndrome (POTS), this illness breaks down your automatic nervous system. Ella had black outs, slept sixteen hours a day, had chronic pains and unbearable stomach issues. She was inspired by Kris Carr and the way she used food for healing. Two years after adopting a gluten-free Ella’s diet her symptoms disappeared completely.
there are ways to make naughty foods healthy, from ice cream to veggie lasagne
What’s the idea: This book contains recipes for which you will need to stock up your pantry with grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, pulses and fruits. If you love Nutella, Ella has her own cacao and hazelnut recipe that only contains three natural ingredients (cacao, hazelnut and maple syrup). That’s right, there are ways to make naughty foods healthy, from ice cream to veggie lasagne Ella will take you on a veg-tastic food a journey.
Steal a tip: If you want to make ice-cream or smoothies from frozen bananas, make sure the bananas are over-ripe before you put them in the freezer, it will make your ice cream or smoothie a smoother texture.
Available on Amazon for £7.99.