(*or checking out of the library)
Nothing beats a glossy cookbook full of tantalising recipes to make me head straight for the kitchen. This week I wanted to share some of my favourite cookbooks for vegetarians, the books which really helped me figure out how to make vegetarian meals and which really got me out of a food funk.
These vegetarian cookbooks are all geared towards beginners and, as I have no culinary training myself and can’t deal with fussy recipes with ingredients I can’t pronounce, I can attest that anyone can follow these guides and cook healthy, delicious veggie meals.
Here are my favourite vegetarian cookbooks:
There was a glorious time of my life when I raced to Blazing Salads, the vegan deli on Drury Street in Dublin, every single lunch break. Now that I work from home 99% of the time, I don’t get there as often as I’d like. To satisfy my Blazing Salads cravings, I ordered the original Blazing Salads cookbook from my second home, the library. It’s packed with recipes from dressings to desserts and bakes to bread. Best of all, you can recreate some of the mouth-watering salads which have made Blazing Salads a local legend in the food scene.
OK I know this is a controversial choice but bear with me here. I know Gillian McKeith has been completely debunked and is probably best known now for her crack up on I’m A Celebrity… but many moons ago, she was the go-to expert on weight loss and healthy eating. I even bought her book. The crazy thing is, so much of what I learnt from reading her book is now popular thought in health and wellness circles. Back in 2007, McKeith’s book introduced me to kale crisps (much to the chagrin of my then housemates), adzuki beans and carob ‘chocolate’, all strange and hard to find ingredients in Ireland at the time. I still apply her principles of combination eating (e.g. fruit first) and definitely recommend her recipe book if you’re trying to eat healthily but don’t know where to start.
This is not strictly a vegetarian cookbook but it’s a really useful book full of health advice and recipes organised by health issues you might be grappling with. Dale includes a beta carotene packed sweet potato bake that’s rapidly become one of my favourite meals and the oat and raisin bar recipe inspired my own banana breakfast bar recipe. There are non-vegetarian recipes too so this is a great option if you’re just dipping your toe into herbivore life.
If you can’t find something to eat after leafing through this mammoth vegetarian recipe book, you’re definitely Captain of the Picky Eaters Club. Recipes are helpfully divided into categories like Snacks (nachos!) and Soups (try the chick pea pasta soup) to pizza, pasta and hearty grain dishes. There’s so much to choose from but the recipes I’ve tried most frequently include the protein-packed Mean Bean Pasta, the Curried Sweet Potato Couscous and the Spiced Sweet Potato pie, a cinnamon-spiced alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. The downside? There are no images so it’s a bit of a surprise how your dish turns out.
If you’re not following Angela Liddon on Instagram (@ohsheglows) already, prepare to drool. This food photographer/recipe developer’s Insta feed is all the plant-based food inspo you could ask for. Unsurprisingly, the Oh She Glows cookbook is 100 pages of serious #foodporn. I struggle to eat avocado but the 15 minute creamy avocado pasta recipe never fails to hit the spot. As for the chocolate espresso torte…DROOL. It can be tricky to eat a plant-based diet when you’re allergic to soy, nuts or are a coeliac, but the good news is, Angela includes plenty of allergy-friendly recipes for you. If you buy/borrow one vegetarian recipe book, make it an Oh She Glows cookbook.