12 Great Vegetarian Cookbooks to Live By

These favorites offer up vegetable-centric recipes to inspire more than meatless Mondays.

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best vegetarian cookbooks

If you're turning over a new leaf or two, your cooking regimen can be a great place to start. Getting creative with seasonal produce can feel like a refresh in life and inspire new ideas when you're stuck in a cooking rut. Whether you're looking for new vegetable-forward recipes to try, practicing veganism a few days a week, or don't regularly eat meat in the first place, a great vegetarian cookbook is a treasure for every cook's modern kitchen. This list of cookbooks has everything you need to round out your repertoire of delicious vegetarian recipes.

Vegetarian cooking doesn't need to be complex to be rewarding, and these books demonstrate how to do it right. Though plant-based eating is hardly new (many cultures have done it for centuries), many great chefs have leaned into it even more in recent years for both health benefits and environmental sustainability. Titles from José Andrés, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Hetty McKinnon offer delicious vegan and vegetarian ideas for all meals and seasons. Read on for some of our favorite vegetarian cookbooks to devour right now.

Vegetable Kingdom

Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry

Popular vegetables, grains, and legumes take center stage in this cookbook from food justice activist Bryant Terry. The James Beard Award-winner's follow-up to his first cookbook, Afro-Vegan, expands on vegan cooking and is rich with beautiful photography and sustainable cooking ideas. Home cooks who are new to vegan cooking will find a helpful guide to the fundamentals of vegan recipes for flavorful salads and filling stews and grain bowls.

Terry organized Vegetable Kingdom by ingredient categories (fungi, seeds, roots, fruits, and so on), so cooks can focus on the central veggies they have on hand and whatever is in season. The list includes hearty dishes like barbecued carrots with slow-cooked white beans and millet roux mushroom gumbo—no meat substitutes required.

Price at time of publish: $30

  • Full Title: Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes
  • Author: Bryant Terry
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 256

Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen by Susan Spungen

Susan Spungen, the founding food editor of Martha Stewart Living, shares accessible recipes for vegetable-forward, delicious meals in Open Kitchen. Her stress-free prep tips are as helpful for hosting as they are for weeknight dinners. For home cooks who often dine with family and friends, learning the best ways to prepare food ahead of time can make every gathering feel fun and effortless.

Spungen's book runs through what ingredients to keep in your pantry, recommendations for equipment to invest in, and where to buy ingredients straight from the source from brands that ship nationwide (King Arthur Flour, NY Shuk, and Rancho-Gordo Beans, to name a few). The recipes revolve around centerpiece meals to be shared family-style and the usual sauces, sides, salads, and desserts sections. It also includes a few party menus to help you plan food for a gathering from beginning to end—a dream for busy households and type A cooks.

Price at time of publish: $35

  • Full title: Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings
  • Author: Susan Spungen
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 368

My New Roots

My New Roots by Sarah Britton

Sarah Britton's blog and namesake book is a great companion for simple, healthy eating. The seasonal recipes promote cooking with whole foods instead of processed or refined ingredients. Home cooks avoiding dairy or gluten will appreciate this collection of recipes. Britton also includes step-by-step instructions for cooking beans and grains and making nut and seed butters from scratch at home.

All of the recipes in My New Roots are vegetarian, and most are vegan, including fresh desserts like apricot rhubarb clafoutis and savory options like the spring hand pies. The book is divided into five seasons (summer gets two sections, early and late). Each recipe was developed and photographed in its season so cooks can anticipate the freshest and most relevant dish ideas in any month. The book touts revitalization through food, and at the very least there are delicious options here that any home cook can enjoy.

Price at time of publish: $30

  • Full title: My New Roots: Healthy Plant-Based and Vegetarian Recipes
  • Author: Sarah Britton
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 256

Cool Beans

Cool Beans by Joe Yonan

Joe Yonan's ode to beans includes 125 recipes from stovetop methods to the Instant Pot. As the food editor for The Washington Post, Yonan draws from several culinary traditions to ensure vegetable-based meals will never be boring again (we're eyeing the Smoky Black Bean and Plantain Chili).

The first 20 pages cover all the types of beans, equipment, and preparation techniques to know when working with beans. The rest of the book includes hundreds of pages of beautifully photographed recipes, from dips and snacks to burgers and casseroles. Some are a departure from traditional dishes that add new spins with beans, and we're happy to be along for the ride.

Price at time of publish: $30

In My Kitchen

In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison

Chef and food writer Deborah Madison quite literally wrote the book on vegetarian cuisine in America. Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone is a classic that serious home cooks undoubtedly own (along with a few others she has written). One of her latest is a carefully curated collection of vegetable-focused recipes that also became a James Beard Award finalist. In My Kitchen includes updated dishes from her classic books and others such as Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Sunflower Sprouts and Olive Oil, Almond, and Blood Orange Cake.

There are plenty of weeknight dinner ideas as well as dinner party recipes, and Madison's writing makes for a great read for cooks new to vegetarian cooking as well as seasoned chefs. The photography is worthy of a coffee table display, and if you're like us you'll be paging through it weekly for inspiration.

Price at time of publish: $33

  • Full title: In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes
  • Author: Deborah Madison
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 296

Vegetables Unleashed

Vegetables Unleashed
Courtesy of Amazon

José Andrés focused on vegetables for his latest cookbook, and we can't thank him enough. It's full of tips and tricks for making vegetables the centerpiece of a meal and how to cook everything in a more sustainable—but equally tasty—way. Cooks will love simple and tasty dishes like a beefsteak tomato sandwich or his variations on gazpacho.

Andrés emphasizes balance in this cookbook, and readers should note it's not strictly vegetarian but certainly puts vegetables front and center. He also focuses on reducing food waste, so you can count on finding smart ways to use food scraps and stems without tossing them out. Though there is always his Spanish influence in his book (we enjoy the passage on sangria, of course), the book encompasses several food traditions for plenty of vegetarian options.

Price at time of publish: $45

  • Full title: Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook
  • Author: José Andrés
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 368


Family by Hetty McKinnon

Australian cook Hetty McKinnon shares hearty and healthy comfort food powered by vegetables, including heirloom recipes from her mother and upgrades to classics like earthy miso brown butter pasta with sage and sticky banana golden syrup dumplings. Easy weeknight dinners are woven in with family stories from home cooks around the world for a colorful array of dishes to try. McKinnon's flavorful vegetarian meals will only expand your cooking skills.

Price at time of publish: $35

  • Full title: Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day
  • Author: Hetty McKinnon
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 288

Six Seasons

Six Seasons By Joshua McFadden

Joshua McFadden's James Beard Award-winning book should be a cornerstone for anyone interested in cooking more vegetarian meals. As a farmer and a chef he shares how to get the very best of every vegetable at its peak, and with 225 recipes there is more than enough variety for all six seasons of harvesting.

Explores spring, three phases of summer, fall, and winter produce through the eyes of someone who has harvested it all (and as a bonus, pickles!) Each season starts with raw produce recipes and advances to grilling and steaming before completing the section with stews, braises, and roasts. McFadden, occasionally referred to as the "vegetable whisperer," truly turned heads with this tome of excellent meals.

Price at time of publish: $40

  • Full title: Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
  • Author: Joshua McFadden
  • Ebook Available:
  • Pages: 384

Plenty More

Plenty and Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbooks are essential for any home cook's bookshelf, and his vegetable-centric editions are no exception. This is a sequel to his popular first vegetable release Plenty, and includes 150 recipes organized by 12 cooking methods from "tossed" and "steamed" to "baked" and "sweetened." This book loves spices, so home cooks with a well-curated spice rack will enjoy these dishes from end to end. These are restaurant-caliber recipes that anyone can tackle, complete with vibrant photography that makes these books worthy of display, too.

Price at time of publish: $35

  • Full title: Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi
  • Author: Yotam Ottolenghi
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 352

Ultimate Veg

Ultimate Veg by Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a household name, and his first-ever vegetable-focused book is now a New York Times bestseller. Ultimate Veg (titled Veg in the U.K. if you're looking there) has plenty of ideas for meat-free meals for families, meal plans for an entirely vegetarian lifestyle, and great flavor combinations that both vegetarians and meat-eaters can enjoy.

The book includes nutrition information at the bottom of each recipe, so readers should consider whether that's valuable to them. According to Oliver, "It's all about celebrating really good, tasty food that just happens to be meat-free." Whether it's gumbo, pancakes, or mac 'n cheese, there are plenty of recipes in this title you'll want to make again and again.

Price at time of publish: $35

  • Full title: Ultimate Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone
  • Author: Jamie Oliver
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 312

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes by Mary-Frances Heck

No home cook would center themselves around vegetables without some excellent spuds. F&W Senior Food Editor Mary-Frances Heck knows her way around sweet potatoes, and her cookbook shows them 60 different ways, from breakfast to dessert. The glossary of sweet potato varieties (yes, there are more than two!) shows all the opportunities for sweet potato most home cooks might not yet know.

This book is a great way to learn simple preparations for a classic food that's only risen in popularity in recent years. Whether you're looking for vegetarian, vegan, or paleo meal ideas, this book has something for everyone.

Price at time of publish: $20

  • Full title: Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie
  • Author: Mary-Frances Heck
  • Ebook Available: No
  • Pages: 144

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

An offshoot of Bittman's ever-popular How to Cook Everything, this is the ultimate guide to cooking vegetables. The latest edition adds a few updates with more vegan recipes, a section on teas and smoothies, and full-color photos for inspiration from beginning to end. Chickpea flour, jackfruit, and non-dairy milks take center stage in the updated version of the classic, timely for the food trends of the new decade. As the typical "How to Cook" series goes, it's extensive and long, but it is the ultimate print resource for cooks making vegetarian cuisine for the first time as well as the thousandth time.

Price at time of publish: $35

  • Full title: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition
  • Author: Mark Bittman
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 832
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