I have a huge collection of cookbooks that I value and adore, and out of all of them, I think these are the best vegan cookbooks. I've read through many, and these are the ones that have chocolate stains and balsamic vinegar splashed across the edges, which of course means they are the best!
When you are the bookstore looking for a great vegan cookbook, you need to check for a few things.
First, it needs to be full of recipes with ingredients and steps that are somewhat comfortable to you. I say "somewhat" because a key part of growing is making yourself a little uncomfortable. Plus, if you're new to veganism, there are some foods you may not have used before that now you'll find yourself using all the time (like nutritional yeast.)
You don't want it to be so hard that you just know you are never going to use the book.
Second, I like to see pictures. I want to know what my dish is supposed to look like when it's done.
The last thing I look for is some of my favorite recipes, with twists. Also, if a recipe uses a lot of the featured ingredient. For example, my favorite key lime pie recipe has tons of key limes.
The Joy of Vegan Baking challenges the stereotype about vegan baked goods by giving recipes that are as good or better than their dairy and egg sisters. There is an amazing apple pie, delicious chocolate cake, cinnamon buns, and pumpkin bread. Everything I've made from this book is absolutely delicious and people praise me as if I came up with the dish.
The author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, is an inspiration. She talks often about being a joyful vegan in a non-vegan world, and in the cookbook she talks about how to present a vegan cookie to a stranger properly. First, you let them taste it and rave about how good it is. Then, you tell them that it's vegan. Then they are shocked. If you tell them it's vegan first, people are bound to think it's going to be gross.
This is truly the best vegan cookbook for baking that I've seen.
Vegan Planet, by Robin Roberston, is a massive compilation of vegan recipes, probably over 500. It's broken up into 20 chapters and each has about 25 recipes. They have a great international flair, and provide a few sample menus for different occasions.
Roberston's recipes are simple and easy to follow. Most use everyday ingredients, and the more exotic ingredients are easy to find in Whole Foods or a health food store.
Her chocolate chip cookie recipe is a huge favorite, as well as her lentils and caramelized shallots. There are too many great recipes to mention because this is a recipe bible at our house.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World is a fabulous, fun book full of cupcakes. And who doesn't love cupcakes?!
Most are as decadent and rich as "normal" ones made with dairy and eggs, but they have a few lower fat versions. I love their basic chocolate recipe. It's delicious when filled with the peanut butting filling. The s'mores and tiramisu cupcakes are both gorgeous and yummy.
The authors are Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who runs a public access cooking show called Post Punk Kitchen, and Terry Romero, who co-hosts it. Their recipes range from standard vanilla to chai latte, and everything in between. These cupcakes are indistinguishable from those made with eggs and dairy products.
Veganomicon is another of the best vegan cookbooks that uses more unique ingredients than most. It is written by the same authors of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero. Moskowitz also wrote Vegan with a Vengeance, which is another enormously popular cookbook.
In this best vegan cookbook, the soup recipes are amazing. We love the miso soup, the chickpea noodle soup, and the tomato bisque. They also have a cheese sauce recipe that tastes almost like the real thing and can be used for macaroni and cheese, or as a dip on its own.
Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. This is the third of Dreena's bestselling books, and it is my favorite. The recipes are simple and delicious, and the photographs are stunning.
It offers pratical but fanciful recipes with a focus on dishes that work well for celebratory events. Her desserts are phenomenal and focus on healthy sugars like maple syrup and agave nectar. Dreena also includes tips and explanations about many ingredients to make sure everything makes sense.