9 Essential Cookbooks for the Plant-Based Athlete

My cookbook (and wine) shelf

When it comes to cookbooks, my wife and I are big fans of the library.

You can leaf through a normal book and get an idea of whether it’s any good, but you can’t really decide about a cookbook until you try it. So we like to borrow first, then buy if it’s great.

And so we’ve tried a bunch (well over 50, I bet) in our short three and a half years of being vegetarian. I’m always surprised at the selection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks in most libraries, even if a lot of them are those 1980’s-style designed ones, with tons of fake meat recipes that are probably a lot worse for you than the even real thing.

(Case in point: I recently saw a recipe in this book, which my sister checked out from the library, for vegan chili cheese dogs. The recipe: get a vegan hot dog, vegan cheese, a bun, and vegan chili, and microwave them. Then assemble as you would an ordinary hot dog. This book also has a “Vegan Chopped Liver” recipe …)

Anyway, my point is that we’ve tried a ton of cookbooks, and we usually end up buying our favorites. And from this handful of favorites, we cook probably 90% of the meals we make.

Before I get to my list, let me explain the criteria.

What makes a great vegan or vegetarian cookbook for athletes?

I called this list 9 Essential Cookbooks for the Plant-Based Athlete, and here’s what I mean by that. To make my list, a vegetarian or vegan cookbook’s recipes had to be:

  • Whole-food based — more than any particular nutrient mix, this is my main criterion for healthy (see this post).
  • Not rabbit-foodish — it’s gotta be substantial, filling, satisfying food.
  • Quick — most meals shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes to prepare, since athletes are generally pretty busy.
  • Tasty — maybe the best athletes don’t care so much about this, but the rest of us do.
  • Varied — I wanted each book to have a lot of different types of food in it, so that you could buy just one and still have a nice mix of meals (as opposed to just vegan Indian or Italian food, for example).

So with that, here’s my list. Please note that amazon.com links are affiliate links, so No Meat Athlete will earn a small commission when you buy anything through them!

0. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts—and the Rest of Your Life by Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine.

You didn’t expect me to put together a list of my favorite cookbooks without mentioning my own, did you? The No Meat Athlete Cookbook features 150 whole food, vegan recipes that are affordable and quick to get on the table, even on busy nights. In addition to the recipes, it includes meal-planning guidelines, nutritional info, adaptable “blueprint” recipes — and more!

The brand new cookbook was even named one of Sports Illustrated’s Best Health and Wellness Book of 2017.

1. Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

To me, this is a classic, even if it’s only five years old. Though some of the recipes are slightly more involved than I have time for on a weeknight, most every meal in this book turns out wonderfully, and makes you feel like you did something. There’s also tons of supporting material to introduce the reader to different ingredients and techniques used in vegan cooking, making this a perfect first “serious” vegan cookbook.

See my review, along with the recipe for BBQ Black Eyed Pea Collard Rolls, here.

2. Thrive Foods, by Brendan Brazier.

Probably my favorite of all, and the one that I’d rescue from a fire if some weirdo came and lit only my cookbook shelf on fire. The reason I love Thrive Foods is because it’s the perfect balance between extremely healthy (Brendan was a pro triathlete and developed many of these recipes to fuel his career) and normal. I wouldn’t call most of this food gourmet — you can tell that health comes first in most of these recipes — but even my two-year old will eat it, and that’s saying something. And the first one-third of the book makes for interesting reading about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

See my review of Thrive Foods for more, including the delicious Shanghai Rice Bowl recipe.

3. Clean Food, by Terry Walters.

Simple, seasonal, whole ingredients are what I think of when I think of Clean Food. Though it doesn’t say so anywhere on the cover, the book is entirely vegan and mostly gluten-free, too. This is my favorite cookbook for finding what’s fresh at the farmer’s market and making it for dinner that night. (Terry is also a marathoner and triathlete, so it’s no coincidence that the food here is so perfect for athletes.)

Here’s where you can find my review of Clean Food, along with a recipe for Millet Black Bean Patties with Corn.

4. Jai Seed, by Rich Roll.

Jai Seed is a little different — partly because it’s an ebook, but not just that. There’s something else about the food that distinguishes it from that of the other cookbooks on my list. The recipes are unique and interesting, and in general, the ingredients Rich uses are fresh, often raw, superfoods that he combines in simple smoothies, salads, sauces, meals and desserts — and somehow they turn out to be delicious. And it never hurts to know you’re eating the same food a vegan Ultraman triathlete eats!

See my review of Jai Seed here.

5. Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moscowitz.

Isa is the only author to appear twice on my list, but Appetite for Reduction is somewhat different from Veganomicon, so I won’t lose sleep over including both. The focus is on simplifying, so that these meals are quicker, healthier, and cheaper than those in V’con. And my friend Matt Ruscigno, a vegan Registered Dietitian and ultra-distance cyclist, contributed a nutrition primer and lots of nutrition notes throughout the book (see the protein and iron posts Matt wrote for No Meat Athlete).

PS — We made the black bean zucchini tacos a few nights ago, and they were mind-blowing.

6. 1000 Vegan Recipes, by Robin Robertson.

1000 Vegan Recipes was the first vegan cookbook I ever bought, and my gateway from vegetarianism to veganism. To be honest, I haven’t found a ton of standout recipes in this book (Mac ‘n’ Chard is one delicious exception), but the sheer number (you’ll never guess how many!) and variety of quick and simple recipes in the book makes it a go-to for so many nights when I’ve got nothing planned but need to get something on the table fast. The salads section is long and excellent, too.

7. World Vegetarian, by Madhur Jaffrey.

This is the only non-vegan cookbook on my list (many of the recipes call for yogurt or other dairy products, for which you could often substitute vegan versions). But if you don’t own an ethnic cookbook, this is the one to start with. I’m always impressed by the authenticity of these meals and the depths of unfamiliar flavors in them; this is the book that helped me fall in love with vegan cooking back when I was still stuck on the idea that cooking wasn’t as much fun when you were restricted in your choice of ingredients.

8. Supermarket Vegan, by Donna Klein.

Great book, great title, kinda dumb tagline: “225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Recipes for Real People in the Real World.” Okay, I got the first part from “vegan,” and exactly who counts as not a real person in the real world? Still, like I said, it’s a really great book — it selectively uses prepared ingredients from the grocery store to save a lot of time when you’re in a pinch, and most of the recipes turn out well. And for the most part, these meals are cheap, even when you’re paying for the prepared ingredients. If you find yourself time-crunched or otherwise intimidated about cooking, Supermarket Vegan is a place to start.

9. __________, by ___________. Ah, trickery. I said there were nine, and I could only think of eight that truly deserved to be on *my* list. But I’m only one guy, with one set of taste buds, so I want to hear what your favorite is! Leave it in a comment and we’ll have massive list of new books to try!

Happy cooking!



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  1. Great List Matt! My suggestion for no. 9 is “Color me Vegan” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I love the concept of grouping the recipes according to the predominant color. There is also a chapter with background info about the substances that give foods their color and what those substances do in your body health-wise. It’s great!

    Best wishes from Germany

  2. I spy Practically Raw on your shelf! 🙂
    Great list, Matt!

  3. Is vegonomicon available with more European style measurements and weights?

    • Hi Anders, I own a bookshop in Ireland (with a disproportionately large number of vegan cookbooks) and the edition we get from our supplier via the UK is the US edition, though there is allegedly an international edition (ISBN 9780738214504). I’ve never been able to get it so I don’t know what measurements it uses, presuming it actually exists.

      • Hi Louisa,
        I am also from Ireland 🙂 Just wondering where your bookshop is located and if you had a website by any chance.

    • chad henry says:

      Hi, I feel your frustration–I have trouble getting used to metric measurements myself here in the U.S. But since most recipes call for similar measurements (in the U.S. cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, pounds, ounces, pints, quarts.) once you make out a list or go online to find metric conversions, you can pretty well estimate how much metric measure you will need to be equivalent to U. S. measures.

  4. Great list! I love Veganomicon too, and will check out some of your other recommendations.

    I also love Heidi Swanson’s cookbooks (I rely heavily on her site http://www.101cookbooks.com which has hundreds of recipes… and you can browse them by main ingredient)

    Oh, and the Moosewood Cookbooks are also great.

  5. Nice list! I have some millet and black beans on hand, so I’m excited to try making the millet black bean patties.

    I received “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison for Christmas last year, and use it rather frequently. I’ve yet to be disappointed by any of her recipes!

  6. I love my copy of Supermarket Vegan. The recipes are so easy to follow and the ingredients easy to find. Thanks for the recommendations. Going have to take a look at Thrive for sure.

  7. La Dolce Vegan is my absolute favorite. I make the vegan cheese and seitan recipes all the time. You can’t beat the sweet potato and black bean burritos.

    • La Dolce Vegan was my first vegan cookbook, and six years later, it is still my favorite. Whenever a friend is pondering veganism, I let them borrow it; but only for a few days, since I utilize it so much.

  8. Not vegan but Bittman’s ‘How to cook everything vegetarian’ would be on my list.

    • Seconded! I’m a big fan of the Bittman book, as it just has so many different things in it!

      • +1 for Bittman’s book. Not really a “creative recipe” type of book, but this is especially handy for people like myself who love recipes but realistically don’t have the time and energy to go to the grocery store or cook from scratch with new ingredients all the time. It’s a great way to eat fast, usually cheaply, lots of variations for standard bean and legume dishes… use whatever you have in the kitchen. Oh and if you aren’t sure how to cook certain grains and legumes or what they go with in terms of spices or sauces, he has suggestions, too. Example: basic granola recipe allows you to add whatever you want, but makes 4-6 suggestions for types of granola.

        • Agreed with all the above! I love this book because it teaches how to use different ingredients and make good combos. After a few months of using the book, I stopped relying on recipes and was able to get creative with the ingredients I had learned to manipulate and love.

  9. I find Global Vegetarian Kitchen by Troth Wells to be a phenomenal vego book for atheletes. It’s ethnic food, but in a more North-American oriented approach. All the meals are fast, under an hour, most even under 30 minutes. About half have some form of veg protein, but almost all are versatile enough to add protein to. 😀

  10. Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein. My husband and I aren’t vegan, but everything in this book is delicious. Everything. Triple her amounts of garlic though, she’s garlic-averse.

  11. I’m a little obsessed with Chloe Coscarelli right now. The sweet potato and kale pizza in “Chloe’s Kitchen” is one of the best things I’ve ever made.

  12. I adore Isa! I know you probably don’t want her on there three times, but Vegan With A Vengeance was my first vegan cookbook and still the one I turn to over and over again.

    I hear there is a Forks Over Knives cookbook and the Engine #2 Cookbook out there now. Would love to see a review on those before buying them myself.

    • Vegan with A Vengeance was one of my first vegan cookbooks over 6 years ago and I still swear by it! The scrambled tofu recipe on page 12 has been my bible since the beginning, and it’s so easy to adjust with fresh, local ingredients you have on hand 🙂

  13. Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry is a must have.

  14. I can’t stop raving about Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli. I’ve got even meat lovers to fall in love with her recipes.

  15. Hi Matt! You will probably need to add ¨Vegan Eats World¨, the new cookbook by Terry Hope Romero, to that list once it is out in October. I was a tester and I can tell you that the recipes are really great! For their simplicity and rapidity, you cannot beat Appetite for Reduction. It´s my go-to cookbook.

  16. Appetite for Reduction is my absolute favorite vegan cook book so I am super happy to see that it was included on your list!

  17. One of my favorites is Vegan Fire & Spice! It includes different spicy foods from all over the world – everywhere from Thailand to the Caribbean to Africa. Not all are under 30 minutes, but most are and they’re easy to prepare.

  18. Holly Haynick says:

    The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. This book/cookbook is what made me transition from vegetarian to vegan. Informative book followed by yummy, healthy recipes. There are even 3 different “levels” of recipes depending on if you are “flirting” with vegan, an established vegan, or a superhero. Love it, and every recipe I have made in there has been amazing!

  19. It might not technically be a cookbook, but The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone has pretty tasty and healthy recipes in it!

  20. The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. I don’t think it’s vegan, but most of it is. And if it isn’t I think it could be modified to be vegan. I never made a recipe out of there that I didn’t like. And reading it is almost like reading a novel. Looove it.

    • I have that too! That book has a separate Vegan index, so it’s easy to pull out plants-only recipes.

      I do love how Crescent offers variations for many of her dishes.

  21. Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm. Her wontons are brilliant. Can’t fail with any of her soups or pasta dishes.

  22. Janine Clark says:

    9.The 30 Minute Vegan, by Mark Reinfeld

    Fast, cheap, wholesome recipes with options to make recipes your own, and many raw options.

    • I second this one! The author has a few other books which are also great. There’s an Asian one and a European influenced one was just released. I love the first two, but haven’t played with the new European one yet. 🙂

    • Agreed Janine, The 30 Minute Vegan is my #9 pick as well! Everything I’ve ever created from that book has been FANTASTIC!

  23. Really great list! As I’m still kind of a n00b, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting on my own (sometimes good, sometimes horrible) or sticking with very simple recipes (only so many times one can eat brown rice and black beans in one week) or depending on local veg/an restaurants (which can get expensive after awhile). This post comes at a great time as I’ve been meaning to grab a good cookbook with some relatively simple yet diverse recipes to add to my diet.

  24. +1 for Ms. Dragonwagon and her Passionate Vegetarian. She includes ways to modify most of the vegetarian recipes to vegan, and has TONS of information about food and life! Love it!

  25. I love Amber’s recipes Practically Raw..
    I have to say my first book was Appetite for Reduction, then Veganomicon, Vegan with a vengence.. She made going Vegan easy.
    Dreena Burton has some great recipes too!!
    I have Thrive signed by Brendan, you got me into his book, I heard him speak and bought it then

  26. Neal Barnard – the get healthy, go vegan cookbook is AWESOME!

  27. I too am obsessed with Chloe’s Kitchen… Everything is delicious and very easy to make…

  28. I use the Forks over Knives cookbook.

  29. That’s a very inspiring list!
    I just bought Thrive Foods, and I can’t wait to try the recipes.

    I’m loving right now Dreena Burton’s latest cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan.
    I own all of other books and some of her recipes are in my regular recipes rotation.
    This one is her best work yet. She uses a nice array of whole grain flours (no white flour), has lots of yummy smoothies recipes and uses lots of greens and beans, tofu and tempeh and no analogs.
    Plus she suggest variations and complementary dishes, which is something I like in a cookbook.

  30. Happy Herbivore books are my staple recipe books!

  31. Great list! I saw 2 new books in going to try. My gateway book was the Kind Diet. I still go back after 3 years!

  32. I can’t believe ‘Vegan Planet’ wasn’t mentioned. Great book that uses easy to find ingredients. Ours is falling apart we use it so much! 🙂

  33. Hazel Chase says:

    Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
    My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness


  34. The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (who also wrote The Joy of Vegan Baking which is pretty darn good too!)

  35. “Get Healthy, Go Vegan” by Dr. Neal Barnard. It was the first vegan cook book that I bought and the recipes are simple, quick, healthy and each recipe has nutrition info with it. He is also the author of “Foods That Fight Pain”, where he goes over different issues and diet changes to help you improve your condition. Everything from migraines to back and joint pain to stomach issues can be helped with the proper vegan diet adjustments. You guys should check him out!

  36. The Happy Herbivore cookbooks, Skinny Bitch and Chloe’s Kitchen are my current favorites. And the recipes out of Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run.

  37. I’m fairly new to being vegan, just four months now and loving it! The only vegan cookbooks I’ve tried and love are Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore. Healthy, simple, and fast. I love the website too.

    I also like Engine 2 Diet. I’ve tried a few recipes from the book and the website and they’ve been great. Can’t imagine going back now!

    Now I must check Isa immediately!

  38. Thrive rocks! I also like the Sarah Kramer books (La Dolce Vegan, How it All Vegan, Garden of Vegan).

  39. I love Delightfully Raw. http://thesunnyrawkitchen.blogspot.com/2010/11/introducing-my-new-recipe-book.html
    It brought me to the world of dehydrated snack and everything I made has been great!
    Also love Appetite for Reduction!

  40. My go to recipe book is Appetite for Reduction/Isa Chandra Moskowitz, but I’ve been enjoying Let Them Eat Vegan!: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family/Dreena Burton recently.

  41. Rad—they all sound good. Guess it’s time to go book shopping! Thanks for the list.

  42. Jon Weisblatt says:

    Our go to books (besides our own home made 3 ring binder we have collected) are Moosewood Cooking for Health and the Kripalu cookbook. Kripalu.org also has some great recipes on their website. Also, Gluten Free Cooking for the Conscious Cook.

  43. Erin Almond says:

    I’m vegetarian, not vegan, but I’ve been buying vegan cookbooks with the intention of moving in that direction. Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore are great, especially if you want quick, low-fat meals. I just got Chloe Casciarelli’s book too and can’t wait to try her recipes. But I’m with all the Isa fans. Appetite for Reduction has the best salad & salad dressing recipes you’ll find anywhere (even if you don’t think you should need recipes for such things) and Veganomicon just rocks. Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s books are all favorites too.

  44. I like Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction, but I go back, time and time again, to Vegan with a Vengeance. It’s stained, torn, and partly burned (it was set down on a live burner once), but none of the recipes ever fail me.

    I’ll be looking through the rest of these, for sure, and linking this post.

  45. I see Viva Vegan up there on your shelves, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. It has such creative, full flavors that are substantive and satisfying. Terry Hope has some seitan recipes, but they can easily be replaced with beans if one desires.

  46. Vegan Planet, seconded! It meets all those criteria and is absolutely delicious.

  47. Great list! I’m not vegan but working on being a “plant strong athlete” and I own five of those. I confess I haven’t cooked a thing from Appetite for Reduction yet and I’ve had it for months, so thanks for the reminder to get in and try it.

  48. I’m a fan of the oldies but goodies, like Laurel’s Kitchen and The Tofu Cookbook. They remind me of my childhood 🙂

  49. If you are looking for whole food and delicious–Dreena Burton is my favourite cookbook author. I go back to Vive Le Vegan, Eat Drink and Be Vegan and her new one Let Them Eat Vegan time and time again.

    • I switched to plant based way of eating 9 months ago primarily based on stumbling upon Dr. McDougall’s website. His book “The Starch Solution” is absolutely life changing and also has some recipes. But for recipes, I would highly recommend any recipe book from his wife, Mary McDougall – who is obviously the cook in the family. Her recipes are easy and delicious, which is important to me since I’m a guy and am new to cooking this way.

  50. Gill Ewing says:

    The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld, George Minot and George R. Minot (2000).
    This is my go-to book for special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays. The menus are all special and always turn out well – you know it’s a special occasion when you have a meal from this book!

  51. Great list, I am going to buy Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Food tomorrow! My favourite vegan cookbook is definitely “vegan family meals” by Ann Gentry. Easy, wholesome and a great resource for vegan dinner parties.

  52. How about Quick-Fix Vegetarian by Robin Robertson and any of the Moosewood collection. Very delicious and practical vegetarian (some vegan) recipes.

    Thanks for sharing your list!

  53. I really liked Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet. It has great recipes, some quite simple 🙂

  54. Hi Matt,

    I’ve got #9 for you. We are an active family with 3 girls, and our daughter is in training for girls rep hockey. My husband and I see what other children are eating in sports, and it’s shocking – our daughter is fuelled with grains and beans, nuts, vegetables, and other whole foods. I also workout 5+ days a week, in addition to being a busy mom of these three bustling kiddos.

    So, I’d like to send you a review copy of my newest cookbook “Let Them Eat Vegan”. It uses the ‘vegan basics’ of whole grains and whole-grain products, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits – no processed vegan meats, creams/cheeses. And, there is even an entire tutorial on “Green Smoothies”.

    Please let me know where to send a review copy, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to give it that 9th spot! 😉

    Here’s the amazon link so you can see what others are saying: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0738215619/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=dreenaburtonc-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0738215619&adid=0R83BKRN751H6H4MAFQV&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fvivelevegan.blogspot.ca%2F

    Pls be in touch! Thanks,

  55. I concur with several on your list. My one to add that I’m loving right now and meets all of your criteria is Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton. It’s been getting tons of use in my kitchen!

  56. “Color Me Vegan” by Colleen Patrick Goudreau has many delicious quick recipes. I LOVE that cookbook!

  57. I love the Native Foods cookbook for more decadent dishes, but my day-to-day vegan cookbook right now is Engine 2 Diet. Not only are the recipes easy, tasty, and filling…they are OIL FREE too. Super healthy.

  58. Great list! I’m a bit cookbook obsessed. A few that haven’t been mentioned that I love are The Inspired Vegan by Bryant Terry, and Practically Raw by Amber Shea.
    Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson isn’t vegan, but most recipes are vegan or are easily modified to be vegan. Super Nautral Everyday gets more use than any other book on my shelves, because the meals are so healthy and comforting and amazingly delicious that I love them and my hubby (an omnivore) is also happy.

    • Absolutely love Heidi’s recipes…we have both of her cookbooks and refer to the 101cookbooks website on a regular basis. I have also found that it is very easy to convert her recipes to vegan. Great post!! I’m looking forward to digging through and finding more fun cookbooks and recipes 🙂

  59. This post just made my christmas list for me.

  60. Hi Matt! I just stumbled across your website and I’m STOKED. I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years, a gluten free vegetarian for 4, and am about to start an 8 week paleo challenge at my (Crossfit) gym. I was concerned about going Paleo, but after reading your post am going to give it a go!
    Quick question- this list of cookbooks looks amazing and I want them all, but of course I have a budget 🙂 Is there one or two you (or anyone else?) would recommend first, particularly for the paleo endeavor?

  61. Going Raw by Judita Wignall is definitely a FAVE!

  62. Brian Duffey says:

    Eat and Run by Scott Jurek is my absolute favorite. I know its not a pure cookbook, but I couldn’t bring myself to convert to a plant based diet entirely until I had read this and tried a bunch of his recipes. Every recipe is geared towards the athlete and tastes amazing. I’m on my 4th month of eating vegan and I owe it to this book. I’ve since tried and a number of other resources and books to add some variety to my repetoire, but I always come back to Eat and Run when I want something familiar that I can count on tasting great!

  63. Great list. Like others mentioned… Scott Jurek’s book has amazing recipes. I’ve made his chili, guac, and burgers all have been incredibly tasty!

  64. 1000 Vegan Recipes has been sitting on my shelf for awhile, and now I’m relying on it to transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. Thanks for all the great recommendations! I’m not familiar with the others, but I want to check some out and start cooking!

  65. I don’t have a favourite book but just found a new great recipe for a Mexican bake.

    1 tin of beans (we used kidney beans)
    1 tin of chopped tomatoes
    1 packet of fajita spice mix
    3 large tortillas

    Heat the beans in a saucepan with the fajita mix then add the tomatoes. Cut the tortillas in half and then layer as you would a lasagne and cook in the oven at 160 (fan assisted oven) for 15 mins!

    Really tasy and easy!

  66. If I could only keep 3 of my cookbooks, these are the ones I would keep:

    The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook by Linda Fraser
    Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons
    Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

    The Best-Ever may actually be the best ever. Most of the recipes have few ingredients, are simple, and every one I have made has been delicious.

    Vegetarian Planet has more recipes than you could ever try, and they are generally made up of easy to find ingredients, but the recipes tend to be a fusion of more than one culture. They keep things interesting.

    Super Natural is awesome because there are very few ingredients in each recipe (read: easy prep) but the food is always amazing. Some of the recipes do call for ingredients that require a specialty shop, and would be challenging to get if you don’t live in a big city.

  67. These are fantastic reviews! I tried out going vegan for a little while and decided ultimately to try out vegetarian first and I love it. It’s been about a month and I am loving it! No meat for me and I don’t feel like I need it even with training for a half marathon!

  68. Quick Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson!

  69. Delicious recipes, bold flavours, exiting and easy recipes for every body that loves good food – Robin Asbell’s Big Vegan is a must have (she is also about to launch “Sweet and Easy Vegan” the first week of October and I can’t wait)

  70. One of my favorites – Big Vegan by Robin Asbell. This book has a whole foods focus and I found a number of staple recipes that are very good.

  71. my go-to-book for a “mixed family” of 5?

    “The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet” by Nava Atlas.

    I can’t stand to read ingredient lists that are 15-20 items long. I just don’t have the patience or attention for that! And nearly everything in this book is fast. I’ve never had anything I didn’t like from this book. My kids love it, my slightly pickier husband had had some he’d rather pass on. I’ve been veg over 20 years but this book still gives me ideas and great dinners! (Who would have thought of an avocado ricotta (that’s it besides salsa) burrito for lunch? Too simple to think of, most days and never thought of ricotta in a burrito before!! YUMMY)

  72. I just really wanted to thank you for making me realize that I can continue on with not eating meat. This is my second year as a vegetarian (with significantly less intake of dairy and egg products), and I found it tough to stick through it after a particularly intense summer. However, after deciding to run the Los Angeles marathon this coming year, I came across this blog and I realized that there was no need for me to go back to eating meat. You helped motivate and inspire me to continue on with vegetarianism while training for the marathon. So thank you! =D

  73. Let Them Eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton. I have had a lot of luck with this book. It is the first book I experienced through the library and liked well enough to purchase.

  74. I love Vegan Planet. It has easy to follow recipes with a manageable list of whole food ingredients for each recipe.

  75. This is a great post! I have been a vegetarian for just about four years, and I am always looking for more ideas for tasty and filling meals. I love your criteria for what makes a good cookbook–I hate how some vegetarian recipes are basically boring veggie dishes (no ‘rabbit foods’!) Thanks so much for your recommendations–I’ll be checking out these books as soon as possible!

  76. Ian From says:

    “Vegan on the Cheap” or VOC as we call it. Great book and breaks down the cost of each meal. Typically about $1-1.50 per serving. Most meals can be made for less than $5 and that’s for usually 4-6 servings, so you have leftovers for the next day. Lost of good ideas with step by step instructions. Definitely a must have.

  77. Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook: Over 135 Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Tasty Vegan Recipes
    by Carole Raymond

    I borrowed this book from the library about 4 times before I finally decided to just buy it. My son is allergic to dairy, soy, nuts, eggs; so he’s pretty much vegan. I supported him by eating what he could eat and by proxy, became vegan. After all these years, it is still my go-to book for weeknight recipes.

  78. I’ll second Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. They’re easy recipes with common, whole ingredients (ie. very few “mock” products). This one really helped me learn to love cooking. I just started two years ago.

    Also, a few veggie burger cookbooks:
    The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman
    Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger

  79. chad henry says:

    There are too many good vegetarian/vegan cookbooks out there for me to nominate just one, but I very much like Peter Berley’s two cookbooks–haven’t looked at his flexitarian cookbook. His recipes are simple, elegant, imaginative, and appetizing. He does use some dairy here and there, mainly cheese, but you can substitute vegan cheese. Also, the many macrobiotic cookbooks out there are very good, especially the second- and third-generation writers who are less Japanese-focused and more westernized. Berley comes from a macro background and so does Alicia Silverstone.

  80. Thanks for the list, I have 5 of the books and will check out the other 3. As for the ninth book I highly reccomend The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. Check it out!

  81. Thanks for sharing your faves! I just sent you a copy of my Reader’s Choice award winning Beanalicious Living, which features simple, delicious, plant based recipes and healthy eating strategies (and not just using beans!). Hope you’ll enjoy it and add it to your collection! Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is also great. I love to read the recipes in Veganomicon, but have never found the time to actually prepare them!

  82. Jennifer Ingram says:

    The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn

  83. Matt, thanks for sharing your insights.

    Two vegan cookbooks that I love are relatively new. They are Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon and Mouthwatering Vegan by Miriam Sorrell. Both these cookbooks have tons of delicious, healthy, whole foods that even my meat loving family members enjoy. Both authors are vegan food bloggers originally.

  84. Alexandra Fox says:

    Hey guys,
    One question. I need vegan cookbook that does not focus on faux meat, faux dairy, etc… What are the suggestions based on that?

    My goals are eating as organic as possible, and eating vegan with no faux anything. If anyone has suggestions I would appreciate it.

  85. Thanks for this list! I too love cookbooks and have a few of your books mentioned. I am about to get a few more.

    I just got Rich Roll’s new book The Plant power Way, which is a collaboration with his wife, Julie. I am so excited about some of the recipes! I tried their veggie burger and it was ridiculously delicious! It’s not Paleo Vegan so it won’t suit everybody, but it has great recipes and is a visually beautiful book.

  86. Chris C. says:

    Hi, Matt

    Your description of V’con as a book that “makes you feel like you did something” makes great sense. I haven’t used this book, but I know well the feeling of combining a few secondary ingredients and thinking, “that’s it?” Sure it’s delicious…but much of the thinking/work was done in the factory that produced the vegenaise, miso paste, etc. These ingredients are great for lazy days, for sure, but a book that relies too heavily on them leaves one in deprivation!
    I also appreciate your distinction between gourmet and health-based preparations. As time passes, more often I prefer simple rice, beans, and vegetable dishes to dressed-up seitan rolls or walnut croquettes and the like.

    I am fantastically thankful for this blog and all that you do to keep it running

  87. Thug Life: Eat like you give f**k. Seriously that’s the title. There’s a You Tube promo video that will make you laugh or loud if of course you’re not offended my curse words. Great recipes, hilarious, profanity -ridden instructions for whole foods plant based eating. Google Thug Kitchen and watch the video, but not with the kids around! I’ve purchased it twice, have it as a gift.

  88. I’m part of a local community supported agriculture (CSA) I am really wanting to find a plant based cookbook based on seasonal produce. Basically flip open book and keep open same section for entire season. Any good ones out there?! Thanks in advance!

  89. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for this list! Funny, all of #1-7 are the first books I bookmarked to buy overtime when I first starting eating plant-based. Although not specifically for athletes, I really like Bryant Terry’s book and food philosophy, particularly around social justice and food; and that comfort food can be healthful. And also, as the previous poster mentioned, the books from Thug Life (Eat like you Give a F**ck in particular).

  90. I can’t believe nobody has mentioned “But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner” by Kristy Turner. Mmm well, maybe b/c it’s a really long title (I cheated & copy-pasted it, teehee). The recipes are incredible for both newbies and long-time plant eaters. She gives great substitutions & creative ideas (if you like Isa’s creative style, then you’ll like these). And if you’re in over your head with how many books you’ve placed in your amazon cart, then head over (aha, that pun totally came outta nowhere!) to her blog, Keepin’ it Kind. I’m not saying that you need Food Porn to convince you, but if you do then I probably should warn you to wear protection, lest your keyboard get messy–um I was talking about drool, you pervs! Anyboogiewho, happy foraging!! 🙂

  91. Hey Matt,
    Thanks for the cookbook list!

    My two favorite cookbooks are “The Plantpower Way” by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt and “Oh She Glows” by Angela Liddon.

  92. Thug Kitchen was the first vegan cookbook I purchased and have since expanded my library to include TK2, Isa Does It, Veganomicon, Nom Yourself, and Eat Raw, Eat Well. Thug Kitchen is still my favourite that I constantly find myself going back to. It taught me so much and made me a way better, more laid back vegan.

  93. Deborah demmer says:

    Has anyone tried “The vegan pantry”, would love feed back before i buy. Thanks

    • chefkapsch says:

      Vegan pantry is good for making those things from scratch rather than buy it made like the vegan mayo is really good.

  94. What a great post with so many great recommendations!
    I love Thug Kitchen, and also the Oh She Glows! cookbook. Both have many amazing and delicious recipes!!

  95. chefkapsch says:

    For my wife and I we are trying the oil free cooking and have a few favorites like any McDougall cook book, pure plant nation is another. Jason wrobel just came out with a good cookbook too called eaturnity. Lastly have to shout out to Jill mckeever’s cookbook for recipes in the instant pot is great

  96. Terrific recommendations! I’d like to add “Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen” by Richa Hingle to the list. Richa has produced a colorful, easy to read and cook compendium of authentic, traditional Indian food.

    While sourcing some of the spice ingredients may be a challenge, that can be overcome by shopping online. Some of the recipes can take a little time but, for me, that’s what weekends are for. Highly recommended if you like a bit of spice in your life!

  97. I love Thug Kitchen because it makes me laugh and the recipes are actually good and easy to make. My favourite go to book is At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin. It is mostly Vegan (a couple of the recipes have goats cheese or yogurt). I also love Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance. Everything I have tried is delicious and turns out perfectly.

  98. Megan Manson says:

    Does anyone else use Eat Your Books? I like to see what other no meat athletes have on their shelves. My screen name is Megoola. I have an OMNI family so not all my books are veg’n.

  99. But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kristy Turner is amazing! I started bookmarking my favorites in it until I had a bookmark in nearly every page!

  100. Thug Kitchen, Oh She Glows, and America’s Test Kitchen Vegetarian Cookbook which has several vegan recipes are my favorites.

  101. Oh she glows, plus she has an amazing website and app.

  102. Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon and Thug Kitchen by Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway are two of my favorites!!!

  103. Thanks from r the list and comments! I have a good amount of these books , but wanted to mention The Minimalist Baker. Great book and Matt has the recipe for the Parmesan Spinkles inhisbextras section of you pre-ordered his new book!

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