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Updated January 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
America's Test Kitchen The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
America's Test Kitchen
The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

Minor quirks aside, this is a best-selling vegetarian cookbook with hundreds of chef-inspired recipes suitable for numerous types of meals, occasions, and cooks.

Pros

Packed with 700 recipes for making everything vegetarian, from soups to side dishes and snacks to main courses. Includes numerous gluten-free and vegan recipes. Instructions are detailed and easy to follow. Includes many color photos. Available in paperback, spiral-bound, and on Kindle.

Cons

A few of the recipes are elaborate, and many require eggs or cheese. The Kindle edition doesn't come with a table of contents.

Best Bang for the Buck
Heather Nicholds The College Vegan Cookbook
Heather Nicholds
The College Vegan Cookbook
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Budget-Friendly Recipes
Bottom Line

An affordable vegetarian cookbook with recipes that can be made with inexpensive ingredients.

Pros

A good read for students as well as vegetarians on a budget, as it focuses on ingredients that are affordable and easily accessible. Recipes are easy to follow and prepare, yet healthful and delicious. Available in an inexpensive paperback version and also on Kindle.

Cons

Some of the recipes require oil, which some people avoid. Would be better if it had more photos of completed dishes.

Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine The No Meat Athlete Cookbook
Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine
The No Meat Athlete Cookbook
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For Active Vegetarians
Bottom Line

Award-winning vegetarian cookbook that has earned praise from athletes and professionals in the field for its healthful recipes that are geared toward meat-free active lifestyles.

Pros

Contains meatless recipes for every meal that are made with ingredients that fuel workouts, and includes recipes to make homemade sports drinks. Users brag about many of the dishes providing energy for working out and staying active. Available on Kindle and in paperback.

Cons

Some athletes may be surprised that the recipes don't come with detailed nutritional information that's key to their goals. Some recipes are complicated while others seem quite basic.

Deborah Madison The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Deborah Madison
The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
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Fan-Favorite
Bottom Line

A revised edition of a cookbook that has a fan-base of dedicated vegetarians who love the distinctive flavors and wide variety of the recipes inside.

Pros

This popular vegetarian cookbook has been updated and includes new recipes and vegan dishes along with classic favorites. Teaches techniques that bring out exceptional flavors in a variety of recipes, including vegetarian desserts. Comes in a hardcover edition plus is available on Kindle.

Cons

Quite a few of the recipes call for eggs, which won't appeal to strict vegetarians or vegans. If you have the original edition, you may find some of the contents repetitive.

Mark Bittman How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Mark Bittman
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
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Best for Beginners
Bottom Line

Numerous easy-to-follow recipes make this a suitable cookbook for novice vegetarians and cooks who only occasionally prepare meat-free meals.

Pros

A revised version of a popular vegetarian cookbook that contains modern recipes and vegan options. Author is an experienced writer on food topics. Book and the recipes in it are put together nicely and easy to follow. Kindle and hardcover options are available.

Cons

Many of the recipes are basic, and may not appeal to longtime vegetarians. Some mistakes and missing pages reported.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best vegetarian cookbooks

Vegetarian cookbooks are for everyone — carnivores included. Whether you’re trying to incorporate more meatless meals into your week or you’ve been a herbivorous eater for years, vegetarian cookbooks offer plenty of recipe ideas where veggies are the star of the dish.

Anyone can flip through a veggie-based cookbook and find something to love. Do you like classic dishes like pizza and chili? There are vegetarian versions you might enjoy. There are also some innovative new vegetarian dishes that could end up becoming your favorites.

With the right vegetarian cookbook, a beginner cook or new vegetarian can find the tools to help them discover an array of foods. Veteran chefs can also find inspiration inside the variety of vegetarian cookbooks on offer. Whatever your skill level or dietary choices, a vegetarian cookbook makes a great companion for your kitchen. In this buying guide, we give you the recipe for shopping success.

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While many grocery stores are beginning to stock a host of vegetarian-friendly foods, small chains may not do so. Don’t be shy. Tell your local grocer that you’d love for them to stock tempeh or different types of veggie burgers. They may take your request to heart.

What is a vegetarian?

Vegetarianism is typically used to refer to someone who is lacto-ovo-vegetarian — meaning they eat eggs and dairy. Vegetarians consume a plant-based diet and do not eat any animal flesh: beef, chicken, fish, etc.

There are many varieties of vegetarians, though. These include:

  • Lacto-ovo: someone who eats a plant-based diet but also eats eggs and dairy
  • Lacto: someone who eats a plant-based diet, eats dairy products, but does not consume eggs
  • Ovo: someone who eats a plant-based diet, eats eggs, but does not consume dairy products
  • Partial vegetarian: someone who eats a mostly plant-based diet but who may also consume fish (pescatarian) or poultry (pollo-vegetarian)

Benefits of a vegetarian diet

Diet choice is a personal one, and not every diet works for every individual. There are, however, several notable benefits to a vegetarian diet.

  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Lowered cancer risk
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
     

There are also several risks associated with a mainly plant-based diet. It may be harder for some individuals to eat enough protein and achieve the daily recommended amount of certain vitamins and minerals (notably calcium and B vitamins).

Key considerations

Cookbook type

It would be impossible to list all of the cookbook types available, even within the single vegetarian category. But when browsing for a vegetarian cookbook, you may have a particular focus in mind. Do you want a vegetarian cookbook that includes recipes for your Instant Pot or other specific appliance? Are you interested in beginner-friendly recipes? Do you want a list of recipes perfect for entertaining? The type of cookbook you choose depends on your particular needs.

Other dietary restrictions

If you have any other dietary restrictions, such allergies or intolerances to gluten or cheese, scan the table of contents or index to check whether offending ingredients turn up often.

"Does the cookbook you’re eyeing have hard-to-find ingredients? Try to source those unusual items before buying the book. "
STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Layout

Take a peek at a cookbook’s table of contents. There’s a lot of information there. Does the general structure of the cookbook make sense? Does it seem appealing? Does the extra information (pantry organization, nutritional information) seem valuable to you? Do you prefer a cookbook organized by ingredient, meal type, or something else? Glancing at the table of contents will tell you most of what you need to know short of physically flipping through a book. If you’re shopping online, not to worry. You should be able to preview the table of contents from your computer.

Number of recipes

If you’re simply looking for plant-based inspiration, a heavy-duty vegetarian cooking tome might not be suitable for you. Those new to cooking may prefer a book that provides some instructional guidance. Again, the table of contents will give you an idea of the number of recipes, so always check there when shopping for a cookbook, vegetarian or otherwise.

Resources

Are you new to a vegetarian diet? You may find a book with additional resources useful. Helpful resources for newbie vegetarians include shopping lists, dietary tips, and pantry staple suggestions.

Photography

A cookbook without photographs may serve as a useful reference, but most people respond to visual imagery. It’s much easier to replicate a recipe when you have an idea of how the final product is supposed to look. Beautiful photographs often also serve as a source of inspiration for seasoned cooks.

Expert Tip
STAFF
BestReviews

Accessories

Here are a few helpful kitchen tools to pair with your new favorite plant-focused cookbook.

Pressure cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Beans and lentils are favorite diet staples for many vegetarians. They’re nutritious and filling, and dry beans are ultra-inexpensive. Dry beans take a long time to cook, but you can use an Instant Pot to cut the cooking time drastically. The Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 has a pressure cooker function that is equally useful for a variety of other vegetable-centric dishes, like soups and stews.

Food processor: Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
A lot of vegetarian dishes require plenty of cutting and chopping. During a typical weeknight, meal prepping vegetable-heavy dishes can be time-consuming. Cut down on prep time with a Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor. Use it to shred carrots, liquify sauces, and slice potatoes.

Sheet pans: New Star Foodservice Commercial-Grade 18-Gauge Aluminum Sheet Pan
Roasted veggies are the best kind of veggies. Use heavy-duty sheet pans, like the New Star Foodservice Commercial Grade pans, to roast broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, and carrots to perfection.

Dutch oven: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5.5 Quart Dutch Round French Oven
Substitute quinoa and mushrooms for meat in your next plant-based chili and simmer the rich concoction on your stovetop in a high-quality LeCreuset dutch oven.

Vegetarian cookbook prices

A vegetarian cookbook with a short overview and a small selection of simple recipes won’t cost you more than $20. You’ll pay a premium for new releases, cookbooks written by famous chefs, and books that include high-quality photography. These cookbooks could cost up to $40, but somewhere around $25 is a more likely price.

E-book versions of your favorite cookbooks are typically lower in price, but some find it tough to view and cook from digital editions of cookbooks.

Tips

  • Stock your pantry with spices and seasonings. Don’t be afraid to flavor your food boldly.
  • Dried beans are cheaper than canned, but there’s no reason you can’t speed up the cooking process by using canned beans.
  • A vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs or dairy products needs to pay close attention to the foods they eat to ensure they’re getting all the essential vitamins needed for survival.
  • Are you feeling lethargic? Don’t self-diagnose a deficiency. Ask your doctor about blood testing to ensure you’re getting the appropriate amount of iron and B vitamins in your diet.

Other products we considered

The Thug Kitchen cookbook is an ultra-popular book of vegan recipes. It’s not for the faint of heart — the book contains plenty of profanity — and some of the seasoning instructions are a little on the light side. Otherwise, it’s a great book to scan for veg-centric hosting.

The First Mess Cookbook is a gorgeous plant-based cookbook that features beautiful full-page photography. A simple glance at the photos will leave you salivating. The recipes are organized by season, so this pick is perfect for the cook interested in utilizing seasonal produce.

Plenty More, written by chef Yotam Ottolenghi, is a feast for the eyes. The book is filled with incredible mouth-watering recipes, but it’s not one we’d recommend for the novice cook.

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Do you love meat replacement products? Great! Not everyone is fond of mock meats, though. If that’s you, find a cookbook that features vegetable-centric dishes instead of carnivore-inspired fare.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?
A.
Unlike vegetarians, vegans avoid all animal-derived products, including honey, eggs, dairy, and leather.
 

Q. How do I know whether I'm getting enough protein from my diet?
A.
If you suspect you may have a deficiency, speak to your doctor, who can order a blood test to verify. A vegetarian diet requires careful planning to ensure you’re getting enough protein. Most people eating a vegetarian diet, especially lacto-ovo vegetarians, shouldn’t have a problem eating enough protein. Athletes, however, may find it tough to get enough protein with a plant-based diet and may need to supplement with products like protein bars and powders.
 

Q. I’m cooking for my non-vegetarian friends or family. What’s a good dish to serve meat-eating guests?
A.
We suggest avoiding meat substitutes. Choose a recipe for a dish that highlights and elevates one or more plant-based ingredients. Serve reluctant carnivores things like vegetable pasta or vegetarian pizza. Consider cooking an Indian dish for your next dinner party or potluck. Indian cuisine incredibly vegetarian-friendly.

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