Going vegan or shifting to a plant-based diet can be intimidating without the right resources and frame of mine. Removing all animal products and byproducts from your diet is tough: Maybe you’ve tried a plant-based diet in the past and found yourself stuck in a recipe rut, eating the same things day after day until you caved and ordered a burger. Or maybe the recipes are too long and involved and require soaking nuts all the time. But eating a vegan diet doesn’t have to be monotonous or time-consuming. Whether you’re going to give up animal products entirely or just want to go meatless more often, these books can help.
With 150 easy-to-make recipes that help you recreate old favorites, from milkshakes to bacon, this cookbook makes a vegan diet relatively easy. Added bonus: It offers a cheaper and less processed approach to store-bought vegan alternatives for your omnivorous favorites. Roberston focuses not just on taste, but also on texture, and the result is exciting, nutritious dishes that’ll make you happy you went vegan.
In this vegan blogger’s book, Hansen includes everything from grocery shopping lists to recipe inspiration as well as the motivation you’ll need to make it through your first month of plant-based eating. Even if you don’t intend to be plant-based full-time, this is one of the best books for showing you that it can be done in a healthy, tasty, sustainable way.
If your kids are notoriously picky eaters, this book makes eating vegan less tricky. With 125 recipes that cover plant-based versions of foods kids typically love, like mac and “cheese” and “chicken” nuggets, to more international dishes like a vegan bánh mì, there’s a recipe in here that will certainly satisfy the whole family. She also includes parent-friendly tips for using leftovers in creative ways.
If cheese is getting in the way of you going vegan, thankfully, there are some great options that you can make yourself with the help of this short cookbook. In fact, there are 35 recipes for making whatever type of cheese you’re craving — whether it’s savory or sweet cheeses, hard or soft. For extra inspiration, there’s enough variety if you plan to host your next wine-and-cheese gathering completely dairy-free.
Serious carnivores who love a meaty chili almost as much as a rare burger will make good use of this plant-based cookbook full of hearty and satisfying recipes. Brian Patton, a self-described nerd who loved cooking shows, created The Sexy Vegan as a way of showcasing extraordinary meals that could be made without any animal products or byproducts.
Rather than trying to push you toward a 100% vegan lifestyle, Kateman’s ‘reducetarian’ approach focuses on eating less meat and more plants, but not adding hard-and-fast rules to your diet. The idea is that plant-based eating is less stressful if you’re less worried about ‘messing up.’ This series of essays from people like authors Seth Godin and Victoria Moran, doctor Joel Fuhrman, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and historian Naomi Oreskes presents ideas and options for reducing meat consumption, without making huge changes.
For simple recipes that you and your children can make together, Living Crazy Healthy makes healthy eating fun with recipes like carrots in a blanket, nacho mac and cheese, vegan alfredo bow ties, and almond butter banana bread blondies. We also appreciate that none of the ingredients she uses require a special trip to the health food store. They’re all easy to find in most supermarkets, which is also pretty kid-friendly.
There’s a major assumption that plant-based cooking is way more time-consuming and energy-intensive than other diets, but that’s not necessarily true. There are tons of delicious, nutrient-dense meals that can be made in under 10 minutes, and Kaminsky shares exactly how to do it. She specializes in meals that sound fancy, but can be made in minutes. It’s exactly the cookbook busy people need.
If you already have a good grasp on plant-based cooking and want to take it to the next level in terms of health, try raw recipes. Raw vegan foods tend to be ultra-nutrient-dense, and because they’re largely unprocessed, they typically contain more vitamins and minerals than other options. In Gorilla Food, Ash shares recipes for everything from a raw lasagna made with zucchini noodles, kale, and a walnut-based "cheese" to raw chocolate desserts. He also includes recipes for dehydrated foods, which are great quick snacks.
If this list feels like too much commitment, start small with this quick-start guide to testing the waters of vegan eating. This week-long approach is meant for busy people and covers a traditional workweek, which means no long prep times, hard-to-find ingredients, lengthy prep, or tricky recipes. It’s simple, budget-friendly, and gives you a realistic look at what a plant-based week can look like — even with a busy schedule.