The absolute best of the vegetarian cookbooks. These are the cookbooks that have the most to offer when it comes to exploring the amazing world of vegetarian cuisine. They're listed in no particular order, as they're all fantastic, and each a little bit different.
1. Vegan Planet
It may not be as flashy and hip as some of the newer vegan cookbooks that everyone seems to be loving lately, but who wants flashy and hip? I just want good food that I will actually eat! And that's where Robin Robertson comes to the rescue with the 400 recipes included in her cookbook Vegan Planet. This is a huge book, full of recipes that you will actually eat. There's nothing wacky, like wasabi-pomegranet-crusted celeriac; it's all foods that will sustain you and become regulars in your home. Robin is great at including a variety of ethnic cuisines in her book, so there's plenty of dinner ideas that will be new-to-you, and lots of simple fusion ideas (curried vegetable pizza, for example). Read my full review of Vegan Planet.
If you're enjoy creating meals from scratch, or want to get comfortable cooking without recipes, this book will be your Bible. Mark Bittman is a foodie, not a vegetarian, and normally, I always choose to promote the products and works of actual vegetarians, but this cookbook is just that good that I have to include it, even if it's a bit begrudgingly. Bittman really knows his stuff and has put an incredible amount of work into this book. I find his writing style to be a bit condescending, but considering how much one can learn from this book, it's forgivable. Vegans and the health-conscious will find it incredibly useful, as he has a whole-foods approach to preparing meals.
This isn't the cookbook you'll turn to everyday for dinner when you just want to fill up on a basic meal. But, if you've got a dinner party coming up or you want to create a gourmet meal for a special occasion, The Conscious Cook is what you need. It's a great gift book for foodies (my non-veg foodie friends have all borrowed my copy!), and honestly, the experience of salivating over the unbelievably beautiful photographs are worth the cost of the book. Vegan "food porn" at it's finest. You can see my full review of the Conscious Cook or try this sample recipe for fingerling potatoes with dulse and cashew cream. Author Tal Ronnen was also Oprah's personal chef during her 21-day vegan experiment, and catered Ellen Degernes' wedding.
Yes, I'll admit my bias. But how could I make a list of favorite vegetarian cookbooks without including my own cookbook, The Everything Vegan Cookbook, by Jolinda Hackett (that's me!)? After all, the reason the recipes made it into the book are because I absolutely love them and eat them myself! The cookbook includes 300 all vegan recipes, including plenty of healthy recipes, not-so-healthy recipes and an introduction to vegan foods and cooking.
For home cooks who take pride in cooking from scratch, this recipe collection from The Farm is for you. I love the photos and stories of the old hippie farm, which, incidentally, is still there, cranking out the recipes from this book to taste in their restaurants and shops. If you're ever in Tennessee, I recommend stopping by for their homemade soy ice cream! The book leans towards healthy and low-fat recipes with soy beans, legumes, soy foods, and homemade breads, so if you're looking for deep-fried cauliflower or ethnic foods, you won't find it here. But if you enjoy cooking from scratch and want to culture your own yogurt and tempeh, you'll find plenty to enjoy in this classic. Lots of great healthy desserts too.
Super-mom Jennifer, author of the insanely popular veganlunchbox blog (and creator of the Magical Vegetarian Loaf Studio) has collected her most popular recipes into this cookbook for kids, parents, and anyone who eats lunch! Her recipes are mostly healthy, and best of all, they're reviewed by her son's stomach. She also wrote a follow up, Vegan Lunch Box Around the World, which includes globally-inspired lunch box ideas that are still kid-friendly.
Your favorite cookbook or author didn't make the list? No sweat! You can give a shout out to your favorite vegetarian cookbook here. Dozens of unbiased readers have responded to share their favorite, so scroll through their advice and maybe find a new vegetarian cookbook to try.