While there must be an infinite number of ways to harness the power of Google to find the best plant-based recipe books out there, a simple search for the “top plant-based recipe books” for 2018 and 2019 returns a list of 18 publications, each featuring between 1 and 18 recipe books. Quite a list!
But What Exactly Is a Plant-Based Diet?
Before we dive into these search results, let’s first find the answer to the question: “What is a plant-based diet?” Many attempts have been made to define this clearly. Katherine D. McManus, MS, RD, LDN at Harvard Medical School best describes it as focused “on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.”
Bear in mind that the vegan recipe books reviewed for this article all offer outstanding plant-based recipes. However, being vegan, some of them might include items not typically found in a plant-based diet like sugar and other refined products that no longer resemble their original plant form.
And the Results Are In!
In the quest to come up with the list of six plant-based recipe books, each book had to meet the following criteria:
- Be available on Amazon
- Awarded least 4.5 stars in the reviews
- Reviewed by at least 200 customers
Keep in mind that the longer a book has been featured on Amazon, the more reviews it likely will have attracted.
In increasing order of customer reviews, we have:
- The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot: 80 Easy and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes That You Can Make in Half the Time (2017 – 208 reviews)
Kathy Hester shows you how easy it is to pressure cook, steam, sauté, and slow cook with your Instant Pot®. Cook an entire meal all at the same time with her layered entrees and sides, try a one-pot meal, or prepare beans and lentils in half the time. With recipes like Herbed French Lentils with Beets and Pink Rice or Creamy Mushroom Curry with Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf, maintaining a plant-based lifestyle has never been easier or tastier.
- Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed (2014 – 254 reviews)
Bryant Terry blends African, Caribbean, and southern cuisines, resulting in delicious recipes like Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil. With more than 100 modern and flavorsome dishes that draw on Terry’s memories, as well as the history of food that has traveled from the African continent, he takes you on an international food journey. Accompanying the recipes, there are even suggested music tracks and book recommendations from around the world.
- Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes (2016 – 509 reviews)
Dana Shultz founded the Minimalist Baker blog in 2012 to share her passion for simple cooking and quickly gained a devoted worldwide following. In this, her debut cookbook, she shares 101 vibrant, simple recipes that are entirely plant-based, mostly gluten-free, and 100% delicious. Packed with gorgeous photography, this practical but inspiring cookbook includes recipes requiring ten ingredients or less, able be made in a single bowl, or that require 30 minutes or less to prepare.
- Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week (2013 – 825 reviews)
Isa Chandra Moskowitz shows you how to make flavorful and satisfying vegan meals from scratch every day, often in 30 minutes or less. She shares 150 mouthwatering recipes like Sweet Potato Red Curry with Rice and Purple Kale or Bistro Beet Burgers, and shows just how simple and satisfying meat-free food can be. The recipes are supermarket friendly and perfect for busy readers.
- The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out (2014 – 1,874 reviews)
Angela Liddon, a self-trained chef and food photographer, has spent years perfecting the art of plant-based cooking, creating inventive and delicious recipes that have won her devoted fans from all over the world. An eating disorder led Angela to change her diet—and her life—once and for all. She began eating whole, nutrient-packed vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains, and this healed her relationship with food.
- Forks Over Knives―The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year (2012 – 2,251 reviews)
Del Sroufe, the man behind some of the mouthwatering meals in the landmark documentary of the same name, proves that the Forks Over Knives philosophy is not about what you can’t eat, but what you can. Chef Del and his collaborators transform wholesome fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes into hundreds of recipes—classic and unexpected, globally and seasonally inspired. Every meal of the day is covered, all throughout the year.
Your Next Steps
Now, you could be impulsive and order all six books at the same time from Amazon and have them delivered in a matter of days. This collection would cost you between $60 and $90, depending on whether you got the Kindle, softcover, or hardcover versions, or even used copies. However, the sense of being overwhelmed and thinking “Where do I start” would be a huge negative factor of doing it this way.
You could instead start at the bottom of the list with the popular classic, Forks Over Knives, and its more than 300 plant-based recipes. However, the Best Reviews Guide suggests that Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking (#3 above) represents a “Best Value,” so this might be the place to start.
While you are on this journey, don’t forget to also look at the excellent recipe books available from the Hallelujah Diet®. They are full of plant-based recipes that you will not find in any other of the books highlighted in this article. With your first book, you have made a great start on this journey, and with all the newfound options you are discovering, are well positioned to keep building and expanding not only that wonderful recipe book collection but also your healthy way of life!