For those of us that have been sticking to this sort of lifestyle for a while, eating a plant-based diet is easy, delicious, and perhaps most importantly, nutritious. However, getting started isn’t always as simple, especially for those who are adopting a plant-based lifestyle after having tried other types of diets.
There are loads of questions that a plant-based diet beginner may have that can make cooking up mouthwatering and healthy cuisine a little tricky! Is it OK to eat dairy and eggs? How can I make a plant-based meal to help me hit my macros? What in the world is maca? It’s OK, just breathe….
We’ve found 6 fantastic cookbooks that are perfect for any plant-based beginner, introducing you (gently!) to some common plant-based diet ingredients, and helping you to make amazing dishes:
Deliciously Ella: The Plant-Based Cookbook, Ella Mills
If you’re new to a plant-based diet, then it’s worth taking some time getting to know one of its biggest advocates: Ella Mills. Ella, or ‘Deliciously Ella’ as she has become known, has written a number of cookbooks and even owns a deli in London which serves up foods such as chia pudding and cauliflower dhal. Ella’s plant-based cookbook includes 100 simple vegan recipes covering breakfast, salads, soups and stews, burgers and falafels, and desserts. There’s even a section that includes a few ‘fancy’ dishes if you wanted to show off your new cooking skills to your friends. How about wowing them with a seared polenta and shaved fennel salad, finishing off with truly decadent chocolate and coconut truffles?
Eat Feel Fresh, Sahara Rose Ketabi
As a plant-based beginner, you’ve probably seen the word ‘Ayurveda’ quite a bit. What is it? Ayurveda is a type of traditional medicine that focuses on the connection between nutrition and the mind, body, and spirit. Confused? Don’t worry! This Ayurvedic cookbook will tell you everything you need to know. Eat Feel Fresh by Sahara Rose Ketabi shares some great breakfasts for your dosha and guides you through some fantastic tridoshic dinners to support your Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The cookbook even has a whole section dedicated to plant-based drinks such as golden mylk and ginger pumpkin pie latte (who needs Starbucks?).
The First Mess Cookbook, Laura Wright
During the summer, when lots of fresh fruits and veggies are in season, you may find it easy to follow a plant-based diet. But what happens when fresh produce isn’t so widely available (or costs an arm and a leg?). Laura Wright is here to help, with the First Mess Cookbook which guides you through sticking to your diet through the seasons. With fresh strawberries, ripe melon, and hearty winter root veg all included, you can enjoy the very best plant-based foods that each season has to offer. If you’re looking for great value, this book is a winner as it’s one of the biggest on our list with a whopping 125 recipes. We also love the photography in this book which really shows off the colour of the seasonal foods.
Plant-Based Meats, Robin Asbell
If you’re transitioning to a plant-based diet from a meat-eating diet, then you may find that you’re craving the tastes from your old lifestyle. But before you give into temptation, give this cookbook by Robin Asbell a try. Plant-Based Meats is perfect for the former carnivore, sharing with you some plant-based meals that satisfy all those meaty cravings. Did you know that, on a plant-based diet, you can still enjoy the BBQ-y goodness of pulled pork… if you make it with jackfruit? The spiciness of buffalo wings… if you make them with cauliflower? The smokiness of bacon… if you make it with the mushroom? There are all sorts of vegan alternatives in here, including jerky, pate, meatloaf, and even sausages!
BOSH!, Henry Firth & Ian Theasby
BOSH! Makes the list for two reasons. Firstly, the recipes included in the BOSH! The cookbook is simple to make and ideal for beginners, yet they’re not your standard plant-based foods. This book is definitely original, with recipes such as bhaji burgers, sticky shiitakes, and ‘guacaroni’ (guacamole meets macaroni!), and it’s actually refreshing as a long time plant-based dieter to see people coming up with new and exciting ways to enjoy vegan cooking. The second reason BOSH! makes the list? It’s fun! Henry Firth and Ian Theasby add their own humour and personality to this cookbook, sharing stories of their Thai-bucket hangover (well, what they remember of it) and giving an insight into the BOSH! Studio.
Vegan on the Go, Jerome Eckmeier & Daniela Lais
Perhaps one of the hardest things about starting off a plant-based diet is sticking to it… even when it’s not easy. For example, while you may be enjoying following a plant-based diet at home, what happens when you go out? This is where Vegan on the Go by Jerome Eckmeier and Daniela Lais comes in handy! This book includes 100 plant-based recipes that are ideal for wrapping up and taking for lunch, or even for a picnic! So if you’re bored of salads day in, day out, why not try making asparagus quiche, enjoy a bagel with tempeh mayo, or even take a courgette cake to share at work? Best of all, this book has handy hints for eating out. Going for a Chinese food? Look for tofu. Indian? Watch out for anything made with ghee.
It Gets Easier! As you adjust to following a plant-based diet, things do become much, much easier! You’ll start to get more confident in your choices, and you may start experimenting and getting more creative with your foods. However, for now, it’s best to start slow and take your time learning about plant-based nutrition and great food combos. These plant-based cookbooks are a great starting point, gently easing you into plant-based cooking and providing plenty of inspiration and motivation for you to stick to your diet.
Book Review by Andrea Boffo
Andrea Boffo is CEO of PlusVoucherCode, a website that provides discount codes to save money on online purchases.