Top 5: Vegetarian Cookbooks
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I learned to cook by reading cookbooks. In the past, if I came across a vegetarian cookbook at the thrift store, I would by it. When I started weight watchers 8 years ago, I obsessively collected and marked up Clean Eating and Eating Well magazines. I have an entire cabinet in our (very small) kitchen dedicated to cookbooks and magazines. I have been wondering, what makes a cookbook stand out in a extremely flooded market? For me, there needs to be compelling photography, unique recipes that inspire me to try new things and a mixture of simple and more complex instructions. When you pick up a recipe book, you should feel compelled to think, “what would that taste like.” I try to think about this when I make my own recipes. Also, these books help new cooks to understand how flavor profiles work together (or don’t), so they can start creating their own dishes.
I picked these five cookbooks because they are relatively new to me and I am still working my way through them. They are beautiful books with recipes that I can’t wait to cook for my family. As a food photographer, I am inspired by their images; the compositions, use of ingredients and styling. Seeing these women’s recipes in a book motivates me to work harder and better my craft (some of them started out just like me as food bloggers).
Let’s get cooking ya’ll!
#5 The French Market Cookbook By: Clotilde Dusoulier, $13.28
Clotilde Dusoulier is a french writer and blogger. Her blog Chocolateandzucchini.com is lovely and full of interesting takes on french cooking. When I bought this book from amazon, I was taken in by the design and photography without seeing the recipes that she created. Unfortunately for me, she uses a lot of ingredients that I don’t like. She uses eggplant, apricot, cardamom and endive in her recipes (no thank you). There are are however, several stand-out recipes that I am excited to try. I will post later on how they turn out.
On my list of recipes to try are her Asparagus and Buckwheat Tart (pages 40-41), Couscous with Vegetables (pages 124-126), Assorted Savory Puffs (pages 153-155) and Mushroom and Chive Quiche (pages 168-170).
I really enjoyed her philosophy on cooking. She uses seasonal fresh vegetables as the star of each dish and breaks up the book by spring, summer, fall and winter. You can follow along by season and eat your way through the year!
#4 The Vegetable Butcher By: Cara Mangini, $21.19
Cara Mangini is the owner of Little Eater here in Columbus, Ohio. Her book is a valuable index to have in your library. It has tons of tips on how to break down vegetables (thus the name Vegetable Butcher), including knives to use. The ingredients are listed in alphabetical order from artichoke to zucchini. She shows you step by step how to prepare each vegetable and includes a few recipes for each.
The recipes I am excited to try are her Grilled Asparagus, Taleggio and Fried Egg Panini (pages 37-38), Smashed and Seared Beets (pages 50-51), Corn Fritters with Summer Bean Ragout (pages 132-133) and Shitake “bacon” and shredded Brussel Sprouts Pizza with an Egg on Top.
#3 Soup Cleanse Cookbook By: Nicole Centeno, $14.05
I have tried several recipes from Nicole Centeno’s Soup Cleanse Cookbook. A year ago, my husband and I were considering meal delivery services and Nicole’s Splendid Spoon seemed like a great option. We signed up for a week of soups and smoothies and were all set to start when we both chickened out. I think that we were both worried about the extreme change in out diets. The basic plan gets you 5 smoothies for breakfast, 5 soups for lunch and you make your own dinners. The cost is a bit high at $135 per week, per person. What if we didn’t like the food or the change to our routine? I have never been a breakfast person, what if I didn’t drink the smoothies? In the end, I bought her book with instructions on the concept of a soup cleanse and made my own food.
Her recipes are delicious and healthy. We have tried her Split Pea with Shitake “Bacon” (pages 112-113) and “Chicken” Stew with Rice (pages 160-161) and both were a big hit.
I am interested in trying her Carrot Coconut Curry (pages 106-107), Bell Pepper Bisque (pages 94-95) and Cumin Sweet Potato soup (pages 58-59).
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning how to create inspired soups you will truly enjoy!
#2 Naturally Nourished By: Sarah Britton, $20.39
Sarah Britton started out as a food blogger with My New Roots, if you haven’t been to her site, you should go there now (but come back to mine please and thank you). Nearly every recipe in this cookbook looks like something I would like to try! The photography is gorgeous. The food looks so fresh and healthy! Unlike many cookbooks I pick up, it would be easier to list the recipes I wouldn’t try! I have on my list of dinners for this week two of her recipes, her Quinoa and Black Beans with Radish Cilantro Salsa (pages 106-107) and Eggplant Cannelloni (pages 114-115). I am substituting zucchini for the eggplant.
Other recipes I plan to try in the very near future are her Cashew Corn Chowder with Chipotle Oil (pages 38-39), Broccoli Basil Broth with Noodles and Sesame Salt (pages 40-41), Savory Leek and Mushroom Galette (pages 130-131) and Honey Almond Granola Bars (pages 218-219).
#1 The First Mess Cookbook By: Laura Wright, $20.95
I have been a fan of The First Mess food blog for years. When I saw that Laura Wright came out with a cookbook, I had to check it out. Every aspect of this book has been thoroughly considered and that is why it stands out above and beyond the others. Even the paper it is printed on is a pleasure to feel in your hands! The recipes are easy to follow and I love the attention to detail that you see in the photographs.
The First Mess Cookbook is divided into Mornings and Breakfasts, Soups and Stews, Salads and Dressings, Hearty Mains and Big Plates, Vegetables and a Couple of Grains, Energizing Drinks and Desserts and Small Treats. She also clearly marks each recipe with with a symbol letting you know of any dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, no added sugar or cane sugar-free.
The recipes I am thrilled to try are her Weekend Root Vegetable Dal (pages 70-71), Deep Immune Cup of Soup (pages 90-91), Caramelized Onion Potato Salad (pages 106-107), Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes with Lemon Garlic Aioli (pages 176-177) and Raw Raspberry Cheesecake (pages 249-251).