As it’s Veganuary, I wanted to share some of my vegan tips beyond going out to eat at restaurants. January can be a tough month after the expense of Christmas, and indulging less in meals out can be one of the easy ways to save the pennies. Here are my top vegan cookbooks that I come back to time and time again for inspiration – quick mid-week meals, showstoppers, snacks and beyond.
This book is perfect for simple one pots, curries, stews, and all things healthy and wholesome comfort food. I love to cook from this recipe book during the weeks in winter, as their recipes are super simple, but warming and hearty. Many of them can be on the table in 30 minutes and you can often easily substitute in any of the veggies for whatever you’ve got to hand in the fridge. Just make sure you have a few tins of chopped tomatoes and coconut milk in the cupboard and you’ll probably be fine! There are lots of different curry recipes in here which all have such wonderful flavours, I definitely recommend checking these guys out.
Another midweek staple, this book delivers on what you’d hope – unfussy and tasty weeknight vegan dinners. You can also find some beautiful breakfasts, salads, and sweet treats to have a go at too. Although I’m not sure I’ve made any of the recipes *quite* as quickly as 15 minutes, if you take away the time it takes to prep the ingredients, it’s not too far off. I know that trying veganism for the first time can be daunting, and this book smashes down those preconceptions so is just perfect for Veganuary.
On the other end of the spectrum, vegan chef Gaz Oakley’s recipe book is beautiful and a must-buy if you love to try out more complex, restaurant-style dishes. There are still a lot of family favourites in here and you can bet that they taste great, but some of the recipes require a little more care and attention. Totally worth it though! And as a bonus book, although we’re just past Christmas, I’d definitely recommend picking up Gaz’s vegan Christmas recipe book – his cauliflower ‘cheese’ smashed it out of the park at ours and all of the non-vegan folks wanted to dig in. There’s no reason why you can’t spend the next year perfecting those recipes until next Christmas comes round ;). Be sure to check out Gaz’s YouTube channel too, he has loads more recipes on there and if you feel a bit put off watching the usual cooking programmes on TV once you go vegan (I know they started to make me feel uneasy) his show is updated really regularly and definitely fills that void.
Another lovely cookbook to buy if you’re looking for vegan versions of more familiar recipes such as shepherd’s pie, chilli, bolognese, and the like. If you follow me @VeganEatsOxford on Instagram, you will have undoubtedly seen a fair few of Lucy’s recipes recreated there. My favourite recipe in the whole book though is the lemon-vanilla yoghurt loaf. It always requires a bit longer in my oven than the recipe asks for but it’s absolutely worth the wait. Make the icing with vanilla Alpro yoghurt and you won’t believe this deliciously moist cake is vegan. I’ve baked this for work colleagues a couple of times and the cake is always gone in the blink of an eye. Who doesn’t love a classic lemon drizzle? I do love the crushed pistachios on top for a tasty twist though.
Ella Mills’ recipe book was the first I started cooking out of when I went vegan, and I still regularly turn back to it. I own all four of her books now and there are a handful of recipes that are my firm favourites. These books are a dream for those looking to eat a vibrant, healthy wholefoods diet. Sadly my boyfriend is not one of those people so I don’t get to eat meals from the book as often as I used to when I lived alone! However, her batch cooking recipes and big filling salads are great go-tos for my lunchbox, and there are some more familiar family-style recipes that I’ll cook for us in the evening on occasion too. My favourite meals for one though are the ‘Best Ever Baked Sweet Potato’ and her ‘Buddha Bowl’. They really show just how packed with flavour plant-based foods can be, and my introduction to this book was the thing that really taught me how to love food and cooking.
I barely bake from anything else these days. There is such a great variety of recipes in here, and it includes all the classics that you thought you might be missing out on as a vegan. Every recipe is so straightforward, it’s completely foolproof, and I’ve never experienced a bad bake. My mum regularly bakes out of this book – she’s not vegan, and neither are most of her friends, she just loves the recipes! Check out the brownies and the red velvet cupcakes for some of my favourites. I bring these into work and without fail the same people will ask me ‘is this really vegan? how did you make it?’ which is always a good sign.
Let me know in the comments if you think you’ll be adding any of these recipe books to your collection, and I’d absolutely love to hear your own cookbook recommendations too!