A 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey found 39% of Americans actively incorporate plant-based foods into their diet. And over the last few years, veganism and plant-based eating have skyrocketed, inspiring global food companies to provide meat– and dairy-free options in grocery stores and restaurants.
Some people’s motivation comes from health reasons — looking to nutrition to prevent or heal chronic conditions and disease. For decades, nutritional pioneers like Drs. T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dean Ornish proved that prevention and even reversal is possible with diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes and the help of a whole food, plant-based diet.
Study after study showcases the incredible healing power of whole plant foods that are full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and other disease-fighting compounds. At the same time, we see the harmful effects of a diet high in conventional animal products, which lack these good-for-you chemicals. Instead, diets high in animal products contribute to disease in the body, wreaking havoc on your cells and even speeding up the aging process.
As a result, people are gravitating to plant-based eating, but not just for their health. Factory farming inflicts massive damage to the environment. Climate scientists have calculated that we can reduce our carbon footprint more by eliminating beef from our diets than by giving up our cars. And moving away from industrialized meat saves millions of animals from living in cruel conditions before being slaughtered.
Whatever your reason for considering (or continuing) a plant-based diet, good recipes can make everything more delicious! In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best plant-based cookbooks, whether you’re eating for heath, animals, or the environment.
Why Use Plant-Based Cookbooks?
While you can surely find plant-based recipes on the Internet, investing in a few good plant-based cookbooks can really set you up for success. Cookbooks are a great resource for finding real, kitchen-tested recipes that are healthy and delicious. Many of them include suggestions for pantry staples to have on hand, vegan substitutions for dairy-based ingredients, or where to find specific plant-based ingredients you may be unfamiliar with. You might also find cookbooks with suggestions for cooking tools or where to source ingredients.
But as plant-based diets continue to rise in popularity, so do the number of vegan cookbooks to choose from. That’s why we’ve rounded up a collection of some of FRN’s favorite plant-based cookbooks — to make your selection easier!
10 Plant-Based Cookbooks You Need in Your Kitchen
Having a healthy cookbook on hand can mean the difference between putting a healthy, nutritious plant-based meal on the table, or settling for fast or processed foods. Set yourself up for success with some of the best vegan cookbooks around.
1. Eat to Live Quick and Easy Cookbook: 131 Delicious Recipes for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Reversing Disease, and Lifelong Health by Joel Fuhrman, MD
Want to shed a few pounds, or just want to enhance your nutrition? You’ll find over 100 mouth-watering recipes to try in Food Revolution Summit speaker Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live Quick and Easy Cookbook. In the companion cookbook to his bestseller, Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Dr. Fuhrman advocates for what he calls a “Nutritarian” diet. Essentially, it focuses on preparing nutrient-dense, plant-powered meals rather than counting calories.
Aside from containing quick and easy-to-prepare recipes, as the title of the cookbook suggests, each plant-based recipe packs in a hefty dose of micronutrients. This allows you to get the nutrition your body needs. Even the cookbook’s layout lends itself to convenience. With a section on cooking techniques and tips to save you time in the kitchen, full-color recipe photos, and an organized table of contents, Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live cookbook is a valuable tool for living a plant-based lifestyle.
2. Dr. Neal Barnard’s Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes: 150 Recipes Scientifically Proven to Reverse Diabetes Without Drugs by Neal Barnard, MD
Type 2 diabetes is a public health issue of epic, international proportions. But one doctor, in particular, has made it his mission to put a stop to the diabetes epidemic. Food Revolution Summit speaker, Dr. Neal Barnard, serves up a plant-powered helping of hope for type 2 diabetes patients in the companion cookbook to his bestseller, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes.
Using science-baked research and his own experience working with patients, Dr. Barnard sheds light on the frequently misunderstood link between food and diabetes. You’ll learn how by focusing on eating low glycemic foods — and four healthful, plant food groups — you can reverse (or prevent) type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. With over 150 delicious, plant-based recipes that cover everything from breakfast to dessert, this vegan cookbook will help you improve your health and the health of your loved ones, one bite at a time.
3. Forks Over Knives ― The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year by Del Sroufe
When the documentary Forks Over Knives came out in 2011, it inspired a whole new generation to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet. The film features supporting research from Food Revolution Summit speakers T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Caldwell Esselstyn, MD. And it shows how eating more plants, and less processed food and animal products, can help fight chronic disease.
Forks Over Knives The Cookbook guides you through following a plant-based diet year-round. Inside, you’ll find a series of tips on maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle. This includes vegan meal prepping, reading nutrition labels, and information about ingredients you may be unfamiliar with and where to find them. The recipes are sorted into sub-categories such as “hot cereals” or “bean salads” to make trying different recipes even easier, depending on what you’re in the mood for.
4. Plant-Based on a Budget: Delicious Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal by Toni Okamoto
Blogger Toni Okamoto guides you through her journey of becoming a vegan while living paycheck to paycheck. Based on personal experience, her cookbook provides valuable advice for living plant-based on a budget, proving that you don’t need to spend your whole paycheck in order to eat wholesome foods. And she shows how you can make healthy, nutritious, and affordable plant-based meals, seven days a week, for under $30 a week.
Toni’s recipes are accessible and fun, with names like Depression Era Cupcakes and Sick Day Soup. Although some recipes verge on less healthy versions of “comfort” food, you can omit any oils or sweeteners if you like. Best of all, any of these whole food, plant-based recipes can be on the table in under 30 minutes. And the cookbook includes a foreword by Food Revolution Summit speaker, Michael Greger, MD.
5. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts―and the Rest of Your Life by Matt Frazier
In the fitness world, there’s often a tendency to emphasize protein, specifically animal protein, to build muscle and fuel workouts. Sometimes, this comes at the expense of other important nutrients. But Matt Frazier’s No Meat Athlete movement has shown that you can get all the essential nutrients you need, including protein, without compromising your health.
Matt’s whole foods cookbook showcases delicious vegan recipes that will power your workouts and help your body recover. Find plant-based alternatives to sugary, artificially-flavored sports drinks, energy-fueled breakfasts, and simple, nutritious desserts. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook also takes care to provide oil-free recipes, many of which are also gluten- or soy-free. This is the perfect cookbook choice for athletes at every level, from folks who are just starting a fitness regimen, all the way up to professionals.
6. The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger, MD
As one of the leading advocates for a plant-based diet, Food Revolution Summit speaker. Michael Greger, MD, has provided free access to nutritional information through his website, NutritionFacts.org. The New York Times best-selling author’s How Not to Die Cookbook puts all of the science-backed research from his companion book, How Not to Die, into action with over 100 disease-fighting recipes.
Because Dr. Greger’s approach to plant-based eating is research-based, you’ll find specific examples of nutrition-related findings that correspond to a variety of diseases. You’ll also learn more about Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. These are the foods he recommends eating daily for optimal health. All of the cookbook’s recipes also have a note at the bottom to indicate which of these foods are included. And each recipe features gorgeous food photography and a difficulty level to help guide your vegan culinary exploration.
7. The 22-Day Revolution Cookbook: The Ultimate Resource for Unleashing the Life-Changing Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet by Marco Borges
Known for his celebrity clients like Jay-Z and Beyoncé, exercise physiologist, nutrition coach, and Food Revolution Summit speaker, Marco Borges, has made vegan and plant-based eating trendy and accessible for all ages. His plant-based cookbook showcases many of the tried and true recipes developed for his clients. Marco also emphasizes the need to take control of your own health through what you eat.
The 22-Day Revolution Cookbook has four meal plans to choose from, based on your weight loss goals and current diet. Follow a meal plan or just pick and choose the recipes that appeal to you. Additionally, you’ll get info on recommended pantry staples and advice for eating plant-based while dining out.
8. Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul by Jenné Claiborne
Southern cooking never looked so healthy with food blogger and personal chef, Jenné Claiborne’s, Sweet Potato Soul cookbook. Sweet Potato Soul not only transforms soul food favorites into plant-based masterpieces but also offers a unique look into the history and culture of soul food in the African American experience.
Whether soul food is your life or you’re new to the cuisine, Jenné includes essential tools and ingredients to have on hand when embarking on your plant-based, soul food journey. She also weaves in interesting insights about how specific foods have become ingrained in African American culture. Each recipe also includes a short backstory of its inspiration, or a personal insight into what makes that recipe particularly good for you.
9. Vive le Vegan!: Simple, Delectable Recipes for the Everyday Vegan Family by Dreena Burton
Getting your family to change their eating habits isn’t easy — especially when you have children. But Dreena Burton knows firsthand what that’s like. And she’s spent the last 15 years developing family-friendly vegan recipes and releasing tantalizing cookbooks like this one.
In her first cookbook, Vive le Vegan!, Dreena breaks down recipes by meal type, sauces and dressings, snacks, soups and stews, snacks, and sweets. Each one is easy to follow and features Dreena’s notes and additional suggestions. She also has an entire section devoted to vegan babies and toddlers.
10. Food Revolution Network Family Cookbook by Ocean and John Robbins
We may be a bit biased, but we think that our own Food Revolution Network Family Cookbook is pretty fabulous. It contains a wealth of information on plant-based eating. And it provides insight into the future of food. And you’ll discover how to modify your dietary habits so you can eat in a way that’s more sustainable, humane, and plant-strong.
With over 100 vegan and vegetarian recipes from the families of John Robbins and Ocean Robbins, Food Revolution Summit speakers like Kris Carr, Rip Esselstyn, Michael Greger MD, Mark Hyman, MD, and Dean Ornish MD, and Food Revolution Network’s partners and community, you’re sure to find recipes you love. And maybe even a few, new, healthier takes on old favorites.
Tell us in the comments:
What are some of your favorite plant-based cookbooks?
What are some of your favorite plant-based recipes?
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- FRN’s Reading List: Plant-Based Books to Encourage & Inspire You
- A Guide to Going Plant-Based: What to Eat, Benefits, and How to Succeed