I have an embarrassing admission to make: at the grand old age of 28, I still hate eating fruit. And vegetables. Somewhat childish, but there we have it. I would much rather have toast than a banana for breakfast, baulk at the very idea of salad for lunch and can just about stomach cooked veggies if they’re hidden in a stir-fry. In the last few months, however, I have realised that my avoidant attitude to fruit and veg is more than just unhealthy for me, not to mention the planet – it’s downright stupid, given my vocation as a foodie writer. The overwhelming array of frankly delicious vegetarian and vegan food on offer these days means I’m not just limiting myself, but missing out entirely. So, then, to the solution: a fleet of plant-based cookbooks that easily nix the stereotypes that vegan cooking is hard to do, expensive, or lacking in flavour. These recipes effortlessly strip the hassle from rustling up delicious dinners that won’t break the bank – I can vouch for them all. And if I can be convinced (well, at least a few days a week) to eat my greens, there’s hope for us all.
A treat from start to finish, this vegetable-packed number by chef, food writer and broadcaster Romy Gill is sure to become your new firm favourite. There are over 100 recipes in ZAIKA, all inspired by Gill’s heritage, ranging from the supremely easy (think midweek suppers) to longer, more complicated dishes, destined to be made for a leisurely Sunday lunch. Yes, the curries are absolutely sublime – the baingan masala especially – but I’m also taken by the whip-up-in-flash snacks like turmeric hummus and potato and pea samosas. And if you don’t try the blood orange and polenta cake, know you’re denying yourself one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Zaika: Vegan Recipes From India by Romy Gill is available now here!
You’ll have already heart of The Occasional Vegan by Sarah Philpott (also, as the name might suggest, an excellent resource) so allow me to introduce you to The Seasonal Vegan, which is a wonderfully timely guide to eating vegan with a focus on yep, you guessed it, seasonal produce. Not only is eating locally and in season better for you and better for the planet, it’s often cheaper, too. Philpott explains how to get the most from (predominantly) British ingredients at any time of year, from a summer veggie lasagne with a genius vegan bechamel, to creamy swede miso and a Marmite-spiked French onion soup. A brilliant one- stop-shop.
The Seasonal Vegan by Sarah Philpott is available now here!
All hail Tim Anderson, Masterchef winner, owner of the Nanban restaurants and all-round good egg for supplying us with this gem of a book. Described as ‘embarrassingly easy’, it really is genuinely simple to get to grips with these vegan Japanese recipes, which will change your kitchen routine for the better. Don’t be put off by some of the ingredients – everything is attainable, achievable and delicious. Promise. Get yourself to an Asian supermarket for starters, then work your way through delights like mushroom gyoza, mapo tofu with ancient grains, watermelon mojitos (essential) and soy butterscotch brownies. Japanese cooking is mostly vegan in any case, once you look beyond obvious orders like fried chicken and wagyu – so you’ll find these recipes pack the kind of full punch you’d be used to in a restaurant. No compromises on flavour here.
Vegan JapanEasy: Classic and Modern Vegan Japanese Recipes To Cook At Home, by Tim Anderson is available now here!
Eternal optimists hoping for a glorious British summer should pick Rukmini Iyer’s brand new book, sharpish. Full of ideas for your barbecue that have nothing to do with sorry burgers and sad sausages, you’ll be spoilt for choice with 75 meat-free recipes, from griddled papaya and charred tenderstem, to crisped-up tofu and dill-sprinkled feta. Happily, lots of these can be cooked inside too, if the weather is a washout. If you manage to whiz through all 75 recipes (please can I come for dinner soon?) pick up The Green Roasting Tin: Vegan And Vegetarian One Dish Dinners, another knockout option from Iyer, which will have you making easy, all-in-one vegan dishes year-round.
The Green Barbecue: Modern Vegan And Vegetarian Recipes To Cook Outdoors And In, by Rukmini Iyer is available here!
The undisputed queen of cooking Nigella Lawson has already given Anna Jones’ latest offering her seal of approval – and let’s face it, there can’t be much more of a ringing endorsement than that. ‘There’s so much humanity and wisdom in it,’ says Nigella of One: Pot, Pan, Planet. ‘Perhaps one shouldn’t feel like this, but so often books that attempt to steer us into a more responsible and sustainable way of living feel like reproaches or reprimands. There is none of that in One: Pot, Pan, Planet.’ I have to agree with Nigella that in this collection of over 200 simple recipes, Jones is bang on the money, celebrating a more eco-friendly way of cooking while never compromising on flavour. Although not strictly vegan, this should be an essential addition to your kitchen if you’d like to eat more plant-based.
One: Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones is available now HERE!
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HEADER IMAGE | FROM The Green Barbecue by Rukmini Iyer