6 Best Vegan Cookbooks for Beginners

The 6 tried and tested vegan recipe books in this guide will help even the most novice vegan cook to confidently prepare tasty and nutritious meals.

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Why do we need easy vegan recipes for beginners?

Unless you are going to adopt a vegan diet consisting solely of meat substitutes – like vegan sausages and burgers – the truth is that cooking balanced and interesting vegan meals from scratch can be daunting, with some recipes that have overwhelming lists of ingredients, and some that are… well, simply dubious! 

Let’s just say that you learn what to look out for when searching for vegan recipes on social media. Some are great, but some aren’t. Believe me, I speak from experience here!

Anyway, there is a lot to think about when you decide to go vegan, so be kind to yourself and treat yourself to a couple of the best vegan cookbooks for beginners. They will help you build up some trusted, reliable recipes that:

  • won’t take you all day to cook
  • are nutritionally well-balanced and tasty
  • have been tried and tested
  • you can go back to time and again

Who are some of the better-known creators of plant-based recipes?

There are some great vegan recipes and cookbooks out there which champion plant-based eating – I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s food for example, and although he is not vegan, most of his recipes are vegetable-based and easy for an experienced cook to veganise.

However, simple they are not so for that reason, they don’t make my guide to the best vegan cookbooks for beginners! His recipes can rely on long ingredients lists and several cooking processes and if you are a confident cook, that’s great.

But if you are just starting out on your vegan journey, you may find them a bit overwhelming and they may be books that you want to progress towards.

And I would strongly recommend that you do; I am a huge fan of Ottolenghi’s recipe books and his food is inimitable.

But, there are other recipe creators (not all of whom are vegan themselves) who are a bit more ‘beginner-friendly’, and that make my Best Vegan Cookbooks for beginners list, including:

  • Bosh
  • Rose Elliot
  • Merchant Gourmet
  • Anna Jones
  • Meera Sodha
  • Rukmini Iyer

Are vegan and plant-based cookery books the same?

Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no…confused? Then come on down and join the rest of us!

Theoretically, the different diets can be defined as below. However, I’m not guaranteeing you won’t see different explanations!

However, there are some plant-based recipe writers that definitely make my best vegan cookbooks for beginners list.

What is a Vegan Diet?

Following a vegan diet generally means that the individual has made an ethical choice to avoid the use of any animal products, either dietary or lifestyle, because they believe it is wrong to use animals to fulfil any human need or purpose.

So, that means not eating any animal products of any description, not wearing leather items like shoes and belts, avoiding ingredients like lanolin in cosmetics, and anything else that uses animal by-products – like certain glues for example.

Here at Vegan Mum, we are definitely in this camp!

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is defined as a dietary choice rather than an ethical one. So whilst the diet might generally eliminate all animal products, the individual may decide not to avoid animal-derived, non-food products.

Consequently, they may still wear leather shoes for example, or not worry about using things that contain animal by-products like cosmetics.

So theoretically, from a dietary perspective, plant-based diets (and plant-based cookery books!) are interchangeable with vegan diets (and vegan cookery books!) so you will see some here in my best vegan cookbooks for beginners guide.

However, you can sometimes see ‘plant-based’ diets cross over with ‘flexitarian’ and ‘vegetarian’ diets…

What is a Vegetarian Diet?

Vegetarians generally, like vegans, believe that it is wrong to eat animals. However, they do not believe that eating animal by-products such as milk, cheese and eggs is wrong, and so will still eat them.

Why do vegans get cross with vegetarians?

No, it’s not the start of a joke! It’s true, I’m afraid we do. The consumption of dairy products and eggs most definitely DOES harm animals  – come on you vegetarians, you’re almost there! Vegan cheese and vegan milk is really good nowadays. And who knows what fermentation processes will do in the future to create things like eggs?

Anyway, rant over…and some vegetarian recipe writers have still made it to my best vegan cookbooks for beginners guide.

What is a Flexitarian Diet?

Flexitarians generally aim to reduce their consumption of animal products, but don’t avoid them altogether.

So, some flexitarian recipes can be suitable for vegans, and with so many vegan food substitutes now available, you can often easily adapt flexitarian recipes to make them vegan as well.

Take a look at the FAQs at the bottom of this guide for more information about how you can veganise some recipes.

What about the rest?

Pescetarians – eat all of the above, plus fish

Omnivores – eat anything and everything

Enough said…

Stop waffling and tell us about the Best Vegan Cookbooks for beginners

OK, will do. But I thought it would be useful to use this space to explain about the different types of diets. Particularly because this blog is about the best vegan cookbooks for beginners…

And whilst it may be controversial, I have included some vegetarian, and some plant-based cookery books here, as well as the best vegan cookbooks.


Because the plant-based cookery books I have included are all vegan, and the vegetarian cookbooks listed still contain a good number of vegan recipes, or can be easily veganised, even by an inexperienced cook.

See the FAQ at the bottom of the blog for more information on how to veganise some of the vegetarian dishes in these books.

Here are the Best Vegan Cookbooks for Beginners

Image of The Green Roasting Tin vegan Cookery book, on the grass in front of some ox eye daisies



The Green Roasting Tin

What is not to love about this book? It certainly gets a lot of use in my kitchen. Rukmini Iyer has managed to create so many varied and tasty recipes, all of which are cooked in one roasting tin – genius!

This cookery book is split into vegetarian and vegan recipes, and then helpfully broken down again into timings – quick, medium and slow.

The recipes include a mix of store cupboard ingredients and fresh vegetables and are largely nutritious and very well-balanced meals. That means you don’t have to spend too much time wondering if you’re getting enough protein!

She includes recipes for things like a three bean chilli, crispy gnocchi with mushrooms, and an oven-roasted daal – who knew that was a thing?!

In those (very few) recipes where protein levels might be a little low, you can always consider adding some cubed tofu or tempeh (coated in a little oil and salt) to the roasting tin for the last 10 minutes or so if that’s a concern.

As for the vegetarian recipes – most can be ‘veganised’. See my FAQ below.

image of Merchant Gourmet simple plant-based cookbook



The Simple Plant-Based Cookbook

This Merchant Gourmet plant-based cookbook is a real ‘go-to’ on my cookery book shelves. I love it (and you can read Vegan Mum’s thorough Merchant Gourmet’s Plant-Based Cookbook Review for a more in depth look at this book too).

The recipes are well thought out, nutritious and balanced, and most are easy to prepare and tasty to eat! Importantly for us vegans (who can spend inordinate amounts of time cooking) it has a good number of recipes that are perfect for mid-week chow-downs when you don’t have a lot of time.

Using a mix of store cupboard ingredients and fresh vegetables, these are pretty budget-friendly too.

The only downside is that to make these recipes so convenient, you use packets of Merchant Gourmet pre-cooked grains. They’re great (although I tend to always add a little more seasoning and flavourings to them), and are really quick and easy to use. However, the empty packs need to be recycled. You can find out more about using Merchant Gourmet’s recycling scheme here.

Rose Eliot's Complete Vegan cookbook with a green front cover and pink spine



Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegan

Rose Elliot is a very experienced cook and writer of recipe books, whose recipes got me through 3 successful pregnancies (and subsequent toddler-feeding) many years ago. Sorry Rose, I know that dates you too!

This book supports even the most inexperienced vegan, helping you to make your own basic ingredients like nut milks, and vegan cheese and cream alternatives. 

It also contains recipes for everyday (think vegan macaroni cheese), as well as vegan recipes for classics like yorkshire puddings and meringues.

I think this is an essential for anyone who is just starting out on their vegan journey and who might be a relatively inexperienced cook – the classic ‘vegan bible’.

Image of brightly coloured East by Meera Sodha Cookbook




OK, this will call for a more extensive list of store cupboard ingredients including chilli powder, cumin, and a variety of whole spices. However, most are readily available in supermarkets. They won’t sit in your cupboard and go to waste either because I guarantee you’ll want to cook so many of the recipes in this cookbook by Meera Sodha, you will plough your way through them very quickly.

And don’t let the lists of more exotic ingredients put you off. Meera Sodha writes in a very engaging way and has managed to simplify a huge range of Asian dishes that would otherwise be quite off-putting for someone new to the cuisine.

But not only are they relatively easy to make; to me at least, they taste authentic, and, well…just very, very tasty!

You can read more details about this wonderful cookbook in my review of East by Meera Sodha.

It does have some vegetarian recipes in it but again, take a look at the FAQ at the bottom of this guide to read more about how to veganise recipes.

A Modern Way to Eat cookbook by Anna Jones



A Modern Way to Eat

This lovely book by Anna Jones is so inviting to look through and contains lots of recipes that are healthy, nutritious and easy to make.

She has written a number of cookbooks since, but this one is worth buying, if only for the Proper Chilli recipe. What a crowd-pleaser, and it is packed with protein and powerhouse ingredients. What’s more, although it makes a very large pot full, it freezes really successfully. Eat with baked potatoes, rice, flatbreads, or just on its own. It’s a real winner, honestly.

It’s not the only recipe worth doing in this book though – there are plenty of other delicious meals to be had, so comes highly recommended.

Again, there are vegetarian recipes in here too.

Bosh! Vegan Cookery Book with pictures of cooked recipes on the front cover




This is a visually pleasing vegan cookery book by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, which contains recipes with a very wide appeal, including:

  • cauliflower buffalo wings
  • bhaji burgers
  • jackfruit tacos
  • thai red curry

If there is an issue with the book for a beginner, it’s probably that the recipes aren’t nutritionally balanced so you do need to give some thought to that – adding a form of protein to the thai red curry for example (think tofu or tempeh maybe).

Some people have taken issue with how the recipes are written. For instance, you need to read the recipe text to know the onion needs chopping.

I think they’re written pretty logically, but understand why it may be more difficult.

Still, a really good book with tasty vegan recipes to have on your shelf!


It depends on what type of cook you are. But when you are first starting out on a vegan diet, planning may be a very good idea to ensure you are getting all the right nutrients.

Take a look at the Vegan Society’s meal planning page to find out more.

Many, but not all, of Ottolenghi’s recipe books are brimming with vegan recipes, or ones that can be veganised relatively easily. The best are:

Here are some suggestions from Vegan Mum on how to veganise recipes:

Use cubed firm tofu or tempeh to replace:

  • paneer
  • small pieces of meat

Use tinned jackfruit to replace:

  • pulled pork

Use nutritional yeast to provide:

  • cheesy flavours

Use silken tofu to make:

  • creamy sauces

Use plant-based milks with flour and vegan butter to make:

  • bechamel/white sauces

Use minced mushrooms mixed with cooked puy lentils to replace:

  • minced beef

Use tinned banana blossom to make:

  • fishcakes

Use tempeh to replace:

  • meat strips and chunks

Related Posts

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to the best vegan cookbooks for beginners. Here are some more of my ‘Best of…’ guides:

Best Vegan Socks

If you would like to read more Vegan Mum guides and reviews, why not visit the Vegan Mum blog page?

Penny Barkas


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