Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Best Of The Best - Top 5 Vegan Cookbooks of The Year (It's been a terrific year for the trans-seasonal trouser)

Hopefully you get the Ab Fab reference... If not, oh well, just call me Mr. Stone.

This year has been a truly fantastic year in Vegan Cookbooks. I've been eagerly watching vegan cuisine (yes, cuisine) transform over the last 4-5 years or so, gradually rising from the ashes of the vegetarian craze of the 80s (with those dark, grey, nutty, vegetable-y recipe photos that hold absolutely zilch appeal to me) and various health food fads and transforming into something that stands on its own two feet as a legitimate, wonderful, decadent, and achievable way of eating. Plus, it has all the benefits of saving the world, and letting our morals and common-sense do the talking AND walking.

I realise there have been wonderful cookbook authors putting out criminally underrated, but solid releases over the last 15 years or so (hello, Bryanna Clark Grogan), but the new-found popular interest in Vegan Food perpetuated by well-meaning, but vapid celebrities and their blink-and-you'll-miss-it holier-than-thou (WOW, a double hyphenation, The Academic is shaking his head at me as he proof-reads this very sentence, I just know it) dietary choices are putting us in the spotlight. "Is honey-teriyaki turducken, like, vegan?". Coupled with the powers of this new-fandangled internet thingy, with its widespread access to forums, social networking and grassroots communication, driven by authors like Isa Chandra Moskowitz encouraging open-sharing of recipes and techniques, well, we're really soaring forward collectively.

No matter what your preferred style of eating, and your interest, or lackthereof, in the healthiness of the food you're eating, there's something in this year's Best of The Best - Top 5 Vegan Cookbooks Of The Year - edition for everyone. Trust me - you will have your mind blown by every one of these cookbooks, and their respective authors' back-catalogues. They're essential. I would even go so far as to say they are my favourite cookbooks of all time (with the addition of Dreena Burton's "Eat, Drink and Be Vegan").

Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson
Make: Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets. This is actually the best thing I've ever cooked. Ever. Juicy, delicious home-made cutlets, breaded, fried and served with a rich tomato sauce. BUT MAKE EVERYTHING FROM THIS BOOK. EVERYTHING.

Celebrate Vegan by Dynise Balcavage
Make: I'm going to have to break with convention here, and recommend the Curry Cashew Casserole (And everything else) from Dynise's first book, "The Urban Vegan". It's unfaultable, so healthy, and so easy to put together and bake.

World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Make: Maple Chocolate Shoofly Pie. The Academic asks for this every second day (without fail). So quick to make and like a delicious, rich, brown-sugar textured chocolate custard - in a pie.

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen & Joni Marie Newman
Make: Meat-free balls. Triple the batch. Really. So, so, so, satisfying, umami, more-ish and customisable. Using either tomato paste or apple-sauce, you completely change the flavour.

Vegan Pie in The Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Make: Duh. You've probably made everything already, twice!

What are your favourite recipes and cookbooks? Is there something you think I've not made, that I must?


  1. I don't have any of them, do have vegan pie in the sky on my xmas wishlist though, so fingers crossed will have one!

  2. I'm adding your list to a Best of the Best list I'm doing on Eat Your Books. When it goes up there will be a link back to your post.

    I alse wanted to contact you to tell you about EYB - where you can search through all your cookbooks at once for recipes. Please email me at for more info.

    Best, Jane
    Co-founder of Eat Your Books

  3. Thanks so much for including my book, Matthew-- you've put me in such great company!

  4. SO agree about the VD Panko Cutlets. They're outrageously good.

  5. Great selection! Can't recommend Clark Grogan's 'World Vegan Feast' highly enough...her recipes are so innovative and accessible for everybody ...seasoned foodies and wannabe better home cooks alike! THIS is the way to help friends go vegan...and love every mouthful!!

  6. Blushing. I can't believe I made your list. This is like the Vegan Academy Awards. I may cry! xoxo

  7. I'm totally crying over here! Thank you so much!

  8. Matt and James;

    You got most of them..but you missed one. Alicia Simpson's Vegan Celebrations...yum!!!

  9. I read vegan cookbooks like novels. I just love to peruse... The sad thing is that I don't have any of these!! Oh, I have others by some of the authors..but I need these. I really like "Vegan on $4 a day" that came out in 2011. Great resource for newer vegans...


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