I’m the type of person that as soon as I enter a bookstore I head straight for the cookbook section, I can spend a fair bit of time exploring all the latest cookbooks. I have a modest library given my preference in diet, and I have yet to trial most of the dishes (who has!) not to mention the burgeoning collection of recipes that I have collected over the years. Will I ever have enough time… often I find myself going back to the same recipes that give me the greatest pleasures. And it’s these books that I have listed below, the ones that I refer to time and time again. They are not specifically vegan but do contain a number of recipes that will satisfy the fussiest vegetarian.
Wholefoods by Jude Blereau
I am a huge fan of Jude, she is definitely one of my food heroes. And if you have one of her books you will understand why, a longtime pioneer of wholefoods she presents this book in a beautiful informative manner. The book is packed with detailed information on ingredients, cooking techniques, bean and grains cooking, helpful tips in the margins and of course all the recipes. It’s predominantly vegetarian with a small chapter on chicken and meat. I love that she has also labeled all the dishes be it vegetarian, vegan, gluten free etc. Plus she uses sugar alternatives which I am particularly grateful for, her desserts are amazing. This is not fancy food rather healthy wholesome hearty meals. I start salivating at the thought of her banana pikelets, rice balls and tempeh bolognaise etc. Don’t be put off by the lack of photos, her recipes do live up to expectations.
Coming Home to Eat by Jude Blereau
Jude’s second book does not disappoint, her repertoire of creations is endless. There is a great introduction to healthy eating, organic purchasing tips, time saver tricks and advice on economizing your wholefoods pantry. And there is a preserving chapter to extend your sweet and savoury produce. A few favourites from the book include the sticky black rice which makes me nostalgic for Australia, the roast vegetable, quinoa and chickpea salad with Moroccan dressing a serious devotee, and her vegan chocolate pudding weak at the knees. Jude writes a blog (access from her website) where she frequently posts recipes and information about her cooking seminars and courses. She resides in Perth, in Western Australia.
The Yoga Cookbook by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
I purchased this vegetarian cookbook several years ago because of my passion for yoga. It stayed untouched on the shelves for a long time until my preference for diet evolved to what it is today. And I am so pleased that I picked this up as it has some great recipes for dressings, sauces, chutneys and spreads not to mention all the baked dishes which use wholegrain flours and is completely free of eggs. A few recipes do feature sugar and dairy but this can be easily substituted. The savoury dishes are not terribly exciting with the exception of the Indian recipes. Nonetheless there is much to offer in this cookbook as it also touches on yoga philosophy, diet and fasting. All recipes are collected from the various Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres around the world.
Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
If you are looking to impress your non-vegetarian family and friends then this is the cookbook for you. The recipes are bold and innovative, Ottolenghi is quite simply a genius. There is such enthusiasm and love in this cookbook, a real page-turner. Vegetables and pulses never looked so good due to the mouth-watering photography, I have to admit I spent the first week just drooling over the pictures. I have made many of the recipes and it always impresses guests. In the first instance the dish looks great when served and most importantly the taste lives up to it's visual promises. The only thing I would note is that not all recipes are vegan, nor wholegrain or refined sugar free. To overcome this I just modify where I can and the results are still impressive for me. The cookbook is a result of Ottolenghi's vegetarian column in The Guardian's weekend magazine. Ottolenghi currently has 4 branches of restaurants by the same name in the UK that feature a smorgasbord of daily offerings. Ottolenghi restaurants are not vegetarian.