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Table of Contents
Firstly, you should identify your culinary skill level, and particularly with vegetarian cuisine. This is important to help you to find a truly useful cookbook with dishes you can really see yourself making and eating regularly.
Be honest with yourself about your skills and resources. If you are a total novice, you should look for titles that portray this, as well as content such as explanations of ingredients that may be new to you. Some now even include menu planning guides and shopping lists, which will help you identify and buy the ingredients you need, as well as guiding you to feel more confident preparing vegetarian food.
Books with plenty of attractive and informative photos to demonstrate how the food should look are also useful for beginners, especially if there are dishes that are new to you. You'll be able to refer to the photographs to aid you in everything from chopping the veggies in a certain way to seeing how to serve the elements of the dish on the plate for maximum eating enjoyment.
Similarly, cookbooks by authors who began as online bloggers are a good idea for the confident home cook – they are often up to speed with the latest food trends and include innovative ideas and processes. Of course, the online world is a very visual one, so if artistic presentation and colourful dishes are your thing, look to these types of veggie chefs for inspiration.
Now let’s think about who will be enjoying the vegetarian food you're going to make. You will want to choose a book that contains recipes suited to the tastes of both yourself and whoever else will be eating, so scan the contents page for a list of the dishes inside to be sure.
Also keep an eye out for recipes with fewer complicated processes. The benefits of simple recipes are not only that you can whip them up whilst you are juggling other parental tasks, but also that you can have fun getting the kids involved in cooking and learning about vegetarian food.
The other great thing about simple dishes, particularly vegetarian, is that you can add other ingredients or components and transform them into a different dish if you are feeling creative.
One-pot dishes will also ensure you have minimal wastage, and any remaining food can be easily compacted and stored in the fridge or freezer for another meal.
This can also include recipes with meat replacements such as soya mince, veggie sausages or seitan, or simply using vegetables that mimic the texture and satisfaction of meat – using mushrooms in place of beef in a stew, for example.
If a low calorie or low fat diet is important, you should chose books with included nutritional information – often cookbooks targeted at healthy living will include calorie count next to each recipe, as well as content at the start or end of the book explaining simple ways to swap traditional ingredients for their lower-fat or more nutrient dense counterparts.
Most health-centred cookbooks will also have useful information about the nutrition of ingredients specific to vegetarian cooking. If you're concerned about getting a balanced diet with all the key nutrients for yourself and your family, check for this too.
These could include ingredients native to countries such as India or China, or specialist vegetarian ingredients such as meat substitutes and different types of seasonings. Have a scan through a few of the recipes in the cookbook to see if you are familiar with most of the ingredients, and look for them next time you are out shopping – this way you can also check prices.
But don’t forget that it could be a great learning process to get stuck into vegetarian cuisine and find out about a few new ingredients to get creative with, so try looking in your local Asian food store or vegetarian web stores for these specialist ingredients.
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Henry Firth & Ian Theasby
1. Henry Firth & Ian Theasby – BOSH!
The Ultimate Plant Based Cooking Bible
David & Stephen Flynn
2. David & Stephen Flynn – The Happy Pear: Recipes for Happiness
Plant Powered and Nutritious Comfort Food Classics
3. Matt Pritchard – Dirty Vegan
Big Plates of Proper Tasty Grub
Roxy Pope & Ben Pook
4. Roxy Pope & Ben Pook – So Vegan in 5
Effortless, Speedy Plant Based Meals For Everyone
5. Meera Sodha – Fresh India
Better Than Takeaway: Fresh and Vibrant Curries
6. Hairy Bikers – The Hairy Dieters Go Veggie
Hearty Comfort Food Goes Low Calorie
7. Joe Wicks – Veggie Lean in 15
Quick and Tasty Meals for the Fitness Fanatic
8. Rukmini Iyer – The Green Roasting Tin: Vegan and Vegetarian One Dish Dinners
Fuss Free One Pot Meals For Busy People
9. Deliciously Ella – The Plant Based Cookbook
Simple, Clean Eating Meals Without Meat, Gluten or Dairy
10. Leon – Fast Vegetarian
Gourmet Healthy Fast Food
While we can find endless numbers of recipes online nowadays, there's still something nice about having a collection of recipes in a book on the shelf which you can browse through anytime. If you're interested in other types of cooking besides vegetarian recipes, check out these other articles of ours!
Hopefully this guide will help you distinguish your needs and preferences and give you a good idea of what is available online right now, so you can start creating sumptuous vegetarian suppers in no time.
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
No. 1: Henry Firth & Ian Theasby | 1. Henry Firth & Ian Theasby – BOSH!
No. 2: David & Stephen Flynn | 2. David & Stephen Flynn – The Happy Pear: Recipes for Happiness
No. 3: Matt Pritchard | 3. Matt Pritchard – Dirty Vegan
No. 4: Roxy Pope & Ben Pook | 4. Roxy Pope & Ben Pook – So Vegan in 5
No. 5: Meera Sodha | 5. Meera Sodha – Fresh India
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