In recent years, vegan cookbooks have rolled off the presses at an impressive rate, and 2017 is proving no different.

Many of this year’s plant-based books are particularly well-suited to summer when heat, visitors, parties and special events conspire to put extra demands on our kitchens.

The eight I highlight here meet the demands of summer while continuing themes we’ve seen in the past few years, such as an emphasis on whole foods, fast prep times and homemade pantry staples.

Drinks – particularly smoothies and now milkshakes – play a role in many of these books.

Certain ingredients – such as chickpeas, chia seeds, mushrooms, avocados and bananas – seem to be everywhere and are often used in novel or surprising ways.

Since vegan eating enjoys greater popularity outside of the United States, many of these works come from trendy cities in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.


However, my first recommendation is from closer to home.

The New York City-based Reducetarian Foundation brings us one of this year’s most talked about food books with its collection of engaging essays from prominent thought leaders.

These essays tackle everything from psychology to science as they lay out a case for why all Westerners need to reduce – but not necessarily eliminate – their consumption of meat and animal products.

In this fascinating read on an intriguing trend, we learn how reducetarians are aware of meat’s toll and are taking meaningful steps to reduce the damage.

The term reducetarian is new, but the phenomenon is not.

Other names for this style of eating include flexitarian, semi-vegetarian and veganish.


No matter the title, these low-meat eaters are a driving force behind the continued upswing for vegan and vegetarian food and the related bounty of plant-based books. We should all toast reducetarians with our creamy vegan milkshakes and thank them for eating less meat.

“The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet.” Edited by Brian Kateman. TracherPerigee. $16.

This thought-provoking book is more about ideas than recipe lists.

And its big idea is this: In order to stem climate change and curb chronic disease, individuals don’t need to try (and too often fail) to go vegetarian. Instead, the world’s affluent need to slash the amount of meat they eat by 10 percent or more.

The book introduces a new name for anyone pursuing meat reduction: reducetarians. It gives readers tips and approaches for cutting down on the amount of animal-based foods they consume each day.

Edited by the founder of The Reducetarian Foundation, this book offers a short recipe section (vegan, vegetarian and meat-based), while the heart of the work is the more than 70 short essays about the psychology, public policy, science, politics and practicalities of meat eating.


(Their brevity fits well with the busyness and interruptions of a Maine summer.)

The foreword comes from best-selling author Mark Bittman; other contributors include Paul Shapiro, Melanie Joy, Carol J. Adams, Peter Singer, Nick Cooney, Joel Fuhrman, Bill McKibben and James McWilliams.

As Andrew Winston summarizes in his essay about food industry trends: “The food business, our eating habits, and the earth are all changing in important ways, and these shifts are reinforcing each other. In the near future, the world of food will look much different from how it does today, and it will certainly include less mass-produced meat.”

“15 Minute Vegan: Fast, Modern Vegan Cooking.” By Katie Beskow. Quadrille. $22.99. Color photos.

Made for summer, this book keeps kitchen time to a minimum with standard time-saving techniques (canned beans, microwave ovens) alongside minimalist ingredient lists and maximized flavor combinations.

The author is a U.K. food blogger and vegan cooking teacher who shares the recipes she whips up after a long day at work.

There are plenty of fast, healthful recipes you’d expect, such as smoothie bowls, avocado toast and salad-in-a-jar, but the book also includes unexpected recipes for dishes that are typically more complicated but in these recipes are not, such as scones, gnocchi and pad Thai jay.


Desserts include salted chocolate mousse, plum and almond galette, and peanut butter blondie flapjacks. Another treat: The book is peppered with lovely hints of British English, such as courgette (zucchini) and punnet (berry box).

“Veganize It! Easy DIY Recipes for a Plant-Based Kitchen.” By Robin Robertson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $25. Color photos.

Ideal for those new to plant-based cooking, vegans who feed meat-eaters, and vegetarians who crave traditional dishes, this book features more than 150 recipes (six alone for vegan bacon) and offers many answers to the question of how to veganize American classics, from deviled hamish salad and maple breakfast sausage to pulled jackfruit BBQ sandwiches and fish and chips with tartar sauce.

Robertson is a prolific vegan writer with three decades of experience and more than 20 cookbooks to her name.

The book includes recipes for pantry staples (such as easy vegan yogurt, cheddary sauce, crispy crumbles, fudgy chocolate sauce, and aquafaba meringue), paired with recipes for how to use them (seitan gyros with tzatziki sauce, loaded baked potatoes, meaty-cheesy pizza, chocolate-covered Elvis ice cream, and lemon meringue pie).

“Cook Lively! 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin, and Vibrant Living – Using 10 Ingredients or Less.” By Laura-Jane Koers. Da Capo Press. $24.99. Color photos.


With its cool-toned photos of raw-focused recipes, “Cook Lively!” makes the heat of summer vanish.

Add to that cooling recipes like 30-second blueberry dream sherbet and lemon ice box bars. I say “raw-focused” because many recipes offer a choice of baking or dehydrating and some also include cooked beans and grains. Everything is gluten-free.

Koers is a Canadian food stylist and photographer whose ingredient lists tend to be short and rooted in raw cuisine. For instance, she smashes her avocado on cauliflower toast and makes “traditional spaghetti & sauce” from spiralized zucchini and raw tomato sauce.

The recipes include mains such as beet sliders, home-style fish sticks and cheesy burrito bowls, but the bulk lean toward breakfast and lunch, such as fluffy baked pancakes, holy crunch cereal, sweet cucumber salad and lentil corn chowder.

“Cook Lively!” includes recipes for a selection of pantry staples and a sprouting guide for lentils and grains.

“The Blossom Cookbook: Classic Favorites from the Restaurant That Pioneered a New Vegan Cuisine.” By Ronen Seri and Pamela Elizabeth. Avery. $30. Color photos.


Straight from the kitchens of the popular vegan restaurant’s multiple Manhattan locations, this book shares menu secrets alongside classic fine-dining, plant-based dishes.

It includes many of Blossom’s beloved menu items such as black-eyed pea cakes, tofu BLTs, seitan piccata, and fettuccine with alfredo cashew cream.

Like many restaurant cookbooks, it does include a few recipes with numerous steps and lengthy ingredient lists (autumn tower; trumpet mushroom scallops) but most of the recipes are more manageable.

The recipes include many staples of vegan cuisine (tofu scramble, hummus, Brussels sprouts) paired with veganized versions of traditionally animal-based dishes (grilled cheese, deviled eggs, calamari).

Indulgence is a driving force, so vegan butter and frying play a regular role.

A short dessert list includes German chocolate cake and peach cobbler.


“Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan).” By Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse. Hardie Grant Publishing. $35. Color photos.

There’s so much buzz about the Australian restaurant Smith & Daughters that it can be heard on this side of the globe. Now the Melbourne hotspot has released a cookbook filled with its signature vegan dishes.

In the introduction (in all caps, no less), the authors declare “THIS IS NOT HEALTH FOOD,” because as in most restaurant cookbooks (see “The Blossom Cookbook” above), deep frying remains a favorite preparation technique and vegan butter a favorite ingredient.

With lots of influence from Spain, Mexico and South America, the book serves up recipes such as Brekkie burrito (“one of the all-time, most-coveted and favourite items on our menus”), chargrilled corn with chipotle crema and cheese dust, Brazilian slaw, jackfruit carnitas, Chilean shepherd’s pie, and paella.

“Smith & Daughters” offers only a handful of desserts – warm Spanish doughnuts, spiced Mexican flan – but a bounty of drinks, including smoothies and a long list of cocktails.

“Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Vegan Cooking.” By Katie Koteen & Kate Kasbee. Page Street Publishing Co. $21.99. Color photos.


Leaving aside gourmet ingredients and restaurant-level preparations, this cookbook uses basic plant-based foods available in average grocery stores to whip up simple, inspired dishes.

From the photographer and the recipe developer at the website Well Vegan, the book counsels bulk buying, coupon hunting, online shopping, batch cooking and seasonal buying for the best deals.

It features lots of budget-friendly pasta dishes, meal bowls and soups, including spaghetti with lentil meatballs; Thai peanut noodles; crispy Buffalo tofu bowl; warm fall harvest bowl; and miso greens soup.

A breakfast chapter offers sweet potato breakfast boats, pineapple scones, and pancakes with roasted bananas.

Sweets such as mini key lime pies, chocolate coconut cream puffs, and frozen chocolate banana swirl close the book.

“Guilt-Free Nice Cream: Over 70 Amazing Dairy-Free Ice Creams.” By Margie Broadhead. Hardie Grant Books. $19.99. Color photos.


Cool off with a whole book devoted to frozen bananas.

Written by the founder of the U.K.-based brand Nana Nice Cream, this cookbook (freezerbook?) keeps the prized plant-based recipe it sells “a heavily guarded secret” while sharing a plethora of other flavorful ways to prepare and serve blended frozen bananas (known as “nice cream” in the veg world).

The decadent recipes – Cherry Pops with Double Chocolate and Vanilla Magic Shell; Mango, Berry and Lime Nice-Cream Slice; and Pretty in Pink Popsicles with Edible Flowers – beg to be eaten when it’s hot out.

Now this cookbook isn’t strictly vegan – with a few recipes calling for optional honey and a few others eggs (I’m looking at you, waffles and gingerbread cookies) – but the majority of the recipes are plant-based (and experienced vegans will know how to sub out an egg).

In the heat of summer, these helpful techniques, ice cream insights and frozen banana ideas will be valued in any veg-friendly kitchen.

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

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