last minute shopping help
December 18, 2017 1:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian cookbook for a Christmas gift. Looking for some good recommendations.

I'm looking to buy a gift for someone who's recently complained of being bored and in a rut with all their usual meals. The person I'm getting this for is a decent, accomplished cook, but not someone who wants to spend hours cooking - this is more of a we-need-dinner-for-two-every-night situation. They eat vegetarian plus fish, so I'd prefer a cookbook that doesn't include meat dishes. They don't eat many desserts, so that's not important either. They eat very healthily, and don't like very rich food. They mostly eat seasonally in New England, so something that relies on a California-level of access to vegetables isn't helpful (although they do like California-style food). They like greens, root vegetables, salmon, squash, tofu, eggs, beans, etc, and currently eat a lot soups or steamed/sauteed/stir-fried veggies plus tofu or beans or salmon. They like Japanese, Thai, and Indian food, and spicy is good. Not super into Italian, French, or Mexican food. A cookbook that has a range of cuisines would be great. Nothing too twee - they are retirees and some of the food blogger cookbooks would just get an eyeroll.

Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is way too basic. They have a few of Yotam Ottolenghi's books but those are too fussy. They have all the Moosewood books. Smitten Kitchen isn't really their style. Any suggestions? I've seen the 2015 question.

why did I leave this to the last minute
posted by john_snow to Food & Drink (40 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps April Bloomfield's A Girl and her Greens? I just can't remember whether it's 100% completely vegetarian or not. But it's definitely mostly so.
posted by praemunire at 1:48 PM on December 18, 2017

Deborah Madison's The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone might be a good choice. I have this book, and I really love the variety of recipes it offers. There's a lot of recipes with pulses (beans, lentils, etc.) and desserts as well as actual vegetables, and a wide variety of cuisine origins.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:52 PM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

What about Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World?

I don't have personal experience with this book, but I do like Madhur Jaffrey. For example, I use this dead simple chard recipe pretty regularly.
posted by vunder at 1:52 PM on December 18, 2017 [6 favorites]

The classic, seasonally-organized, Connecticut-based, feminist Bloodroot Collective cookbooks. I love the first “Political Palate” but they are all gems!
posted by shalom at 2:00 PM on December 18, 2017

I am a huge fan of Deborah Madison's cookbooks -- her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a favorite, but I also lover her newer In My Kitchen cookbook.
posted by rainbowbrite at 2:01 PM on December 18, 2017

This is in the 2015 thread but I would like to reiterate Veganomicon. It's practical, easy to use, and the title never fails to make me cackle.
posted by orrnyereg at 2:03 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thug Kitchen
posted by busybee at 2:10 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Deborah Madison above. Would add Melissa Clark's "Dinner: Changing the Game," as it's got pretty simple but great recipes that are healthy and not fussy. Includes sections on veggies, tofu, soups, salads, seafood, and some meat--but mostly veggie-heavy. Everything I've tried from it has been fab!
posted by stillmoving at 2:11 PM on December 18, 2017

Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook is filled with unfussy, satisfying, relatively-quick meals drawn from a variety of cuisines, including Indian, Thai, and Chinese, but everything's fairly simple and stripped-down. There's a bit of everything and I've liked everything that I've tried.
posted by halation at 2:14 PM on December 18, 2017

I know you said no Bittman, but there's a new edition of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that's just out and totally gift-worthy. It has photos this time! I'm not a vegetarian, but the recipes are super appealing, and Bittman is great for simple weeknight cooking and improvisation. Disclaimer: I worked on it, but I'm not a shill, I promise.
posted by libraryhead at 2:18 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can’t go wrong with a Moosewood cookbook.
posted by ReginaHart at 2:18 PM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'd really recommend Veganomicon, even though I'm not vegan. There are just some great recipes in there, and many are easy to turn into ovo-lacto vegetarian. The chick pea patties and the sunshine muffins are worth the whole book!
posted by SinAesthetic at 2:25 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't think you're going to *think* this is what you want, but I encourage you to consider it anyways: Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals is an awesome set of basic recipes (pizza, quiche, galette, soup, potato salad, etc.) with a flexible set of ideas on what veggies/herbs/flavors to use to make it. I find it a great balance of structure and options, and it gives this vegetarian a lot of normal-person but delicious dinner ideas.
posted by mosst at 2:30 PM on December 18, 2017

The Shoshoni Cookbook is good, and they are unlikely to have it.
posted by metasarah at 2:36 PM on December 18, 2017

My favorite vegetarian cookbook is by far The Grit cookbook. So so good.
posted by cmm at 2:39 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Vegetarian Option is a classic that I often return to for inspiration. The recipes are very simple, but delicious.
posted by mumimor at 2:44 PM on December 18, 2017

I've heard good things about Lucky Peach Presents: Power Vegetables!
posted by escapepod at 2:55 PM on December 18, 2017

Seconding World Vegetarian. I've found Madhur Jaffrey recipes to be basically foolproof and she somehow seems to hit just the right balance between simplicity and flavor.
posted by peacheater at 2:55 PM on December 18, 2017

It's billed as a diet cookbook, but Appetite for Reduction is one of the best dinner-on-the-table-in-20-minutes (man, too many hyphens there!) vegan cookbooks I have. The food is pretty simple, but inventive and tasty.

Love and Lemons looks very pretty and may be a fun option, though a little less practical.

I also like the Minimalist Baker cookbook (that one really benefits from the person cooking from it knowing how to cook as the authors' technique isn't that strong but the recipe ideas are really creative for being as simple as they are).
posted by snaw at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by O9scar at 3:31 PM on December 18, 2017

I’ve heard really good things about Fresh India by Meera Sodha.
posted by bluebird at 3:53 PM on December 18, 2017

My favorite vegetarian cookbook is The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon, there were lots of new-to-me ideas in there when I got it.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 4:16 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nth the Madhur Jeffrey World Vegetarian book. I gave it to my veggie dad - who is married to my cookbook collector mom - years ago and its still one of their favorites.
posted by gatorae at 4:33 PM on December 18, 2017

I received Plenty and Plenty More by Yotam Ottolength. I haven't used them yet, but the recipes look good and the hard cover has a nice softness to it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:35 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Good lord, not Thug Kitchen. I swear like a sailor, but the constant use of the f word made it unreadable for me. I don’t think there’s a single sentence without swearing. For me, it was just annoying, but some would find it offensive. Plus it’s written by two white people who were pretending to be black. It’s been widely criticized by vegan POC.
posted by FencingGal at 4:45 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Veggiestan by Sally Butcher is good for broadly middle eastern vegetarian recipes.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:48 PM on December 18, 2017

I will nth Veganomicon (the new edition is really nice, too!) but if you want a more classic vegetarian cookbook, the Moosewood books are great (although I'd go with a more recent one than an older one).
posted by darksong at 5:56 PM on December 18, 2017

Another vote for Moosewood! Especially if you can find an old illustrated version.
posted by Grandysaur at 6:11 PM on December 18, 2017

There are three books I can recommend because I have cooked many times from them and haven't had a dud yet. Two books by Hetty Mckinnon - Community and Neighbourhood and one from David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl - Green Kitchen Travels.
posted by unliteral at 6:11 PM on December 18, 2017

One of my favourites is Vegetarian Planet - lots of recipes from everywhere, and well-written. Lots of very tasty and interesting recipes.
posted by fish tick at 6:42 PM on December 18, 2017

Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking is a gorgeous book, but I haven’t actually cooked from it.
posted by FencingGal at 7:18 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

OP said they have all the Moosewood books.
posted by FencingGal at 7:19 PM on December 18, 2017

I can absolutely vouch for Lord Krishna's Cuisine, Deborah Madison, Madhur Jeffrey, and Veganomicon .

I've just gotten Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen and it looks promising too.
posted by purplesludge at 7:31 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fresh India and Veg Every Day are both good.
posted by terretu at 1:32 AM on December 19, 2017

If it's really about getting dinner on the table with good, hearty, vegetarian food, rather than Veganomicon, I would really recommend Isa Does It. Truly, any food that Isa touches seems to be magical (so Veganomicon is also good!) -- but we use this one so much more for everyday food at our house.
posted by freezer cake at 7:02 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I bought Field of Greens when enough of my friends were vegetarian that I had to start bringing vegetarian dishes to potlucks. Has my favorite all time favorite potluck dish of tomato, basil, corn polenta that even my non-vegetarian friends love.
posted by DarthDuckie at 7:09 AM on December 19, 2017

I learned about the Passionate Vegetarian here on AskMe. It's a huge cookbook with some innovative recipes, some good for weeknight, others good for entertaining. Plus, it's great for dealing with mystery vegetables you get from a CSA share.
posted by slogger at 8:31 AM on December 19, 2017

I am not vegetarian, but Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is my favorite and most used cookbook. I have heard great things about the newly revised version.

Also, Six Seasons by Josh McFadden and Martha Holmburg is hands down the best cookbook of 2017. Still thinking about the raw corn salad I repeatedly made this summer.
posted by fatedblue at 1:42 PM on December 19, 2017

Thanks all! Deborah Madison sounds like the right fit for this gift, looking at the recipes/dishes, the variety included, and the vibe/aesthetic via Amazon Look Inside. I should've thought of that myself. Madhur Jaffrey is another great idea but in thinking it over I am pretty sure they have that one (it's a great book!). Melissa Clark is another good possibility.

There are a few titles here I'll be checking out of the library for myself!
posted by john_snow at 1:53 PM on December 19, 2017

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