My family follows a Flexitarian diet. We eat mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation (but very little dairy). So we eat mostly vegan, but with a little flexibility. We supplement meat during the times when we’re eating fewer carbohydrates. I am a self-taught cook and I do the majority of the cooking in my home. So I’ve tried a vast array of recipes over the years!

There are a million cookbooks in the world, but these are a few of my absolute favorites and are the ones I plan to keep on my shelf even as I strive for a minimalist home. I’ll add more as I discover additional praiseworthy cookbooks.

“There is enormous pleasure in cooking good food simply and in sharing the cooking and the eating with friends and family. I think it is the best antidote to our overstressed modern lives.” -Alice Waters1

Cover of Joy of Vegan Baking cookbookThe Joy of Vegan Baking, Revised and Updated Edition: More than 150 Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets

by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

By far, these are the best vegan baking recipes I’ve ever made. This book is my go-to for all baking now. The author has several books, online classes, and a podcast.


My Pantry book cover My Pantry

by Alice Waters with Fanny Singer

Many of the recipes in this book are simple, everyday items we all eat, such as oat pancakes and whole wheat flatbreads. Waters and Singer explain how to make them simply and deliciously. I consider this book a must-have on every cook’s shelf.



Cover of Whole Bowls cookbookWhole Bowls: Complete Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Meals to Power Your Day

by Allison Day

I can’t say enough good about this book – I literally haven’t made a bad recipe out of this book yet. The recipes are wholesome, vegetarian, gluten-free, and can be tailored to dairy-free. I just feel good after I’ve made a meal from this cookbook.


Cover of Afro-Vegan cookbookAfro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed

by Bryant Terry

These recipes are delicious. Some of the meals are time-consuming, but the flavors are phenomenal!



More Fast Food My Way cover, Jacques Pepin peeling a potato. More Fast Food My Way

by Jacques Pépin

This is one of my go-to’s for fast, gourmet, and delicious meals. He uses a lot of fresh ingredients and wastes little.




Bad Manners cookbook coverBad Manners: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck: A Vegan Cookbook

by Bad Manners

Previously called Thug Kitchen, these meals are all vegan (meat and animal product free). The meals are delicious, healthy, and the instructions are easy to follow. Plus, unless you’re offended by bad language, you’ll get a good chuckle every time you cook!


“The first step to finding time to cook for yourself is to stop thinking of cooking as an expendable part of your day. It’s not.” -Bad Manners cookbook

Bad Manners cookbook coverBad Manners: Party Grub: For Social Motherf*ckers: A Vegan Cookbook

by Bad Manners

While this book is designed to put together food for groups, it is easy to use the recipes for a family. This book has my favorite pizza dough recipe!



The Zero-Waste Chef book cover, green with inked illustrations of foodThe Zero-Waste Chef: Plant-Forward Recipes and Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen and Planet

by Anne-Marie Bonneau

Blogger turned author of this cookbook, Bonneau teaches us how to eat well with zero-waste. Even food scraps can be used somehow! “Like all things zero waste, a bit of planning stops wasting before it happens, like preventative medicine,” she wrote. She includes an entire section on how to preserve food, how to shop, how to make the most of in-season produce, and how to store food. She teaches how to ferment, make a sour-dough starter, and how to cook without kitchen disposables such as plastic wrap and paper towels. Features 75 vegan and vegetarian recipes.

Cover of Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbookThe Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook: 150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30

by Melissa Hartwig Urban



Whole30 cover art, a pot of chicken stew with title banner over it.The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

by Melissa Hartwig Urban

This is the original Whole30 book that explains the program in full. It includes recipes for main meals as well as sides, such as guacamole, and vinaigrettes.



Nadiya Bakes cover, author holding whisk with desserts on counter next to her.Nadiya Bakes: Over 100 Must-Try Recipes for Breads, Cakes, Biscuits, Pies, and More: A Baking Book

by Nadiya Hussain

There are so many delicious recipes in this one. She creates recipes with ingredients that I would never think to put together on my own, which is what is so exciting in this book! I highly recommend Pizza Paratha.


Cover of Modern Lunch cookbookModern Lunch: +100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal

by Allison Day





Colorful tomato arrangement
Photo by Rezel Apacionado on Unsplash



  1. Book, In The Green Kitchen: Techniques To Learn By Heart,” by Alice Waters, ClarksonPotter/Publishers, New York, 2010.