5 Best Vegan Cookbooks For Vicarious Food Travel

When was the last time you cooked something new? Here’s a list of 5 best vegan cookbooks to get you started with some new fun and creative plant based recipe ideas!

Exploring cultures through cuisines

At Around the World in 80 Flavors we’re all about food travel and exploring new cultures through their cuisines. It doesn’t have to involve physical traveling to far away lands though. A trip to a new neighborhood in your own city, or simply a take out from an unfamiliar restaurant with a far-flung cuisine can be just as exciting of a culinary adventure. At the end of the day you’re still learning about what others eat, and that’s what it’s all about. You just need to stay willing to take in the new flavors with an open mind and curiosity.

There are incredible people working their butts off to deliver food to our grocers and restock the shelves. That combined with plenty of free time on our hands means now is the time to shine in the kitchen.

This rings true today more than ever. With the future of travel uncertain, and with instances of discrimination against Asian cuisines post-coronavirus, we need to come up with creative ways to recreate the invaluable food travel experience at home while socially distancing.

best vegan cookbooks
Now is your time to shine in the kitchen! The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles has an excellent world cookbook section. Can’t wait for it to re-open!

One of our 6 ideas for vicarious food travel during quarantine is cooking at home and testing out recipes from lesser known cuisines. 

Quarantine cooking

The silver lining of social distancing is that we’ve been forced to get creative and at long last cook our own meals. That’s a skill that we’ll keep as a society and that’s HUGE.  Scroll down #quarantinecooking and you’ll see folks who’d never fried an egg before exchanging recipes, baking, roasting, creating. Even Jamie Oliver with his ‘teach America how to cook’ campaign couldn’t do in years of effort on national TV what COVID-19 did in weeks behind closed doors.

There are incredible people working their butts off to deliver food to our grocers and restock the shelves. That combined with plenty of free time on our hands means now is the time to shine in the kitchen. Yes, you can join the banana bread and/or sourdough club. But you can also try making that curry from scratch, attempt home-made pasta, or perfect those oh-so-time-consuming momos. 

With the future of travel uncertain we need to come up with creative ways to recreate the invaluable food travel experience at home while socially distancing.

If you want to take it one step further, why not throw a themed dinner party over Zoom or FaceTime? Pick a cuisine, invite friends and family and ask everyone to prepare something typically Peruvian/ Sichuan/ Punjabi/ Ethiopian/ take your pick. A virtual pot luck can be so much fun! 

Here are some of the best world cuisines cookbooks out there to get you started with some themes and recipe ideas:

1. East Meets Vegan: The Best of Asian Home Cooking, Plant-Based and Delicious

A vibrant tour of Asia in 90 vegan recipes. When Sasha Gill went vegan, she wasn’t about to leave her family’s home-cooked favorites behind. Pad thai without fish sauce? Curry without ghee? In East Meets Vegan, Sasha proves that Asian cooking can be plant-based—as well as easy, affordable, and delicious! You’ll find:

  • Veganized favorites: Spring rolls, red bean pancakes, shiitake ramen, mango lassis
  • Can’t-believe-it’s-vegan twists: Tandoori cauliflower “wings,” pineapple fried rice, jackfruit biryani, “butter chicken,” a sushi feast to feed a crowd
  • Mix-and-match pairings: Combine leftovers for your own take on Asian fusion.

Bursting with more than 100 sumptuous photographs, this is your passport to a culinary adventure—from the comfort of your kitchen.

2. Vegan Mexico: Soul-Satisfying Regional Recipes from Tamales to Tostadas

The author of the best-selling Vegan Tacos explores the magic of Mexico’s regional cooking. Enjoy the exotic flavors of these diverse cuisines without leaving your kitchen. Jason’s delicious recipes capture the essence of the moles of Oaxaca, the Mayan legacy of the Yucatan, the smoky chile flavors of Zacatecas,the fruit-centric Southern regions, the Spanish influence of Veracruz, and the street food of Mexico City. Recipes include:

  • Oaxacan Black Beans
  • Blue Corn Mushrooms Bocoles
  • Four Chile Noodle Soup
  • Classic Sweet Corn Tamales
  • Old-Style Street Enchiladas
  • Sonoran Machaca Burritos
  • Sweet Potato Pastelitos
  • Tres Leches Cake

A leading authority in vegan Mexican cooking, Jason shares the core concepts for making authentic Mexican cuisine and tie the recipes to their place in the story of Mexico. Readers will come away with a new understanding and admiration for the diversity and flavors of Mexico and be inspired to make delectable main dishes, soups, spreads, sandwiches, breads, desserts, snacks, and much more.

Even Jamie Oliver with his ‘teach America how to cook’ campaign couldn’t do in years of effort on national TV what COVID-19 did in weeks behind closed doors.

3. The Chinese Vegan Kitchen: More Than 225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from the Culinary Regions o f China

Colorful, aromatic, and flavorful—and as simple as ordering in. The harmonious blending of color, aroma, and flavor has made Chinese cuisine one of the most popular on the planet. As the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables, China boasts an impressive array of meat-free, egg-free, dairy-free dishes that has also made its cuisine one of the earth’s healthiest. From tasty appetizers to mouthwatering desserts, The Chinese Vegan Kitchen is a collection of easy yet authentic recipes from the various culinary regions of China—Canton, Hunan, Peking, Shanghai, Sichuan, Taiwan, Tibet—that you can prepare in your own kitchen with ingredients readily available in western supermarkets.

This book features:

  • 225 delicious and nutritious recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, noodle dishes, rice dishes, tofu and other main dishes, side dishes, and desserts
  • Nutritional analysis of calories, protein, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, and dietary fiber for every recipe
  • Cooks’ tips throughout
  • A glossary of ingredients and where to find themThis is vegan cooking like you’ve never experienced it—but you will be coming back to this irresistible collection time and again.

4. Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook

From delicious dals to rich curries, flat breads, savory breakfasts, snacks, and much more, this vegan cookbook brings you Richa Hingle’s collection of plant-based Indian recipes inspired by regional cuisines, Indian culture, local foods, and proven methods.

Whether you want to enjoy Indian cooking, try some new spices, or add more protein to your meals using legumes and lentils, this book has got it covered. You’ll explore some well-known and new Indian flavor profiles that are easy to make in your own kitchen. Learn the secrets of eclectic Indian taste and textures, and discover meals in which pulses and vegetables are the stars of the dish. And once you taste Richa’s mouth-watering desserts, they will likely become your new favorites. 

Within these pages you will find recipes to please all the senses, including:

  • Mango Curry Tofu
  • Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Makhani Gravy
  • Baked Lentil Kachori Pastries
  • Quick Tamarind-Date Chutney
  • Avocado Naan
  • Fudgy Cardamom Squares

The recipes have been designed to simplify complex vegan cooking procedures, and Richa’s workflow tips incorporate modern appliances and techniques from other cuisines to reduce cooking times. Replacement spices are indicated wherever possible, and Richa also provides alternatives and variations that allow people to be playful and creative with the Indian spices called for in the recipes. The restaurant-quality vegan recipes are ideal to make for yourself, for family, and for entertaining guests.

5. Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed [A Cookbook]

An Afro-Vegan renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present more than 100 wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. Named on of the best cookbooks of all time by Bon Apetit!

Blending African, Carribean, and southern cuisines results in delicious recipes like Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil, a recipe inspired by the Kenyan dish irio, and Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad with dried apricots, carrots, and almonds, which is based on a Moroccan tagine. Creamy Coconut-Cashew Soup with Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes pays homage to a popular Brazilian dish while incorporating classic Southern ingredients, and Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts combines the Ethiopian grain teff with stone-ground corn grits from the Deep South and North African zalook dip. There’s perfect potluck fare, such as the simple, warming, and intensely flavored Collard Greens and Cabbage with Lots of Garlic, and the Caribbean-inspired Cocoa Spice Cake with Crystallized Ginger and Coconut-Chocolate Ganache, plus a refreshing Roselle-Rooibos Drink that will satisfy any sweet tooth. 

With more than 100 modern and delicious dishes that draw on Terry’s personal memories as well as the history of food that has traveled from the African continent, Afro-Vegan takes you on an international food journey. Accompanying the recipes are Terry’s insights about building community around food, along with suggested music tracks from around the world and book recommendations. For anyone interested in improving their well-being, Afro-Vegan’s groundbreaking recipes offer innovative, plant-based global cuisine that is fresh, healthy, and forges a new direction in vegan cooking.


Do you know of any other excellent vegan cookbooks? Comment below!

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