Now that spring has fully fledged, everything seems lighter, and spring produce is really revving up. Think tender stalks of asparagus, juice-bursting strawberries, and delicate tendrils of garlic scapes. Spring is the perfect time to re-acquaint yourself with the local farmers market, load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and simply feel healthier.
Whether you follow a vegan lifestyle, want to dip your toe in vegetarianism, or solely want to eat healthier, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite vegetable-focused cookbooks. Some classic, some new, but all filled with inspirational recipes to accompany the spring season, and celebrate produce and fresh, healthy, delicious foods.
What would the farm to table food culture be without Alice Waters, a true pioneer in the fresh food movement? The esteemed chef opened up her flagship restaurant Chez Panisse in 1971, a bistro dedicated to utilizing and showcasing the importance of local and organic produce, and sustainable seafood and meats. Published in 1996, “Chez Panisse Vegetables” is a classic cookbook championing vegetables, which still stands on our bookshelves today. Divided by chapters dedicated to a particular vegetable, each section contains a concise forward or introduction to the vegetable, followed by a few simple recipes, like Artichoke and Pink Grapefruit Salad; Belgian Endive Risotto with Taleggio and Walnuts; and Sauteed Chanterelles on Toast.See It
2. “Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi” by Yotam Ottolenghi, $19.49 on Amazon
Before “Jerusalem” became a home cook cult favorite, there was “Plenty.” A beautiful, detailed book dedicated to a vegetarian lifestyle. Broken down into sections such as “Green Things” and “The Mighty Eggplant,” the book is chock full of mouth-watering recipes accompanied with vibrant photos, including Green Pancakes with Lime Butter; Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile; and Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce.See It
Famed British food writer, Nigel Slater, authors a stunning, comprehensive tome with over 400 recipes and stories illustrating how to garden, grow, and cook vegetables. With an impressive 29 chapters, Nigels breaks down the process from garden to kitchen and table, featuring savory delights such as Roast Lamb with Mint, Cumin, and Roast Carrots; Mashed Brussels with Parmesan and Cream; Cabbage with Beans, Coconut, and Coriander; and Ham with Apple Juice and Parsnip Puree.See It
With tons of accolades, including Best Cookbook of the Year by Bon Appétit and Food Network Magazine, and winner of James Beard Award for Best Book in Vegetable-Focused Cooking, Joshua McFadden’s “Six Seasons” is considered a masterpiece. Organized seasonally in six sections, McFadden’s goal in the work is to encourage cooks of all levels to eat locally and seasonally. Thanks to arresting photography and delicious recipes, this coined “vegetable whisperer” has definitely accomplished his goal according to us. Recipes and photos of Asparagus, Nettle, and Green Garlic Frittata; Couscous with English Peas, Apricots, and Lamb Meatballs; and Turnip Salad with Yogurt, Herbs, and Poppy seeds are absolutely tantalizing and beautiful.See It
5. “Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body” by Kathryne Taylor, $18.70 on Amazon
Beloved Cookie + Kate vegetarian food blogger Kathryne Taylor (and her cute, rescue dog, Cookie) pens a cookbook focusing on real, nutritious, whole foods. The 100 recipes include various ways to customize meals for food sensitivities, such as gluten- or dairy-free. Hearty, vegetable-focused delicacies such as Fresh Sesame Soba Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce; Fresh Greek Nachos with Herbed Tahini Sauce; and Coconut Fried Rice with Edamame not only satisfy your hunger, but are healthy and delicious.See It
6. “In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes” by Deborah Madison, $22.09 on Amazon
We couldn’t mention vegetables without including vegetarian empress, Deborah Madison. Born and raised on farms, and inspired by Alice Waters, Deborah worked at Chez Panisse for several years before opening up her own farm to table restaurant, Greens. She has authored more than 10 books dedicated to healthy, vegetable-driven cooking, and has been welcomed into James Beard’s Cookbook Hall of Fame. Her latest book, “In My Kitchen,” threads in her personal prose as well as 100 recipes for simple, healthy, vegetarian eating.See It
What would a vegetable-driven cookbook be without “The Moosewood Cookbook?” Written over 40 years ago by Mollie Katzen, this is a classic anthology of Katzen’s favorite recipes from her co-op restaurant in Ithaca, New York. Many of us grew up with this compilation, which is one of the top 10 New York Times’ Best Selling cookbooks. Think of this cookbook as one of the cornerstones of seasonal vegetable-focused cooking.See It
Not necessarily a cookbook, as much as commentary via findings sourced from 10 years of research, including surveying farmers and food production professionals around the world. Chef and author, Dan Barber, famed for his Blue Hill at Stone Barns and sister restaurant in New York City’s West Village, explores revolutionary safe and sustainable food practices for future farmers and chefs that stem from what we all choose to cook and eat for dinner each night. “The Third Plate is where good farming and good food intersect.”See It
9. “Love and Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes” for Every Meal by Jeanine Donofrio, $22.48 on Amazon
Best-selling cookbook author Jeanine Donofrio’s “The Love & Lemons Cookbook” was such a hit, she wrote a new one with her co-blogger and husband, Jack. “Love and Lemons Every Day” includes helpful charts and infographics for understanding quick and delicious plant-based recipes. She even provides helpful hints, such as buying frozen quinoa to keep stashed away for quick meal execution. Plant-forward eating takes center stage on the plate with recipes such as Heirloom Tomato Fattoush; Tomatillo Zucchini White Bean Chili; and Cozy Vegan Mushroom and White Bean Pot Pie.See It
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Header image courtesy of Ten Speed Press