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There is a considerable amount of people that wish to become vegans/vegetarians for ethical/moral reasons but are not interested in becoming good cooks. Since living off processed food is not an option and vegetarian/vegan restaurants are still rare in some parts of the globe (specially in smaller cities/poorer countries), learning how to live a meatless lifestyle becomes a challenge for this target group.

Thus, I would like to ask for suggestions on pragmatic (vegetarian/vegan/plant-based) cookbooks focused primarily on everyday cooking; that is, on food that can be made in bulks, is cheap, and whose main ingredients are not too exoteric.

ps: can this be community wiki?

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  • Are recommendation lists on-topic on this site? Discuss on Meta.
    – Nic
    Aug 16 at 15:15
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+100
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vegetarian cookbooks

When I became vegetarian, the first book I read was An Apple a Day: Vegetarian Cookery by Doctors' Wives. It featured good plain home cooking by Seventh Day Adventist doctor's wives.

The next book was Diet for a Small Planet, This book had a lot of information about combining various vegetable sources to make complete proteins.

53 years later I am still alive and happy.

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I recently became vegetarian for ethical reasons, and, although I enjoy cooking, I happen to know some friends which are very much aware of the issue of animal exploitation but are not yet on track to becoming vegans/vegetarians for not knowing how to cook the basics properly. They also seem to lack the desire to learn how to assemble hard/complicated dishes. Thus, their needs match those of the question.

I recently recommended this following short piece to them: How to Survive as a Low-Budget Vegetarian, by Charles Obert.

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Not exactly a cookbook, but I highly recommend Hebbar's Kitchen.

They have excellent Indian food recipes with instruction videos, many of them use cheap / easy to find ingredients, can be made in bulk and freeze well, and can be easily veganized too

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While not exactly a cook book (let alone vegetarian), the best book about cooking in general that helped me more than any other was "Salt Fat Acid Heat" by Samin Nosrat.

Its about getting good at balancing those four key elements to make pretty much anything taste decent. Recipes and ideas I can just google for anyway, and with my newfound skill from that book, I can adapt them to my needs. I found it better than following any one cookbook, though I appreciate the inspiring photography and ideas to draw from.

Through that approach I was able to get "good" at cooking anything intuitively using anything at hand. I can make up or adapt many recipies, optimizing for convenience, speed, health, taste, cost, and vegetarian-ness.

Does take a lot of practise and experiment and progress is slow and requires patience and keen observation skills. What also helped is that I learned all of this during a time that I only cooked for myself every day, therefore I had no pressure to make things taste good for others and experiments were ok to fail.

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A bit cheeky but I love "Thug Kitchen" https://www.vegkitchen.com/thug-kitchen/. The food is easy, and keeping it on my center table has been great way to let my guest expose an edgier and less preachy exploration of veganism.

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The pictureless book Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East by Arto Der Haroutunian is full of easy and delicious recipes largely based on vegetables, beans and pulses. My favourite recipes from it are soups - who knew the addition of tahini or walnuts could send a simple chickpea, spinach and onion soup to stratospheric heights of yumminess?

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