I want to learn how to cook, not just from the experience of following lots of recipes, but from understanding the principles behind recipes: how to best combine ingredients and flavours, what techniques to use to cook ingredients, how to optimise those techniques, and even a bit of a chemical background explaining why these are the best methods. I want to know how I can take a recipe and modify it based on what I have available, or even how to invent a meal on the spot.

It seems that one canonical resource for this in the omnivore world is "On Cooking". I haven't read it myself, just heard about it. However I'm guessing that if I did read it, I would spend a lot of time filtering out non-vegan information. I also think it would probably fail to include information that would be helpful for vegans, e.g. it might suggest adding butter and not consider suggesting an alternative.

Is there a good book, or even a blog or series of articles or videos, from which I can learn to be a better cook in this way?

I'm not looking to become a professional chef. In fact I'm very lazy in the kitchen. So I'd prefer a resource that emphasises speed and simplicity in cooking. I'm also not interested in advice on health and nutrition: just easy, tasty food.

  • 3
    The author of the science based cook book - The Food Lab, has said he has plans for a vegan/vegetarian edition. Although that's not much help now. I remember flipping through The Veganomicon in a book store and it had a fairly extensive index of cooking techniques and instructions for common vegan foods which might be a part of what you're looking for.
    – nloewen
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


Not specifically a vegan cookbook, but the cookbook my mother has always sworn by is How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (Amazon Link). It's got plenty of recipes, but also instructions for how to cook and best use staple vegan and vegetarian ingredients, like legumes and brown rice. There are illustrations to go along with the instructions and lots of alternative flavor profiles to the recipes, so you're not just getting a set of instructions to follow but a variety of ways to think about the same basic ingredients and create new and interesting dishes on your own.

There are certainly recipes that you would have to filter out, as you put it, because it's not a strictly vegan cookbook, but a lot of the sections will be equally applicable to vegan and vegetarian diets.

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