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vegan cookbooks for beginners

The Best Vegan Cookbooks for Beginners

As we settle into the new year, you may have decided to take the plunge and adopt a vegan diet, or simply add more plant-based meals to your life.

Maybe you've been seeing the word Veganuary thrown around in the last few weeks and you're curious about the potential benefits of an animal-free lifestyle.

Whatever your motivation, Lyndie from our Willowbridge store has rounded up the best vegan cookbooks for beginners to inspire you!


South African Vegan Cookbooks

With more restaurants offering vegan options, and supermarkets providing a wider range of vegan alternatives, it's easier than ever to make the change to a plant-based lifestyle.

But, while it has certainly become more accessible, it can be difficult to say goodbye to South African classics.

Will you have to go the rest of your life without milk tart or bunny chow?

Will you be relegated to grazing at the salad station the next time you go to a braai?

Of course not!

The local vegan cookbooks below will show you how to use easy-to-find, affordable ingredients to recreate all your South African favourites.

Kind Kitchen: Vegan. Now What? - Jason McNamara - R380

9781432311407 - Kind Kitchen - Jason McNamara

Cape Town readers may know Jason McNamara as the head chef and co-founder of The Kind Kitchen in Woodstock. But with this latest vegan cookbook, plant-based eaters country-wide will be introduced to his innovative re-imaginings of your favourite dishes, like mac ‘n cheese, chicken wings, burritos, burgers and bunny chow.

As for sweet treats, he has adapted family favourites, such as milk tart, pumpkin fritters and cheesecake to be dairy free, while his smoothies and plant-based milks mean less reliance on store-bought products.

He has mastered the art of turning mushrooms into chicken, carrots into lox, celeriac into fish and beetroot into burgers, as well as the even darker art of making meat from wheat.

The South African Vegan Cookbook - Leozette Roode - R340

9780798177108 - South African Vegan Cookbook - Leozette Roode

The first of its kind, this is one vegan cookbook South Africa has been benefitting from since it was published in 2018.

In addition to easy to make, family-friendly recipes, The South African Vegan Cookbook gives you everything you need to embark on a vegan lifestyle. It offers basic information such as the definition of veganism, why it’s good for you, answers to common questions, the essential equipment, vegan alternatives for everyday products, the pantry essentials and resources to learn more.

This proudly South African cookbook is filled with locally found ingredients and delicious meal ideas. Think decadent chocolate granola and overnight oats, kale chips and cauliflower bites, couscous salad, lasagne and stir-fry as well as South African favourites like milk tart, banana loaf, and chicken burgers. And to top it all: chocolate mousse, date balls and truffles.

Can I Manage A Vegan Lifestyle Long-Term?

Are you beginning your vegan journey - or considering taking the plunge - but you have some concerns?

How will it affect your health?

Is it going to be costly and time-consuming?

These cookbooks will help allay your fears!

Healthy Vegan: The Cookbook - Niko Rittenau & Sebastian Copien - R300

9780241480441 - Healthy Vegan - Niko Rittenau & Sebastian Copien

Niko Rittenau - nutrition scientist - and Sebastian Copien - chef - have teamed up to apply the latest scientific findings on vegan nutrition to cooking, developing a simple formula for you to create a variety of healthy and tasty recipes.

Explore the science behind your food to really understand what you're eating, plus discover the nutritional value of creating your meals using Niko and Sebastian's five building blocks: grains, vegetables, leafy vegetables, pulses, and toppings. With this approach, the culinary opportunities are endless.

By combining different recipes in this book, you can confidently rustle up healthy and delicious vegan dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

7 Day Vegan Challenge: Featuring Over 70 Tasty Recipes and Menu Plans - Bettina Campolucci Bordi - R295

7 Day Vegan Challenge - Bettina Campolucci Bordi - 9781784882839

The perfect vegan cookbook for beginners, 7 Day Vegan Challenge shows that with a little bit of planning, following a vegan diet has never been so effortless, accessible and fun.

These are fast, tasty meals that won't leave you feeling hungry or like you're missing out. Kickstart your morning with Banoffee oats or Breakfast burritos, fill your lunchbox with a Tokyo hummus sandwich, and finish your day with Kimchi fried rice or Cauliflower steak, with a Key lime pie for dessert.

Handy icons indicate if something can be batch-cooked, if it contains nuts, how long it will keep in the fridge and if it can be frozen. In addition to great recipes, you'll find meal planners, weekly shopping lists, and tips for batch cooking, making ahead, and freezing - all coming together to make vegan living a breeze!

Fast Easy Cheap Vegan - Sam Turnbull - R450

Fast Easy Cheap Vegan - Sam Turnbull - 9780525610854

With all the recipes having 10 ingredients or fewer and taking 30 minutes or less to cook, Fast Easy Cheap Vegan is one of the best cookbooks for new and busy vegans.

Fast Easy Cheap Vegan is filled with 101 recipes, many of them perfect for busy weeknights, like 10-Ingredient Creamy Basil Gnocchi, Gorgeous Greek Bowl, and Quicker Quesadillas. You’ll have tons of options for speedy breakfasts and lunches, including Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, 20-Minute Breakfast Sandwiches, 15-Minute Apple Chickpea Salad, and DIY Instant Ramen Soup. And don’t skip dessert because there’s Lickety-Split Ice Cream, Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Squares, Brownie in a Cup, and 10-Minute Mini Berry Crisp.

Fast Easy Cheap Vegan is all about smart tips and easy techniques that simplify cooking. Many recipes are one-pot, freezer-friendly, and make-ahead meals, creating a stress-free kitchen. So whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, Sam has thought of everything to help get delicious, fuss-free meals on the table in no time at all.

Comfort Food

It can be easy to look at plant-based influencers and think you'll be relegated to lettuce and lentils for the rest of your life. But as with any lifestyle, veganism is all about balance.

There's no denying that filling your plate with more fresh fruit and vegetables will be good for you, but that doesn't mean giving up on your favourite sweet treats and junk food. 

Purezza Vegan Pizza: Deliciously simple plant-based pizza to make at home - Stefania Evangelisti - R410

Purezza Vegan Pizza - Stefania Evangelisti - 9780857837448

Purezza, founded in 2015, was the first vegan pizzeria in the UK. Passionate about plant-based food, their aim was simple: to make their menu superior to the traditional alternatives, revolutionising Italian food by using cruelty-free ingredients.

Now you can enjoy their incredible pizza without taking a trans-continental flight. Discover your perfect crust (wholemeal, sourdough or gluten-free), choose your
favourite sauce, (from a classic San Marzano Tomato to a vibrant green Asparagus Sauce), create exciting nut cheeses, (deliciously melty Cashew Mozzarella, anyone?), and finish it all off with a range of tempting toppings, (like Beetroot Carpaccio, Smoked Carrot Pancetta and Funghi Trifolati). There are also Dips and Dressings to enjoy alongside your pizzas, and a selection of classic Italian dishes and desserts that have been given a vegan makeover.

This book helps any home cook recreate the best vegan pizza that promises to be enjoyed by vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Vegan Mug Cakes: 40 Easy Cakes to Make in a Microwave - Lottie Covell - R240

9780857839916 - Vegan Mug Cakes - Lottie Covell

For those of you with a sweet tooth, these foolproof cakes require just a mug, a microwave and a few simple ingredients.

From classics such as Coffee and Walnut Cake to irresistible flavour combinations like Blackberry and Lime, these are quick, easy bakes for every mood and occasion.

With tips on plant-based ingredients and the dos and don'ts of microwave baking, Vegan Mug Cakes is the best vegan dessert cookbook for people looking for a quick, single-serving treat.


 Let us know in the comments which of these you're most excited to try!

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