If you're reading this and you aren't a vegetarian, then chances are you know someone who is. It is estimated that there are 7.3 million vegetarians in the United States alone! So, in honor of National Vegetarianism Month, I'll take a look at the types of vegetarianism and some of my favorite cookbooks for veggies.
Vegetarians vary in their food preferences as much as anyone else:
-Vegans abstain from any and all meat and animal products
-Ovo vegetarians do not eat meat or dairy, but do consume eggs
-Lacto vegetarians do not eat meat or eggs, but do eat dairy products
-Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not eat meat but will eat dairy and eggs
-Pollotarians follow a semi-vegetarian diet. They will not eat red meat, fish or seafood, but will eat poultry and other fowl.
-Pescatarianism is also a semi-vegetarian diet which includes fish and seafood, but not red or white meat, poultry or fowl.
As varied as the types of vegetarianism are the reasons people choose to go veg. Whether it is for ethical, religious, environmental or health reasons, it is also a very personal decision. If you are already vegetarian, you know that the support and understanding of your friends and family is so important (nobody likes to be made fun of, especially over what they choose to eat!). If you know a veg but aren't sure how to support them, ask! We love to talk about being veg! Maybe you're already supportive of your veg friends and family, but have no idea what to cook for them. Or maybe you're considering going veg but don't know what to eat other than salad. I've compiled a list of ten of my favorite, most-used vegetarian cookbooks to help you out, and they may just inspire you to try some for yourself! These are also great if you're already veg but need some new recipes to add to your mix of stand-bys.
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. This is the veggie bible! It covers almost every dish you can think of and is a must-have!
1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles. Another must-have for the veg kitchen, it covers grains, soups, salads, etc. I love the Barley Stuffed Peppers.
Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian by Better Crocker. This one is exactly what is claims to be: easy. I find this one is great for when I get home from work and I don't feel like cooking a super-involved meal. I imagine it would be just as useful for busy families, and there aren't a lot of weird ingredients.
How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian Cooking by Mark Bittman. Hello! It's Mark. Bittman. Pretty much every recipe is awesome.
Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook by Robin Robertson. My husband still very much likes meat, but since I don't keep meat in the house, I've had to find veg ways to cook things he loves. This book is great for that, and has recipes for things like stew and sauerbraten and goulash. Your carnivore friends will not even miss the meat!
A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop. A fantastic seasonal cookbook, this one also has lots of recipes from different cultures including Indian, Mediterranean, and Latin. We love the Black Bean Soup!
Moosewood Simple Suppers. This book has recipes for everything, including soup, pasta, grains, tofu, and even a section for fish (which you can skip if you're strictly veg). I made Green and White Bean Gratin for a family meal, and it was a total hit.
Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. I love my slow cooker, especially on warmer days when I want hot food but don't want to stand in the kitchen. One of my favorites is the Vegetable Tian with Herbes de Provence.
Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. Hands down my most-used, best-loved vegetarian cookbook. There are recipes for soups, salads, breads, and entrees, and every one I've tried has been delicious, and indeed, quick. I highly recommend the Ultraquick Lasagna!
The Chicago Diner Cookbook by Chef Jo A. Kaucher. If you live in Chicago or are visiting, you must go to the Chicago Diner. They make veg versions of classic diner food, such as reubens, burgers, and desserts. If you can't make it there, never fear! There's a cookbook for that! And thanks to the HPB Marketplace, you can get a piece of Windy City awesomeness wherever you are. Thanksgiving is coming, so make some of their awesome veggie gravy to go on your taters and Tofurkey!
Hopefully by now you're intrigued by vegetarianism (or at least your mouth is watering), but you're not sure you could give up meat entirely. A great idea that has been gaining popularity is Meatless Monday. One day a week, eat vegan or vegetarian. It's good for you and good for the planet!
Now go out there and give some love to the veg in your life! – Megan
Megan is Store Manager at Bloomingdale Court HPB in Bloomingdale, IL.