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Tell VT: Best Book for a Vegetarian Newbie?

Tell VT: What’s the first book you’d recommend to a friend going vegetarian and why? Share your answer below, and see what others have to say. 

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Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Its a creative, delicious, and well-balanced way to go vegetarian.

Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It's not a vegetarian book per se, but a beautifully written love letter to whole foods and the appreciation for the complicated circle of our food lives.

"Everyday Vegan: 300 Recipes for Healthful Eating" by Jeani-Rose Atchison...has a wide array of delicious recipes (appetizers, condiments, salads, soups, dressings, breads, sides, entrees, desserts, & beverages) & also helpful tips & valuable information! Absolutely the best & most used recipe book I've ever had!

In the late 1980's, I read John Robbins "Diet for a New America", this is not a diet book but an expose' of the meat and dairy industry. You will never be able to put a meat product in your mouth again. This changed my life forever and I have been a vegetarian since then and have never looked back.

Unequivocally, Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Veganomicon. She's playful, a gifted teacher, practical, and she knows food. I defy anyone, from a T-Rex to tufted tit mouse not to like her Seitan Piccata. Her seitan technique produces consistently textured seitan, her chickpea burgers are in my freezer at all times,and she provides all the information a new vegetarian needs. And no, I don't know her, but I'm glad she's out there.

I recommend Ten Talents vegetarian cookbook. Available in English and Spanish

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is the book that made me decide to become a vegetarian. Before I had even finished it, I bought my very first vegetarian cookbook-- The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook! I have since used it to make many delicious meals for myself and my friends and, obviously, was so sold on it that I bought a subscription to the magazine. I haven't been disappointed yet!

When my farm-bred, barbecue-loving husband's doctor said 'you must adopt a plant-based diet' I turned to friends for recommendations. My first book was The Kind Diet. Good book, good read, good ideas but the cookbook to which I turned almost daily at first was Kim O'Donnel's 'The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook.' Since, I've moved on and the new favorite is Karen Hubert Allison's Vegetarian Compass.

My plan was to go vegan for a month. Little did I know that 5 years later, I would still be going strong. Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson kept me educated, informed and opened my eyes to recipes that were easy to prepare and delicious. It's still a go-to book on my shelf.

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

The first book I would recommend is Sarah Kramer's La Dolce Vegan! The recipes are made in, generally, about 20 minutes, are made with ingredients readily on hand and are always delicious. On top of all that is FUN reading and the pictures never fail to put a smile on face!

Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food. It goes into detail about the digusting things fast food chains do to meat and was the book that finally convinced me to go vegetarian!

VEGETARIAN TIMES: What’s the first book you’d recommend to a friend going vegetarian? The Compassionate Cook, or Please Don’t Eat the Animals” by PETA & Ingrid Newkirk is so much more than a cookbook. It provides nutritional information that is not only good for animals and the environment, but great for your waistline, coronary arteries and your longevity. The novice vegetarian will be inspired to experiment with new foods and cooking methods. This book was my rock during the early years becoming vegetarian and then eventually vegan. Anita DeWester, Carmel, Indiana

About 30 years ago I got interested in vegetarian cooking and found "Laurel's Kitchen" by Laurel Robertson and friends to be the best cookbook & nutrition handbook combined into one. And then years later my husband bought me the updated "The New Laurel's Kitchen". That book has kept me grounded...and I passed on the the original to a friend.

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. This book convinced me in high school to go vegetarian and kosher. For health and safety reasons as well as treating animals with care, this book may shock but ultimately leaves you rethinking your priorities.

Moosewood Cookbook (the original by Mollie Katzen). Hands down the best! Yes, the ingredients list can be long and the directions a bit detailed. Well worth it. For years I've made fabulously delicious entrees, soups and desserts from this book. My copy shows its wear and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

"Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison has the educational component that "Joy of Cooking" has, but all the recipes are meat-free. It's so beautifully written that it can double as bedtime or poolside reading, yet there is real substance to the recipes and none have failed me yet. It's the perfect gift for new or lifelong vegetarians, and novice and seasoned foodies alike!

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell. Before I finished this book I eliminated meat and dairy from my diet. Best thing that ever happened to me.

If you've already decided to become a vegetarian (regardless of your reason/s) then I would recommend "The New Becoming Vegetarian" by Vesanto Melina, MS, RD & Brenda Davis, RD. For me it was gentle nutritional guidance and assured me I was making the right food choices as I transitioned into a non meat eater. I referred to it often (especially when defending my decision to concerned family and friends!) :) There are a few great recipes I make regularly for my non-veggie husband and kids. Reading The China Study (as well as watching the film "Forks Over Knives") is great... when you are ready. Take your time. Enjoy the road to a healthier you!

Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is chock full of recipes of all kinds- from Italian to Indian to Mexican- with detailed explanations and definitions of all the different types of foods she uses, notes on variations she has made and possible side dishes, sauces, or accompaniments. This was the first cookbook that really helped me make the leap from wanting to eat more vegetarian meals to eliminating meat from our diet. It's user friendly, it has recipes that appeal to all cooking levels and tastes, and it is also very wallet-friendly. I found that most recipes called for things I either already had or could easily find at the local grocery store.

Since many new vegetarians need to navigate the omnivore's world, Steven Raichlen's "High Flavor, Lowfat Vegetarian Cooking" is a good place to start. It contains beautiful photographs of delicious, colorful, and easy recipes that appeal to the senses and that aren't too weird for non-vegetarians. My first vegetarian cookbook was Mollie Katzen's original edition of "The Moosewood Cookbook." Still fabulous after all these years, even though some of the recipes are a bit complicated. I also love Deborah Madison's "This Can't Be Tofu!" for it's creative and delicious take on the vegetarian classic.

The Forks over knives has a series of 3 books I would recommend. For a beginner I would recommend the 21-day weight loss kickstart by Neal D. Barnard, MD

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. It's a great book, full of basics, but also more complex recipes. Everything I've ever made from this book has been a hit!

I have read every book there is from Eating Animals to all the wonderful cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero to Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman to the awesome John Robbins' Diet for a New America... Colleen Patrick Goudreau's great books and and more... there are so many good ones! But for newbies, I would really urge you to get Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr (the follow up to the book and film she did, Crazy Sexy Cancer.) It is not only a really fun read containing health facts, recipes, juicing information and lifestyle-changing tips, but she even makes the chapters about the incredibly fundamental (but to most people, completely unknown) ways of our digestive systems insanely fun, hilarious, accessible and interesting in a way that makes one feel happy and empowered... I thought I had all the info I need to embrace this lifestyle as I have been veg for several decades... but she taught me stuff I didn't know about biology and even spirituality and armed me with that much more knowledge about my health. I truly recommend it!

The Kind Life Diet. Such great book with tons of info and great recipes! I learned so much from this book! It is still my go to when my health needs a boost.

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. It is the book that actually solidified my decision to become vegetarian!

To any friend, family member or loved one: my first book into vegetarianism was: Veganist by Kathy Freston. She later wrote a new book on the market - The Lean. Both are a wonderful introduction to Vegetarianism or Veganism in a simple, thorough, and very informative way. You can't go wrong with these two books. They are gentle, practical, and supportive in a needed way when you are trying to find your way in the new world of any level of vegetarianism. She has also written other books, but these two nail the reason for purpose, commitment, dedication to a long term course and healthy life style. They are so informative, and really open your eyes as to why you are going this way and making this commitment. Not just someone's opinion. She is backed by well known published authors, MD's, web sites, and essential, necessary data. I think these books are indispensable to newbies. They also support those who are there. Enjoy and best wishes.

The first book I would recommend to a friend going vegetarian is, "the essential vegetarian cookbook" bay books. I would recommend it because it has valuable information on being vegetarian as well as delicious recipes using a wide variety of healthy foods. It also explains foods that were foreign to me when I made the transition to vegetarian.

Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet Vesanto Melina (Author), Brenda Davis (Author) Hands down the greatest resource.

....also How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" is comprehensive without being complicated. He presents one dish (e.g. braised tofu), and then provides a number of variations. Helpful when all the needed ingredients aren't at hand. He covers several cuisines and addresses the broadest vegetarian audience, (egg, dairy, vegan). His sidebars break down cooking techniques and "what to look for" when buying ingredients. Would highly recommend this to a newbie.

The book that convinced me to become a vegetarian was The China Study. Understanding the science behind the benefits of a vegetarian diet and/or the detriments of excess animal protein is the core to living the rest of my life as a vegetarian. I've had one good friend tell me it wouldn't last beyond six months. I told him to read The China Study.

I would highly recommend Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" book. It is very informative about vegetables, and how broccoli has three times as much protein as steak (100g of each). You learn how animal products are the leading cause of so many diseases, cancers, and illness. It also provides vegetarian recipes, and discusses the benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds. This book is the best!

Vegetarians for Teens is great!!!! The 2nd edition of Moosewood is absolutely amazing too!!!

My best friend bought me "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman, and it's become my personal trainer in the kitchen! The book is beautifully organized, has an excellent index, and covers everything from the very basic to the super complex - with clear indications of what's fast, vegan, or can be prepped ahead. My favorite feature is that every recipe has alternate variations, so if you're missing one or two ingredients, you can easily adapt to what's on hand. The tutorials and illustrations for basic cooking and prep skills make this book kinda like Cooking 101 for vegetarians!

Totally vegetarian by Toni Fiore was my first veg cookbook and my favorite go too.

This isn't a recommendation for a book, just a suggestion for those who are new to juicing. When juicing those strong earthy green veggies (kale, spinach, etc) it really cuts the "tastes a little like dirt" flavor to add a bit of lime. Lemon works too, if you want that super tart flavor. Juice On!

The book I use most often is "Supermarket Vegan" by Donna Klein. Even if you're not vegan, these are some of the most accessable veg recipes I've seen. Everything can be found in a standard grocery store, and she does not rely on faux meats to get you by.

Newbies do not need cookbook recommendations. There is Vegetarian Times and plenty of adaptable recipes to start with. I needed a book to explain the health issues and lifestyle. I started with Dr Neal Barnard, Reversing Diabetes, which helped me to understand how a Vegan diet would help my heath. I found I couldn't do the Vegan thing but rather opted for Vegetarian. It was difficult because there wasn't another book to guide me in my choices. I eat out a lot, and when I do cook I don't want a pantry with exotic ingredients. I soon became tired of veggie burgers, salads, pasta & a plate full of veggies.

Best cookbook for vegetarian newbies is Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes by Robin Robertson. I recommend it to anyone wanted to give vegetarianism a try. It has recipes that are common to everyday eating but without the meat. A good book for helping to change one's eating habits.

The book I always recommend is The Vegetarian Times Beginner's Guide. I think it may be out of print, but you can always find used copies. If someone is looking for Vegetarian recipes, I recommend How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.

John Robbin's "May All Be Fed: A Diet for A New World" changed my life in college. Not only are there great vegan recipes, the book itself makes a compelling case for changing the way we eat. Some of my other favorites are Moosewood's New Classics, "Love Soup" by Anna Thomas and Heidi Swansons "Super Natural Everyday."

No matter what my friend's primary reason for going vegetarian may be, I'd congratulate her and suggest "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer. It taught me about the meat and dairy industries' cruelty towards animals, something I now refuse to continue to contribute to. And thanks to the nutritional guidance of "Vegan for Life" by Jack Norris and Virgina Messina, as well as the cookbooks and informative, supportive podcasts by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (The Compassionate Cook), I've been happily vegan for several months now - and don't plan to ever go back.

The Flexatarian Diet by Dawn Jackson Blatner! She showed me how to cook hearty, varied daily menus that convinced my skeptical husband that we really could go vegetarian - and enjoy it! The concept of being flexible and occasionally eating meat eased the fear that we'd be locked into a possibly boring or rigid lifestyle. As it turned out, the book stimulated my inner gourmet chef and now I can wing it on ingredients and impress any carnivorously hungry person at my table!

"Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman changed my life. The book provides compelling evidence on why your current diet does not work and is making you sick. The book then provides an easy to follow, healthy vegan diet, that is low-fat, satisfying, and based on whole foods. The diet is cleansing and will make you feel energized and happy. You will lose your addiction to unhealthy foods. When you are hungry, you will crave an apple rather than a doughnut. Strangely, becoming vegan is empowering rather than limiting. In my experience, it is much easier to be vegan than vegetarian.

Surprised no one has mentioned this one yet! Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking. This excellent volume pre-dates her World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World by more than two decades, and still impresses today. Rather than pedantic re-hashings of vegetarian versions of American/European comfort foods (veggie burgers, macaroni and cheese, etc.), World-of the-East Vegetarian Cooking provides more than 400 recipes with cultural integrity. These recipes will keep any vegetarian interested and challenged, will introduce new ingredients, vary in complexity, and are healthful dishes created with whole foods in appealing traditional recipes from India and beyond. Included are recipes from Bali, Japan, China, as well as Middle Eastern countries. Additionally, the book itself is illustrated with lovely line drawings and makes a friendly read for someone just embarking on a vegetarian diet. Inspiration aplenty in this bountiful volume!

If you love cooking there is no better cookbook to learn vegetarian/vegan cooking than The Candle Cafe Cookbook by the NYC restaurant of the same name that started the gourmet vegan restaurant trend in New York. It will teach you everything from simple veggie burgers, sandwiches, and soups to 5 star gourmet dishes like seitan piccata or ancho citrus grilled tofu. As a former meat eater no other book has ever given me more delicious ways to not only replace meat dishes in my cookbook, but to see and enjoy vegetables, fruits and grains in ways I never had imagined before.

Skinny Bitch! Hands down, best book for a newbie! (Though I had to skip chapter 5)

Best cookbook...Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Kitchen. (ISBN: 0563370378 / 0-563-37037-8) Recipes that are easy to follow with ingredients that are easy to find. The Cheese and Lentil Loaf is out of this world. Even non-vegetarians have asked for the recipe. Hands down the best "starter" book...and one of my all time favourites!

"Skinny Bitch". It's entertaining & tell-it-like-it-is. It will change your life. I've been a vegetarian for 20 years and was re-motivated to spread the word & go vegan.