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Some years ago I decided to eat less meat and to successively becoming a vegetarian. I haven't learnt any particular dishes though, mostly just improvising with veggies/beans/nuts/cheese as staples – and that's fine, but I would now like to have some new inspiration from a good vegetarian cookbook (meaning less animal products is preferred, but dairy products and eggs is ok).

To make this question possible to answer, this is what I'm looking for:

  • A sort of a vegetarian's bible. Doesn't have to be very new, I'm thinking bible like Julia Childs' Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Should be very comprehensive.

  • Should have some dishes that are quick to make and some that are slow cooking.

  • The dishes should be something you can eat on a regular weekday. Some special ingredients can be hard to find or be a bit expensive, but the staples should be quite cheap and easy to get (I live in Sweden, but have Asian and Middle Eastern food stores nearby).

  • The recipes should try to follow the (Swedish/European) season if possible.

  • The cookbook can very well be of Indian cuisine (I hear they like their vegetarian dishes), so some ingredients have to be imported in that case of course.

  • Language: English or Swedish.

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Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison seems to be something like what I'm looking for. –  citizen Jan 2 '13 at 18:03
    
I would appreciate if the ones voting for a close would comment on how to improve the question. I know it's in a gray area, recommendations being subjective and answers tending towards a list, but surely what constitutes as a cooking bible can be objective too – not many would argue against Child's book being one for example. I would therefore like the answers not recommending just one book, but rather giving several (3 or 5) examples of the more comprehensive vegetarian cooking books published in the last decades. –  citizen Jan 2 '13 at 20:43
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This question is maybe borderline, but it does generally fit the characteristics of a good subjective question‌​. It also doesn't suffer terribly from the problem that most shopping questions have (useful only for a limited time); well-regarded cookbooks for a very specific domain tend to stay that way for decades. –  Jefromi Jan 2 '13 at 21:07
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I personally voted to close because I see it on the far side of the subjective line as I interpreted the definition, even though its an interesting question. I asked myself what would happen if someone asked for a general best cooking bible. Julia's three volume masterpiece? Pepin's? Ratio? Beard? Joy? Many others... no way to choose. Its asking for a "top n" list of something, which is a personal choice. Look at the reaction the fish recipes in Moosewood got below even IMHO it is prob the closest thing to a single answer to this question. Enchanted broccoli for everyone. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 2 '13 at 21:40
    
The foodblogger Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen has a list of cookbooks she uses, some of which are vegetarian & in Swedish: acatinthekitchen.com/on-my-shelves. Not a Swedish speaker, so I can't say whether they're any good, but I do like the recipes on the blog! –  Fisher Jan 2 '13 at 22:24

4 Answers 4

I'd recommend Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", I use it all the time. It's certainly what I would call comprehensive; besides containing tons of recipes for everything from entrees to breads to soups, the sections are prefaced with tips on how to improvise or switch up the recipes as desired, including vegan alternatives.

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The Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen, is often regarded as a sort of bible of vegetarian cooking. It's one of the best-selling cookbooks ever, not just among vegetarian cookbooks, and helped show Americans that they didn't always need meat to make good food. The original is from 1977 and may be harder to find, but there's a revised version, The New Moosewood Cookbook. The recipes are generally pretty simple, amenable to substitutions and alternate versions, and the style is very friendly. It should have things for every season - she wrote the original while at the Moosewood Restaurant, whose menu changes daily based on what's available. The author has plenty of recipes on her website, which should give you a good idea of the style and types of recipes. If you like it, she's written several other cookbooks as well!

Note: As lemontwist points out, there's fish in some of her books. But there's plenty even without those recipes; just think of it as some added stuff you'll never make if you're actually vegetarian.

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I agree, I just have a pet peeve that she includes fish in her cookbooks. Not 100% vegetarian by any means. –  lemontwist Jan 2 '13 at 20:43
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@lemontwist Yeah, that is a little odd - but I suppose to be fair it doesn't actually say vegetarian on the cover, and I think vegetarianism was a lot more rare in 1977. –  Jefromi Jan 2 '13 at 21:09

I would say that Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, with 650+ recipes, has been a source of great inspiration for me. It's comprehensive and boasts a great number of different styles and ingredients.

Additionally it's informative, offering a lot of history about the foods, the places they have come from and the people who developed them. It strengthens the "I want to go [more] meatless" mindset for everyone I've ever spoken with.

Not to mention she has won a number of James Beard Awards and she is Indian, giving her some great insight into that particular culture.

The book itself is fairly inexpensive over at Amazon too. Good luck!

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Bittman's How to Cook Everything Veg I second. He's very good at explaining the basics and rarely disappoints. I'd also have to add in the "must have" category, Sundays at Moosewood, which is a collection of international veg recipes, some of which are delicious--African Groundnut Stew over millet... Sounds exotic, but its components are basic: regular root vegetables with a tangy-fruity peanut sauce. I realize this isn't close to a Joy of Cooking or Julia Child, but once you have the basics down, you'll want a book containing a variety of foods and flavors. The old classic Laurel's Kitchen has a great introduction, nutritional info., basic recipes, and a very homemade/homespun bent, even if it is decades old. Ditto the Vegetarian Epicure. Probably there isn't one bible but maybe a collection of 5 recipe books. Post Punk Kitchen is a great vegan resource: ppk.com. Also, Heidi Swanson's 101cookbooks.com. Many of these fit the bill you outline above re: some quick recipes, some slow, regular ingredients, weekday meals... Another excellent addition is the Candle Cafe Cookbook, which is vegan. I could live out of that thing year round. Mayonnaise only WISHES it could hold a candle to their vegan mayo recipe! It's that good.

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The URL to Post Punk Kitchen seems to be theppk.com. –  citizen Jan 7 '13 at 20:00

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