Reading has always been a favourite hobby of mine; I always seem to have a few different books on the go at once and never enough shelf space for them all. But cookbooks occupy a special place on my bookshelf – front and centre.
Over the years I have collected a number of cookbooks: some I repeatedly reference for tips or specific recipes and others I just flip through for the imagery.
Here are five I find myself going back to, again and again.
By: Matthew Kenney
A recent obsession of mine, this is a truly unique vegan cookbook with an elegant design that showcases some of the most beautiful food photography I have ever seen in a cookbook - seriously. The idea behind Plantlab is to focus on, “real food and wellness” – using and preparing whole-plant ingredients in ways that maximize the social, environmental, and health benefits for all.
I will mention that this particular cookbook requires a high-degree of skill that progresses throughout the book as you will need to know many innovative techniques and use personal creativity to not just replicate each recipe, but create your own version of each. In other words; complicated recipes book (some of which are beyond my skill level at the moment – but that’s why I’m learning!)
My favourite recipes include: Squash blossoms, kimchi pancakes, and eggplant bun
The Dirty Apron Cookbook
By: Davis Robertson
I think this was the first cookbook I ever fell in love with! One of the things I love most about this book is that it is Canadian. The chef and author is based in Vancouver where he runs the Dirty Apron Cooking School and Delicatessen.
Filled with cooking tips and chefs notes from the team of cooks that helped chef David Robertson put the book together, it contains a fairly simple, wide-ranging set of recipes that are perfect for the home cook wanting to prepare delicious everyday meals or even elevate their dinner party game.
My favourite recipes include: Caramelized fennel salad, dirty twixter bars, and cinnamon smoked tuna
By: Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis
Aptly subtitled “Eat Like you Give A F***,” this book offers a bold, edgy, yet funny approach to vegan cooking. Filled with profanity it provides a refreshing change from the sometimes pretentious style of blogs and cookbooks that preach about eating more kale or how to use microgreens.
The book contains more than 100 awesome recipes for the home cook looking to make quick meals, snacks, and sides.
My favourite recipes include: Cauliflower cream pasta, smoked almond and chickpea salad sammies, and carrot cake cookies
The Food Lab
By: J. Kenji López-Alt
The PERFECT book for food nerds (like me), The Food Lab focuses on the science behind cooking – not just the how a technique works, but the why the technique works as well. The main idea is that anyone can achieve far better results using new, simple, and thoroughly tested techniques compared to conventional methods. But I assure you it is a very fun read, not too science-y.
Learn how to make foolproof hollandaise, the perfect omelette, an expertly charred steak, and the most velvety-smooth mac & cheese sauce ever by following simple, scientifically-proven techniques to enhance your cooking skills.
An incredible book to keep close by – I reference it often to refresh my skills for certain techniques.
Vegan Comfort Classics
By: Lauren Toyota
Written by the very entertaining and funny Lauren Toyota, this book is filled with more than 100 indulgent comfort food recipes but with a vegan spin. The main idea is that you don’t have to sacrifice having a Philly cheesesteak, fried chicken, or mac and cheese with her creative approach to these classic comfort foods.
This brings me to an important point to keep in mind – that eating vegetarian or vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always healthy. Mac and cheese is still loaded with calories whether it’s made with cashew milk or dairy milk! Deep fried cauliflower is still deep fried!
My favourite recipes include: ‘Bacon’ mac and cheese, lasagna soup, and baked bean tostadas