If you asked me today, “What’s your favorite cookbook,” I wouldn’t have a short answer. While teaching a cooking class last week, one of my students asked for cookbook recommendations. I have to be honest in telling you that I have a cookbook problem. I would rather read a cookbook than a smutty summer beach read, I would rather buy a cookbook than sparkly accessories. (And you know I love sparkly accessories.)
All of that said, I don’t cook from a lot of the cookbooks in my collection. I’m always reading, learning, drawing inspiration from cookbooks but have just a small group of cookbooks that I actually cook from when I’m not busy developing my own original recipes. Here’s are my top picks today, the cookbooks I’m currently cooking from:
Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen stays within arm’s reach in my kitchen. Packed with all sorts of healthy recipes, from juices and smoothies to entrees to desserts, it’s a one-stop shopping cookbook for those looking to add more healthy food into their lives. Kris Carr worked with Chef Chad Sarno to develop this book. I’m a student of Chad Sarno’s Plant Based Professional Certification with the Rouxbe Cooking School and have to say he is the expert amongst experts when it comes to healthy, plant-based cooking. This cookbook is an essential resource! I’m also a fan of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. While not exclusively a cookbook, it does include many wonderful recipes that I have used over and over again.
When I first eliminated gluten from my diet, I had a hard time finding cookbooks that were specifically gluten-free. I wish someone would have told me early on that raw vegan cookbooks would be nearly all gluten-free! If it makes it easier to accept that terminology, just replace “raw vegan” with “no bake” and know that the food will be excellent. Chef Amber Shea’s books are my two favorites. Practically Raw gets a workout this time of year when cool dishes help to beat the heat. And any time of year, Practically Raw Desserts hits the spot. You know you’ll want to whip up a no-bake dessert when it’s 95 outside and you have no desire to turn on the oven but need dessert!
Everyday Classics from Alexa Croft, who you may know from Lexie’s Kitchen, is another of my favorites. All of the recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and most are also corn-free. I was one of Lexie’s recipe testers for this cookbook and have to tell you, she works hard creating recipes that work well AND taste great. This cookbook is currently sitting on my kitchen counter, splattered with ingredients, waiting to be used yet again. It’s a small-but-mighty book.
A book that I enjoy giving as a gift to those new to eating gluten free is The Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free, written by my friend Jeanine. It’s more than a cookbook (but does include more than 100 recipes), it’s a complete guide to living gluten-free. Such a great resouce! Jeanine also has a new e-book, Breakfast Buddies, that I bought just as soon as it was available for two reasons: her recipes are wonderful AND it’s all about breakfast and brunch. If you’ve been following my blog for long, you know I’m a big fan of breakfast, brunch and brinner. Jeanine’s new book gives me 25 new recipes to add to the possibilities!
One of the most recent additions to my cookbook collection is Plant Food by Matthew Kenney. Not only is the book packed with wonderful, healthy recipes, the photographs are stunning. Most recipes are accompanied by a full page photo, which is nice if cooking with healthy, whole ingredients in new to you. The photographs show how to make a beautiful presentation out of as few as three ingredients. This book covers everything from salads to fermenting. There’s a super simple explanation of kombucha, water kefir, several juice recipes, tree nut cheese recipes…so much in this book! This is the perfect time of year to cook from this book with fresh, local produce in abundance!
Another book I really enjoy is The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. This is a newly updated version, with 300 recipes of which 100 are new. This book is the encyclopedia of healthy cooking. At nearly 500 pages, this book covers breakfast to dinner, fermenting, jam making, you name it, it’s in the book! There’s also a chapter on food toxins, reading food labels, choosing organic or conventional. It’s more than a cookbook and will help you find the way to your version of healthy eating, a philosophy in-line with what I teach in cooking classes.
And now it’s your turn! Share with all of us in the comments your favorite cookbooks. This is one of my favorite ways to discover new cookbooks, recommendation from wonderful folks like you! Tell me, what’s your favorite cookbook?
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