My Favourite Healthy Cookbooks

A stack of healthy cookbooks on a white table

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In my kitchen there is a fairly small built-in cookbook shelf, and due to the limited space only my favourites get to live there. I love exploring new titles, and there are old favourites that are always in rotation. Here’s a quick list of (what I think are) the best healthy cookbooks on my shelf right now. 

My favourite healthy cookbooks

1. Eat More Plants

Eat More Plants is written by Vancouver dietitian Desiree Nielsen, who specializes in anti-inflammatory plant-based diets. Every recipe in this book is vegan and gluten-free so that everyone can enjoy it. So far I’ve tried just a few, but the black fried rice with kimchi was ????

Grab a copy of Eat More Plants.

2. The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Deborah Maddison’s epic tome of a vegetarian cookbook got an update a few years back, and despite having no pictures it’s still one of my favourite cookbooks and gets pulled out frequently on the weekends. 

Grab a copy of the new Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone.

3. Ottolenghi Simple 

I hardly need an excuse to add another Ottolenghi cookbook to my collection, but boy oh boy am I ever glad to have added this one. For a man who is famous for his complicated recipes, it might seem like this book would have been a stretch, but really, it’s fantastic. 

I love that he breaks down different kinds of simple. Is it simple because you can swing by the store on your way home from work to pick up ingredients and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes? Or is it simple because the recipe or components are made in advance? We’ve made a handful of recipes from this book so far, and every one of them has been a winner. 

Grab a copy of Simple. 

4. River Cottage Veg

A few years ago my sister handed me this vegetarian cookbook right off of her own shelf, and I’ve loved it from the start. It’s packed with tasty, simple, everyday recipes that are vegetable-forward and easy to make. The Macaroni Peas is particularly good! 

Grab a copy of River Cottage Veg.

5. Food 52 Mighty Salads

If you are a lover of salads or a salad skeptic, you need this book. From basic everyday salads to substantial meal salads, there’s something in here for everyone.

Some of the recipes are a bit spendy – like the smoked lentil salad that instructs you to construct a smoker in your kitchen and literally smoke your lentils (I cheated and used liquid smoke because, c’mon, I’ve got other things to do) but many others are simple and straightforward. I highly recommend this one. 

Grab a copy of Mighty Salads.

6. Rebar

Rebar is a hippy food cafe in Victoria, BC, where I lived for three years when I was “studying” creative writing. Their cookbook of the same name features some of the restaurant favourites and a whole lot more. It’s a healthy cookbook I turn to for inspiration time and time again. 

Grab a copy of Rebar

7. Good to the Grain 

Kim Boyce’s whole grain baking book Good to the Grain is hands down my favourite baking book. I love this book to the point that I own two copies, as when I was splitting my time between Stockholm and Vancouver I couldn’t bear to be separated from it. It’s a must-have for anyone who is interested in dabbling in whole grain baking. 

Grab a copy of Good to the Grain.

8. A New Way to Bake

While we’re on the subject, I thought I’d let you know that Martha Stewart’s whole grain baking book A New Way to Bake is also pretty darn good in the healthy baking department. 

Grab a copy of A New Way to Bake.

9. True Food

The True Food cookbook stems from the restaurant of the same name, founded by Dr. Andrew Weil on the simple principle that food should make you feel better, not worse. The recipes in this book are simple, seasonal, and suitable for just about every way of eating. This has to be one of the best healthy cookbooks that I own. 

Grab a copy of True Food.

10. Vegetarian Flavour Bible 

If you’re new to vegetarianism and are worried your food might end up tasting boring, look no further than to the Vegetarian Flavour Bible. This isn’t a cookbook, per se, but if you wanted to know what flavours pair well with turmeric or what in the heck you should do to flavour tofu, this is an incredible resource.  

Grab a copy of the Vegetarian Flavour Bible.

11. Plenty + Plenty More

Plenty and Plenty More are two incredible vegetarian cookbooks by culinary superstar Yotam Ottolenghi. I have all of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, and while these ones aren’t exactly simple, they’re both worthy of space on your shelf.

I love his approach to cooking with vegetables and vegetarian foods, and always learn new techniques and new parings when I venture to cook one of his recipes. 

Grab copies of Plenty and Plenty More

12. Power Plates

Power Plates was written by my friend Gena Hamshaw with the idea that each recipe should reflect a full meal. This healthy cookbook is 100% vegan, and the recipes are simple, everyday recipes that will nourish your body and your soul. 

Grab a copy of Power Plates.

Cookbooks on my wish list

I do a cookbook order a few times a year, and the next one is coming up soon! Here’s what’s on the list this time:

Much More Veg – a follow up to River Cottage Veg.

Smitten Kitchen Everyday – Because Deb never disappoints.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – I loved the documentary on Netflix, can’t wait to dive into this one.

The Nordic Baking Book – This one looks to be an epic tome. 

I’d love to know what your vote for best healthy cookbook is, or what cookbooks you simply can’t live without. Please let me know in the comments so I can add them to my list! 




  1. Peter Thompson says

    I have been looking for a cook book for my adult son who has just recently stoped eating meat and dairy and with so many books on the market it was becoming very hard to make a choice. So thank you Katie for posting your choice of cook books it has helped me narrow down the list.
    Slightly of topic, I came across your blog during the summer when you posted pictures of your visit with your family here on on the Sunshine Coast, I wake up to the view of the Howe sound and the Coast mountains every day and love it , even when it rains.

  2. Sandra Lea says

    Some of my favorites are on your list and will definitely try some of your other recommendations. I love Deborah Maddison but to me there is nothing worse than a cookbook without pictures. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

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