Cookbook Gift Guide

It may come as no surprise that I love cookbooks. I do a lot of reviews, get teased by my friends, and have 3 large bookshelves filled with books in my home. I put together a few suggestions in this Cookbook Gift Guide for gifting to others (or yourself) this holiday season. Notes are written from left to right and top to bottom.Cookbook Gift Guide // Looking for some new, healthy cooking inspiration? Look no further!

1. For the Love of Food by Denis Cotter is one of my all-time favourites. It’s a vegetarian food lover’s dream. The dishes are complex and layered in flavour, beautifully thought out and put together, and devastatingly delicious. The recipes take a little more time because you make each component from scratch, but the results are worth it. It’s my absolute number one choice for a cookbook.

2. Nourishing Meals was loaned to me by a friend and I couldn’t have been happier to borrow it. All of the recipes are focussed on whole foods and are gluten-free. The book was written by a husband and wife team of holistic nutrition experts, Tom Malterre and Alissa Segersten; the recipes were created with the health research in mind. If you like this book, then you love their other book The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

3. An Everlasting Meal is written like a novel. It’s a beautiful ode to simple, delicious food. Tamar Adler teaches experienced cooks, chefs, and those of us with a lot to still learn how to use simple techniques to make phenomenal food every day.

4. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is a guidebook/encyclopedia to, well, how to actually cook everything vegetarian. Duh. It’s an amazing reference book and one that I think everybody should own.

5. Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison takes us through different families of plants, gives a little info on each, and tells us what to do with each of them. It’s a great book if you like vegetables and you’re looking for cooking inspiration. When I’m looking for a change, I’ll open up the book with a vegetable in mind (say broccoli) and choose from the list of broccoli recipes for dinner that night.  Works like a charm every time.

6. Christmas Dessert Freedom is Leanne Vogel‘s contribution to feeling vibrant, maintaining your health goals, and not forgoing treats during the holidays. It’s a “Christmas” book by title only. The desserts are great used all year round. The best part, they are allergen-friendly so the desserts serve all your gluten-free, vegan, and paleo friends no problem. And for the people in your life who turn up their noses to these specific diets, they won’t even know the difference. Boom!Cookbook Gift Guide // Looking for some new, healthy cooking inspiration? Look no further!

7. The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook is a labour of love from Sara and Hugh Forte. This book was nominated for a James Beard Award for cookbooks with a “focus on health”. The food is absolutely delicious and it’s stunning to look at. A top pick from 2012.

8. Lynn Crawford is one of my favourite chefs. In At Home With Lynn Crawford she cooks down-home, real family food that’s a step up from what you’ll find in most restaurants. Her food is more decadent than most, and not at all in the “health” category, but it’s a gem for special nights and for when you want to impress guests.

9. The book Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is worth it for the quinoa caesar salad, the jumbo oatmeal cookies, and the rosemary chocolate chip cookies alone, but I know that’s not all you’ll make and love. If you’re not a vegan and you’re a little afraid of vegan food, fear not! These dishes pass the carnivore test. And if you love vegan food, ooh you’re in for a treat. Those rosemary chocolate chip cookies! A full review of this book will be on the blog shortly.

10. If you want to be able to make authentic vegetarian food from all over the world, Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian is the book you need. You want El Salvadorian pupusas, Spanish-style spinach with chickpeas, and the best Mexican refried beans you’ve ever tasted? This book has NEVER disappointed. There are hundreds of recipes and literally every. single. one. has been fantastic. Need I say more?

11. Rebar is one of my all-time favourite books and restaurants. Written by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz, it’s classic, old school vegetarian/pescatarian food that will knock your socks off. Some of my favourite dishes include the tempeh tacos (seriously unreal!), the monk’s curry, and the portobello fettuccini with arugula pesto. If you still want to learn more, there is an excellent review here.

12. River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is one of the books I reviewed this year and it has been such a treat to cook from. The range of veg cuisine is phenomenal–there is something for every season, occasion, and person–and when you cook from it, it really does feel like you’re having dinner with friends.


  • Reply December 13, 2013


    This looks like a great list!! Madhur Jaffrey’s book is my personal favourite, with Mark Bittman’s being a runner-up for telling you how to make EVERYTHING and Denis Cotter’s offering truly gourmet veg cuisine. Rebar’s pretty great too. And these are just the ones I know! Thanks for putting this together…the recipients of these books are certain to be very happy indeed.

  • Reply December 13, 2013


    Great list! I’m not a huge cookbook person, but I have Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian cookbook which never disappoints… I didn’t realize there were more! The Vegetable Literacy one sounds good too – he last few days I’ve been looking at CSA root veggies in disdain for lack of new ideas of what to do with them… Thanks Kris!

  • Reply December 14, 2013

    janet @ the taste space

    Great list, Kris. I, too, am a cookbook junkie and I am thrilled to see many of my favourites listed along with new ones that I now want to check out. 🙂

    • Reply December 15, 2013


      It’s nice to see that I’m in good company, Janet!

  • Reply December 15, 2013


    Isa Does It is SO on my list! What a great bunch of suggestions, Kris.

    • Reply December 15, 2013


      Yeeeaaahh for Isa! You might die with those rosemary chocolate chippers, I tell you.

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