With vacation season in full swing, many of us are looking for a good read. Why not try a cookbook? With demand for vegetarian food on the upswing, publishers have responded with tons of new titles for the vegetarian bookshelf. I find food books make easy reading for a vacation afternoon and provide lots of cooking inspiration in the evening.

All of these vegetarian books either showed up in my mailbox or in the Press Herald’s cookbook review pile. These recently published works skew slightly vegan and include restaurant cookbooks, celebrity cookbooks, single-ingredient or technique-focused books and how-to books. Here’s a snapshot of each.

The Best of Rose Elliot: The Ultimate Vegetarian Collection – 150 Delicious Recipes”

By Rose Elliot

Price: $29.99

Recipes: Vegetarian with vegan dishes noted

Photos: Full color throughout the hardbound book

The reigning queen of British vegetarian cooking and the author of more than 60 cookbooks, Elliot updates recipes from her “Vegetarian Supercook” and “Veggie Chic” books for this collection. The resulting recipes cover all the basics – from midweek meals and classics to alfresco dining and party fare. Her creations tend toward simple ingredient lists and approachable techniques, such as Thai-flavored mushroom stroganoff with golden rice; chunky lentil, onion and chestnut loaf with sherry gravy; sage, onion and apple sausages; and whiskey cream banana pie.

The Cheesy Vegan: More than 125 Plant-Based Recipes for Indulging in the World’s Ultimate Comfort Food”

By John Schlimm

Price: $19.99

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: Full color throughout

A member of the Straub brewing family and the author of award-winning “The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook,” Schlimm tackles the hot topic of nondairy cheese in his third vegan cookbook. First he offers up more than two dozen vegan recipes for all the major cheeses, such as mozzarella, cheddar, American, Swiss and cream cheese. Most of these recipes need a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator, however they aren’t the kind of fermented vegan cheeses that use rejuvelac and can take a few days to make. The rest of the book is filled with vegan cheese-powered recipes such as spinach and mushroom quiche; country fair cheese fries; cheddar pub dip and whole chapters devoted to cheesecake and “mac ‘n’ cheese.” Schlimm says the recipes work whether you make homemade nondairy cheese or use store-bought.

“LEON: Fast Vegetarian”

By Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbleby

Price: $29.99

Recipes: Vegetarian with wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free recipes noted

Photos: Full color with most recipes in this hardbound book

The latest in the line of cookbooks from LEON, a UK-based fast food chain, this book focuses solely on veggie-centric cooking (the restaurants serve meat). The book encourages readers to grow their own vegetables and begins with tips for small-scale gardens and gardening with kids. Recipes include lettuce and egg salad; potato pancakes with beet salad; eggplant jambalaya; Addie May’s Christmas nut loaf; and parsnip, cashew and coconut cake. As you’d expect from a fast food restaurant, prep and cooking time are kept to a minimum.

“Mayim’s Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours”

By Mayim Bialik with Dr. Jay Gordon

Price: $21.99

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: A section in the middle with a couple dozen color photos

Actress Bialik is widely known for her title role in the ’90s-era hit “Blossom,” and her current role as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.” But she’s also a mom with a Ph.D in neuroscience who eats vegan food. Teaming up once again with California pediatrician Gordon, this celebrity mom covers the environmental, ethical and nutritional reasons for switching to a vegan diet and then offers practical tips for getting meals on the table. Finally, she tempts us with American favorites such as pancakes and French toast, cornbread Thanksgiving dressing, baked ziti, creamy enchilada casserole and dark chocolate peanut butter pie.

“Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes”

By Sharon Palmer, RDN

Price: $18.95

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: Full color throughout

If you’re looking to replace the junk food in your diet with whole plants, this book will take you there in 52 steps. The first one is to decide whether you want to be a plant-powered omnivore, a plant-powered vegetarian or a plant-powered vegan. From there, registered dietitian Palmer provides loads of dos and don’ts, such as “Put real foods first” and “Lose your fear of fats.”

Between the dietary directives, Palmer dishes out 125 recipes. These include sesame udon salad with snow peas; sweet potato gnocchi with pistachio-orange pesto; savory shiitake and white bean bake; and carrot spice cupcakes with chocolate “cream cheese” frosting.

“Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be a Vegan to Love”

By Terry Hope Romero

Price: $19.99

Recipes: Vegan with gluten-free and raw recipes noted

Photos: Full color throughout

Romero is a rock star of vegan cooking and has written or co-written more than a half-dozen vegan cookbooks, including “Vegan Eats World” and “Veganomicon.” The Queens, New York-based chef is also one of the hosts of the Maine-produced cooking show “Vegan Mash-Up.”

In this book, she shakes up the staid world of salad with her cheeky writing and seasonally arranged salads that include such inventive creations as lentil pate bahn mi salad rolls; pepperoni tempeh pizza salad; and coconut samosa potato salad. Her goal in writing the book, she says, is to “rescue salads from their sucktastic reputation.” Since the book is the current top-seller in Amazon’s “salad” category, there’s a possibility she just may succeed.

“Thrive Energy Cookbook: 150 Plant-Based Whole Food Recipes”

By Brendan Brazier

Price: $22.99

Recipes: Vegan, with raw and gluten-free recipes noted

Photos: Full color throughout

Brazier is an accomplished endurance athlete who has written a number of bestselling books promoting a plant-based, whole food diet for maximum athletic performance. This latest cookbook comes with the help of the chef at his Thrive Energy Lab restaurant in Ontario, Canada, which Brazier says he hopes to expand across Canada and eventually into the United States. The recipes include such customer favorites as cashew berry French toast; avocado, black bean and chipotle burger; Thai red curry rice bowl; and strawberry, goji berry and dark chocolate cheesecake. Anyone know how we can persuade Brazier to open a restaurant in Portland?

“Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking”

By Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

Price: $24.95

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: Full color throughout the hardbound book

Vedge is regularly lauded as one of the nation’s top vegetarian restaurants and frequently cited as a leader in the current vegetable-centric cooking renaissance. This hardbound cookbook gives readers access to the Philadelphia restaurant’s dishes, but with recipes that have been added to and modified for the home cook. Find broccoli rabe Philly style; summer corn with green chile cream; Yukon gold potato pierogies with charred onion; squash empanadas with green romesco; and strawberry sorrel bread pudding with saffron ice cream. The book includes cocktail recipes, too.

“Vegan Beans from Around the World”

By Kelsey Kinser

Price: $15.95

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: None

A New York City pastry chef who prefers “vegan foods for the way that they make me feel,” Kinser wrote this no-frills book as a celebration of international bean cooking. It covers all the basic bean dishes – lentil soup, miso soup, Boston baked beans, hummus, falafel, chana masala, soy milk – but also provides plenty of unusual dishes. The well-traveled chef includes recipes for Valencian minted fava salad; Italian “meat” balls; Jamaican peanut porridge; and Japanese red bean ice cream. The 75 recipes reveal the global appeal of the humble bean and the creative ways we humans prepare them.

“Vegan for Her: The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet”

By Virginia Messina, MPH, RD with JL Fields

Price: $16.99

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: None

Whether you’re a young breastfeeding mom, a gracefully aging grandmother or someone in between, author and dietitian Messina offers an up-to-date look at the extensive body of research linking good health to diets rich in plant foods. She also covers how food can help with headaches, diabetes and depression and discusses eating to avoid heart disease and breast cancer. The book closes with more than 50 recipes from vegan lifestyle coach JL Fields. These include oat-amaranth-carrot porridge; sloppy Joe sandwich with portobello mushrooms and quinoa; black-eyed pea and collard green pizza; and coconut-gingered black bean brownies.

“Vegetarian Grilling: 60 Recipes for a Meatless Summer”

By Karen Schulz and Maren Jahnke

Price: $16.95

Recipes: Vegetarian, with vegan recipes noted

Photos: Full color throughout

Inspired by the “monotony of grilling,” these two recipe developers teamed up to create meat-free recipes for the grill. The results are impressive. In a colorful book filled with photos, the authors begin with a section of grilling tips and recommended tools. Then in a book with chapters for skewered, wrapped, grilled and stuffed, Schulz and Jahnke serve up dishes such as halloumi cheese and apricot skewers; sweet crepes with grilled peaches; mangos with scallion vinaigrette; and onions with fig and goat cheese topping. Not exactly what you’d expect from a German title republished for the American market. It reads like a summer sizzler.

“Vegetarian to Vegan: Give Up Dairy. Give Up Eggs. For Good.”

By Sarah Taylor, recipes by Mark Reinfeld

Price: $14.95

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: A few black and white

This how-to book is written for ethical vegetarians who want to transition to a vegan diet. Taylor begins with a discussion of modern dairy and egg farms and the animal abuse, health problems and environmental issues that come with them. Then she covers transition issues, such as dining out, traveling and common substitutions.Finally, chef Reinfeld serves up some basic vegan recipes, including mixed vegetable korma, shepherd’s pie, spanakopita and mint chocolate chip cookies. All of it adds up to a powerful motivation for dietary change.

Avery Yale Kamila is a freelance food writer who lives in Portland. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.