With pumpkin pie spice in the air, it’s time to stock up on good books for the cold months ahead. This season’s crop of new vegetarian titles covers a lot of ground and provides plenty of reading material.

Included among this group of 11 new books are well-known names (Mary Mattern’s “Nom Yourself”), unique concepts (“Decolonize Your Diet”) and radical ideas (“The Anarchist Cookbook”), along with plenty of solid books covering the basics of plant-centric cooking.

“The Anarchist Cookbook,” by Keith McHenry with Chaz Bufe, $19.95, See Sharp Press

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: None

Borrowing the name of the infamous 1971 book that offered recipes for explosives and illicit drugs, this new book is an actual cookbook. It’s also a handbook for social revolution. Complete with an essay from the original book’s author, William Powell (who is a peace activist today and regrets publishing bomb-making recipes), the book explains that true anarchists reject “coercive government” and violence. McHenry is the co-founder of Food Not Bombs and many of the simple recipes are meant to feed a crowd, such as Scrambled Tofu for 24 and Vegetable Soup for 100. The book offers detailed instructions and a diagram on how to set up a vegetarian kitchen “during strikes, blockades, occupations, or during relief operations.”

“Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing,” by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel, $26.95, Arsenal Pulp Press

Recipes: Vegetarian

Photos: Full color

Casting back to pre-colonization foodways, the writers of this unique cookbook discuss Mesoamerican cuisine before Europeans brought “wheat, beef, cheese, cooking oils, and sugar.” Fittingly, the first recipe is for tamale (or masa) dough and the second is for making nixtamal, more commonly known as masa harina flour. Detailed recipes follow for using the dough to make tortillas and many other dishes, such as Tlacoyos con Quelites, Butternut Squash & Roasted Green Chile Tomalitos and Xocolatamal. Native beans, seeds, grains and wild plants dominate the recipes, all of which bring together the modern and the ancestral. A chapter on drinks includes the traditional drinks of Chicha Morada (a purple corn drink) and Tepache (a spicy fermented drink).

“Eat Like You Give A Damn: Recipes for the New Ethical Vegan,” by Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten, $24.95, Book Publishing Co.

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: Full-color throughout

Written by the owners of the Herbivore clothing store in the other Portland, this cookbook is based firmly in the animal rights movement yet acknowledges “it’s okay for vegans to love meat and cheese.” Because of this, many of the recipes riff on traditional meat-based dishes, such as Sausage Biscuit Breakfast Sandwiches, Better-than-Bacon Coconut Flakes, Portobello-Chickpea Wellington, barbecue sauce and a whole series of dairy-free cheeses. It also includes many unusual recipes such as Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Walnuts, Apricots, and Garlic Aioli; Savory Chickpea Pancakes; Charred Green Beans with Peanut-Hoisin Sauce; and Sweet Potato Ravioli with Popeye Pesto Sauce. Among the dessert recipes are Sweetpea Snickerdoodles (from the Sweetpea Baking Company) and Hazelnut, Hemp, and Cherry Oat Bars.

“The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet,” by Vanessa Chamberlin, $25, PlantFire Publishing

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: Full-color for every recipe

This self-help-style cookbook offers a road map to transitioning to a no-oil, plant-based lifestyle. Rather than oil, Chamberlin uses vegetable broth, table wine and water to sauté. Appealing to new vegans, the beautifully illustrated dishes in the recipe section feature lots of veggie staples, such as almond milk, green smoothies, black bean chili, sesame noodles, enchiladas and sushi rolls. Other recipes chart a different course, with dishes such as Baked Almond Butter French Toast, Asian Lettuce Boats and Two-Bean Quinoa Salad with Basil Citrus Dressing. Dessert brings dishes ranging from Baklava Baked Apples to Strawberry Nice Cream.

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  • “For the Love of Food and Yoga,” by Liz Price-Kellogg and Kristen Taylor, $24.99, Skyhorse Publishing

Recipes: Vegetarian with vegan and raw recipes noted

Photos: Full-color throughout

This colorful, hardbound coffee table book combines mindful meditations, photos of yoga poses and vegetarian recipes. Written by a yoga instructor and a yoga practitioner, the book seeks to bring the yoga lessons of mindfulness, presence, intention, gratitude and joy into the kitchen. Many veg standards fill the recipe section (such as hummus, tempeh bahn mi sandwiches, tacos and lasagna). More unusual dishes include Scorpion Sweet Potato soup, Chakra Vegetable Slaw, Thoughtful Not-Too-Tuna Melt, Buddha Bake and Wealthy Wonton Purses. Desserts – Price-Taylor and Kellogg call them Surrenderings – include chocolate mousse, Namaste Napoleons and Perfectly Imperfect Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. The book finishes with a collection of smoothies, such as Strawberry Savasana and Bloody Merry.

“Liquid Health: Over 100 Juice and Smoothie Recipes Including Paleo, Raw, Vegan, and Gluten-Free,” by Lisa Montgomery,” $16.50, Hatherleigh Press

Recipes: Vegetarian, with vegan, raw, gluten-free and paleo noted

Photos: Full-color throughout

Combining stories of healing, instructions for juice cleansing and many recipes, this tidy book serves up a wide range of uses for juicers and high-powered blenders. Montgomery begins by recommending equipment, including information about sophisticated home water filtration systems. Most of the recipes are devoted to smoothies (Dandelion Dreams; Choc-Mint; Strawberry Pick Me Up) and juices (Tomato-Watermelon; Fat Melt-Down; Wheatgrass Cocktail). However, the recipe section also covers basic nut milks and flavored nut milks, teas (including kombucha and kefir) and soups, such as Sweet Corn Chowder, African Sweet Potato-Peanut Soup and Blushing Borscht.


“Nom Yourself: Simple Vegan Cooking,” by Mary Mattern, $25, Avery

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: Full-color throughout

A restaurant consultant and celebrity chef who runs the Nom Yourself vegan website, Mattern and her Instagram account are part of the reason plant-based cuisine rose from boring to beautiful. Her debut cookbook includes many intriguing takes on American standards (such as California Tofu Benedict and Cauliflower Ricotta Stuffed Shells) plus many unique dishes, ranging from Sweet Potato Waffle Sandwiches and Sesame Tofu Tacos to Deep-Fried Guacamole and Tempeh Bacon Spinach Quiche. Dessert means Grandma Mattern’s Date Nut Bread, Whiskey Lady Cupcakes and Blackberry-Coconut Wonton Cups. The book also includes a short chapter on how to make six pantry staples and a guide to artful plating.

“Plant Based Cookbook: Good for Your Heart, Your Health, and Your Life: 200 Whole-food Recipes,” by Trish Sebben-Krupka, $25, DK Publishing

Recipes: Vegan with gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free noted

Photos: Full-color throughout

A straightforward guide to cooking plant-based meals, this beautiful, hardbound book is filled with staple vegan recipes that every new vegetarian should know, such as hummus, fried green tomatoes and sesame noodles. It also includes many sophisticated recipes that will appeal to longer-term vegetarians, such as Korean Barbecue Sliders, Roasted Corn with Poblano-Cilantro Butter and Parsnip Cupcakes with Sour Cream Icing. Sprinkled between the recipes are a few helpful illustrated guides that include a list of dairy substitutes and their uses and a vegan baking substitutions chart. An illustrated Plant-Based Cooking Techniques guide at the beginning covers everything about vegetable preparation from steaming to blanching with added instructions for cooking rice, pasta and beans and making seitan.

“The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide for Transition to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight,” by Lani Muelrath, $16.95, Ben Bella

Recipes: Vegan

Photos: None

An accessible five-step guide to enjoying and sticking with a plant-based diet, this book is written for those aiming to adopt the type of plant-based diet rooted in the past two decades of nutrition research. Fittingly, it has a foreword written by Dr. Neal Barnard, and a preface written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. This guide to dietary transformation covers everything from selecting foods and transition styles to navigating restaurant menus and handling “food pushers.” Recipes include a number of “templates” for constructing common vegetarian dishes, such as veggie burgers, Buddha bowls and vegetable soup. In addition, a selection of recipes at the back includes Crispy Coconut Waffles, Lickety-Split Lasagna, Portobello Pot Roast and Mandarin Chocolate Ice Cream.


“Spiralize! Transform Vegetables and Fruits from Ordinary to Extraordinary,” by Beverly Lynn Bennett, $11.95, Books Alive

Recipes: Vegan and gluten-free

Photos: Full-color throughout

This pretty little book that easily slips into a purse or shopping bag provides an accessible introduction to the current health food craze for spiralizing. While already popular with people interested in raw, gluten-free or paleo diets, spiralizers, Bennett points out, are “especially convenient for people with minimal knife skills.” The book includes information on the variety of spiralizers on the market, as well as tips on how best to use them. While the recipes feature a few salads (Cucumber Noodle Greek Salad; Mixed Greens with Jicama and Apple), most are for unexpected cooked dishes, such as Tater-Wrapped Vegan Sausages, Carrot Cake Muffins, Quinoa and Root Vegetable Pilaf and Farmers’ Market Quesadillas.

“Vegetarian Comfort Foods: The Happy Healthy Gut Guide to Delicious Plant-Based Cooking,” by Jennifer Browne, $17.99, Skyhorse Publishing

Recipes: Vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free noted

Photos: Full-color throughout

In this attractive, hardbound book the author of “Happy Healthy Gut” follows up with more recipes to please the microbiome and keep IBS and other digestive issues at bay. The book begins with a guide to pantry stocking, a list of kitchen tool essentials and an introduction to cleansing. With chapters devoted to juices, smoothies and salads, “Vegetarian Comfort Foods” leans in the raw direction. Yet cooked recipes also abound, such as Breakfast Quinoa with Honey and Bananas, Yam Burgers, Eastern Lettuce Wraps, Pistachio Stuffed Figs and Easy As (Pizza) Pie. Desserts range from Pink Salt Two-Bite Brownies and Chunky Monkey Cookies to Apricot Bars and Purple Berry Crumble.

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

[email protected]


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