Whenever I am feeling a particular lack of inspiration in the kitchen and feel like I can’t be bothered, the first place I go to is my stack of favourite cookbooks. I certainly do take advantage of places like Pinterest, but to keep things a bit more concise and to eliminate myself falling into the black hole that we all know Pinterest is,(go to find a recipe – end up pinning for 2 hours) these books are great to have on hand.
Sometimes when I am feeling completely bored and want to add something new to the mix I’ll pick up a new cookbook. Given that I am currently studying nutrition and just generally have a genuine love for wholesome, nourishing home cooked food, I’m pretty particular about the cookbooks I purchase. I like majority of the book to pertain to my preferred style of eating without having to make many (if any at all) substitutions. If you can relate, I’ve narrowed down my picks that are reliable go to’s for healthy eats! I’ve done the homework for you if you’re looking to pick up recipes to inspire some healthy cooking.
About half of these books are vegetarian with many vegan recipes thrown in. I don’t mind having some with meat because a lot of the time I’m cooking for my boyfriend who chooses to eat meat. As someone who isn’t a meat eater it’s nice having recipes to use. I probably wouldn’t have too much of a clue for what to do otherwise.
Beyond being great recipes, these books all have a really great aesthetic. I really love when cookbooks include lots of photos. After all, we eat with our eyes first.
If you are hoping to learn more about food and nutrition, my recommendations are Joyous Health and at home in the whole food kitchen. Joyous Health features a whole section educating on the importance of diet as a lifestyle rather than “dieting” which truly aren’t a sustainable means to health.
at home in the whole food kitchen is definitely more food focused education, teaching the reader about healthy ingredients to have on hand with little blips of information laced throughout.
1. Joyous Health: I’ll come out and say this right away: I have a special place in my heart for Joy. I worked with her personally and can’t recommend her nutrition services enough, she helped combat digestion issues I was struggling to get under control on my own. I already mentioned the education side to this book which is so great because I really do think there is a lack of proper knowledge when it comes to diet and how to go about it. There is information overload available online and that makes it hard to know where to start when you have the intent to take that first step toward a healthy lifestyle. Having experienced success from Joy first hand prior to her book being released I can vouch for her expertise. On top of all this, Joy has come up with some seriously tasty recipes that are a cinch to make. Most of her recipes are gluten free and many of them are plant based as well which makes it an easy book to flip through and find something I can enjoy.
My Favourite: I love many of Joy’s recipes but one of the recipes my boyfriend and I make the most are her Coconut Flour Banana Pancakes! This feels like an old comfort food as I ate lots of Mom’s home made pancakes growing up but I feel a whole lot better not having traditional pancakes with refined flours and sugars.
2. Against All Grain: My good friend introduced me to this book and I was a little thrown off that I hadn’t already heard of it since I spent a lot of time searching through healthy foodie blogs. I was clearly out of the loop because I will make the bold statement that this is 100% my favourite cookbook I own! I don’t classify as Paleo, but I do try to avoid gluten and dairy. This is where those meat recipes come in handy. This book has several slow cooker recipes that he LOVES and I love too because the work is so minimal on my part. I’ve made quite a few of the recipes and I can truly say every single one has been delicious. I also love that this book has photos with every recipe.
My favourite: Orange Cranberry Muffins never last long in my house. Sometimes (every time) I eat 3 in a day. Oops. My self control is low when delicious food is lurking near by. Dan’s favourite is the slow cooker chicken tacos.
3. Oh She Glows: This is a vegan cookbook and never disappoints. I’m fairly certain most if not all are gluten free as well. Without meaning to sound redundant at this point, like the last two I can grab this and eat everything in it.
My favourite: On the Mend Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup: This was my dinner and my lunch today and likely my lunch tomorrow. If you ask me making a big pot of homemade soup is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have a healthy meal to grab and go (granted you have somewhere to warm it up). At this point I can pretty much make it without even opening the book.
4. at home in the whole food kitchen: You can tell the recipes featured in this book come from someone with professional chef experience. This is a vegetarian book. I love the finer details of this book from the aesthetic, the education side and the fact that I see a lot of ethnic influences in her recipes. This is one of the newer books in my collection and I can’t wait to work my way through it.
My favourite: Spicy Carrot Soup with Kaffir lime leaves and coconut: This soup definitely has some Thai influence which is my absolute favourite so it was no surprise that I loved it. My local grocery store doesn’t always have Asian ingredients like kaffir leaves and lemongrass but every now and then I will go out of my way to find them to make this soup. Even writing this now makes me crave it!
5. The Vibrant Table: Another book that features vegetarian and vegan recipes. I find the recipes really unique in this book with combinations I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. This book challenges me to try new things while still staying true to healthy homemade eats that are mostly plant based. I already have something planned for the dinner I’ll be hosting for my Mama’s birthday mid March from this book and I can’t wait to make it. All the food in this book is really beautiful; intricately put together and so colorful. Keep reading for a chance to win a copy below!
My favourite: The Fig Bars. Soo tasty! I loved having a fig bar in the morning with a cup of herbal tea. They were soft and delicious and even my Mom who very rarely if ever wants something sweet enjoyed these which actually really surprised me. I’m taking off for vacation soon and am busy until then but I know that they will be one of the first things I get to when I arrive back because I am already craving them.
6. The Sprouted Kitchen: Unlike the others this book doesn’t have any sort of claim attached to it in terms of gluten free, vegetarian, raw, etc. It focuses instead on using whole ingredients and eliminating processed foods in home cooking. I like this book because not everyone in my life chooses to eat a gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian diet (although I do think we can all benefit from a little less of each of those). I really love cooking for my friends and family and this book comes in handy for those times. This isn’t to say that I can’t still find recipes in this book for myself either. There is plenty of goodness, sometimes I just need to swap a couple ingredients.
My favourite: The Quinoa Collard Wraps with Miso Carrot Spread are heavenly. They are fresh and have a satisfying range of textures which sounds silly but I’m someone who loves a good crunch. This is a perfect light lunch as it has all of the macronutrients within it to constitute it as a full meal without feeling too heavy. I think this recipe will be especially good for this reason come summer.
Give Away Time!
If you’re like me you are always on the hunt for a new cookbook to add to your collection (I may even have a list that has accumulated). I really do think I’ve hit the jackpot with a lot of these healthy books, so I’m excited to give a copy of The Vibrant Table away as a thank you for reading North of Bloom. The giveaway is open worldwide, so anyone can enter and I will ship out a copy of The Vibrant Table to you! To enter, please visit my instagram account @NorthofBloom and comment on my latest photo your favourite cookbook or a suggestion of a healthy cookbook you think I’d enjoy. The contest will be open until February 16th when I sadly will return from vacation. I will announce the winner on Instagram!
Good Luck and Happy Cooking!