It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your vegetable choices – peas with everything, carrot sticks at every opportunity, avocado brunches on repeat.
But between New Year health kicks and talk of ‘veganuary’, as well as guideline recommendations swerving from five portions of fruit and veg-a-day to a whopping 10, you can be forgiven for finding the veg aisle a bit stressful.
So, to reinvigorate your culinary possibilities in regards to the green stuff, and get 2020 off to a positive – but still very tasty start – take a little inspiration from these plant heavy cookbooks…
1. Vegan (ish) by Jack Monroe (£16.99, Bluebird, available December 26)
Food writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe has been prolific this year, releasing two cookbooks: first, the very clever Tin Can Cook, and the latest, Vegan(ish), featuring 100 plant-based recipes intent on helping you cut your food bills and your impact on the planet in one appetising swoop. The dishes are in Monroe’s typically straightforward style, and only use everyday ingredients you will helpfully find in almost any supermarket, meaning you won’t have to resort to tracking down, say, pickled walnuts, on the internet. The Kinda-Carbonara sounds particularly enticing.
2. Five Ingredient Vegan by Katie Beskow (£20, Quadrille, out now)
Often a veggie meal can look unfinished without a slab of meat on the side, or chefs overcompensate and require you to buy eight different root vegetables and 11 types of lettuce leaves, plus nuts, seeds and two kinds of dairy to load on top – and all that just for a sharing salad. In this book, recipe developer and writer Katie Beskow strips veg-heavy vegan meals back to just five manageable ingredients (plus a few basic store-cupboard items), so you can settle down with a bowl of smoky Boston beans or tomato fritters on a weeknight, and not feel overwhelmed.
3. The Vegetarian Cookbook by DK (£12.99, DK, out now)
For beginner cooks, and those used to just treating all their veg in a single way (i.e. boiled and you’re done) this 50-recipe haul provides step-by-step instructions and new ways to treat classic veg drawer favourites. Turn cucumber into sushi bites and sweet potato into homemade falafel balls – your taste buds will appreciate it.
4. 7 Day Vegan Challenge by Bettina Campolucci Bordi (£15, Hardie Grant, available December 26)
Just because January has now also been rebranded as ‘veganuary’, doesn’t mean you have to unceremoniously ditch all animal-products entirely, and immediately. But if you are looking to transform your home into a safe space for vegans a night or two a week, vegan chef Bettina Campolucci Bordi’s latest offering – which shows how anyone, regardless of skill level or diet can be fully plant-based for seven days – could you get you off to a good start. Guaranteed you won’t miss beef when you’re slicing into one of her turmeric spiked cauliflower steaks, bejewelled with pomegranate seeds.
5. Simply Good For You by Amelia Freer (£22, Michael Joseph, available December 26)
Not wholly vegetarian or exclusively vegan, Simply Good For You is instead focused on nutritious fare, whatever your dietary requirements. Nutritional therapist Freer has also slotted in numerous kitchen hacks to help you and your family save time and costs when it comes to planning what to have for dinner. Her ‘bottom of the fridge’ vegetable stew will be a total crowd-pleaser.
6. Vegetarian Meals in 30 minutes by Anita Bean (£16.99, Bloomsbury Sport, available December 26)
Tempted to up your exercise output next year, as well as your vegetable intake? If you’ve signed up for a 10k, or, wince, a marathon, what you put into your body is going to be increasingly important as your training progresses – and Anita Bean is the woman to keep you well fed and motivated. The nutritionist and former body building champion knows how to utilise a vegetarian lifestyle to eke out the best in you sports-wise. Her new slew of 30-minute recipes are more fun than you might expect too – there’s a blackberry and apple crumble in there, a Thai curry soup and a pre-workout mocha-smoothie.