Our nine picks for the ones worth shelf space? Well, they span the culinary scene—from Amy Chaplin’s guide to creating a “whole food kitchen” and Mario Batali’s crusade to highlight farmers from across America. Then there’s a top vegan restaurant’s holiday dishes and Paleo cooking by season.
One thing pretty much all of them have in common? These celeb chefs, cool bloggers, and restaurateurs are huge fans of seasonal produce from farmers markets—and explain why you should be, too.
Plus, their pretty covers will look great next to your Vitamix. Bon appétit! —Molly Gallagher
(Photo: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen)
By Ben Towill, Phil Winser, and Nick Wilber, with Julia Turshen
Perfect for those who love brunching at home as much as going out
Four years ago, Ben Towill and Phil Winser opened The Fat Radish on New York City’s Lower East Side and immediately wooed veggie-seeking brunch go-ers with their all-greens omelets and plates filled with seasonal vegetables.
Now, they’re hoping to do the same for everyone across the country. Their debut cookbook is filled with gorgeous, colorful recipes organized by season. This fall and winter we can’t wait to try the Carrot and Avocado Salad with Hijiki and Crispy Kale, and the vegan Kabocha Soup.
(Photo: The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries)
By Amy Chaplin
Perfect if you need a 101 course in superfoods, seeds, and some cooking basics (but also are a sucker for super pretty plates)
Renowned vegetarian chef Amy Chaplin’s debut cookbook features more than 150 recipes, most of which are vegan and gluten-free, and is split up into two parts. The first half is a seriously comprehensive guide on how and why you should soak your grains and beans, and their health benefits, and superfoods like Brazil nuts and mung beans.
In the second half are the recipes, many of which fall into “what I cook most often in my own kitchen” and “among the first dishes I teach to new students.” Delish-looking plates include Soft Polenta with Nettles, Peas, and Goat Cheese and Quinoa Beet Salad with Feta, Chili, Garlic, and Sautéed Beet Greens. If you have any taste buds at all, the photos will make you salivate immediately.
(Photo: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen)
By Mario Batali and Jim Webster
Perfect if what’s in season at the farmers market dictates your diet
“Farmers are the real rock stars,” proclaims star chef Mario Batali in his latest book. Batali and food journalist, Jim Webster, asked some of the top chefs across the country what their favorite farms are—and the result is a cookbook full of recipes like Kale Pesto (envisioned after visiting Kinnikinnick Farm in Chicago City) and Almond-Crusted Grouper (inspired by a farm in Las Vegas).
Batali’s passion for sourcing the freshest foods is contagious, even if not every recipe gets our healthy stamp of approval. (Ahem, Roman Potato Doughnuts.)
(Photo: America Farm to Table)
By Sharon Gannon
Perfect for the passionate vegan yogi
Sharon Gannon is a yoga and vegan world rock star, and to celebrate Jivamukti Yoga’s 30th anniversary, she released her first cookbook, with more than 200 vegan recipes, like Grilled Portabella Muschroom Pinin, Spirulina Millet, Simple Bean “Gravy,” and Coconut-Curry Cauliflower.
In addition to the recipes, the book comes with a nice dose of her do-no-harm philosophy. If we want to be happy and free, Gannon says, “the food that we eat must contribute to that happiness and freedom for all.”
And how could you not love the wacky, playful Alice in Wonderland-inspired cover?
(Photo: Simple Recipes for Joy)
By Lisa Leake
Perfect for those who are trying to ditch processed foods (and if you like to pack your lunch)
Lisa Leake started her blog, 100 Days of Real Food, in 2010, to document her family’s attempt to go 100 days without eating processed or refined foods.
She never envisioned her journey would still be happening more than 1,000 days later—or that she’d have a cookbook to help others do the same.
Leake’s book is set up to help you follow her lead, with chapters organized by meal—breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinners, and treats, including simple, healthy recipes like Quinoa Veggie “Burgers” and Zucchini with Almonds and Parmesan. And she includes helpful tools and tips like 21 essentials to always have in your fridge and freezer. (Hint: eggs and berries.)
By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
Perfect if you love hosting meatless dinner parties (or just have lots of vegetarian friends)
Cookbook veterans Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are now helping put together your next meatless dinner party.
This part-cookbook, part-party planner is organized in way that makes sense for entertaining, with 150 dishes split up by no plates, small plates, large plates, and final plates. Masa Tarts are perfect for passing, Carmelized Garlic Custard with Radish Slaw would make a great starter, and Squash Noodles with Almond Chimichurri will impress anyone as a main course. (Yum.)
Additions like “The Eight Things You Need Before you Start Cooking” and playlist suggestions round out its cool offerings.
By Peter Servold
Perfect if you’re a foodie gone Paleo
Chef Peter Servold wants to bring fine Paleo dining to your dining room (or cave?).
He founded Pete’s Paleo, a ready-to-eat paleo meal delivery service, shortly after finishing the Whole30 Paleo program in 2010. Now, it’s the only way he cooks, and he wants to prove that it doesn’t mean just eating plain hunks of meat and steamed veggies with his first cookbook. “Paleo is fine dining. You can go to the farmers market, get whatever is local and in season, and make it for dinner,” he writes.
So you can start off the fall with recipes like Coq Au Vin and Herb Roasted Beets and move into winter with Bison Bolognese.
(Photo: Paleo by Season)
By Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley
Perfect if you’re a design freak who loves good food
This colorful, hefty cookbook from the equally vibrant Hemsley sisters will definitely have pride of place on your shelf (or coffee table). The stylish Londoners founded Hemsley + Hemsley, a six-year-old bespoke meal service, and their recipes are regularly featured in Vogue.
Their approach to healthy eating is fresh yet hearty (they’re big fans of bone broth, for example), and they’re super creative in the kitchen. Read: They have a page devoted to apple rings five ways (yum!)—with feta and tahini and chocolate hemp spreads—as well as recipes like Pea, Mint, and Broccoli Mash and Mushroom and Stilton Quinoa Risotto.
And the photos qualify as serious food porn—making it just as fun to flip through the book as it is to plan meals from it.
By Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda
Perfect if you’re a vegan who’s sick of getting served “just carrots” at holiday dinners
New York City’s vegan landmark Candle Café is a favorite among celebrities like Alicia Silverstone and Woody Harrelson (who each wrote a foreword for this book), and its latest cookbook is all about making festive holiday meals for vegans, from Thanksgiving dinner to Passover Seder.
A few that caught our attention? The Tricolor Beet Salad with Horseradish Dressing, Polenta, Mushroom, and Kale Casserole, and a Chai Kiss cocktail. (Not sure that we’ll be able to wait until Valentine’s Day for that one.) It’s almost October, so you should probably start your planning now.
(Photo: Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Café)