In college, feeding yourself is bound by the restrictions of time and money. Add the element of cutting out animal products and the task of cooking for yourself can become overwhelming. However, there’s a vegan cookbook out there for every kind of college student: those working with limited time or limited money, those searching to recreate home favorites or try something new, and those who avoid processed foods or go all-in on comfort foods.
The Oh She Glows Cookbook
This New York Times Best Seller by Angela Liddon contains over 100 recipes with beautiful photos. Many of the recipes are gluten-free, and there are also several dishes to try if you’re avoiding nuts, soy, or sugar. The book is divided into typical categories (appetizers, mains, sides) plus a unique section on power snacks with recipes like the classic glo bar and peanut butter cookie dough bites. This cookbook is a bit more complicated than some other cookbooks on this list but worth the extra time to make delicious and healthful meals like the enlightened miso power bowl, fudgy mocha pudding cake, and creamy avocado potato salad.
Plant Over Processed
Another best-seller, this cookbook by Andrea Hannemann encourages eating the rainbow with 75 recipes and excellent photography of the dishes and tropical scenes – Hannemann lives in Hawaii. This cookbook is great for any college student wanting to eat healthfully (and colorfully) without sacrificing taste or breaking the bank. Standout recipes include raw chocolate mousse cake, rainbow rice paper rolls, Hawaiian mactella (vegan chocolate macadamia nut spread), and save your dollars soup.
Saskia Sidey’s cookbook is a great place to start for college students who need easy, cheap meals. More than 100 recipes fill the pages of chapters such as Ready in 20 minutes, Batch cooking, and Impress a crowd. Recipes like back of the fridge fritters take advantage of leftovers and saving you money. Other quick but tasty recipes include speedy sourdough, cauliflower nuggets, and banana pancakes.
This bold cookbook by Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway addresses a common roadblock to college students – being uncomfortable in the kitchen. Its subtitle, “Eat Like You Give a F*ck”, may clue you in on the register they use with readers. The no-nonsense approach endears you to this cookbook of over 100 vegan recipes that are suitable for both experienced and beginner cooks. It’s also a great tool to learn about health, kitchen techniques, and shopping on a budget. You can find familiar dishes like ravioli, tofu scramble tacos, ravioli, and breakfast bars alongside more adventurous creations like baked zucchini chips, pineapple guacamole, and Moroccan spiced couscous.
The College Vegan Cookbook
Specifically catered to the needs of college students, Heather Nicholds offers 145 whole food recipes that meet you wherever you are: in a standard kitchen or using the hot plate in your dorm room. Recipes are quick, simple, and cheap without sacrificing taste or health. Many also help you save on washing dishes, like one-pan baked fajitas or the cinnamon bun mug cake. There are also recipes for healthier versions of standard college fare: carrot dogs, barbecue cauliflower wings, and personal pizzas.
Forks Over Knives―The Cookbook
A companion to the documentary and book that have changed many lives, this cookbook by Del Sroufe provides over 300 recipes free from animal products and oils. The health benefits of plant-based eating bring many to the vegan lifestyle, but it can be hard to know what to eat once you transition. If you’re looking for a great selection for any occasion, this cookbook has by far the largest amount of recipes in a cookbook on this list. Chapters include:
- Salads, Soups and Stews
- Pasta and Noodle Dishes
- Stir-Fried, Grilled and Hashed Vegetables
- Baked and Stuffed Vegetables
- The Amazing Bean
- Great Grains
Almost any dish you can think of -strawberry shortcakes, hearty nachos, pad thai, spaghetti and “meatballs”, basic baked granola- has a recipe in this cookbook. It’s a great resource for college students looking for vegan versions of their favorite foods or trying to find uses for ingredients they have around the kitchen.
Good Clean Food
Lily Kunin connects food to its purpose in this health-focused cookbook. The recipes are divided into sections by goal (awaken, nourish, detox, restore, etc.). It won’t be difficult to get your daily fruits and veggies with all greens soup, pesto zucchini noodles, cookie dough bars, beach quinoa salad, and peaches + raw brazil nut crumble. There’s also guidance for building grain bowls, a quick nutritious meal perfect for the health-conscious college student. An added benefit is recipes for natural beauty treatments, like the coconut mint hair treatment or green tea face mask.
This cookbook by Nava Atlas is perfect for students looking for simple recipes. Each of the 175 recipes, contains only 5 ingredients (not counting salt, pepper, water, or cooking oil). To help readers further, chapters are centered around focal ingredients (chapter 4: tofu, tempeh, and seitan; chapter 5: pasta & noodles). Even with an ingredient limit, Atlas creates tasty dishes like sriracha-lemon chickpeas, avocado toast, mac & cheese, and lentil sloppy joes.
Fast & Easy Vegan Cookbook
100 recipes appear in JL Fields’ cookbook, with useful chapters such as Few ingredients, 30 minutes or less, One-pot recipes, No-cook recipes, and Casseroles. Dishes are clearly labeled with gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, or soy-free to help you quickly decide what recipe is right for your diet. This cookbook is great for college students short on time. Simple but healthy meals include easy minestrone, acai breakfast bowl, cashew tempeh stir-fry, and baked ratatouille.
Deliciously Ella Making Plant-Based Quick and Easy
Ella Mills organizes her over 100 recipes into chapters like 10-15 minute recipes, 20-30 minute recipes, and batch cooking to save you time and work with your schedule. An added feature ideal for students who meal prep, there are special symbols for when recipes freeze well or are good “lunch box” or on-the-go options. Some of the plant-based recipes include tomato risotto, crunchy espresso protein bites, and stuffed eggplant.
Plant-Based on a Budget
Toni Okamoto knows the struggle of eating vegan on a budget. She lived paycheck to paycheck before going vegan when she was 20 and is now bringing that life experience to teach others how to eat plant-based for under $30 a week. The recipes are quick, 30 minutes or less, and perfect for college students looking for delicious simple meals that won’t cost them. Try out banana zucchini pancakes, four-ingredient chocolate pie, or jackfruit carnitas tacos.
The Budget-Friendly Vegan Cookbook
This cookbook focuses on protein-rich recipes, great for any student-athlete. Ally Lazare offers 145 unprocessed dishes that often base themselves around legumes (ex. sweet chili mango tofu, chorizo-stuffed peppers), keeping them healthy and cheap. Nuts are also a centerpiece and provide a burst of nutrition in recipes like ranch-flavored roasted cashews and peanut butter banana overnight oats.
The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook
Buying an instant pot is an investment but can save you a lot of time and money through bath cooking. Nisha Vora created more than 90 vegan recipes perfect for college students who prefer to meal prep or set it and forget it and let the instant pot work for you. There are traditional recipes like soups, stews, curries, and oatmeal, along with unconventional dishes like pecan pumpkin mousse, vegan cheese sauce, and homemade coconut yogurt.
This cookbook by Sam Turnbull provides 101 hearty recipes with vegan takes on college classics like perfect pizza pockets, epic BBQ black bean sandwiches, and vegan cheesecake. The recipes are easy and flavorful. There are even some for staples and add-ons with multiple uses like “parmegan” and addictive coconut bacon bits.
Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer supply “100 Easy Recipes for Any Craving” in this cookbook of comfort foods as well as new dishes to try (like the five-spice Baozi). The chapters help steer you in the right direction for any occasion, like Date-night dinners, Party hits, and Quick meals. Classic recipes like french toast, bagels, and potstickers meet dishes with global influence like Thai tempura, refreshing horchata, and African peanut stew.
Choosing the Right Cookbook for You
Almost every cookbook on this list provides helpful tips for basic kitchen techniques, useful equipment, preparing staples (like beans and grains), substituting ingredients, shopping and stocking your kitchen, and other helpful strategies for cooking while vegan. So, the distinguishing factors will be how much time and money you can spare, if you prefer whole food cooking or don’t mind some less-healthy vegan treats, and what complexity best suits your life. Beginners should start with something like 5-Ingredient Vegan. If you’re really tight on money, Plant-Based on a Budget is your best bet. And if you want to try a new recipe every day of the school year, go with Forks Over Knives―The Cookbook.