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Must-Have Vegan Cookbooks By Black Culinary Creatives

Jul 31, 2023 02:00PM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho

Food is often a representation of ourselves and our heritage. It can connect our past to our present, with recipes often passed down through generations. For far too long, the culinary scene has been dominated by White male chefs taking the spotlight. Inspired by dishes from the Caribbean, West Africa, Puerto Rico, and the Southern United States, these vegan cookbooks by Black culinary creatives and chefs are bursting with flavors. Whether you’re a long-time vegan or just dipping your toes into the movement, getting into a new cookbook is a great way to explore new foods and broaden your horizons. 

1. Makini's Vegan Kitchen by Makini Howell

Nationally renowned chef and entrepreneur Makini Howell shares her innovative plant-based recipes in this anniversary edition of the original Plum cookbook. These inspired recipes from one of the highest-ranked vegan fine-dining restaurants in the country are not only mouthwatering and hearty but are also allergen-friendly and often gluten-free, soy-free, or both. Cooking vegan with Makini proves that living a meat-free life can include satisfying and tasty food.

2. Cooking From The Spirit: Easy, Delicious, And Joyful Plant-Based Inspirations by Tabitha Brown

Tabitha Brown’s Cooking From The Spirit is a delightful cookbook filled with heartwarming stories and over eighty family-friendly vegan recipes. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a newcomer to vegan cuisine, Tabitha’s warm voice and encouraging approach will make your culinary adventures both enjoyable and delicious.


3. Eat Plants, B*tch: 91 Vegan Recipes That Will Blow Your Meat-Loving Mind by Pinky Cole

Famed restaurateur and philanthropist, Pinky Cole invites you to savor irresistible comfort food. Her cookbook includes 91 dynamic vegan recipes like Avocado Egg Rolls, Brussels Rigatoni Carbonara, and Oyster Mushroom Parm. “This book is dedicated to all of the people who might not want to be vegan but who want choices that actually taste good,” says Cole in her book. In 2018, Cole opened her first vegan burger joint, Slutty Vegan, in Atlanta, and in 2022, she opened another in Brooklyn. Cole’s restaurant is known for its over-the-top sandwiches stacked with multiple patties, fried vegan seafood, and the infamous Slut Sauce (her version of secret sauce). 

4. Vegan Soul Food Cookbook: Plant-Based, No-Fuss Southern Favorites by Nadira Jenkins-El

Nadira Jenkins-El is a vegan chef and holistic nutritionist with a passion for soul food and Caribbean cuisine. In 2014, she founded Global Fusion, a home-based vegan and gluten-free bakery and confectionery. Today, she co-owns and operates The Cutting Board Bakery and Café in Mesa, Arizona. Jenkins-El has created the ideal plant-based soul food cookbook for beginners. Her cookbook features 101 tasty, plant-based alternatives to popular dishes like Gumbo, Biscuits and Gravy, and Cajun Fried Chicken.


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5. Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, And Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a vegan chef, food justice activist, and author. He has written four vegan cookbooks and co-wrote a book about organic eating. He won a 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his food justice work. This cookbook was named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks of all time by Bon Appétit. Chef Terry masterfully blends the vibrant culinary traditions of Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South, resulting in a collection of over 100 modern and delectable dishes. Afro-Vegan takes you on an international food journey. Accompanying the recipes are Terry’s insights about building a community around food, along with suggested music tracks from around the world and book recommendations.

6. Crazy Good Vegan: simple and economical recipes for home cooking full of flavors by Lloyd Rose

This cookbook offers 60 simple and budget-friendly plant-based recipes that deliver incredible flavor. Lloyd’s emphasis on simplicity means your grocery trips will be cheaper, your prep time shorter and your kitchen clean-up easier. From quick dinners to chill weekend brunches and snacks to share with friends, this collection of Lloyd’s best vegan recipes will quickly become your go-to resource anytime you crave something tasty without the fuss.


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9. Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats by Rachel Ama

Rachel Ama is a dancing, cooking, powerhouse of vegan inspiration. She can be found dancing and singing along to her favorite tunes cooking up a vegan storm on her YouTube channel where she shares recipes and vegan lifestyle and beauty advice. In cadence with Ama’s homemade-made simple style, the book highlights dozens of one-pot wonders, foolproof British classics, quick homey meals, and comforting classics from her Caribbean and West African roots. She also authored One Pot: Three Ways, a compilation of delicious one-pot recipes. Some of the top recipes in this book are cinnamon French toast with strawberries, plantain burger, and chickpea sweet potato falafel. 

10.  Vegan Nigerian Kitchen by Tomi Makanjuola

From one-pot porridges to spicy soups, stews, savory snacks, sweet treats and cocktails Vegan Nigerian Kitchen is the essential cookbook for anyone who wants to embark on a unique and delicious culinary journey. Author Tomi Makanjuola will make your mouth water with over 100 plant-based Nigerian recipes. 


11. Caribbean Vegan By Taymer Mason

Barbadian chef Taymer Mason shares vegan recipes that showcase the complex and delicious cuisine of the Caribbean. Plus, she explains the key kitchen skills she learned growing up: how to cut breadfruit, make your own cassava flour, choose a ripe coconut, and more. Here, African, French, Asian, and Spanish influences combine with the local flavors of Barbados, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and more.

12.  Plentiful by Denai Moore

Jamaican food is often generalized into spicy, meat-heavy dishes. As with any cuisine, there are nuances those unfamiliar with it just don’t get. Author Denai Moore covers the spectrum of Jamaican dishes in this cookbook from Rice & Pea Arancini to the heart of palm-based ‘Salt Fish’ paired with fried savory green plantains.

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 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies. She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content. 

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