2017's Best Healthy Food Cookbooks

Proof you can "get clean" by cooking well

If you're turning over a new leaf as far as your eating habits are concerned, you'll need some new pages to turn along with it. These are the nine healthy cookbooks—either just released or soon to come—you're going to love.

① Blissful Basil, by Ashley Melillo (BenBella Books, $22)

With its 100-plus recipes and bright, inviting photography, this blogger's first book has received high praise from vegan powerhouses like Angela Liddon and Gena Hamshaw. If you're taking the first steps toward healthier eating, take solace in knowing that brownies, nachos and cinnamon rolls still make the cut—albeit with a few plant-based and superfood twists, which might mean pulled hearts of palm and jackfruit in place of barbecued meat or lemon bars made with potatoes. Just trust us.

Easy Does It Sunday Evening Chili | Photo: Courtesy of Ashley Melillo/BenBella Books

② The Perfect Blend, by Tess Masters (Ten Speed Press, $20)

Don't be fooled by all the Instant Pot madness: Masters's latest book proves the blender is still the tabletop appliance that can do all—and we're not just talking about smoothies (though we can't wait to make that avocado daiquiri). You'll learn how to use it for heartier fare like cauliflower-based Tricked-Up Tabouli and a handful of vegan cheeses.

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas | Photo: *

③ The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen (America's Test Kitchen, $30)

Make sure to buy olive oil by the gallon if you're planning to cook your way through this one. This intrinsically healthy recipe collection often uses the Mediterranean go-to in place of butter in everything from spiced fava bean soup to tender almond cake. Variations on a theme (braised cauliflower three ways, mix-in options for lentil salad) extend each recipe's shelf life, and step-by-step photos make sure you're never in the dark. Plus, in true ATK fashion, there are helpful guides throughout, like a tip sheet for vegetable cooking times and a two-page guide for buying fish.

④ The Yoga Kitchen, by Kimberly Parsons (Quadrille Publishing, $25)

Using superfood-laced chocolate bars to align your chakras sounds like a good deal to us, which is why we're digging Parsons's approach to holistic, nourishing meals. The cookbook author hosts yoga retreats and owns a health food café in London, but if you'd rather focus your gaze toward your third eye with sweet potato scones and herb-specked crispy quinoa burgers in hand, her book will be your version of Yoga Sutras.

⑤ Live to Eat, by Michael Psilakis (Little, Brown and Company, January 31, $30)

Rather than ignore his professional chef status in order to gain trust from home cooks, Psilakis takes inspiration from it, using his experience to craft a brilliantly structured Mediterranean cookbook. He focuses on restaurant-grade prep work—specifically in terms of seven key ingredients, which he uses as building blocks for subsequent recipes in the book. Because when you have blanched vegetables and tomato sauce on hand—two of Psilakis's all-important base ingredients—weeknight dinners of sautéed pork tenderloin or cinnamon-scented cauliflower with tomato soup can become a habit.

Spicy Roasted Salmon | Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Hirsheimer

⑥ Naturally Nourished, by Sarah Britton (Clarkson Potter, February 14, $30)

Let Britton's second book be your true Valentine's Day companion. The My New Roots author and blogger created this for the everyday cook, noting that the ingredients "can all be found at a discount grocery store." Despite the pronounced accessibility, you can still expect those beautifully depicted, trustworthy and healthy-minded recipes she's known (and loved) for.

⑦ The First Mess Cookbook, by Laura Wright (Avery, March 7, $30)

Wright is a storyteller at heart, something the many fans of her eponymous blog are well aware of. Start spring off fresh with her selection of 125 recipes (all vegan), like roasted chile basil lime tofu bowls and her brilliantly colored "Thai-ish" cabbage slaw. She says the book "is at the intersection of hearty, elegant, earth and seasonal," and we couldn't agree more.

⑧ Dishing Up the Dirt, Andrea Bemis (Harper Wave, March 14, $30)

Proceed with caution: Contents may inspire you to drop everything and start an organic farm. Bemis and her husband own Tumbleweed Farm near Portland, Oregon, and as such, her recipes are as farm-to-table as they get. The book reflects this seasonal mentality with a harvest pizza to celebrate springtime peas and winter panzanella for the colder months, plus stories about what it's really like to operate and live on a farm.

⑨ A New Way to Bake, by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter, March 28, $26)

If Martha Stewart wants to put beets in chocolate cake and granola in piecrust, you go ahead and let her. The healthier swaps don't mean you have to sacrifice flavor, though, as demonstrated by her robust buckwheat espresso cookies and parsnip-rosemary muffins. A useful flavor-pairing chart in the back leads you through the mystical world of whole-grain flours, which you'll find helpful when creating your own riffs on classic baked goods.

Start the year off right with the healthy ingredients, dishes and recipes that will stick with you long after you've abandoned those pesky resolutions. We're going all in on Clean(er) Eating—and drinking, too.

*Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart