Well Read, Well Fed

11 healthy cookbooks you should add to your shelf
The Best Healthy Cookbooks

We're going clean in 2016—and not only because it rhymes. Recharge and renew yourself with our favorite healthy recipes.

Kale salads and juice cleanses sound good and all, but in a world of Seamless and microwave pizza, how do you actually make that stuff? These cookbooks, both old and new, are our go-tos for healthy recipe inspiration. There are plenty of how-tos to help you master the basics. And if it's not your first clean-cooking rodeo, look out for more advanced projects like DIY tofu and homemade ramen noodles.

V Is for Vegetables, by Michael Anthony (Little, Brown and Company, $40)
Michael Anthony's most recent volume reads like a best-selling children's book, only it's for dedicated home cooks. We dare you to resist singing along ("A is for artichokes, B is for Brussels sprouts . . . ") as you cook your way through his delightful herb salads and classic potato croquettes. And, yes, there is a page for Q, because for Anthony, "quince is an honorary vegetable."

Preserving the Japanese Way, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $40)
Pickles aren't just slimy brined cucumbers, especially when you get into traditional Japanese cuisine. You'll need patience for some recipes (your persimmon vinegar will be ready in three months), but the results are more than worth it. The Japanese are known for eating a generally healthy cuisine; the book's extensive ingredient explanations will help you become a master.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon (Avery, $25)
Just reading the title aloud makes us feel healthier already. The popular vegan blogger currently has a second book in the works, and if it's anything like her first, the world is in for a treat. All the recipes use accessible ingredients, and you'd never guess many were vegan (like the "life-affirming warm nacho dip"). Pro tip: Make a double batch of the peanut butter cookie dough bites and keep them (read: hide them from yourself) in the freezer for an around-the-clock sweet snack.

Flavor Flours, by Alice Medrich (Artisan, $35)
This book's recipes make baking gluten free fun rather than a sad necessity. Each chapter is dedicated to a different wheat-free flour, including, among others, rice, sorghum, oat and corn flours. Medrich uses substitutions that enhance the original rather than try to overcompensate for lack of gluten, like using chestnut flour to add even more Italy to airy ricotta cheesecake.

The Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen (Ten Speed Press, $20)
With the first edition published more than 40 years ago, this vegetable ode from the Ithaca, New York, restaurant remains a classic—and has a rightful spot in the James Beard Award Cookbook Hall of Fame. Cookbook guru Mollie Katzen lays out her vegetable-minded recipes in a homey handwritten font along with darling illustrations and a laid-back, irresistible tone. The famed fudge brownies are an absolute must, because "on a brownie-intensity scale of 1 to 10, these are about an 11." And, hey, they're still vegetarian.

Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi (Chronicle Books, $35)
There's no denying that Yotam Ottolenghi knows his way around vegetables. Organized by vegetable, each recipe deserves to be made twice, if not three times, and the stunning photography will have you itching to book a flight to London to try the recipes straight from Ottolenghi himself. And once you make your way through this one, you have Plenty More to look forward to.

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Mediterranean Harvest, by Martha Rose Shulman (Rodale Books, $26)
Think Mediterranean, and you likely picture sunny Southern Italy and ultramarine Greek beaches. But Martha Rose Shulman's tome dedicated to the area's cuisine thinks outside the boot, showing love to all the countries with a Mediterranean shore—shout out to North Africa and Lebanon. Use the helpful glossary in front to stock your pantry, then cook your way through more than 500 regional recipes like Algerian dessert couscous and Balkan-style moussaka.

Bar Tartine: Techniques & Vegetables, by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns (Chronicle Books, $40)
The recipes from the Bar Tartine duo lean technical, but spend enough time with them, and you'll create a restaurant-worthy pantry and develop invaluable pro techniques. The salad chapter is a high point, with entrée-worthy choices like cauliflower salad with yogurt and chickpeas, and bold chicories with cheesy anchovy dressing.

Dirt Candy, by Amanda Cohen and Ryan Dunlavey (Clarkson Potter, $20)
Amanda Cohen has never been one to follow convention. No recipe is immune to vegetable infiltration, including doughnuts (find her kimchi-flecked ones inside) and ice cream (just one more way to eat your broccoli). Fittingly, the book is laid out as a graphic novel, because it teaches you how to be a vegetable superhero just like Cohen.

Crossroads, by Tal Ronnen (Artisan, $35)
Chef Roy Choi dubs Ronnen a "plant-based food whisperer," and we can't think of any description more accurate. The breaded calamari will make you do a double take—those are hearts of palm, not squid tentacles—and the béarnaise makes use of cashew cream and nutritional yeast. Don't believe us? Maybe Jay-Z's and Bill Clinton's testimonials will convince you.

Bowl, by Lukas Volger (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)
This book of Asian one-bowl meals from the editorial director of Jarry will become dog-eared quickly by anyone who gets their hands on it. There are dumplings and ramen for every season, as well as grain bowls and fried rice recipes that you'll turn to time and again. The grand majority of bowl foods are synonymous with healthy—which we would argue includes the occasional bowl of ice cream.

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