My go-to Cookbooks

I say you can never have too many cookbooks. My fascination with cookbooks began many years ago when I discovered Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I have to credit Ina  for helping me pretty much learn how to cook. It all started with her very first cookbook,   The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. From that point on, I was hooked. I continued to collect her cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa at home, Barefoot Contessa Family Style and Barefoot Contessa Parties. She has many more books, but these are my favorites. Even as a whole food, plant based cook, I am still able to reference many of her recipes and “veganize” them with my own modifications. And Ina, if you’re reading this, I’d love to collaborate so we can say “The Barefoot Contessa goes Plant Based.”  How easy is that?


As my plant based journey evolved, I knew that I had to expand my cookbook collection to include books that reflected what I eat on a daily basis. There are hundreds of cookbooks that I could fill my shelves with, but I have narrowed down my all time faves to just 5 books. I think that’s a pretty fair number. I’m listing these in order of acqusition.


  1. The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. This was my very first book years before I ever went plant based. Silverstone is a strong advocate for a vegan lifestyle and this book has lovely photos and recipes for all levels of cooks.
  2. Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon. A fantastic started vegan cookbook. Liddon began as a food blogger and I have used this book again and again. You will not be disappointed with her recipes!
  3. The Engine 2 Diet Cookbook, by Rip Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn. Rip is the founder of the Engine 2 Diet. He’s a former firefighter and endurance athlete who has made Plant Based his mission. This book is essential for anyone who is embarking on a whole foods, plants based lifestyle.
  4. How Not To Die Cookbook, by Dr. Michael Greger. Dr. Greger maintains the popular website, He is the energizer bunny of plant based living. This cookbook is a companion to his popular book, How Not To Die. He is the real deal, with profits from his books supporting his website which receives no funding from any advertising. He runs everything on donations and profit from book sales.
  5. The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, by Jane and Ann Esselstyn. Fantastic resource with easy to follow recipes from this amazing mother-daughter duo. You’ll love their easy to follow recipes that are low fat, oil free and completely plant based.

Of course, there are so many more great books out there, but if you’re just starting out, these are the ones I would choose.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll clue you in on how I get my kitchen set up with my favorite gadgets. Having the right equipment sets you up for success and can make all the difference when you are changing the way you eat.

Let me know what your favorite cookbooks are. I’ve always got space on my shelf foor one more!

See you in the kitchen soon,



I participate in the Amazon Associates program. If you order from the included links, I receive a small commission from Amazon, which is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Move over, Ina Garten (and I mean that in the nicest possible way)

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (from Florida) lived an inexperienced cook who was introduced to the cookbooks of the Barefoot Contessa. For years and years, this stay at home mom started all her recipes with many sticks of butter, the glug glug glug of olive oils and of course, “good” vanilla in all her baked goods. Her bookshelves proudly displayed almost every one of Ina’s wonderful cookbooks. She spent her children’s nap time engrossed in every episode of Ina’s food network show. Would Jeffrey make an appearance in today’s episode? Who will her special guests be for dinner tonight?

Fast forward to a new age. There’s a new sheriff in town. His name is Rip Esselstyn. He created the Engine 2 diet. It’s a whole food, plant based way of eating. Did I scare you? Plants…yes. No meat…yes. No dairy…yes. Delicious and filling food..yes and yes.

This past January, I was introduced to a Facebook group called the Engine 2 seven day rescue. Rip had written an update to his original diet and I joined this group to see what it was about. Anyone can do something for seven days, right?? So…I tried it and I’m happy to say I’m still following the rules for this way of eating. It is that good. It really works for me and it really is easy. If, you are willing to make the changes and I won’t lie, there is some advance food prep required if you want to make it work.

I won’t bog you down with all the details of the way I eat now. But I’m having a lot of fun with it and I just started an instagram account to show the world what I eat and cook now.  It’s has been a lot of fun and I’m meeting all kinds of fellow plant based people out there who share this journey.

Here are a few of my most recent kitchen creations. Carrot Dogs in the first picture and Chili Cheese fries in the second picture. No animal products whatsoever in either meal!

I feel great eating this way and if you are interested in learning more, I’m happy to answer any questions. You can follow more of my food adventures on instagram  @heidicooksplants

Oh, and if anyone’s interested in some bargain Barefoot Contessa cookbooks…😉😉😂😂