I love cookbooks. Always have. And I especially love those that tell a story of the evolution of the dishes as they often end up as my bed-time reading choice. Yes, I'm crazy, I know. And that's ok :-)
My cookbook selection has vastly changed over the years as I have evolved in the kitchen. These days my interest is in simple recipes that are loaded with natural flavors, resourcing as much as possible locally. Here are a selection of a few that I resource from for my own.
Juices and Smoothies: I love the first two books for their informative resources.
The Juice Lady's Living Foods Revolution - Cherie Calbom
"Green for Life", the Updated Classic on Green Smoothies Nutrition - Victoria Boutenko
"The Smoothies Bible" - Pat Crocker
Williams & Sonoma has had a collection of cookbooks in the not-too-distant past that I go to for some basic healthy recipes:
"Eat Well" - Charity Ferreira. This book has a breakdown of nutritional labels on the recipes and a complete analysis in the back of the book to help you make the transition to eating right. My favorite soup recipe, Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut & Lime, is in this book. Always a success when I make it.
"Essentials of Healthful Cooking" - Mary Abbott Hess. A good go-to book for how-to's in the pursuit of healthier cooking ie poaching, grilling, roasting, stir-frying. It also has the nutritional break-down of fruits and veggies, legumes and grains, nuts and seeds, etc. The Edamame and Orange Salad recipe is chock full of flavor and I loved the tip of rinsing your red onion in cold water to cut back on the sometimes-overwhelming-bite is has when used in raw recipes. Another flavorful recipe that I use often is the Couscous Vegetable Salad, though now I'm replacing the couscous with quinoa. Or I can use millet instead. Lots of space for change-ups in these recipes which I love. It also opens up a world of trying out new ingredients like those funny white things you find in the produce aisle near the lettuces - Belgian Endives - a fav of ours. The recipe incorporates endives with walnut and apple as well as lemon and dill to make a super flavorful salad that is also nutritionally loaded. Granted, I'm not a big fan of canola oil (look at the source when purchasing it) but it can be switched out for other oils without compromising the recipes.
"Clean Start", Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well - Terry Walters. Terry is also author of "Clean Food". Her "Clean Start" recipes are bundled according to the seasons which is helpful when sourcing food locally and keeping to a budget as well as choosing foods that keep us rooted in the seasons. The Shallot Fig Spread is a great appetizer or used as a topping on broiled Polenta Pizza. Terry also does a run-through of her Clean Start pantry as well as basic ingredients. As this is a plant-based cookbook, you can imagine her basic veggie stock is a great 'basic' when making soups, cooking your millet, amaranth, brown rice or teff in in place of water or just using to finish off a dish.
"True Food", Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure - Andrew Weil, MD and Sam Fox with Michael Stebner. Michael Stebner is executive chef of True Food Kitchen. This book has a great 'what is that?' source in the beginning; ie what is Mirin, how is it used, why is it used, where do I store it, and where the heck do I find it?
"Crazy Sexy Kitchen" - Kris Carr with Chef Chad Sarno. Who doesn't love life-stories of those who manage to turn their lives around with great food as the basis? Kris has put this book together with the help of Chef Chad Sarno, presenting plant-bases recipes that are loaded with flavor AND are nutrient-dense. This cookbook will take you even further on your "I choose a healthier lifestyle" journey as it did Kris and all those who supported her in the compilation of this cookbook. Great recipes for kids as well as adults like the Fruit and Almond sandwiches which takes your basic childhood favorite PB&J to a whole new level, using raw nut butter, fresh berries, banana and date paste on a slice of whole-grain or gluten-free bread. There are also salad recipes that take that raw delight to a whole different level. And there are raw recipes in there that will push the novice cook into a new realm of food preparation. I can't say 'cooking' since raw recipes remain raw, even if you are making an Apple Spiced-Rum Shortcake with Maple Vanilla Glaze.
"My New Roots" - Sarah Britton. Inspired plant-based recipes for every season. Eating seasonally is a great way to go and I'm a plant-based food fiend! I served several recipes at dinner parties and received rave reviews which I credit to the well-balanced and imaginative recipes that Sarah is offering in this book. Try the Blueberry Cardamon Chia Pudding; a delicious blend of flavors as well as a super healthy way to end your meal.
Another plant-based cookbook is....
YumUniverse - Heather Crosby. Infinite possibilities for a gluten-free, plant-powerful whole-food lifestyle. There's a lot of promise in that 'tag' line but I feel Heather's recipes deliver on that promise. Loads of resourceful information in her cookbook as well as some truly tasty recipes, ie Quinoa "Cinnamon Toast' Cereal with Toasted Pecans. Looking for a creative twist on that lunchtime favorite? Check out Heather's 'Sammiches!' ideas which elevate that slice of bread (gluten-free for some of us) to lofty heights.