2018 was a great year for cookbooks that put flavor and feeling good on equal pedestals. No matter if healthy looks like a plate full of vegetables or not a grain in site, there’s a cookbook that celebrates eating well and healthfully. So, if you’re shopping for holiday gifts or just want to stock up on good-for-you, delicious recipes so you’re all set for New Year’s resolution season, here are some of our favorite healthy cookbooks of the year.
Ottolenghi Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi, $14
The latest offering from chef Yotam Ottolenghi may be our favorite yet. His flavor-packed Middle Eastern-inspired recipes get streamlined in this visually appealing book. The 130 recipes have at least one simplified option: Ready in 30 minutes or fewer, uses no more than 10 ingredients, can be made in one pot, etc. Even with that, he still elevates classic dishes with his signature unique twists.
Eat a Little Better, by Sam Kass, $19
Sam Kass, former chef for the Obamas and White House food policy advisor, loads the 90 accessible, family friendly recipes with tons of tips for easier and better cooking as well as suggestions to round out meals. With plenty of ideas for how to shop and cook more healthfully and sustainably but also within budget and time constraints, it’s a great primer for anyone wanting to feel better about the barbecue chicken, pasta and other favorites they make—plus, Kass offers doable ideas for incorporating more vegetables, fish and other healthy foods into your rotation.
Smart Meal Prep for Beginners, by Toby Amidor, $12
One of the best ways to eat healthier: Cook at home. But busy weeknights can make that a challenge, and meal prepping on the weekends feels intimidating—or, at least, it used to. Thanks to this engaging, highly practical and wise guide by registered dietician Toby Amidor, you come away with a six-week plan not only for prepping ahead, but making it a habit. With breakfasts, lunches and dinner, staple and sides, and snacks, you have everything you need to cook ahead and enjoy great food all week.
Eat What You Love, by Danielle Walker, $17
Gluten-free, dairy-free and mostly paleo recipes—all 125 recipes in bestselling author Danielle Walker’s latest are perfect for families dealing with allergies. Full of flavor and fun, the recipes are also super-convenient, with sheet pan, Instant Pot and 30-minute recipes as well as creative ideas for packed lunches, make-ahead dishes, meal plans with shopping lists and more. And with recipes like Banana-Chocolate-Hazelnut French Toast, Sausage-Spinach Skillet Lasagna and Honey-Mustard Sheet-Pan Salmon, this book is sure to make the whole family happy.
Black Girl Baking, by Jerrelle Guy, $16.50
The beautiful recipes in this heartfelt book incorporate whole-grain flours, vegan and gluten-free options, and more, so there’s something for everyone. Though there is sugar in the recipes, author Jerrelle Guy minimizes it and instead emphasizes other flavorful ingredients like fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, and seeds. Guy emphasizes how all five senses come into play, encouraging mindfulness and maximizing enjoyment.
Healthyish, by Lindsay Maitland Hunt, $13
If you love a good salad but also don’t want to live without cookies, this one’s for you. Recipe developer Lindsay Maitland Hunt brings her abundant expertise and creativity to the party, offering up morning grain bowls, no-cook lunches (hello, Pesto Chicken Caprese), soups, snacks, dinners and much more, as well as unique tips on how to balance meals both for healthfulness and maximum flavor.
Simply Vibrant: All-Day Vegetarian Recipes for Colorful Plant-Based Cooking, by Anya Kassoff, $23
The plant-forward dishes in this beautifully photographed book celebrate the seasons and also offer unique approaches to dishes (a strawberry-rhubarb pancake gets baked in the oven, watermelon-arugula salad is drizzled with sangria). Blogger Anya Kassoff gives options if you have more or less time, employs eggs and cheese sparingly and provides tips for using some of the techniques in dishes beyond the book.
The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook, by Mark Sisson, $17
The ketogenic diet—high in healthy fats, very low in carbs—is having a big moment, and Clean Plates Collective member Mark Sisson is one of the main authorities on the subject. Fortunately, he also loves to eat great food as much as we do, so he combines his expertise and his taste for the good stuff in this delicious companion to his Keto Reset Diet book.
What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food, by Gaby Dalkin, $17
We love the friendly, accessible recipes that make healthy food super-appealing in private chef and popular blogger Gaby Dalkin’s latest offering. Brussels sprout pizza, Cobb salad for all seasons, sweet potato and quinoa chili—it’s the perfect mix of good for you and indulgent, all with a dose of breezy California flair.
Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One, by Anita Lo, $18
Most cookbooks offer recipes for at least 4—but what if you’re cooking just for yourself? If you’ve fallen into the “It’s only me, I’ll have some toast” trap, get ready for some genuinely delicious self-care. Acclaimed chef Anita Lo offers 101 inspiring recipes to help you give yourself the gift of nourishing, sophisticated meals. Enjoy Steamed Seabass with Shiitakes, Fennel Salad with Za’atar, Smoky Eggplant and Scallion Frittata, and so many others.
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