Real Food Whole Life

My Favorite Healthy Cookbooks

LifestyleRobyn Downs8 Comments

Looking to add a little healthy inspiration to your cookbook collection? Today I'm sharing 20 of my favorite healthy cookbooks.

My favorite healthy cookbooks!

I have a little problem when it comes to cookbooks. I admit it. I collect them the way some women collect shoes, and can't seem to resist adding new titles every year. Maybe you love cookbooks as much as I do, or perhaps you're just looking to add one or two new titles to your collection. Today I'm excited to share 20 of my favorite healthy titles with you! 

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and that Real Food Whole Life receives a very small commission if you decide to make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Please know that I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.  

20 of my favorite healthy cookbooks!
My favorite healthy cookbooks!

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. Madison has authored several comprehensive vegetarian cookbooks, though this is my favorite of hers. She organizes the recipes in Vegetable Literacy according to the twelve families of edible plant kingdoms. It's a great resource if you are a member of a CSA or frequent the farmer's market. I can always depend on this book to tell me what to do with a bunch of beet greens or when I end up with too much kohlrabi. 

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. The Flavor Bible isn't really a cookbook in the traditional sense. It doesn't have any recipes, instead it's made up of thousands of ingredients and the other flavors and ingredients that it pair well together. For example, you can look up "peach" and find lemon, oats, and cinnamon as complimentary flavors. If you love making up your own recipes and letting ingredients guide you, this book is a must have.

It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great by Gwyneth Paltrow. This inspiring cookbook is packed with many simple, creative gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. In it Gwyneth talks about her journey to healthy eating and shares many of her personal favorite recipes. A simple and beautiful book.

Real Life Paleo by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry. This paleo cookbook is written by parents who are passionate about the paleo lifestyle. In it they share breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas, including a section devoted to feeding kids. They offer many great tips for stocking a paleo pantry, which I find quite useful.

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. Oh Ina, how I love you. Let's be real, this is not a healthy cookbook. Despite the many indulgent recipes, however, there are also many healthy options including soups, salads, roasted meats, and vegetables. And her recipes are fool-proof. I learned to cook using this book (and the next on on the list), knowing that if I made an Ina recipe it would come out perfectly and everyone would love it. I still rely on her books, though now I am more selective about which recipes to make.

Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten. I had to include this Barefoot Contessa cookbook as well, as it is organized by season and special occasion. I use it to find inspiration as the seasons change and around the holidays. 

Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great by Danielle Walker. Against All Grain is Danielle's first cookbook, which she published as a follow-up to her popular blog Against All Grain. In this book she includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and an amazing dessert section. All the recipes are dairy-free, gluten-free and many are family-friendly. I used this cookbook to make Elle's second birthday cupcakes and they were amazing. I can't say enough good things Danielle's books.

Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime by Danielle Walker. This is Danielle's second book and includes lots of slow cooker recipes, breakfast ideas, baked goods and desserts. I use both of her books so often I can't chose which I like the best. 

Super Natural Everyday: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson. I want to meet and hang out with Heidi. Her blog, 101 Cookbooks, was one of the first I ever read. She just makes everything beautiful. Super Natural Everyday is full of simple, elegant, vegetarian recipes; it's west coast California cooking at it's best. Her first cookbook, Super Natural Cooking is equally amazing and I cannot wait for her third, Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, which promises to be stunning as well.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon. Angela writes the super popular Oh She Glows blog and this is her first cookbook. It's full of plant-based recipes, which are naturally dairy-free and often gluten-free. I love her soups and her desserts are something really special. The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough bites are one of my favorite go-to recipes. 

The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living by Mark Bittman.  This is Mark Bittman's companion cookbook to Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, which argues we should flip the ratio of our diet to include more plants. The cookbook draws Inspiration from all over the world and has a ton of great recipes that are full of produce but not necessarily vegetarian.

A Spoonful of Ginger: Irresistible, Health-Giving Recipes from Asian Kitchens by Nina Simonds. Nina's Simonds' book is grounded in the healing properties of Chinese medicine. There are many healing soup, seafood, and rice dishes in this book that I turn to when I'm feeling under the weather or in need of an immunity boost. Most of the recipes are naturally dairy-free and can be made gluten-free by swapping gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for soy sauce.

Giada's Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets by Giada de Laurentiis. A favorite of mine, this cookbook by Food Network star chef Giada de Laurentiis has lots of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. I use it often for weeknight cooking and find the recipes to be very family-friendly.

Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen, 30 Slow Cookers, 200 Amazing Recipes by America's Test Kitchen. Though the recipes here are not necessarily healthy, you can find many nestled in the pages. If you're a slow cooker fanatic (like I am) this is definitely one to add to your collection.

100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love by Lisa Leake. Lisa writes 100 Days of Real Food blog and shares many of her most popular and new recipes in this cookbook. It's not about a special diets, rather it's just about homemade, unprocessed foods. There are tons of family friendly recipes in this one, too, and even lunchbox packing tips.

Patricia Well's Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy by Patricia Wells. Alas, there are no pictures in this book, but it's still full of inspiring Italian recipes. Patricia Wells shares recipes for hearty braises and simple vegetable preparations. There's plenty of gluten and dairy here, but all it's all real food and all really good, too.

Everyday Food Light: The Quickest and Easiest Recipes, all Under 500 Calories from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. I love that this cookbook is organized seasonally and is very family-friendly. The recipes are simple, the ingredient lists are short, and the results are tasty. I don't count calories, but this book does include nutritional information if you find that useful.

Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the Editors of Whole Living Magazine. This cookbook has tons of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. It's a great healthy eating resource and I use it as a resource often. Nutritional information is also included in this one.

Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-To-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be a Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Terry Hope Romero also co-authored the popular Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, which is another favorite of mine. In this slim little book she offers fresh and creative salad ideas. I love that she thinks outside the box in the kitchen and I always find inspiration in her recipes. 

Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes and Colors of Each Season by Kimberley Hasselbrink. Kimberley's cookbook is one of the most stunningly photographed out there. The recipes are inspired by the color of food and it's truly a work of art. It's another great one to add to your collection if you have a CSA or frequent the farmer's market.

To follow along with Real Food Whole Life and for healthy recipes, meal plans, and tips straight to your inbox, subscribe here.