I like a challenge as much as the next person. Cooking without any meat, dairy or eggs is a pretty big challenge for me, but every once in a while I do go vegan. My problem with most vegan cookbooks is they tend to veer off into the realm of meat substitutes. Frankly, if I want to eat meat, I will, so I prefer more creative approaches.
To get inspired and learn new cooking techniques there are two cookbooks I rely on, Veganomicon and The Accidental Vegan. Veganomicon was written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, two hipsters and founders of the Post Punk Kitchen. Some great recipes from the book include Pasta e Fagioli and Chickpeas Romesco.
The Accidental Vegan by Devra Gartenstein features recipes that are very straightforward and easy to cook. They are definitely the type of recipes that will make you forget you are not eating meat. The Greek Lentil Soup, Szechuan Noodle Salad, Fennel Tapenade and Baba Ganoush recipes are all keepers. Sadly many of the dessert recipes often use non-hydogenated margarine which does not appeal to me.
I spoke to author, teacher and dietician, Jill Nussinow the "Veggie Queen" to to get her thoughts on the subject:
"I think that the big key to going vegan is to make food taste great no matter what. Many ethnic dishes are or can be vegan easily -- think Thai (minus fish sauce and substitute tamari or Bragg's liquid amino acids), Mexican minus the cheese, Indian, Japanese, Chinese. Classic combos such as rice, beans and tortillas are vegan. The salsa and guacamole are too."