2018 Vegan Cookbook Challenge (join in with me!)

Do you, like me, have a stack of cookbooks and a shameful tendency to ignore 99% of what’s inside them in favour of searching Google for a dinner recipe? Then listen up friends: you need to join me in this 2018 cookbook challenge! Because I find it hard (work, study, dog, M.E., laziness) to commit to very specific goals or targets, I’m going easy on myself. The challenge is to focus on a single cookbook for one month and document the yummy (or not so yummy) recipes I use. Susan over at Kittens on Lentil does this every month anyway to an admirable degree; I think it’s tremendous that folks are out there cooking the books and letting the rest of us know how it turns out!

The book's contents page.

I’ve already chosen my first book: Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. My Uncle gifted me this a few years back, and you can see that it’s already had a fairly decent amount of use (splodgy messy covers are surely the biggest compliment a book can receive?) I picked this because January brings a lot of root veg in our weekly veg box, and this book has plenty of traditional, hearty English recipes (many many of them vegan).

This challenge will hopefully help me with two goals: to cook more whole(some) foods and meals from scratch, and to be a little kinder to my body, which (understandably I think) took on board a lot of splurgy/emotional junk food eating in 2017 and has started to complain.

As we progress through the year, though, I’d like to give you all a say in which book(s) I choose next. Here I have my recipe book collection (not pictured because it’s too tall: Delia’s Vegetarian Collection). If anyone has any special requests I’d be happy to take them, but I’ll otherwise just pick one that I fancy.

My cookbooks on a shelf; a mixture of veggie, vegan, and other.

I tend to fail any sort of resolution or resolve if I can’t keep up with it perfectly (a throwback to my old pre-M.E. self who did EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME) but I’m getting better at carrying on regardless anyway. My bullet journal is actually really great for this because if I lose momentum on any particular week, it really doesn’t matter: I can just pick up again the week after.

Anyhoo, who’s with me?! Let me know in the comments and we can hold each other to account!

For veganism, dog pictures and life ramblings, giz a follow…

Woodcut of leaping deer.


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  • Reply Kelly

    Yes! I’ve been thinking of doing this as well, so I will take advantage of the external motivation and accountability. (Or, more realistically, farm out this task to Steven and just document the results of his cooking.) Isa Does It is one I’ve been meaning to explore!

    January 7, 2018 at 21:11
    • Reply Jenny

      Me too! I’ve used and enjoyed quite a few of the other PPK books so I will gladly add this one to the list 🙂

      January 8, 2018 at 18:50
  • Reply Rebekah Jaunty

    I’m in! I’ve made two recipes from La Veganista Backt (which is German) this month and made two from Vegan Pie in the Sky last month… curious to follow your adventures. I think I’ll stick with La Veganista Backt for January. I don’t have a blog anymore and don’t love cooking, so… I won’t be one of your more interesting participants.

    I’d be interested to see some recipes from Appetite for Reduction. I bought it months ago, marked at least a dozen recipes that sounded promising, and then wandered off…

    January 7, 2018 at 21:22
    • Reply Things2Eat

      you absolutely need to delve in to Appetite For Reduction!

      I haven’t dug in to it in a while, but here are the pictures I have posted on Instagram

      January 8, 2018 at 13:55
      • Reply Rebekah Jaunty

        You make a strong case, Things2Eat!

        January 8, 2018 at 17:37
    • Reply Jenny

      I do miss your blog and hope you’ll join in on Instagram or somewhere else maybe! AFR is just amazing and (as you can probably tell from the picture above) mine got well used during my last (ever) serious dieting phase. The recipes are very flavourful with lots of whole ingredients though so I’m happy to dedicate a month to it for sure 🙂

      January 8, 2018 at 18:52
      • Reply Rebekah Jaunty

        You’re so kind! My front camera is kaput, but I’ll try to document some of my cooking experiments on Instagram.

        I look forward to your AFR month.

        January 11, 2018 at 17:18
        • Reply Jenny

          Hurray! I have, rather presumptuously, created a hashtag for the occasion: #JMs2018CookbookChallenge

          January 12, 2018 at 09:31
  • Reply Things2Eat

    I would like to see some of the dishes in Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen! I see it recommended as a good book from time to time but I would love an idea of what’s in it.

    January 8, 2018 at 13:56
    • Reply Jenny

      Ahh, I bought this one as a ‘heart healthy’ book when I decided I was going to die of heart disease for sure, and promptly forgot about it. So I would be very pleased to try this out, maybe in the warmer months (if we get any!) 🙂

      January 8, 2018 at 18:53
  • Reply Susan

    I do monthly cookalongs on Instagram sometimes, but they tend to be with new releases and that way lies a lot of spending when I already have so many cookbooks on my shelves!
    Looking through your titles, I have Isa Does It, Vegan Eats World, VWAV, Vcon (both the originals), Viva Vegan, Chloe’s Italian, and AFR (though I have cooked a ton out of that one). I’d be happy to join in if you do a month of any of those! 😀
    I also have some of the baking ones, but a month of pies or cupcakes, while delicious, is probably not sustainable. Heh.

    January 9, 2018 at 02:42
    • Reply Jenny

      You are wayyyy committed and it’s really impressive and also very useful! I did wonder if someone would choose a dessert book then I would be like “OH WELL A MONTH OF PIE”.

      January 10, 2018 at 13:22
      • Reply Rebekah Jaunty

        Ha! I’ve made four pies in the last four weeks. I doubt I’d made four pies in my entire life before buying Vegan Pie in the Sky.

        January 11, 2018 at 17:16
  • Reply Jennifer

    Funny I remember trying to make this goal for myself a few years ago. Over the years I’ve only done 10 book reviews, partly because I literally read a book front to back, and talk about it overall. I am cheating a little and working on my review for How It All Vegan, partly because I started it awhile ago for a Vegan MOFO topic.

    I’m curious to hear your opinions on the The Kind Diet- like are any of the recipes good? Otherwise all my cookbook overlap are just your Isa Chandra/Terry Hope books. Maybe I can do update reviews on some of the book’s I’ve already featured, but made many more recipes from.

    January 9, 2018 at 16:32
    • Reply Jenny

      Funnily enough that was the FIRST book with proper recipes in I ever bought! I will definitely give it a spot. It does get a bit crazy with the chia seeds and Japanese pickles towards the end but I am willing to try 😀

      January 10, 2018 at 13:22
  • Reply Andrea

    We’ve been sort of doing this with a couple of cookbooks recently, but it would be great to actually commit to doing it regularly. I’m going to try.

    January 11, 2018 at 23:18
    • Reply Jenny

      Splendid! I’ll be posting monthly to see how everyone is getting on. If you use Instagram or Twitter you can hashtag #JMs2018CookbookChallenge 🙂

      January 12, 2018 at 09:36
  • Reply Claire

    I’ve made several things from Appetite for Reduction and enjoyed them, but my vote goes to Vegan Soul Kitchen – I have all of his books and love reading them…but haven’t actually cooked anything in them! I, too am terrible at actually using cookbooks and either cook from memory/invention or search online.

    January 12, 2018 at 20:33
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    January 13, 2018 at 20:03
  • Reply johanna @ green gourmet giraffe

    This sounds like fun – I did a cookbook challenge many years ago and it was a great way to be inspired to use my cookbooks and I have meant to do more ever since but failed spectacularly! I have done a few cookbook reviews where I round up all my cooking from a few books but they are few and far between. Good luck with your challenge – will join in if I can

    January 14, 2018 at 10:44
  • Reply tenebrae.borealis

    I’m the worst when it comes to actually using recipes when I cook. I think I might be too scatterbrained to stick to one book for a whole month, though. Making a couple of things from any book is challenge enough for me.

    January 24, 2018 at 22:55
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    February 4, 2018 at 14:10
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