4 Great Cookbooks for Grain-Free Cooking Inspiration

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Give grain-free cookbooks a google and you’ll end up with around 402 titles. Maybe you’ve been overwhelmed combing through covers online, trying to decide which ones contain recipes that actually work and taste good. Or maybe you’ve flipped through a few of them at the bookstore and felt a little dismayed by the monotonous, bland offerings.

If you’re a true food lover who has to eat a grain-free or grain-limited diet for medical reasons, don’t despair; there are grain-free recipes out there that offer variety, flavor, and inspiration. The key, I think, is to look beyond the limitations of a fully grain-free cookbook. I’ve rounded up four favorite books below that aren’t necessarily geared toward any special diet, but happen to be lighter on grains.

Both Akhtar Nawab’s and Amy Chaplin’s cookbooks have a health focus, but neither one feels restrictive or austere. I turn to both of these books during Sunday afternoon cooks, when I want to prepare a few dishes for the week that feel abundant, flavorful, and nourishing.

Meanwhile, I Cook In Color by Asha Gomez and Martha Hall Foose and Simply by Sabrina Ghayour aren’t anywhere close to grain-free cookbooks—they’re not really about health-minded eating at all. But flip through them and you’ll see that interwoven among the pages of noodles and crispy-edged baked rice are plenty of grain-free options that tick all the same boxes: creamy, crispy, and truly comforting dishes that are ideal for households where family members adhere to different diets, or for those who entertain often and want options for everyone.

I’ve identified a few grain-free recipes in each cookbook that I think are worth adding to your repertoire. Each book is worth owning just on the strength of these recipes alone—and they’re all great if you eat mostly grain-free, but throw in a few whole grains from time to time. Depending on the strictness of your dietary requirements, you might find that these four books strike just the right balance between food-first cooking and special diet considerations.

Good for You by Akhtar Nawab

Chef Akhtar Nawab’s cookbook is chock-full of crowd-pleasing dishes—even for kids. His warming Cauliflower Rice Biryani, spiked with cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon, is my favorite grain-substitute dish to make during the winter months. I make double batches to top with whatever leftovers I can rustle up come lunchtime.

Good for You: Bold Flavors With Benefits by Akhtar Nawab

$30.00, Amazon

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Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin

This is the ideal building block book for anyone with dietary restrictions; everything is vegan and vegetarian, and there are lots of options for making things without grains (including grain-free breads and quick breads). Chaplin’s book is technique-focused: You’ll learn to expertly roast, steam, juice, blend, and ferment vegetables and nuts to get the most flavor out of them. She’ll teach you to layer these elements together into myriad flexible dishes that fit your specific health needs.

The book features base recipes that can be adapted in a number of ways based on the ingredients you have on hand and the restrictions you’re working under. Make creamy, soothing soups and salad dressings that are free of dairy and packed with vegetables, and learn how to bake a pie topped with a blended cauliflower mash.

Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin

$20.00, Amazon

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I Cook In Color by Asha Gomez and Martha Hall Foose

Asha Gomez’s vibrant cooking does now and then feature rice, but vegetables are the real star. She often gives them a low-and-slow treatment—see Roasted Butternut Squash With Tomato-Ginger Gravy, or the Vidalia Onion Soup With Aged Gruyère, which has so much savory depth of flavor and that part-crispy, part-soft texture that anyone who misses bread and breaded foods might crave.

I Cook in Color: Bright Flavors from My Kitchen and Around the World by Asha Gomez and Martha Hall Foose

$33.00, Amazon

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Simply by Sabrina Ghayour

I could write about this book for the Butternut Borani alone: When a friend prepared it for me and told me to guess the ingredients, I honestly couldn’t quite place the combination of sweet, creamy squash and tangy yogurt under the shower of herbs and nuts. I just knew I loved what I was eating. It’s a cousin of mashed potatoes, but more complex with a brighter, sweeter flavor. Make it as soon as you can, but don’t ignore all the other low-lift meat, seafood, and vegetable-heavy dishes in Simple, like my colleague Tiffany’s favorite, yogurt-spiked salmon.

Simply: Easy Everyday Dishes From the Bestselling Author of Persiana, by Sabrina Ghayour

$35.00, Amazon

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Originally Appeared on Epicurious