Well before the diet fads and health food crazes of the 21st century, there was vegetarianism. In fact, the first vegetarian society formed in England on September 29, 1847. However, it was not until the late 19th and early 20th century that vegetarian cookbooks began to emerge.

Merriam-Webster defines vegetarianism as “the theory or practice of living on a vegetarian diet.” There are many reasons why people choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle — to reduce environmental impact, concern for animal welfare, religious convictions, health and personal preference. While vegetarianism is on the rise, there are still many misconceptions about what it is. So, here is a brief explanation of vegetarianism.


  • Vegan: Those who do not consume any animal products or by-products. This includes meat, fish, poultry, eggs and honey.
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Those who do not consume meat, fish, poultry but do consume dairy and egg products.
  • Lacto Vegetarian: Those who do not consume meat, fish, poultry and eggs but do consume dairy products.
  • Ovo Vegetarian: Those who do not consume meat, fish, poultry and diary but do consume egg products.
  • Pescetaria: Those who do not consume meat or poultry but do consume fish and some dairy and egg products.
  • Flexitarian: Those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally include meat, fish or poultry into their meals.

If you’re interested in reading more about the evolution of vegetarianism, PBS has a great article about it. For more information on becoming a vegetarian or to research the healthful aspects of a vegetarian diet, check out topic guide on Health & Medicine. If you looking for great recipes, here are some cookbooks you should check out.

The Complete Vegan Kitchen
Plant-based on a budget : delicious vegan recipes for under $30 a week, in less than 30 minutes a meal
The superfood alchemy cookbook : transform nature
The everything vegan meal prep cookbook : includes : vegan chocolate waffles * sweet potato dinner rolls * pesto veggie burgers * vegan chicken taquitos * chunky monkey cake...and hundreds more!
VBQ—The Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook
Provisions : the roots of Caribbean cooking 150 vegetarian recipes
The new vegetarian South : 105 inspired dishes for everyone
Hot for food vegan comfort classics : 101 recipes to feed your face
How to cook everything vegetarian : simple meatless recipes for great food
Vegan food for the rest of us : recipes even you will love
Beautifully real food : guilt-free, meat-free recipes to indulge in
The vegetable butcher : how to select, prep, slice, dice, and masterfully cook vegetables from artichokes to zucchini
Meat on the side : delicious vegetable-focused recipes for every day
The high-protein vegan cookbook : 125+ hearty plant-based recipes
Jazzy vegetarian
Power plates : 100 nutritionally balanced, one-dish vegan meals
Plant-based on a budget : delicious vegan recipes for under $30 a week, in less than 30 minutes a meal
Naturally vegetarian : recipes & stories from my Italian family farm
Forks over knives : Flavor!
Vegan reset : the 28-day plan to kickstart your healthy lifestyle

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