With busy schedules and lack of motivation to get in the kitchen, most women today opt to just “grab something on the way home” instead of jumping back in the kitchen during the week to prepare their meals. Admittedly so, it’s proven difficulty to find a way to balance cooking a meal five days a week, working a full-time job, and taking care of a family (or pets for our single sisters). No matter how many “superpowers” we possess, the overload can be more than real at times. While a chaotic life is more in the realm of the norm now, there’s something so admirable about a woman that can and will still get down and dirty in the kitchen, and more importantly, love it.
As always though, there’s definitely ways to solve this issue and we’ve come up with the solution. Putting together our “Top 15 Cookbooks Authored by Black Women,” we hope to provide you with the motivation to consistently jump back in the kitchen, create some #BlackGirlMagic behind the stove, and hopefully, save you some money in the bank while doing so. Get your aprons and good pots out of storage; you’ll thank us later.
For the workingwoman with a family, The 8×8 Cookbook is the perfect cookbook to create quick dishes to soothe your household’s hunger pains. Inclusive of 64 modern “square meals” made in a traditional brownie pan, this cookbook provides plenty of tasty one-dish meal options that everyone can enjoy. From the yummy weeknight option like Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables to Sunday’s soul soothing Spinach-Pesto Lasagna recipe, Kathy’s arrangement of recipes is a one-stop shop for the on-the-go family. Go-To Recipe: Roasted Shrimp, Tomato and Feta Bruschetta (pg. 44)
With the increase of women of color wanting to delve deeper into healthier eating, this cookbook by Deborrah Cooper is an awesome pick for healthy meal options. Filled with over 100 delicious meat and dairy free meal ideas for the family, The New Black is deemed that because according to Deborrah, “Black is always appropriate, right for every occasion, [and] goes well with everything”. Touché to that, Ms. Cooper! Supplying readers with her backstory on becoming a vegan, advice for transitioning, and a busload of exquisite meal options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Why Vegan is the New Black, delivers top-notch options for your healthy dining needs. Go-To Recipe: Fusilli Pasta Salad with Broccoli (pg. 89)
Created as a way to introduce your small ones to the kitchen, Patti’s short, effective, and straight to the point recipes for kids is great for building new memories. Equipped with help from “The Ginger Kids Pals,” the “ABCs of Cooking in the Kitchen,” a list of cooking terms and tools of the kitchen, measurements, and more, Patti’s cookbook is more than just recipes for the small sous chef-to-be. Including a “Cooking with Kitchen Basics” DVD, Patti’s ambition to bring the family together with culture and cooking was brought to life through this cookbook. Go-To Recipe: Zsuzsanna’s Hungarian Crepes
Eccentric singer-songwriter Kelis’ My Life on a Plate has made a lasting impression in our minds, hearts, and stomachs. Born to a musician father and chef mother, Kelis claimed the best of both as she formed into the star that we’ve grown to know and love. Serving as her first cookbook, the former Mrs. Jones shares her unique mouthwatering recipes that she’s developed through her travels around the world. A flawless option for foodies looking for a food fusion experience, My Life on a Plate will give you a valid excuse to began an endless love affair with creating in the kitchen. Go-To Recipe: Jerk Ribs with Brown Sugar Rub (pgs. 108 & 109)
Filled with delicious and breathtakingly beautiful created cakes, Grandbaby Cakes serves as an ode to author Jocelyn Delk Adams’ grandmother. Devoted to classic desserts and modern trends in pastry, this charmingly designed cookbook offers loving memories and heartfelt moments to accompany each recipe. Reminding us that “life’s lessons are best learned over dessert,” Jocelyn’s flawless recipes are useful to even the most novice of bakers. Go-To Recipe: Peach-Raspberry Cake (pg. 83)
Everyone loves a good Caribbean meal, and award-winning sister chefs Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau give you just that in their co-authored cookbook, Caribbean Potluck. Offering up some of your favorite restaurant recipes that deliver unique tastes and flavors, this book of 100+ recipes gives you everything from lighter options such as soups and salads to the more hardcore meals that will make you pull out the wickedest patois or Trini accent imaginable. Go-To Recipe: Jerked Chicken Lasagna (pg. 65)
One of our top choices to find a great breakfast or brunch (for those of us who are late to rise), the upcoming Sweet Mornings recipe book by Patty Pinner gives us every feeling we need to enjoy mornings like never before. Jam packed with savory and succulent sweets guaranteed to add some fun to your daybreaks, this is surely one book that everyone needs in their kitchen. Go-To Recipe: Red Velvet Pancakes (pg. 36) (Available for purchase March 15, 2016.)
Cousins Ann Johnson and Shari W. Quinn take you on a mouthwatering journey through their family’s taste buds in the newly released Taste! cookbook. Similar in design and size to a chapter book, the straight to the point publishing jumps right into each recipe without having to sift through any additional information. From a savory Honey Mustad Chicken recipe to a deliciously sounding Strawberry Pie, both Ann and Shari provide their top choice family recipes for the food lover’s enjoyment. Go-To Recipe: Italian Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers (pg. 66)
Vegetarian cooking teacher and caterer Velma Joy Campbell has a glorious touch when it comes to cooking, and her Healthy Lifestyle Vegetarian Cookbook is here to prove it. Dedicating her life to helping others live their best after a near fatal car accident in 2010, the talented ingredient purveyor delivers her inaugural cookbook to get you back to a better you. Listing delicious breakfast options to beautiful desserts, each recipe in Velma’s cookbook is equipped with nutritional facts to help with your intake. Undoubtedly pulling from her Jamaican roots, this upcoming book provides the right combination of health and comfort foods in one. Go-To Recipe: Apple & Yogurt Cake
Most known from her OWN reality series Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s and as the owner of Sweetie Pie’s restaurant, Robbie Montgomery finally delivered the one thing that we couldn’t wait to get our hands on: her recipe book. Filled with over 150 flavorsome options to choose from, we’re more than positive that this won’t be the last time we’ll have the pleasure of seeing Sweetie’s creations hit our shelves. Go-To Recipe: Neck Bones Three Ways
Mother-daughter duo, Alice and Caroline Randall give their take on how to transform traditional savory soul food meals into a healthier form. Pulling recipes with morsels of flavor spanning from three centuries of their family history, the novelist and poet both use their extensive knowledge of health and food to develop a one-stop shop of mouthwatering healthy options of your favorite Sunday dinners. Go-To Recipe: Southern Hummus and Black Eyed Pea Hummus
Serving as the first vegan guide specifically geared toward African-American women, By Any Greens Necessary is a great introductory read to becoming a healthier you. Chock-full of over 40 delicious and nutritious recipes, menus and advice on transitioning to vegan, a comprehensive shopping list, resource information and more, Tracye Lynn McQuirter develops a fascinating read for women of color and reminds us that our health is ultimately our choice.
Although this book was designed for people with diabetes, non-diabetics could learn a thing or two from authors Fabiola Demps Gaines and Roniece Weaver as well. Delivering over 150 low-fat recipes, this decade old cookbook still holds a lot of weight and serves as a staple for healthy living in the black community. Giving you everything from snacks and soups to main dishes and desserts, The New Soul Food Cookbook for People With Diabetes, should be on every healthy life pursuers bookshelf. Go-To Recipe: Barbecue Pulled Pork
Another book catered to those living with diabetes, but can be used for non-diagnosed eaters as well is the incomparable Patti LaBelle’s second cookbook, Lite Cuisine. While 1999’s Recipes to Sing About was one of the first cookbooks I had ever seen in my mother’s kitchen, I’ve found that her lighter option is better on the body, but still delivers that same high-powered taste. Go-To Recipe: Chocolate Pecan Pie
Go-To Recipe: Chocolate Pecan Pie
Co-host of The Chew and Top Chef star Carla Hall’s second cookbook installment Carla’s Comfort Foods gives you just what its title suggest – nothing but comfort. Not only is this a book of recipes to soothe the soul and warm the heart, but it’s also a way to get to know Carla better with her entertaining stories on how dishes from around the world were led to be re-birthed in her kitchen. Created for the novice or the expert cook, Carla does an amazing job at choosing the right recipes to make you feel the love in every bite. Go-To Recipe: Calaloo: Crab and Coconut Spinach Stew
While this is technically NOT a cookbook, this anthology inclusive of cookbooks by African America authors is a gem to have. If you’re looking for more authentic meals indicative to the black culture, nabbing this 264-page hardcover book will help you understand why cuisine created by people of color will continue to reign supreme.