Best Colombian Cookbooks

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Colombian cuisine is some of the most diverse in the world, ranging from bountiful seafood to tropical fruits, from rich coffee to earthy cassava, and from spicy chili to sweet caramel. 

One reason for Colombia’s fascinating food is the vast number of immigrants who traversed the land. Colombian food history begins with indigenous Colombians and their crops, later influenced by Spanish and African food. Along with the abundance of ingredients and influences, Colombian people see food as a celebration and have forged a culture rich in rituals, customs, and traditions around food.

A Columbian recipe book currently holds the prize of Best Cookbook in the World. The cookbook, called Envueltos, was written by mother and daughter Chori Agamez and Heidy Pinto and delves into the leaf-wrapped delicacies native to Colombia.

The following are the top ten books on Colombian cooking available. Each celebrates the cuisine, ingredients, customs, and traditions of the country and offers old and new recipes based on authentic ingredients.

Whether you’re looking for a reference book on Colombian ingredients, a travelogue of Latin American cuisine, or a simple recipe book, there is something available for everyone.

The Taste of Colombia

  • Total Recipes: 130+
  • Total Pages: 224
  • Recipes Preview: Sancocho de Pescado (Fish Stew); Puchero Bogotano (Chicken soup); Lengua en Salsa de Tomate (Tongue in Tomato Sauce)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Sopa de Pan en Cazuela (Bread Soup in Casserole)

This magnificently illustrated cookbook offers a comprehensive guide to the diverse cuisine of Columbia. Organized by region, Taste of Colombia traverses the varied cultures and geographies of the country, exploring culinary specialties and highlighting the indigenous Indian, African, Spanish, and other influences on Colombian food.

The work is a treasure chest of information, as fascinating for its in-depth cultural history and understanding of local ingredients as the delicious recipes themselves. A fascinating read and fantastic reference work, Taste of Colombia is the only cookbook you need on authentic Colombian food.

About the authors: Benjamin Villegas is a legendary Colombian publisher and author who works with author Antonio Montana to express their knowledge and passion for their country’s culture and history. 

Mi Comida Latina: Vibrant, Fresh, Simple, Authentic

  • Total Recipes: 100+
  • Total Pages: 144
  • Recipes Preview: Fish Tacos; Gazpacho; Ceviche Mango
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Chayote and Jicama Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

One of the most unusual and exquisite recipe books, Mi Comida Latina, is a hand-lettered and illustrated collection of authentic Latin American recipes.

Mi Comida Latina was originally self-published as a Kickstarter project and  lovingly presents the homely culinary traditions of Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Puerto Rico that the author encountered on her travels.

Created by artist Marcella Kriebel, whose warm and charming watercolors brighten each page, this cookbook includes recipes from the kitchens of ordinary people, as well as traditional kitchen tools and techniques. There is also helpful information on ingredients, particularly how to prepare those less familiar to Western audiences, such as cactus, yucca, and mango.

About the author: Marcella Kriebel is an American artist and writer with a background in cultural anthropology. She works in watercolors and produces books and art prints inspired by her passion for people, travel, and cooking. 

Passion For Coffee: Sweet And Savory Recipes With Coffee

  • Total Recipes: 30+
  • Total Pages: 224
  • Recipes Preview: Filet Mignon with Coffee-Blueberry Sauce; Squid Salad with Caramelized Coffee Pecans; Coffee Meringue Disks
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Asparagus with Savory Coffee Syrup

This delightful recipe book celebrates coffee culture in a fusion of Colombia’s passion for food and coffee.

The book begins with a detailed history of the origins and history of coffee, particularly in Colombia. It also offers the reader an intriguing glimpse into the lives of those who farm and produce this crop.

There is a lovely selection of recipes using coffee as an ingredient, many of which are unusual yet delicious. Not just the usual dessert selection, the author has created savory main dishes, bread, salads, sides, and a variety of beverages.

About the author: Patricia McCausland-Gallo is a Colombian nutritionist, chef, and cookbook writer. A former restauranteur and bakery owner, she is now based in Panama.

Colombiana: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia

  • Total Recipes: 100
  • Total Pages: 112
  • Recipes Preview: Piña asada con almíbar de sauco (charred pineapple with elderberry syrup); Espondjado de limón (lime mousse); Arroz atolado de pato (sticky duck rice with sausage and eggs).
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Mogollas chicharrónas (pork, orange, and coriander buns)

Colombiana is a gem of a book, seeking to pay homage to the wide-ranging diversity of Colombian cuisine. The author also explores the warm, generous Colombian tradition of hospitality and the rituals around sharing food with friends, family, and guests, bringing these to the modern era with suggested playlists, table settings, and recipes for cocktails.

This meticulously researched cookbook focuses on how food connects people, from sharing the humblest of stews, rice, and beans to leaf-wrapped tamales and elaborate soups, leaving people nourished in body and soul. Recipes for classics abound, but the author also puts a vibrant modern twist on authentic ingredients.

Photographs highlight Colombian artists and artisans, including fashion designers, ceramicists, and jewelry designers, and personal stories and anecdotes enrich this fascinating boo that aims to keep traditions alive.

About the author: Mariana Velásquez is an American who is passionate about her Latin roots, which inspire her work as a food stylist, chef, and award-winning author. 

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

  • Total Recipes: 200+
  • Total Pages: 288
  • Recipes Preview: Arepas con Heuvo (Cornmeal Cakes with Egg); Pescado Frito (Fried Fish); Pandebono (Cassava bread)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Empanaditas Vallunas (Beef and pork turnovers)

A revised edition of the popular cookbook, Secrets of Colombian Cooking, is a collection of easy, authentic, and tasty recipes that you’ll turn to again and again.

The book begins with an introduction to Colombian culture, geographical regions, and their influence on the nation’s cuisine. The recipes are detailed, explaining local ingredients and substitutions. There is an additional glossary of Colombian foods and ingredients.

The illustrations have a personal touch, including images of the author cooking as a child with her family, revealing her passion for food and Colombia’s vibrant culinary tradition.

About the author: Patricia McCausland-Gallo is a Colombian nutritionist, chef, and cookbook writer. A former restauranteur and bakery owner, she is now based in Panama.

A Taste of Latin America

  • Total Recipes: 100+
  • Total Pages: 176
  • Recipes Preview: Sopa de Habas y Cebada (Barley and fava bean soup); Arepa con Pollo Arebado (Cornbread with Marinated Chicken); Dulche de Leche (Caramel)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Flan de Coco (Coconut flan)

Although this book is called A Taste of Latin America, the author makes it clear that each country is distinct and its food culture is unique.

Latin American nations share cultures steeped in history and tradition, including those of indigenous people and later immigrants, enslaved people, colonizers, and visitors.

The cookbook offers more than just recipes: each country’s customs, culinary background, and specialty ingredients are described and illustrated with vibrant photographs.

A Taste of Latin America will appeal to armchair travelers and cooks alike, who are interested in the region’s customs and cuisine and want to cook authentic, local food.

About the author: Patricia Cartin is a Costa Rican chef, lecturer, and author who lives in New York. Apart from teaching and writing about Latin American cuisine, Patricia travels widely, cooking for dignitaries and family alike. 

The Food and Cooking of Colombia & Venezuela

  • Total Recipes: 65
  • Total Pages: 128
  • Recipes Preview: Chimichurri (Herb Sauce); Bistec a al Criolla (Creole Beef); Flan de Café (Coffee Flan)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Enyucado (Colombian Cassava Cake)

This fascinating cookbook uses the culinary festivals of Colombia and Venezuela as a springboard for a journey through the history and geography that has shaped these nations’ cuisine.

Through evoking pre-colonial rituals, street parties, carnivals, and the joyous hospitality of Latin America, the author produces much-loved traditional recipes of the region.

There is also a detailed investigation of local ingredients and how to source, prepare and cook them.

This cookbook is a delight with hundreds of colorful illustrations that bring the celebratory role of food to life.

About the author: Patricia McCausland-Gallo is a Colombian nutritionist, chef, and cookbook writer. A former restauranteur and bakery owner, she is now based in Panama.

The Latin American Cookbook

  • Total Recipes: 600+
  • Total Pages: 432
  • Recipes Preview: Green Mango Salad; Street Cart Ceviche; Bolivian-style Turnovers 
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Andean Barley Herb Tea

A comprehensive encyclopedia of Latin American cooking, rather than just a recipe book, The Latin American Cookbook is an incredible achievement in culinary research.

This award-winning cookbook pays tribute to the cultures and communities of Latin America by documenting their cuisine, including historical and contemporary influences, local specialties, regional ingredients, and culinary delicacies.

Internationally renowned Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez brings to life the food of Colombia, as wll as Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Uruguay, and Venezuela. He offers over 600 recipes for classics like empanadas and tacos, as well as the unique dishes of each region.

This reference book will take you on an epic journey through Latin America and will be a staple of your cookbook collection for years to come.

About the author: Virgilio Martínez has a global reputation for the food produced in several prestigious restaurants. He is based in his homeland, Peru, where he owns award-winning restaurants. Nicholas Gill is an acclaimed travel and food writer who has homes in New York and Peru.

Easy Colombian Cookbook: 50 Delicious Colombian Recipes

  • Total Recipes: 50
  • Total Pages: 130
  • Recipes Preview: Maria’s Avocado Salsa; 10 Ingredient Potato Salad; Colombian Dump Dinner
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Sweet Colombian Ribs 

For those who want simple, accessible yet tasty Colombian-style recipes, this is the ideal cookbook, now in its second edition.

The ingredients lists are detailed, the instructions effortlessly clear, and the results are delicious. Each recipe is accompanied by nutritional information (such as calories, cholesterol, etc.).

Although the book has no pictures, it is nonetheless appealing and helpful.

Colombian Cookbook: Traditional Colombian Recipes Made Easy

  • Total Recipes: 70+
  • Total Pages: 112
  • Recipes Preview: Huevos Pericos (Scrambled Eggs with Tomato and Scallions); Tacos de Tilapia (Tilapia Fish Tacos); Pusundao de Carne Serrana (Salted Beef Stew)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Arroz con Leche Colombiano (Rice pudding)

This collection of Colombian recipes aims to make the nation’s cuisine accessible to all home cooks, whether novices or experts.

Divided by meal rather than ingredient, this cookbook allows you to browse through breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes. The recipes are straightforward and focus on healthy, tasty family meals.

Many recipes are Colombian-inspired rather than locally authentic, but they are easy to cook.

This cookbook has no illustrations to keep costs down, as the publishing house’s mission is to make social and cultural development accessible to all.

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