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Wellness

9 vegan YouTube cooking shows you can't miss

These shows serve up plant-based cooking know-how and entertainment too.

Fresh vegetables

Check out these vegan cooking YouTube channels for kitchen inspiration.

yulkapopkova / E+ / Getty Images

Vegans on YouTube tend to be passionate and march to the beat of their own drum, and that's certainly the case with the best vegan cooking shows. These creators and hosts conceived their shows mostly as passion projects. Some have turned their channels into full-time careers, but all strive to offer vegans delicious food of all kinds. Whether you prefer to get your recipes along with a heavy dose of entertainment or just want to keep it simple, there's a vegan cooking show out there for you -- whether you yourself follow a plant-based diet or not.

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1. What's Cooking in Esther's Kitchen

Esther the Wonder Pig is an internet personality like no other. As her moniker suggests, she's a pig with a presence as big as the hearts of the dads who take care of her. She was once adopted as a mini pig (talk about false advertising) but she kept growing, inspiring her dads to ultimately leave the big city life behind to start an animal sanctuary for her and other rescued animals.

What's Cooking in Esther's Kitchen is a YouTube series hosted by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, the dads of Esther the Wonder Pig, who also post each day to Facebook and other social media accounts in Esther's voice. They happen to be critically acclaimed authors of a book about Esther as well (called -- you guessed it -- Esther The Wonder Pig). Their casual cooking channel includes easy recipes like vegan cheese balls and faux fried chicken. In the Tacos and Tequila episode, learn how to make fresh lime margaritas and chili tacos with homemade mozzarella (which, of course, Esther gets to try).

2. Brown Vegan

Brown Vegan is a YouTube channel that aims to show people a practical approach to the vegan lifestyle. Monique Koch is the charismatic creator, director, producer and star (she also has a Brown Vegan website and podcast) and she offers fun recipes you won't find elsewhere, including veganized Popeye's biscuits.

In addition to straight recipe videos for such delicious fare as fire-roasted chickpeas with rice, you'll find helpful video guides such as How to Camp as a Vegan and Tips for Eating Out as a Vegan. Monique preaches progress over perfection and her down-to-earth approach enhances the fun of trying her recipes and enjoying her videos for repeated viewings.

Read more: Your best vegan fast food options

3. The Vegan Zombie

The Vegan Zombie gets major points for creativity and using inventive storytelling to get the message out about veganism. This YouTube cooking show is set in a zombie apocalypse and includes recipes for everything from apple sage sausage with fried potatoes to pizza rolls.

Chris Cooney is the man behind the zombie facade. He creates, produces, edits, directs and stars in the show. According to The Vegan Zombie website, Indy the German Shepherd is his sidekick. In addition to hosting the YouTube show, working on an upcoming film and being active on social media, Chris wrote a cookbook called The Vegan Zombie: Cook & Survive so you can get your fix even offline.

4. Mary's Test Kitchen

Mary's Test Kitchen is a fun vegan cooking channel on YouTube where you can find recipes for such indulgent treats as vegan Boston cream doughnuts (yes, they're as amazing as they sound), as well as healthier fare such as roasted red peppers and homemade tofu.

Mary Lin, the talented creator of Mary's Test Kitchen, is a Chinese Canadian who grew up in Vancouver and she says the food she loved growing up influences many of her recipes. In her Instagram bio for @MarysTestKitchen, she requests "fun food only" please. That mantra seems to inform all the recipes on her YouTube channel. With many subscribers and followers across multiple social media channels, Mary's message is being heard loud and clear, and it's much appreciated.

5. The Vegan Black Metal Chef

The Vegan Black Metal Chef is a vegan cooking show that stands out for reasons that go far beyond the theatrics of the host's costumes and theme. Unlike several vegan cooking shows that can be heavy on the host's chatter, The Vegan Black Metal Chef doesn't contain talking. Instead, the host uses original heavy metal music and lyrics to teach you how to make each recipe.

Brian Manowitz is the creative force behind all the channel's music and videos. In an interview for ABC News, Manowitz advises, "Just bring consciousness to your actions." But he also uses irreverent humor to get his point across. He has a cookbook called The Seitanic Spellbook too.

Read more: What exactly is seitan?

6. Veggie Rose

Veggie Rose is a YouTube channel that's all about breaking vegan stereotypes and showcasing recipes than even omnivores can appreciate and enjoy. Rose Alvarez is the personable, talented host and creator. She thought existing vegan options were often bland and set out to change that with her own original recipes. You'll find sweet treats like a vegan funnel cake and vegan whipped cream, as well as savory recipes like vegan steak and vegan hamburger helper.

Rose also has e-books for sale on her Veggie Rose website. They include Home for Christmas, a vegan holiday cookbook, and Meat Me Halfway, which offers recipes for vegan meat substitutes.

7. Honey LaBronx, the Vegan Drag Queen Cooking Show

Honey LaBronx, the Vegan Drag Queen Cooking Show is a YouTube series you won't soon forget. Honey LaBronx creates all the content for the channel and is the charming, naturally funny host. She also hosts the podcast Big Fat Vegan Radio and is an LGBTQ+ rights activist who promotes messages of intersectionality, animal rights and social justice in her channel. 

Along with videos for recipes such as vegan corn dogs, pecan pralines and dill hummus, you can find Honey's pro-intersectional veganism speech from the Berlin Veganes Sommerfest 2018.

8. Sweet Potato Soul

Sweet Potato Soul is a channel that showcases unique and tasty vegan fare from Jenné Claiborne, whose recipes have been featured on The Today Show and published in The New York Times, InStyle and a cookbook (also titled Sweet Potato Soul). 

This YouTube channel provides convenient options like five-minute vegan breakfast recipes and vegan soul food including vegan chicken and waffles and BBQ oyster mushroom sliders.

9. PETA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is better known simply as PETA. When I was growing up as an animal rights activist in a town in Alabama where hunting is popular, PETA was the first animal rights group I heard of -- not surprising, since it's the biggest animal rights group in the world. The organization has branched out in many directions and it now has a YouTube vegan cooking channel.

PETA Living offers tasty vegan recipes that include buffalo cauliflower wings, easy vegan cinnamon rolls and vegan caramel popcorn. The channel also hosts more daring videos like Tofucken: The Vegan Turducken that spoof traditional, meat-focused cooking shows with some uncomfortable but undeniable truths about factory farming and meat consumption.

This story was written by Robin Raven and originally posted on Chowhound.