Easy Vegan Recipes
You don’t have to learn to be a chef but unless you live in a very vegan-friendly city and have the money to eat out all the time, there are some dishes every vegan should learn to cook for themselves. The list of dishes is probably different for each person as we all have different likes and dislikes but there are some go-to recipes that should be in your arsenal. Discover easy and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are loved by vegetarians and omnivores alike! No mystery ingredients here, just simple food made easy and delicious, without the meat.
What Is A Vegan Recipe?
It’s food that is either entirely vegetarian or completely vegan. The word veggie has more connotations of meat or plant-based foods. Vegan is defined as follows: Vegan is an adjective that defines foods that are animal-free, i.e. animal products, especially dairy and eggs. It also can be used to describe a person who does not eat animal products, either of animal origin or by choice. Therefore, vegan is not a rigid dietary restriction that you have to stick to for a lifetime, but a lifestyle choice that you can continue to follow.
What are the key vegan ingredients? Vegan ingredients include all the non-vegetarian and non-dairy products that we may think of as vegetarian or vegan. A vegan recipe is a food that has been completely veganized, meaning there are no animal products used to create it. Anything made from meat, cheese, milk, honey, or eggs has been eliminated from the ingredients list. For example, this recipe is vegan, but the topping is made with sunflower oil.
Vegan is a term used for people who don’t consume any or part of the animal kingdom. There are many types of vegans. The main ones are the vegan vegans, those who simply refrain from eating meat or dairy or eggs; the lacto-ovo vegetarians, which means that they consume eggs, but also dairy products; the pesco-vegetarians, who consume fish and poultry, but no dairy or meat products; and pescatarian, which means that they consume seafood but no meat products.
Not to mention there are other types of vegans and vegetarians that abstain from or consume some of these products, like the lacto-ovo vegetarians, that consume eggs but do not consume dairy products. Vegan recipes are usually very healthy and can be healthier than meat-based ones.
What Makes A Vegan Recipe Different From Other Recipes?
Easy Vegan Recipe assumes that a dish has already been created with meat products so that’s why it requires some skills on your part (e.g. bone broth or tofu) to make this vegan recipe great. Not that it’s difficult to do so but it is quite different and harder to make a good vegan dish without an already developed base. The recipe for Brown Rice Salad with Preserved Lemon follows the same format: you’ll be dealing with non-vegetable proteins which means you’ll have to substitute for them and you’ll have to learn how to use these in the best possible way.
The recipe is perfect for vegans because there is no meat or dairy involved. It is so easy because you won’t need a range of special equipment and are left free to use some of your regular kitchen equipment. It tastes amazing because there is no animal fat, dairy or egg involved. It tastes good because you have used quality ingredients that have been carefully selected for flavour and nutritional content.
It is very common to see complex ingredients in vegan recipes, but this is not always the best option for a vegan who is looking for quick and easy recipes. Vegans are looking for recipes that are cost-effective and easy to make, with ingredients that are widely available. Fresh ingredients: As we mentioned above, vegan recipes are for anyone, not just vegans. If you want to try something new, try to incorporate fresh, healthy ingredients in your recipes.
Choosing The Best Vegan Recipe
Foodie culture and politics are huge in Los Angeles. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, LA is the #1 most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly city in the U.S., with more than 17% of the city reporting they are vegetarian or vegan. The average cost of a meal for two in LA is about $42. Of course, that price tag doesn’t come with a steak and a baked potato. While you’re learning to cook vegan, it’s great to have a few staple recipes in your repertoire. That way, when you do go out, you know exactly what to order, and you won’t break the bank while dining out.
Avocado, Black Bean, And Charred Tomato Bowl
A simple and delicious salad that uses crisp lettuce and tangy ripe tomatoes. Get the recipe for Avocado, Black Beans, and Charred Tomato Bowl. This meatless bowl offers a range of textures and flavours, including cumin-scented black beans, blistered tomatoes, corn, and fresh avocado that are equally good at room temperature. If you don’t have time to stew your own beans, canned unsalted beans work just as well here. Feel free to mix it all together instead of portioning it into quadrants. Finish it with a squeeze of lime, if you like.
The Ingredients include:
- 1/2 cup Savory Stewed Black Beans, warmed,
- 1 teaspoon olive oil,
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes,
- 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 ear),
- 1/2 medium-sized ripe avocado, thinly sliced,
- 1 medium radish, very thinly sliced,
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves,
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
To make the recipe:
- First, you need to place the black beans in a pile in the corner of a shallow bowl.
- Heat a small skillet over medium-high.
- Add the oil to the pan;
- swirl to coat.
- Add the tomatoes;
- cook until charred but not collapsing, about 3 minutes, shaking the pan once to turn the tomatoes.
- Place the tomatoes next to the beans in the bowl.
- Second, add the corn to the pan;
- cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place the corn next to the tomatoes.
- Add the avocado slices, radish slices, and cilantro to the bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Crispy, Tender Baked Tofu
Baked Tofu is the perfect alternative to fried tofu. Most brands of tofu have a white flavour which makes baked tofu a great alternative. This is a simple recipe that can be made in a regular oven as well as in a wok. This dish is great with some vegetables or maybe grilled tofu strips for more flavour.
Tofu is fantastic as a substitute for meat in stir-fries, salads or sandwiches but you can also do vegan-style tajines and veggie bowls with them. The trick is to use white or extra firm tofu that has been sliced or cubed with no liquid. This way, the tofu will be super crunchy and the texture will be similar to that of meat.
This Crispy Baked Tofu is perfect on top of salads, rice, or plated next to a side of veggies. With this unique method of preparing it, the tofu is always amazingly crispy and crunchy on the outside, while soft and tender on the inside. Vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will all agree that this crispy tofu is a real treat! To make this delicious dish, the first step is to Prepare.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F and place a large cast-iron skillet in the oven.
- The second step is to drain and press: Drain the tofu and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Place another paper towel on top and then cover with a cutting board. Top with a heavy can or canister and press the tofu to extract some of the moisture. Press for 15-20 minutes.
- Next cut and toss: Cut the tofu in half lengthwise and then cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- Transfer the tofu to a bowl and toss with the olive oil.
- Coat: Whisk together the salt, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne and cornstarch.
- Sprinkle the seasoning over the tofu stirring to coat.
- Then, we now proceed to Bake.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and add the tofu to the pan.
- Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- The last step is to Flip: Flip the tofu pieces over and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the tofu is golden and crispy.
Perfectly Roasted Veggies
When you don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen, you can always go for easy roasted veggies. Skip the barbecue and grill out some sweet potatoes, sweet bell peppers or even cauliflower. Add some lemon or balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. If you want, you can throw a garlic clove on top.
Serve it with a good balsamic vinegar sauce to dip your veggies. Roasted vegetables are one of my absolute favourite side dishes, especially in the winter. They take a while to cook, but overall are an extremely easy dish to prepare. I've found that the key is to place them low in the oven so that you get a good caramelized side. Don't move or flip them, but keep an eye on them so that you don't go past ‘caramelized' to ‘burned.'
Here are some suggested ingredients (you can include any seasonal veggies you enjoy)
- 1 small butternut squash (optional)
- 1 sweet potato (Yams); peeled and cut into cubes.
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes; cut into cubes. (I don't peel the potatoes)
- Brussel sprouts (I usually cut the larger ones in half)
- 2-3 carrots sliced (I don't usually peel the carrots, because all the nutrients are just below the skin)
- 1 small head cauliflower: cut into medium size florets.
- 1 broccoli: cut into florets.
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper; cut into strips
- 1 or 2 white beets (I don't use the red ones because they discolour the other veggies): cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 shallots (or one red onion) peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (I adjust this depending on how many vegetables I have)
- 1 twig of fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, sea salt, pepper, and other spices you like.
To make this delicious dish, here are the directions on how to make it.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Set an oven rack to the second-lowest level in the oven.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a large bowl: Whisk together olive oil, salt, pepper and other spices
- Add the prepared vegetables to the bowl and mix well to coat them.
- Pour vegetables in a single layer onto a baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven until caramelized and cooked through about 45 minutes.
- NOTE: Don't move or flip them, but keep an eye on them so that you don't go past ‘caramelized' to ‘burned.'
We usually make this recipe with a wide variety of vegetables and use two baking sheets. You can easily keep the roasted veggies in the fridge and heat them up the next day.
Luxurious Grilled Cheese
You can make an awesome homemade grilled cheese sandwich without having to use cheese, but it is always fun to change it up with some vegan butter, instead of butter and cheese. After not being thrilled with the vegan cheese selections at the store, we set out to make our own, specifically cheddar! Cheddar is a classic flavour that’s so versatile, vibrant in colour, and delicious on things like grilled cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese, and more (swoon).
And after cracking the code on vegan cheddar cheese, it was time to make a grilled cheese sandwich! Thick slices of sourdough are buttered and spread with a generous layer of vegan cheddar cheese then grilled until toasty and golden brown. The result? A crispy, buttery, salty, cheesy, melty, incredibly flavorful, comforting vegan grilled cheese sandwich that’s made with wholesome ingredients.
It’s easy and simple to make. With the cheese ready, just 1 pan and 15 minutes stand between you and this sandwich! Butter the bread, spread on the cheese, and cook it in a skillet until golden brown, crispy, and with warm melty cheese in the middle.
Warm, Comforting Tomato Soup
One of the best warm and comforting soup recipes you can make is the creamy tomato soup recipe. This creamy vegan tomato soup is super simple to make with a few pantry-friendly ingredients like canned tomatoes, coconut milk, and onion. Perfect for a chilly weeknight!
Some of the tips for making this soup are the following:
- First is Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes: Splurge a little on your canned tomatoes and buy the highest quality ones you can find at the store since these are the primary ingredient in this soup. I really like the fire-roasted ones from Muir Glen.
- Next is to have Coconut Milk: This adds the rich creaminess that you would normally get from heavy cream in a traditional tomato soup. You can’t taste the coconut in the finished soup – don’t worry!
- Next is Italian Seasoning and Oregano: I use dried herbs in this recipe, but you can substitute fresh ones if you prefer.
- Basil would also be great – just sub for the oregano.
- Another one is Onion
- Bell Pepper: I like adding in a yellow or red bell pepper as it adds a hint of sweetness to the soup.
- And lastly, Maple Syrup: Speaking of sweetness, adding just a little bit of maple syrup or a pinch of sugar to the finished soup helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.
Decadent Mac And Cheese
Break up the monotony of macaroni cheese and try a one-of-a-kind vegan version. You can experiment with different cheese toppings and finally get to feel the mac ’n’ cheese rush. This delicious Vegan Mac and Cheese with Broccoli is seriously creamy and super satisfying.
With a decadent sauce, vegan grounds, and broccoli, it’s a pasta dish that both vegans and non-vegans will love! The shells are perfect for capturing all the sauce, and will have you craving leftovers! This recipe is very simple and quick, and is so versatile too!
While the pasta is cooking, the vegan grounds and broccoli cook separately, as well as the sauce. Everything is ready around the same time, in about 30 minutes! The recipe doesn’t have a huge list of ingredients, either. The flavour comes from simple ingredients that pack a punch. The versatility factor is great too. You can feel free to skip the broccoli or the grounds or add in things like green peas or sun-dried tomatoes. Think of it as a “grown-up” mac and cheese, and get creative! I top this dish with fresh parsley, and other tasty options would be fresh thyme or rosemary.
Veganism is no longer an exotic lifestyle choice but something that is now very much mainstream. Many restaurants now have a vegan section on their menus and the meat industry has certainly started to look different to what it used to. Veganism is here to stay and the world is finally seeing a massive transformation. I’m a vegan and it’s now just something that you do. Not something you feel. Look for ‘hearty vegan recipes’ to keep you going as you transition and do a little research on what to eat and where to get it in your new city.
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Ideas? Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Would you please leave me your questions, experience and remarks about the Easy Vegan Recipes in the comments section below? You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@LivingTheVeganLifestyle.org.