So many people tell me how they want to go vegan, but they need to plan it out before they make the change.
“What am I going to eat?”
“I don’t know what to buy!”
“Vegan food is expensive!”
Don’t worry! I am here to help! I present to you: 5 VEGAN DINNERS that you can cook RIGHT NOW because most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or fridge!
Newbie vegans try to focus on having the MOST AMAZING and DECADENT food all the time, so they overwhelm themselves with the “planning” of what to cook and eat when switching to a vegan diet. Let’s be honest! Sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table!
In case you are missing one of these ingredients, don’t worry! Each of these ingredients is available at any grocery store and is relatively inexpensive. Check out my basic, vegan grocery list for more information!
Each of these dishes can be taken from good to GREAT with the right seasonings. I have listed the basic spices that I use for each dish, but feel free to change and season your food the way you want. Check out my article on seasoning vegan food for some MUST follow rules for seasoning!
What you need: Frozen Veggies, Pasta or Minute Rice, Veggie Broth or Cooking Oil, and Stir-fry Sauce
Seasonings: [ASIAN PROFILE] Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Ginger, and Garlic
How to cook: Cook everything according to the package. Cook the pasta or rice in a pot. Cook the veggies in a pan. Once the vegetables are tender, season as you like and add stir-fry sauce. Combine veggies and rice.
- If you decide to use rice in your recipe, use veggie broth instead of water. It adds a tad bit of flavor to the rice.
- If you are looking to avoid oil, fry the veggies with veggie broth instead of using cooking oil. It works just the same. You only need to add 3-4 tablespoons of broth to the veggies. If you start to see the veggies sticking to the pan, add a little more broth.
- Most stir-fry sauces are already vegan, but check the ingredients to be sure. If you don’t feel comfortable checking the ingredients, Google the product in the store (Just search, “Is ________ stir-fry sauce vegan?”) This always works for me.
What you need: Pizza Crust, Crushed Tomatoes or Pizza Sauce, Favorite veggie toppings, Nutritional Yeast or Vegan Cheese
Seasonings: [ITALIAN PROFILE] Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Garlic, Onion Powder, Parsley, and Oregano
How to Cook: Follow the instructions on the pizza crust package. Some crusts need preheating before adding the toppings. Sauté veggie toppings with a pan and lightly season. Heat crushed tomatoes in pan and lightly season. Layer your pizza crust: tomato sauce, cheese or nutritional yeast, veggie toppings.
- Use veggie broth to cook veggies if you want to avoid extra oil.
- Most plain pizza crust or flatbread crust is vegan since it is generally made out of flour and water. Check labeling for non-vegan ingredients.
- If you buy ready-made pizza sauce, you should check the ingredients to make sure it is vegan. You won’t need to heat it up before spreading on pizza. I personally like to use the crushed tomatoes (fire roasted.) They are usually cheaper and you don’t have to hassle with reading the label. For a better tasting pizza, you should heat the tomatoes on medium-low heat and lightly add the seasoning listed above for some flavor.
- My favorite veggie toppings include: onion, red and green bell pepper, spinach, pineapple chunks, and mushrooms. Feel free to add whatever toppings you like!
- I like my pizza without cheese, but if you can’t do without cheese flavor, try a vegan shredded cheese like Follow Your Heart. I sometimes like to use nutritional yeast, which you can find with the bulk items or the baking aisle of your grocery store. Nutritional yeast is small flakes that have great, cheesy flavor and it is packed with B12! So, you can fill that craving and pack in some nutrients!
What You Need: Rice, Black beans or pinto beans, onion, green pepper, veggie toppings, salsa, and avocado
Seasonings: [LATIN PROFILE] Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, and Taco Seasoning
How to Cook: Cook rice in pot. On skillet, start with onions and bell pepper, and then add beans to cook. Season as you like. Once cooked, top the rice with the beans and cooked veggies, then add other veggie toppings. Add the avocado last or if you feel really fancy, you can make guacamole!
- One more time for the people in the back! Use veggie broth instead of oil to cook your veggies and use broth instead of water for cooking your rice.
- It is your choice whether you want to use canned beans or dry beans. I like canned because I’m not a fan of waiting 8 hours for my beans to soak. If you use canned beans, make sure you drain and rinse them before cooking.
- Got tortillas? There is no reason you can’t make your burrito bowl into a burrito!
What you need: Spaghetti, crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce, onion, garlic, green bell pepper
Seasoning: ITALIAN PROFILE – Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Parsley, and Oregano
How to Cook: Cook spaghetti according to package instruction. In a sauce pan, cook garlic, onion and bell pepper, cooking the garlic first for about a minute. Season the veggies as you like. Once those veggies become translucent, add the crushed tomatoes or your marinara sauce. Let it simmer on medium-low heat until spaghetti is ready.
- Like the pizza sauce, you have to check the ingredients of your marinara sauce. I find it easier (and cheaper) to just used canned crushed tomatoes.
- I tend to stick with rice spaghetti, but if you are using regular spaghetti, check the label for certain animal-based ingredients like eggs or whey.
- If you are really missing the meat flavor, there are tons of tasty vegan options. I am in love with Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles. Cook according to package and add to your spaghetti.
- There are also many vegan Parmesan options to top your spaghetti. Like the pizza, you can always use nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
What You Need: Veggie broth, onion, garlic, celery, veggies of your choice including a leafy green (spinach, kale, collard, or mustard)
Seasoning: (Depends on what type of soup) Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Parsley, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder
How to Cook: Start off with the “trifecta” of onion, celery, garlic in the pot on medium-high heat. Once they are translucent and tender, you can start to add other veggies that you like. Add veggie broth and let simmer. If you want to add leafy greens, wait and add them after you add the veggie broth. Stir periodically and season as you like.
- The key is to add the veggies in the order of longest to cook first. Add leafy greens last, since they take the shortest time to cook.
- My favorite veggies: carrot, tomatoes, kale, and potatoes or butternut squash.
- Adding potatoes or butternut squash (any starchy vegetable) can give your soup a more hearty texture.
- Using an immersion blender, you can turn any soup into a creamy soup! Add your favorite non-dairy milk for extra creaminess. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup in a regular blender in small batches. Be extra careful using the either blender, since the soup is hot.
In the comments below:
When making spaghetti, do you like to combine your sauce and pasta or do you keep them strictly separate?
Do you have a favorite dinner recipe that is insanely easy to make? Tell us about it!