15 Easy Meals for Vegan Beginners

Charlotte GreenFebruary 21, 2023
Photo by ready made on PexelsPhoto by ready made on Pexels

So why not give some of these easy vegan beginner recipes a try? Not only will you be doing your body a favor by eating more plant-based foods, but you might just discover some new favorite meals in the process. Happy cooking!

Photo by mad mags on FlickrPhoto by mad mags on Flickr

To make a Chickpea Salad Sandwich, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, and mash them into small pieces in a mixing bowl. Add diced celery and onion for crunch and freshness. Mix vegan mayo and mustard in a separate bowl as a binder, and add it to the chickpeas and vegetables. Toast whole grain bread until golden brown, and spread the chickpea salad mixture onto one slice. Top with another slice of bread. Add additional toppings like tomatoes, lettuce, or avocado as desired. This easy sandwich is perfect for a quick and healthy meal or snack.

Photo by Matt Devincenzi on FlickrPhoto by Matt Devincenzi on Flickr

To make Vegan Chili, sauté diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers in a pot with olive oil. Add diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans, and any other veggies you like, such as carrots or celery. Season with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add broth or water if needed to thin. Simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Top with cilantro, avocado, red onion, or vegan sour cream, or serve as is. This hearty meal is perfect for dinner or meal prep.

To make Tofu Stir-Fry, press and cut tofu into small cubes or slices. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan and cook tofu until lightly browned, then set aside. Add chopped veggies such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, or mushrooms and stir-fry until tender but still crisp. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and a sweetener like honey or maple syrup for the sauce. Pour the sauce over the veggies and stir well. Add tofu back to the pan and stir-fry until the sauce thickens and tofu is heated through. Serve hot over rice or noodles and garnish with cilantro or green onions if desired.

Photo by Klara Kulikova on SplashPhoto by Klara Kulikova on Splash

To make Vegan Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce, cook spaghetti in boiling salted water according to package instructions. While the spaghetti cooks, heat olive oil in a separate pan over medium heat. Sauté diced onions and garlic until tender and fragrant. Add a can of diced tomatoes, dried basil, salt, and pepper to the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld together. If too thick, add a splash of vegetable broth or water to thin. Drain the spaghetti in a colander and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the tomato sauce over the spaghetti and toss well to combine. Top with fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or basil, for extra flavor and color.

To make a Vegan Burrito Bowl, cook rice and prepare toppings. Rinse black beans and heat them up on the stove or microwave. Dice fresh tomatoes and slice avocado. Add salsa or hot sauce for extra flavor and spice. Transfer cooked rice to a serving bowl, add black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and salsa on top. Add chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice for extra flavor. Optional toppings include roasted sweet potatoes, grilled peppers and onions, or sautéed mushrooms.

Photo by mygraphx on PixabayPhoto by mygraphx on Pixabay

To make Lentil Soup, rinse lentils and place them in a pot with water or vegetable broth. Add chopped veggies such as onions, carrots, celery, and other vegetables of your choice. Flavor the soup with herbs and spices, garlic, ginger, or turmeric. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils and veggies are tender. Thin out the soup with more water or broth if necessary, and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Serve with crusty bread or crackers for a comforting and nourishing meal.

To make Vegan Shepherd's Pie, start by boiling diced potatoes until soft and tender. Drain and mash them with vegan butter, non-dairy milk, salt, and pepper for added flavor. Sauté veggies such as carrots, peas, corn, onions, and mushrooms in olive oil until tender and golden. Add cooked lentils or chickpeas for protein, and season with herbs and spices. Spread the filling evenly in a baking dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve with a side salad or steamed veggies.

Photo by Sara Adel on UnsplashPhoto by Sara Adel on Unsplash

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos are a delicious and healthy meal option that is perfect for any time of the day. To make this dish, start by by cooking diced sweet potato in a pan with olive oil until tender and lightly browned. Then, add black beans, diced onion, and taco seasoning and cook until heated through. Warm up taco shells, fill them with the sweet potato and black bean mixture, and top with sliced avocado and salsa.

Cook some brown rice according to package instructions. In a large pan, sauté diced onion, garlic, and carrots in oil until tender. Add cooked rice, frozen peas, and some soy sauce to taste. Stir until everything is well combined and heated through.

Photo by Monstera on PexelsPhoto by Monstera on Pexels

In a blender, blend together rolled oats, a ripe banana, almond milk, vanilla extract, and baking powder until smooth. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, and pour the batter onto the pan to make pancakes. Flip when bubbles start to form on the surface, and cook until golden brown.

To make Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup, sauté diced onion and garlic in olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Pour in vegetable broth and simmer until mushrooms are fully cooked. Puree the soup with an immersion blender and stir in coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and thyme. Simmer for a few more minutes and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with fresh herbs or crusty bread on the side.

To make Vegan Cauliflower Fried Rice, grate a head of cauliflower and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add 1 diced onion and 2 minced garlic cloves, sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the grated cauliflower, stir well, and drizzle 2 tbsp of soy sauce over the mixture. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through and slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve hot.

Make a delicious Vegan Vegetable Curry perfect for colder weather. Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil, add curry powder, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Then add diced tomatoes, coconut milk, vegetable broth, and mixed vegetables. Simmer for 20-25 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Customize the recipe with your preferred vegetables or protein. Reheat leftovers for a quick and nutritious meal.

Photo by Lauren on FlickrPhoto by Lauren on Flickr

To make Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese, cook macaroni noodles and blend cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and plant-based milk to make a creamy cheese sauce. Mix the sauce with the noodles, top with breadcrumbs, and bake until golden and crispy. Enjoy this vegan twist on a classic comfort food!

To make Vegan Pad Thai, cook rice noodles and set them aside. Sauté garlic, tofu, and vegetables in a wok or large pan. Add cooked noodles and a sauce made of tamarind paste, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix well and top with bean sprouts, peanuts, and lime wedges.