31-Day Veganuary Dinner Plan for Beginners
Following a vegan diet, or even just incorporating more plant-based foods into your routine here and there can have significant benefits for both you and the planet, which is why going vegan for the month of January—or should we say, Veganuary—is a fantastic way to kick-start a healthy year. Eating more plant-based foods and fewer animal products helps decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases (like diabetes and heart disease), makes losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight easier and also benefits the planet by decreasing the production of greenhouse gasses. What’s more is that it’s a delicious and healthy approach to eating! Whether you’re trying out the vegan diet for the first time or already follow some of the principles, these 31 days of easy, cozy vegan dinner recipes will get you through the month with ease.
Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry
To make this 20-minute vegan curry even faster, buy precut veggies from the salad bar at the grocery store. To make it a full, satisfying dinner, serve over cooked brown rice. When shopping for simmer sauce, look for one with 400 mg of sodium or less and check the ingredient list for cream or fish sauce if you want to keep this vegan. If you like a spicy kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce at the end.
Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Carbonara
Carbonara, traditionally bathed in eggs, gets a vegan makeover using roasted and pureed butternut squash instead to make it ultra-creamy. A topping of ground almonds, garlic and sage gives it texture and an herby, savory flavor in place of the cheese and bacon.
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
Classic eggplant Parm is filled with cheese, but this vegan eggplant Parmesan combines nondairy mozzarella cheese with nutritional yeast for a dairy-free cheesy substitute that gives you the comfort food factor without animal products. For the breading, use egg replacer, which you can find in natural-foods stores and the special-diet section of large supermarkets.
Spiralized broccoli stems transform into tender noodles in this lo mein-inspired vegetarian recipe. Serve on top of brown rice or buckwheat soba noodles.
Curried Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup
In this flavorful soup recipe, sweet potatoes simmer in a quick coconut curry, resulting in a creamy, thick broth punctuated by notes of garlic and ginger. We love peanuts for their inexpensive price and versatile flavor. They're also a great source of protein--1 ounce has 7 grams.
Chickpea Curry (Chhole)
Made with convenient canned beans, this quick and healthy Indian recipe is an authentic chickpea curry that you can make in minutes. If you want an additional vegetable, stir in some roasted cauliflower florets. Serve with brown basmati rice or warm naan.
Instant Pot Vegetarian White Chili
Parsnips lend a wonderful sweet and nutty flavor to this healthy white bean chili. Using an Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker) means this hearty chili can be ready in under an hour, but it still tastes like it's simmered away for hours. Pureeing some of the chili gives the stew a nice creaminess, but feel free to skip that step to save time. Garnish the chili with cheese and sour cream for a richer meal, or serve it as-is to keep it vegan.
Spicy Vegetable Lo Mein
Skip takeout and make a healthier Chinese lo mein at home that's packed with vegetables. Make sure you drain your noodles well before adding them, as wet noodles will turn your stir-fry into a soggy mess. For a less spicy option, omit the sriracha hot sauce.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Lentils take the place of ground meat and vegan butter adds creaminess to the mashed potatoes in this easy vegan shepherd's pie recipe. If you want to cut down on the cooking time, use precooked lentils and omit most of the vegetable broth, adding some in only if the mixture seems dry.
Vegan Minestrone Soup
Is minestrone soup vegan? It can be, with the right ingredients! This vegan minestrone soup is heavy on the green vegetables (it has peas, zucchini and kale, to name a few!), setting this quick healthy soup recipe apart from the rest. If you miss the tomatoes, feel free to add them to the mix. Last but not least, enjoy the crispy garlic croutons that float on top and soak up the flavorful broth.
Mushroom-Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Special Sauce
These hearty mushroom, black bean and quinoa veggie burgers are a healthy and satisfying homemade alternative to store-bought veggie burgers. And they take just 25 minutes of active time to prep, so while they're special enough for entertaining, they're quick enough for weeknight dinners.
Vegan Potato-Leek Soup
This rustic vegan potato-leek soup proves you don't need cream to make a hearty soup. The recipe calls for two types of potato--red potatoes, which hold their shape and add color to the soup, and russet potatoes, which break down slightly when cooked, adding texture and body to the soup. And not only is this comforting soup vegan--it's also gluten-free. Serve with a salad and crusty bread for a healthy dinner.
Stuffed Potatoes with Salsa & Beans
Taco night meets baked potato night with this simple recipe for loaded baked potatoes with salsa, beans and avocado. This easy, healthy family dinner comes together with just 10 minutes of active time, so you can make it on even the busiest of weeknights. This recipe is just as delicious with sweet potatoes in place of russets.
Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Grab your crock pot for this delicious and easy slow-cooker vegetarian chili with beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet potatoes. The recipe requires just 20 minutes of active time: after a bit of chopping, you just dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do the work. Adding a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of cilantro just before serving brightens up the flavors. Top it with some shredded cheese, if you'd like, or serve it as-is to keep it vegan. Either way, this healthy chili is sure to become a go-to when you want a satisfying and healthy dinner.
Vegetarian Lo Mein with Shiitakes, Carrots & Bean Sprouts
A hit of Sriracha gives a sweet and spicy edge to this healthy vegetarian recipe. Traditional lo mein is made with fresh lo mein noodles, which can be found in Asian markets. You can also use fresh or dried linguine noodles--fresh linguine is in the refrigerated section of some grocery stores. This easy dinner comes together in just 30 minutes, so it's perfect for weeknights.
Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce
This vegan burger recipe is one you'll want to make again and again. Savory chickpea and zucchini patties are topped with a creamy, herb-flecked tahini ranch sauce, juicy tomato slices and peppery arugula for a satisfying and healthy homemade veggie burger. Serve them on buns or stuff them in pitas. We recommend making extra sauce--it's a great dip for veggie sticks and, thinned with a little water, it makes a wonderful salad dressing.
Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Stew
This Mediterranean stew is a healthy dinner chock-full of vegetables and hearty chickpeas. A drizzle of olive oil to finish carries the flavors of this easy vegan crock-pot stew. Swap out the chickpeas for white beans for a different twist, or try collards or spinach in place of the kale. Any way you vary it, this stew is sure to go into heavy rotation when you are looking for healthy crock-pot recipes.
Vegan BLATs (BLTs with Avocado)
Roasted shiitake mushrooms doused in soy sauce with a dash of smoked paprika become a natural, vegan alternative to bacon. Try them in this vegan version of a classic BLT with creamy avocado and eggless mayonnaise or on top of a salad as a substitute for bacon bits.
Roasted Root Veggies & Greens over Spiced Lentils
This earthy bowl of lentils bursting with Middle Eastern flavors is topped with leftover roasted root veggies from a large batch for an easy weeknight dinner.
Creamy Mushroom Soup
There's no cream in this silky mushroom soup. Pureed potatoes give this vegan mushroom soup its creamy texture. Be sure to use Yukon Gold--russets don't provide quite the right texture.
Vegan Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese no longer has to be off the menu if you don't do dairy. A blend of hearty cauliflower, butternut squash, cashews and nutritional yeast gives this vegan macaroni and cheese the gooey, cheesy texture and flavor of traditional mac, without a bit of dairy!
Noodle Salad with Tofu
We've kept it simple with just rice noodles in this healthy vegan noodle salad recipe, but if you want to go wild, use wheat noodles, glass noodles or even your favorite spiralized veggie noodles.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
This Instant Pot lentil soup is quick enough to prepare when you get home from work for an easy weeknight dinner. This vegetarian soup recipe is full of aromatic vegetables, brown lentils and fresh spinach. A splash of balsamic vinegar brightens the flavor, and a garnish of radish and parsley gives this comforting soup a fresh finish.
For these hearty and healthy vegan meatballs, we've swapped out the traditional ground beef and pork for protein-packed chickpeas and quinoa--without skimping on any of those Italian flavors that you look for in a classic meatball. Mushrooms up the umami factor, and a simple tomato sauce completes the picture. Serve over your favorite pasta.
Thai Tofu & Vegetable Curry with Zucchini Noodles
For this quick Thai curry recipe, we've combined tofu and plenty of veggies with a flavorful sauce made with red curry paste, lime juice and coconut milk. Serve the curry over lightly warmed zucchini noodles to get even more veggies in your weeknight dinner. Bonus: Everything is cooked in one skillet, so there's only one pan to wash after dinner.
Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Quinoa Salad
This roasted vegetable and fruit salad gets infused with flavor from quinoa that's cooked with fresh ginger, garlic and a hit of turmeric. Serve it alongside a roast chicken, then mix the leftovers together for lunch. Your future self will thank you.
Dan Dan Noodles with Spinach & Walnuts
In this riff on Asian dan dan noodles, spinach and red bell peppers are tossed with a sesame-chile-soy sauce and topped with walnuts. If you want to bump up the protein, add tofu, seitan or even chopped egg.
Vegan White Bean Chili
Fresh Anaheim (or poblano) chiles add mild heat to this classic white bean chili and contribute lots of smoky flavor. Quinoa adds body to the chili, while diced zucchini provides pretty flecks of green and increases the veggie content.
You won't miss the meat in this healthy jambalaya recipe. Vegan smoked sausage takes its place while the classic "trinity" of vegetables--onion, red bell pepper and celery--get a kick from jalapeño peppers. And everything is cooked in one skillet, which means cleanup is a breeze!
Slow-Cooker Vegetable & Tofu Thai Stew
Cauliflower and tofu are ideal ingredients for this soup. The cauliflower soaks up the cooking liquid, and the tofu keeps the dish light, allowing the bold flavors in the liquid--predominantly the curry paste and lemongrass--to take center stage in this slow-cooker tofu stew.
Beefless Vegan Tacos
Take taco night in a new direction with these healthy vegan tacos. We've swapped crumbled tofu for the ground beef, without sacrificing any of the savory seasonings you expect in a taco. You can also use the filling in burritos, bowls, taco salads and to top nachos.