You Just Started a Vegan Diet—Here Are the Recipes to Make First
Whether you’ve decided to go vegan for ethical, health, environmental or other reasons, eating a strictly plant-based diet can be a pretty big change. Thankfully you can still enjoy all your favorite foods from before with a little creativity. As you transition to a plant-based diet, try recipes like Vegan Mac & Cheese and Vegan Lasagna for a meal that’s free of animal products and full of flavor.
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.
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.
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 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!
Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Deep-fried falafel can be a total grease bomb. But these pan-seared falafel still get crispy in just a few tablespoons of oil with equally satisfying results. Be sure to use dried, instead of canned, chickpeas in this healthy recipe--canned chickpeas add too much moisture.
Vegan Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Having a stash of flavorful bean burritos in your freezer means you'll always have a satisfying plant-based meal ready for a grab-and-go breakfast on a busy morning or to take to the campsite for an easy campfire meal. Our vegan breakfast filling--made with tofu and prepared to mimic scrambled eggs--is tossed with beans, veggies and salsa for a delicious and ultra-satisfying meal.
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.
Vegetarian Sushi Grain Bowl
Skip the hassle of making sushi rolls at home and just go for this grain bowl. Start with a base of brown rice and add veggies, dressing and creamy avocado for a delicious and easy meal.
Silken tofu seasoned with cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast makes a flavorful vegan substitute for ricotta and Parmesan. Whole-wheat noodles and lots of veggies make this version healthier than a typical lasagna.
Make classic light and fluffy pancakes vegan with this easy recipe. Try them topped with your favorite nut butter, maple syrup and fresh berries for a satisfying breakfast.
Pureed chickpeas, seasoned with the characteristic flavors of falafel, make excellent veggie burgers. We use a two-stage method for cooking the patties, first browning them in a skillet and then finishing them in the oven. Garnish the burgers with tzatziki or tahini sauce (see associated recipes), pickled red onions, lettuce and tomatoes.
Four-Bean & Pumpkin Chili
This healthy vegetarian chili has a fragrant touch of cinnamon for added flavor. Let diners top it with whatever suits their taste.
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Tofu Croutons
Swapping tofu for the bread in these meal-prep Caesar salad bowls bumps up the satiety factor with 18 grams of protein. These crispy tofu croutons originally appeared in Lauren Grant's recipe for Diabetic Living magazine (see Associated Recipes). Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale, has flat, dark green-blue leaves--and its tenderness makes it perfect for eating raw, like in this salad.
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.
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.
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.
Vegan Mushroom Bolognese
This Bolognese sauce recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. We swap out the beef and pork for button mushrooms to keep this traditional comfort food vegan yet weighty with umami flavor. And while some recipes call for red wine, this recipe sticks with Hazan's white wine selection.
Vegan Smoothie Bowl
Eat this thick and creamy smoothie bowl with a spoon! Banana and frozen berries whip together with a little nut milk for a toppable vegan breakfast. We use fruit, nuts and seeds for topping, but feel free to experiment with whatever you like.
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.
Jackfruit Sloppy Joes
Meaty jackfruit makes these vegan sloppy Joes rich and filling. Jackfruit, a starchy tropical fruit, is mildly nutty and sweet, a blank canvas for a warm and spicy sauce like the one for this quick meat-free sandwich.
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.
Edamame Hummus Wrap
Made with protein-rich edamame instead of chickpeas, this easy hummus recipe is the perfect vegetarian filling for a grab-and-go wrap. Or double the recipe and use the hummus for a healthy snack with cut-up vegetables.
Sweet Potato, Corn & Black Bean Hash
Quick and easy hashes are fabulous one-pot meals for those nights when getting dinner on the table fast is a priority.
Veggie & Hummus Sandwich
This mile-high vegetable and hummus sandwich makes the perfect heart-healthy vegetarian lunch to go. Mix it up with different flavors of hummus and different types of vegetables depending on your mood.
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.
Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches
In this vegan copycat recipe of barbecue pulled pork, we swap out meat for jackfruit, a tropical fruit that, when not fully ripe, has a texture similar to shredded pork. The mild-flavored fruit soaks up the delicious homemade barbecue sauce for a finger-licking-good sandwich filling. Top the sandwiches with a fresh slaw for a satisfying meal.