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Vegan Meal Ideas and Recipes

psychmommapsychmomma 2958 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,001 Senior Member
H and I watched a few documentaries recently that have us considering going vegetarian and possibly vegan. Two of our kids are vegetarians, so eliminating meat shouldn't be too difficult. The hard part for us would be milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc. if we try to eliminate all animal products.

Do you have tried-and-true vegan recipes or meals that you eat and are easy to incorporate into an eating plan?
Thanks in advance!
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Replies to: Vegan Meal Ideas and Recipes

  • great lakes momgreat lakes mom 2964 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,992 Senior Member
    I have considered vegan as well, and have been vegetarian, both strict and not so strict, off and on since age 13. The hardest part of vegan would be no eggs, and I can see no reason to exclude eggs from my diet.

    Asian, or Asian inspired, or Middle Eastern inspired is the easiest in my book. Tofu, rice and vegetables are a good mainstay of many meals. As are hummus, falafel, and pita. Or Indian, with dahl, curries, and many other delights.

    The easiest approach to my mind is to make a pot of beans each week, black, refried, curried garbanzos, lentils, etc as a protein base. Then supplement with vegetables, bread, or rice. But that might be too '70s vegetarian for some.

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  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang 18206 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,361 Senior Member
    Everyday Black Beans (adapted from The New Vegetarian Epicure)

    1 lb dried black beans
    3 large onions
    6-8 cloves garlic
    1/2 bunch cilantro
    salt
    1 1/2 T olive oil
    1 large green pepper, cored and chopped, or several Anaheims, jalapenos or serranos if you want to go hotter
    2 T cumin seeds (I used 1 T of good Penzeys cumin seeds. 2 T was too much. If you've got tired cumin seeds, then maybe 2 T)
    1 T sweet or smoked paprika

    Cook the beans with one peeled onion, a handful of cilantro and two or three cloves of garlic in the instant pot. I cook them for 28 minutes, but this is heavily dependent on how dry your beans are. Use the natural release method. Drain the beans partially, leaving enough liquid so you can simmer for a bit.

    Meanwhile, cut up the rest of the onions and garlic. Saute them in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the peppers and cook a little.

    Toast the cumin lightly (be careful, it burns fast) and crush in in a mortar. Chop some cilantro. Add the onion mixture, the cumin, the paprika and the salt to the beans. Cook for a bit. Salt to taste If you feel like it. Puree some or all the beans for a smooth texture.

    We eat them in corn tortillas, with Salsa Cruda and shaved cabbage. I also add some Queso Fresco, but that's not vegan. Thin the leftover beans for soup.

    Salsa Cruda

    2 lbs ripe tomatoes
    1/2 medium onion, a sweet one if possible
    2-3 jalapenos
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    salt

    Dice the tomatoes small. Dice the onions tiny. Remove the seeds from the jalapenos and dice finely. Chop the cilantro. Put them all together, and add a good deal of salt. Done.
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  • sabaraysabaray 7012 replies80 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,092 Senior Member
    A blog and Facebook page I like is called Running on Real Food. I also subscribe to her newsletter. Easy recipes with easy to find ingredients. This salad is delicious! https://runningonrealfood.com/chopped-salad-with-spicy-peanut-sauce-and-crispy-tofu-2/
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  • CAtransplantCAtransplant 521 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 533 Member
    @psychmomma I've been vegetarian for about thirty years, and have been trying to be vegan for the past few. I'm not perfect, I do crave eggs once in a while or when traveling, and if traveling I don't make a fuss about dairy if non-dairy isn't available. I have found it's very easy to do without milk - the non-dairy options are very good now. Almond milk works well in cereal and in baking or cooking. There's also soy milk and a bunch of other options now. I found cheese hard to give up at first, but there are some really good facsimiles now, albeit expensive. For semi-soft cheese, Miyokos is very good (based in Bay Area of CA, available at Whole Foods) - little round cheeses you can serve with crackers or in salads - and they also make a vegan version of cream cheese. For cheese slices, Violife Aged Cheddar are really good - kind of addictive! Violife also makes a parmesan substitute that comes in a wedge that you can grate onto pasta, etc. which is quite yummy!

    @great lakes mom the reason to give up eggs is cruelty, which is the same reason I gave up dairy. I know a lot of people don't want to hear about it so I won't say anything but if you aren't aware of it, just google "egg industry cruelty". I think pasture-raised is the best option if you do eat eggs, but there is still an issue that even that doesn't address.

    There are so many good sites for vegan cooking. One that I like is https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/ (she happens not to cook with fat). There's also https://www.loveandlemons.com/ (that one has both vegan and vegetarian recipes), about half and half, but you can filter by which are vegan. I like https://ohsheglows.com/ and there's an app you can get called Forks Over Knives with many recipes and it give you a shopping list for what ingredients you need.
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  • CAtransplantCAtransplant 521 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 533 Member
    @sabaray that salad looks delicious - thanks for the idea!
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20439 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,648 Senior Member
    "the reason to give up eggs is cruelty, which is the same reason I gave up dairy. I know a lot of people don't want to hear about it so I won't say anything but if you aren't aware of it, just google "egg industry cruelty".

    I find it pretty easy to source ethically and humanely produced eggs.


    In addition to the cuisines mentioned above, also look at many Moroccan dishes which fit a vegan lifestyle, especially the vegetable side dishes/salads that are common to Moroccan cuisine.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6216 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,251 Senior Member
    There are some great hearty vegan soup recipes too. Probably better for cold weather but paired with a salad they can make a great meal.

    I agree on being able to find humanely produced eggs - my neighbor has chickens in the backyard and in our old house we got our eggs from the local hobby farm. Their kids looked after their chickens, they all had names, and were like pets.
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  • CAtransplantCAtransplant 521 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 533 Member
    edited April 29
    @doschicos @momofsenior1 that's great if you have your own chickens or get from your neighbor. I'll just say what I'm talking about without beating around the bush, since people may really not know about it if they haven't researched it: male chicks are routinely killed in the egg industry, and not in a humane way. However, it seems that there may be some reforms coming https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2016/06/by-2020--male-chicks-could-avoid-death-by-grinder/ Of course, if you have your own female chickens and just use their eggs, then great. But if you buy eggs from a store, even if they are pasture-raised, etc. I don't think you have any assurance as to how they handle this issue.
    edited April 29
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 776 replies19 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 795 Member
    edited April 29
    We are not vegetarian, but we eat a lot of vegetarian meals. We had this tonight and it was delish. You could easily substitute vegan butter and parmesan options.
    https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/mushroom-and-asparagus-grain-bowl

    Here's another fav, kind of a pain to make but worth it (I don't use the goji berries).
    https://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/curried-cauliflower-rice-bowls-with-crispy-chickpeas
    edited April 29
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  • CAtransplantCAtransplant 521 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 533 Member
    That first recipe looks good, @taverngirl I forgot to mention that Miyokos, who makes one of the vegan 'cheeses' I mentioned above, also makes a very good vegan 'butter'
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  • great lakes momgreat lakes mom 2964 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,992 Senior Member
    Regarding the egg comment, of course! When able, I buy from those who produce their own, and if not, one of the many egg producers who let their chickens outside.

    Ethics are a slippery slope, when it comes to food production, produce and almonds included. Easy to argue. Let's stick to recipes!
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  • mathmommathmom 32019 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,177 Senior Member
    I've never met a vegan baked good I thought was worth eating. We've been vegetarians on weekdays and omnivores on the weekend for a few months now. When vegans visit I do try to accommodate them.

    Like others middle eastern and Indian cuisine provide lots of tasty options. Yesterday I stuck some cauliflower, carrots and peppers in the oven for 20 minutes. Opened a can of chickpeas and a jar of sauce cooked it about 10 minutes more to soften the vegetables. Serve with rice or naan. When I'm feeling less lazy I make my own sauce, I have both store bought garam masala mixes or the ingredients to make my own. Ottolenghi's cookbooks have some fabulous recipes with unusual flavor combinations. His cauliflower salad with hazelnuts is delicious. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/well/healthy-recipes/recipes/roasted-cauliflower-hazelnut-and-pomegranate-seed-salad
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  • NJresNJres 5974 replies187 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,161 Senior Member
    edited April 30
    I started eating vegan about 2 years ago. I pretty quickly added fish to my diet (eat lots of fish, maybe 3 times a week), and I will eat eggs when it is convenient with no guilt. When we go out to eat I will "settle" for vegetarian, which could include cheese, but so many places now serve a decent veggie burger I am usually ok.

    At home it is pretty much no meat and no dairy. Gardein (brand name, look it up) makes some amazing fake meat substitutes. Their meatless meatballs and fake ground beef are fantastic with homemade tomato sauce on spaghetti. I probably eat Gardein less than once a week because as good as it is, I still prefer non processed foods. Tofutti makes a very good cream cheese substitute that I use on bagels.(I prefer the product they label "sour cream"). I use almond milk on cereal and in coffee (or just drink it black), and I use soy milk if I make a smoothie (because it is high protein). I snack on nuts and recently became "addicted" to salted roasted (shelled) pumpkin seeds.

    My go-to dish is lentils that I prepare with a variety of Indian curries, spices,veggies, coconut milk, and diced tomatoes. I used to make the same dish with chicken. I can make it thick, like a stew, or add more vegetable stock and it becomes Muligatawny soup.

    I eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but have been almost 100% diligent about not eating any meat. But I don't get too hung up or obsessive about the whole thing. If I eat baked beans at a party and find out later they had bacon in them I don't freak out.

    We eat dark chocolate for dessert almost every night. I probably eat too much. We don't eat any other dessert. We used to eat ice cream almost every night. Now I never eat ice cream, and rarely eat cake, and I don't even miss it.
    edited April 30
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20439 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,648 Senior Member
    This is a delicious, vegetarian recipe that can easily be made vegan by leaving out the goat cheese or subbing in some nut-based "cheese".

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/maple-roasted-carrot-salad-3523135

    I also like to make a riff on ratatouille, heavy on the eggplant, to serve on pasta, rice or grits/polenta. Especially great in the summer with fresh, local produce.
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  • psychmommapsychmomma 2958 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,001 Senior Member
    These are all such helpful ideas!

    I’m acquainted with the Gardein products since my sons have been vegetarians for a long time and occasionally eat those products.

    I tried lentils for the first time at Costco yesterday. Lol. I think I can learn to like them. I have some paneer to use up but will try non-cheese alternatives next.

    My H is going to last less than 48 hours on this healthy eating plan. He’s already been foraging through the kitchen in search of “food” which to him is sweets and ready to eat foods (not fruit). Now he went out and I expect he will return with his own “foods” later.
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  • my-3-sonsmy-3-sons 2901 replies49 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,950 Senior Member
    Tastyasfit.com has some great plant based recipes. A few of our favorites are the "no chick" chickpea chicken salad, glowing lentil soup and mushroom walnut bolognese over zoodles.
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 2853 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,864 Senior Member
    In our vegetarian days, when the kids were young, we used Moose Restaurant Cooks at Home a LOT.

    https://www.amazon.com/Moosewood-Restaurant-Cooks-Home-Recipes/dp/0671679929

    Our copy is definitely "well-loved". A lot of the recipes are also vegan, or can be adapted. For some of the best bean-based dishes, we added fake meat.
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  • sabaraysabaray 7012 replies80 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,092 Senior Member
    Our co-op has vegan ginger cookies which are amazing and almost always sold out. I'd love to know the secret to those!

    I have not tried the Gardein products but appreciate the recommendations. They are somewhat pricey and I prefer non-processed foods, but I need some quick to prepare items in my repertoire. We have a local favorite - No-Bull Burgers - but unfortunately they have been difficult to locate lately. I'm hoping that doesn't signal trouble for the brand.

    That mushroom-walnut bolognese looks really tasty, @my-3-sons ; do you stick with the cremini mushrooms or have you experimented with other types?
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