healthy vegetarian dinner ideas
Today I’ve put together a list of 10 tried-and-true vegan dinner recipes that I’ve made many times, and truly enjoy every time I make them.
When I first made a switch to a plant-based/vegan diet, I was a little overwhelmed by the necessity to replace all of the recipes in my pre-vegan dinner rotation with a completely new recipe lineup.
Thankfully, I soon discovered that Pinterest was a great place to look for new recipes for a newly vegan cook like myself. I was amazed by all of the vegan deliciousness that already existed in the blogosphere, and before long, making dinner didn’t sound overwhelming to me anymore 🙂
Fast forward to this day, I am quite comfortable between all of my vegan cookbooks and Pinterest to decide what I’m making for dinner on any given day.
As much as I like trying out new plant-based recipes a few times a week, I’ve noticed that there is a number of recipes that I keep coming back to because they are delicious, oil-free (or can easily be made that way), and best of all, my husband Rob loves them!
So today I’ve put together a list of my top 10 dinner recipes that I keep making over and over again. Some of them are mine, some are from other blogs, and a few can be found in my favorite cookbooks. To see any recipe, just click on the link (unless it’s from a cookbook). Here we go:
10 OF MY FAVORITE VEGAN DINNER RECIPES
1. Eggplant and Chickpea Curry from Susan Voisin’s blog, Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Susan’s recipes are always delicious and oil-free, and this curry is one of my favorite recipes from her site.
The only thing I do differently is I cut up the eggplant and roast the pieces for 20-25 min, and then add them to the tomato-chickpea mixture (as opposed to roasting the whole eggplant).
2. Healthy Vegan Mac and Cheese with Broccoli – this recipe from the blog has been approved by adults and kids alike. It’s lusciously creamy and rich, yet doesn’t contain any oil. Broccoli adds fiber and nutrients, yet it can be skipped if you don’t feel like it.
3. Eggplant Rollups with Black Bean-Potato Stuffing (pictured below) – my own recipe from this blog. Rob sings high praises every time I make these rollups. It only looks like making them is complicated, but in fact they are pretty easy, and can be put together within an hour.
The best part, at least in my opinion: they are a great dish to serve if you’re having guests over because they look festive and taste like you’ve put a lot of effort into making them.
4. Hippie Loaf from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay S. Nixon. I’ve made a number of veggie loaves since going vegan, and a lot of them seemed just too complicated.
Lindsay’s Hippie Loaf is quite simple, gluten-free, and has only ‘real’ ingredients like black beans, quinoa, celery, carrots, etc. I like to smother this veggie loaf with some vegan BBQ sauce before sending it into the oven.
5. Mushroom and Tempeh Gumbo, another gem from Susan Voisin and Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. Goodness. If I could have this soup every day for a month (year? life?), I’d be so happy! Susan posted this recipe just before Thanksgiving 2013, but I have no problem making it any time of the year.
This a more time-consuming recipe, but it’s definitely worth a try. Susan walks us through making a dry roux – an important ingredient in Cajun cuisine that’s usually made with butter, but she came up with a fat-free version that’s just as good.
I’ve experimented with making a few changes to the recipe (used kidney beans instead of tempeh, more veggies and less mushrooms), and the gumbo came out just as good.
6. My Healthy Lentil and Cauliflower Soup with Rice (or without, if you please – pictured below). I was looking for a perfect lentil soup for a while until one day I put this soup together.
That’s it – my search is over.
This soup is easy and quick to make, but its complex flavors make it taste like something that required a lot of effort! I use Middle Eastern spices like garam masala, cumin and turmeric, but you can switch the spice profile for oregano and coriander seed to make this soup taste Italian.
7. Un-Fried Falafel Patties/Burgers by Wendy Solganik of the Healthy Girl’s Kitchen blog. I like Wendy’s falafel version better than anything I’ve tried at Middle Eastern restaurants, not just because it’s not fried at all (I only spray the pan lightly with olive oil cooking spray), but also because it has lots of flavor and is easy to make. Yep, very easy, see for yourself!
8. Instant Pot Vegan Jambalaya (pictured below). This delicious jambalaya recipe from the blog is very easy to make, yet it tastes like something you’ve labored over for hours!
Instant pot allows me to make it in about 40 minutes, most of it hands-off time. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I’ve also included tips on making it on the stovetop.
9. Thai Basil Eggplant Stir-Fry by Anjali from the Vegetarian Gastronomy blog – absolutely delicious! The original recipe is not oil-free, but it can easily be made without oil (or just cooking spray).
The star of this recipe is definitely the sauce that contains hoisin – before I stumbled upon this dish on Pinterest, I’ve never cooked with hoisin!
These days, I make some variation of this dish with lots of added vegetables, plus I roast the tofu and the eggplant at the same time in the oven to avoid using lots of oil.
10. My husband’s favorite Chickpea Salad Sandwich (pic below), another recipe from my blog. Very easy to make, with great texture (a cross between tuna/egg/chicken salads) and a nice mild flavor.
Best of all, it’s easy to pack for work, picnics, or traveling: we almost always take a couple of these sandwiches with us when traveling to save time and money (with an ice pack thrown in the cooler for a good measure).