Starting out as a vegan can be difficult and daunting. You’re suddenly thinking, “Well, what can I actually eat?” because that seems to be what everyone is asking you all of a sudden.
Well, here’s a post to help you out a little and to prove your dinners don’t have to be boring all of a sudden – Build on what you know!
1. Stir Fry
Make it exciting! Mix and match every time, create something new. Thin rice noodles, udon, rice or even quinoa.
As your “meat”, either load up your vegetables, add some chickpeas or add a substitute. Tofu, seitan or tempeh, there are so many options!
For the sauce, there are lots of shop bought options such as a simple soy sauce, sweet and sour or black bean but if you have time, make your own! At the moment I’m loving a spicy peanut sauce which is super easy – A couple of spoons of peanut butter, some hot water to make it more of a sauce consistency with a dash of hot sauce – Yum!
Top with some chopped nuts, lime wedges or a big ol’ squeeze of your favourite hot sauce!
2. Classic Pasta Dishes
You can still have all the classics as a vegan! Try cooking up some spaghetti bolognese with soya based mince, lentils or mushrooms instead of meat.
Pesto pasta can be achieved easily with free from pesto – My favourite being Sacla’s Free From version. Serve it up with some greens for an easy but delicious meal.
Cook up an easy cheesy cream sauce using soaked cashews, nutritional yeast and some spices to create a heavenly mac and cheese. Amp it up with some smoked meat substitutes such as Love Seitan’s products or smoked tofu for a vegan carbonara.
For something more simple, try my recipe for a vegan tomato sauce for your pasta.
Always serve your pasta with a side of garlic bread, either shop bought (most supermarket “value” ones are actually accidentally vegan!) or homemade – Mix your favourite vegan butter with crushed garlic, add it to your bread of choice and grill. So simple, so lush!
3. Tacos and Fajitas
SO DAMN EASY! Get your filling sorted first as there are so many options to choose from, here are some of my favourites:
- Mock chicken – M&S Chunks or Oumph! The Chunk
- Black beans & tomatoes cooked up with chilli and garlic powder
- Pulled Oumph! – The sauce is already on this, so making your meal even easier!
Now, for your sides. These can be home made or shop bought but really make the meal:
- Guacamole or fresh avocado slices
- Tomato salsa or fresh tomato
- Sour cream (This can be made using soaked cashews, plant based milk and seasoning)
- Vegan cheese
Assemble it all and it makes for a super easy meal, perfect to share with friends!
There are so many different types of curry to make, a lot of which the spice mixes or pastes can be purchased from supermarkets, most being vegan!
Some of my supermarket favourites are the green, red or massaman pastes from Blue Dragon or the Masala Spice Mix from Honestly Co. to name but a few!
One of my favourite recipes to use which quite frankly I am obsessed with is the Peanut Butter & Chickpea Curry by Healthy Living James. This recipe is SO easy and delicious – I highly recommend!
5. Pulled “Pork”
Have it in a salad, piled high in a sandwich or heaped onto some nachos, vegan pulled pork can be used in many different ways.
Using Pulled Oumph!, anything is possible! This product is so flavoursome and has a meat-like texture, so it’s great if you’re a new vegan or if you’re serving up a meal to a crowd that aren’t vegan, this product is great!
If you’re really not into realistic meat substitutes, I would suggest cooking up some jackfruit. Ensure to prepare this properly – Removing the hard parts and the pods, leaving the stringy part of the fruit to use for your pulled “pork”. Add this into a pan with some barbeque sauce and warm it up – Perfection!
6. Jacket Potatoes
Jacket potatoes may be deemed as ‘student food’ but they can make an amazing dinner if treated with some love and respect!
First, choose if you’re going for a standard potato or a sweet potato, then, let’s move onto fillings!
When your potato is almost cooked, remove from the oven, scoop out the middle and mash the potato with some cream cheese (at the moment I’m loving Bute Island, Bonsan or Nush), herbs of choice, some chilli flakes, garlic salt and return to the potato skin and back into the oven for ultimate deliciousness!
Another option is a classic – Baked beans! Bung them on top and add some beans – Cheap, simple, yummy!
I know what you’re thinking, boring! Right? Wrong!
Take your romaine, spinach, tomatoes etc., get it all in a bowl and make something more of it!
Add some roasted veggies – Onions, peppers, sweet potato or broccoli for a warm element in your salad, or keep it cool with some sweetcorn, tomatoes, beetroot.
You could also add a meat substitute element such as marinated tofu, mock meats or even some chickpeas to bulk the dish up.
Dresses and sauces are important too. Free from dressings from supermarkets will work, or tahini, mustard, hot sauce, peanut sauce, flavoured olive oil, balsamic vinegar.
To finish off your salad, add some toppings – Nuts, seeds, olives, sundried tomatoes or fresh herbs.
8. Bangers and Mash
Just to prove veganising dishes doesn’t have to be hard, here’s a classic!
The mash can be cooked in the same way, just adding plant based milk and butter instead. For something a little different, I’d recommend adding Good Carma Food’s Flavour Fusions – They’re the perfect seasoning for mash!
Vegan options for the sausages are awesome at the moment. Some of my favourites are Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages and the Vegetarian Chorizo & Red Pepper Sausages, Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Vegan Cumberland Shroomdogs, VegiDeli Lincolnshire Style Sausages and Cauldron’s Vegan Sausages.
If you’re a fan of gravy with your bangers and mash, I’d recommend sticking to Bisto – The red one is accidentally vegan and you can never go wrong with it!
9. Breakfast For Dinner
You read it right. Never tried it? You’re really missing out!
Yes, a bowl of cereal at a random time of the day is always fab, but I’m talking proper brekkie!
A full English, pancakes, French toast, tofu scramble and veggies, a sausage sarnie, avo on toast.
Any other ideas?
The options are endless! Leave your favourite vegan meals in the comments.