If you’re an omnivore who has committed to going meat-free and dairy-free for the Veganuary challenge, you’ll need some inspiration on what to cook and what to eat, especially if chicken, eggs and dairy milk were everyday staples in your diet.
The key to transitioning to plant-based eating is to cook the meals you usually cook but swap the animal protein for plant protein, especially if you are time poor or don’t really enjoy cooking. You’ll find other great tips to transition to plant-based eating in this article we published for World Vegan Month, “10 Practical Tips For Going Vegan“.
So without further ado, here is our list of quick and easy vegan meal ideas to help you make the transition from eating meat to eating more plants for a successful Veganuary – and without leaving you feeling like you’re missing all your favourite foods!
1. Meat-free quesadillas
Quesadillas may just be of the easiest meals to prepare, plant-based or not. To make cruelty-free quesadillas, just buy a pack of meat-free mince, plant-based sour cream and vegan cheese and make the quesadillas as you would if you were making it with meat. Easy peasy. Or if you don’t want any faux meat, you can just grill up vegetables instead.
2. Vegan nachos
Mexican food is easy to make vegan and nachos are no different. You can either forgo the mince entirely or substitute it with a plant-based mince and opt for vegan sour cream and vegan cheese and voila, nachos plant-based style. Check out Minimalist Baker and Cookie & Kate‘s vegan nachos recipes if you don’t want to wing it yourself.
3. Plant-based curries
No matter where the curry recipe originates from, Malaysia, India or Thailand, it will be so jam-packed full of flavour that you won’t need to add meat to enjoy the dish. There are many recipes for vegetable curries, all you need to do is a quick search online to find popular ones. We’re suckers for lentil dahls, chana masalas, aloo matar Chana Masala and Thai style vegetable green curry. For more recipes, we recommend this list of amazing vegan curry recipes curated by Elephantastic vegan.
4. Veggie pizza
Making a vegan pizza is super easy. You’ll need to make the base either by using flatbread, making your own pizza dough or buying a ready-made pizza base from the supermarket. Then just substitute with vegan cheese, add lots of your typical pizza toppings such as mushroom, onion, capsicum and even kale, chilli flakes and jalapenos if you like your pizza spicy. Buy quality ingredients and you’ll never even miss the meat on your pizza.
5. Vegan hotdogs
Plant-based eating really can’t get any easier than vegan hot dogs since there are so many plant-based options becoming available at your local supermarket. We love the hot dogs and sausages manufactured by plant-based protein businesses Tofurky and Fry’s Family Food.
6. Plant-based burritos
Similar to how you would prepare the quesadillas except you can bulk it up with some rice and bean mixture. BBC’s Good Food published a popular vegan burrito recipe filled with vegetables, rice and chipotle black beans that has received lots of rave reviews. This is a plant-based meal that your whole family will love.
7. Vegan meatballs
If you love your meat balls and don’t think you can live without them, try substituting the animal mince for a plant-based one. If you don’t want to buy plant-based mince and prefer to make the meatballs from scratch, this vegan meatball recipe by Minimalist Baker is a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike.
8. Plant-based pasta
Another easy plant-based meal is to make pasta. You can leave the mince out or buy a plant-based substitute, but regardless, if you choose the best ingredients, buy quality vegan parmesan cheese and follow your usual pasta recipe, you won’t even know the difference. If you’re making a creamy pasta sauce, switch to vegan cheese and nut milk to recreate the dish. Check out Vegan Heaven’s list of curated delish plant-based pasta recipes if you want to branch out from your pasta comfort zone and try something new.
9. Vegan burgers
There are so many brands producing plant-based burger patties that making a vegan burger at home should be a cinch. Vegie Delights, The Alternative Meat Co. and Beyond Meat are just some of the brands producing tasty meat-free burger patties. Just don’t forget to swap out your dairy cheese with a plant-based cheese such as those produced by BioCheese or Sheese.
10. Plant-based bangers and mash
Just grab yourself some plant-based sausages from Fry’s Family Food or Tofurky, make some potato mash with vegan butter and follow Nora Cooks easy vegan gravy recipe and you won’t even realise you’re not eating meat!
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All images courtesy of Fry’s Family Food.