For the past year, I have been sharing easy vegan meals from my everyday life in my What Vegans Eat series. Once a month, I document my impromptu breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then I share them here with you. Now that I’ve hit the 12-month mark, it seemed appropriate to put them all together in one collection.
I started this series as a way to show that making plant-based meals doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. It doesn’t require loads of forethought or meal planning. As long as you have a well-stocked pantry, the rest is simple.
Most days I peek in the refrigerator, see what’s available, and make it up as I go. Sure, there are days when I feel like making something more complicated or pulling out a cookbook from my collection. But most of the time my meals are made in the 20 to 30 minute range (and often much less time than that.)
So here’s what 12 months of easy vegan meals looks like…
It’s true – I have it bad for a scramble in the morning. It’s an easy way to sneak in some green stuff early in the day, and the tofu or chickpeas used as the base keeps me full until lunchtime.
Scrambles can vary depending on what’s on hand. Just grab whatever vegetables are in the fridge along with a block of tofu or can of drained chickpeas. Garlic, onions, and kale are regulars in my scrambles. Bell peppers, carrots, and cilantro also play nicely if you’ve got them. And of course, seasoning a scramble well makes a big difference. I serve them with hash browns, toast, or a bagel. Scrambles are also great in a breakfast burrito.
Other favorite breakfasts include creamy polenta, bagel sandwiches, chickpea flour pancakes, wraps, and even salad.
It surprised me that in a year’s worth of posts there wasn’t any cold cereal and non-dairy milk, oatmeal, or eggy tofu and toast. But if you’re looking for ideas, those are still common, low fuss vegan options.
Pasta with pesto & roasted chickpeas | Pinto beans & collards with polenta | Salad with roasted chickpeas & avocado | Great Northern beans & Brussels sprouts with polenta | Sesame bowl with yuba noodles | Spring salad with hummus & roasted asparagus
My lunches were a quilt of salads, bowls, burritos, and tacos.
When people ask for advice on how to transition to a vegan diet, my first recommendation is to look at meals they already make. When mealtime comes around, most of us don’t want to start a project. So for that reason, we tend to go back again and again to the same kinds of things. Even before I was vegan, I ate plenty of salads, bowls, burritos, and tacos. Now I just make them with plant-based foods in place of meat or dairy-based cheese.
(Want some ideas? Here are ten vegan meals you already know how to make.)
A plus about having a stocked pantry with brown rice and tortillas is that they are great uniters for meals. Whenever anything is wrapped in a tortilla or served over brown rice, you’ve got yourself a full, satisfying meal.
Raw, roasted, or steamed vegetables + some kind of plant-based protein like beans, seitan, or tofu + rice or tortilla = substantive lunch or dinner.
That’s just good math.
Chickpea & rice soup with kale | Lentils with greens & baked fries | Fishless tacos with chipotle crema | Wine infused mushrooms & salad with lentils & blueberries | Black bean taco pizza | Spicy black bean tacos
Chickpea & seitan sausage pizza | Salad with bruschetta | Brown rice bowl with hummus & roasted broccoli | Grilled pizza with vegan pepperoni | Potato, Castelvetrano olive & roasted garlic pizza on a cornmeal crust | Veggie burger with chips, salsa & guacamole
One more entrée that has been a long-time mainstay? Pizza. Not only is it a meal that always sounds good, it’s open to endless possibilities. It can be eaten at home or in a restaurant. (Most crusts in restaurants are vegan. So usually a cheeseless pizza is a terrifically easy vegan option.)
At home, the crust can be a simple frozen option, made with store-bought dough, or cooked from scratch. And then when it comes to toppings, it’s anyone’s game. Some days I require taco, others I’m all about thinly sliced potato and olives. And if you need to go classic, there are all kinds of vegan pepperoni and sausage options.
Along with pizzas, there were more salads, tacos, bowls, and soup.
So now I want to hear from you! What easy vegan meals do you turn to again and again?