Dinner is sacred. There’s no need to sacrifice good food and nourishment for our bodies. Here are some quick, easy plant-based dinner recipes.
Saying the phrase “plant-based” probably calls to mind horrible images of tasteless vegetables and dietary limitations. But eating your greens doesn’t have to be like this! Here are some great, tasty recipes that do not require animal products, save cost, preserve time, and help you live heartily!
(Not) Cheesy Broccoli Rice Dump and Bake Recipe
Are you craving that box food flare with a touch of nostalgia, minus the guilt of munching on pantry junk food? This dish is filling and relies on the holy grail of plant-based umami, nooch. Yes, the dusty gold!
The rice in this recipe is a matter of personal preference. Just remember to adjust your cooking times. Brown rice will take a bit longer, while most white rice will dry out a bit faster in the oven. Sometimes, dinner is your only outlet on a busy day so go wild with your substitutions!
Now for the broccoli. Don’t groan, we know. Broccoli. A sometimes frumpy, under-loved necessity in our plant-based lives. Broccoli can be so good, especially when it is smothered in a warm, gooey sweater of nooch. At the very least, show broccoli some love for the fiber and the folic acid it provides. Accept vitamin love. Embrace the broccoli!
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice (or grain of choice)
- 2 1/2 cups vegan vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (the nooch!)
- 2 cups of frozen broccoli florets
- 1 cup red onion
- Garlic powder (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp ginger (powder is OK but fresh is best)
- 1/2 cup chives
The Nitty Gritty
In a saucepan, start by heating your vegetable broth to a low boil and add the nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat when the nutritional yeast dissolves. Feel free to add more nooch if you like it extra cheesy. Make sure you avoid losing too much liquid or your dish will turn out dry.
In the baking pan, add a layer of oven-safe parchment paper to keep things easy to clean after dinner is done. Start with the rice, spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Add your broccoli next, if you use fresh broccoli make sure to add a half cup of water or some more broth. Evenly sprinkle the broccoli on top of the rice to avoid unpleasant bites and ensure even cooking. Finally, add the onions in the same even way. Cover the dish to avoid drying out your greens
Now it is time for some liquid ingredients. Add the “cheese” sauce and season to taste with the suggestions above. The savory spices in the list perfectly complement this dish. You can also get creative and add spices like turmeric or a bit of marjoram if you would like.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 425 degrees for one hour. After an hour, remove it from the oven and place it to rest for 10 minutes, leaving the foil in place. After 10 minutes, remove the foil and check on your dish. If it needs a bit more time, return it to the oven covered to avoid losing moisture.
Sheet Pan Roots and Rubbish Recipe
The only challenge in this recipe will be waiting for it to finish roasting. This is for the fresh vegetable lover in the family or for clearing out some of those items at the end of a long week. If you are trying to cut fats omit the oil or substitute your preferred plant-based alternative. If you are curious about healthier plant-based lifestyle options and you are not sure where to start, check out “Is a Vegetarian Keto Diet Possible?”. To be clear, this recipe is not keto. This is for our starch-lovers or for those looking to soothe a hard day with a hearty meal.
- 2 cups skin-on, chopped sweet potatoes
- 1 cup chopped onion (whatever you do, skin off of this one)
- 2 cups halved brussell sprouts
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 4 cloves garlic
- Garlic powder
- Extra virgin olive oil
The Nitty Gritty
Grab a short-sided sheet pan at least 9 x13 or larger. If you choose to add extra vegetables line the pan with parchment paper. Place your chopped vegetables and garlic in a mixing bowl. Toss with approximately 2 tablespoons of oil, coating the vegetables. Add in salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and toss again, ensuring to coat evenly for the best flavor.
Spread the vegetables over the parchment paper-lined pan and place in the oven uncovered at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. After baking twenty minutes, make sure to remove the pan from the oven. Turn your vegetables over with a spatula or tongs to ensure they cook, and then return to the oven. Depending upon your oven, you may need to roast them a bit longer. Watch and make sure that you do not burn the vegetables or they may turn bitter and unsavory.
Thai-Style Vegan Soup Recipe
Does the title of this recipe conjure visions of stirring deeply rich chilis and Thai flavors into a large pot for hours on end? Don’t panic! Thai-style food is easy to make at home. This dish is a thirty-minute midweek must-have to break up the dinner monotony.
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 Tb fresh ginger or chopped fresh ginger
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 14oz can full fat coconut milk
- 2 cups vegan vegetable broth
- 1Tb brown sugar
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms (button white are fine)
- 8 oz can sliced bamboo shoots
- 1 Tb soy sauce
- 1 tsp finely chopped Thai chili or chili powder
- 1 Tb lime juice
- 2 Tb chives
The Nitty Gritty
In a large stock or soup pot, add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, and the vegetables. Do not add the tofu yet. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, chili, and garlic. Set to cook, covered, over medium-high heat until the liquid boils. You can add vegetable broth as needed. Make sure that the vegetables stay covered in liquid so the soup is not too thick.
After the vegetables and stock boil for 10 minutes and the vegetables begin to soften, set your heat to low. Add the chives, lime juice, and drained chopped tofu. Cook for 10 minutes then pour into a bowl, and enjoy! You pour this soup over white rice as well, if you prefer.
Bang-Bang Hummus and Falafel Bites Recipe
A bit of a Mediterranean-Asian fusion to shake up your average dinner, this recipe can easily become a crowd favorite or doubled for party hours-de-oeuvres.
Dipping Sauce Ingredients
- 1 container original hummus
- 2 TB sriracha
- 1 tsp of vegan mayo (optional)
- 2 TB sweet chili sauce
- 1 tsp honey (sub corn jelly if you prefer not to use honey)
To make this recipe less stressful use a store-bought falafel mix. Follow the directions on the falafel mix (my personal favorite is the Ziyad brand), roll into balls, and chill. If the mix crumbles consider chilling it first.
While the falafel is settling, create your sauce. You can get a bit creative here. For a creamier texture, incorporate vegan mayonnaise. The hummus can be plain or you can get adventurous and use garlic or red pepper hummus if you prefer a more savory or spicy bite. My personal favorite is Boar’s Head hummus. Mix the sauce ingredients until distributed and smooth. Place in a serving dish or small serving dishes if you prefer individual portions.
To cook the falafel, remove it after chilling and deep fry it. If you have a deep fryer, follow the guidelines for the device. You can also air fry the falafel bites for a healthier, less oily result. You can also grab a good old-fashioned saucepan, pour enough oil that it submerges one-half of your bite-sized falafel balls.
Heat the pan on medium-high heat until the oil is ready. Be sure not to overheat. You risk a smoky disaster, set off your fire alarm, upset your neighbors and will not have any falafel left to feed the fire department when they show up to rescue dinner! If a few droplets of water added to the pan makes the oil crackle, it is ready to cook.
Put a few bites in at a time so as not to lower the heat in the oil too and rotate them until golden and crispy. Remove from the oil and place on parchment or paper towel for a few moments to avoid biting into a hot, oily molten lava fal-awful ball!
Hearty Kale and (Veggie) Sausage Soup Recipe
This soup can go for miles as a healthy meal prep for the week. I use a Dutch oven. This recipe takes a few hours for optimal flavor but it can cook in 30 minutes or less in the oven. You can use a slow cooker as a hands-off recipe so that you can focus on other tasks or relax. Six quarts or larger is ideal for these measurements but you can cut sizes as needed based on what you have.
- 14 oz (1 pack) of Beyond Meat bratwurst
- 6-8 cups of chopped kale (you decide how much you prefer)
- 64 ounces vegan vegetable stock (or split 32/32 water and stock)
- 2 cups chopped carrots (shredded is fine as well)
- 14 oz of any sort of bean (northern are my favorite, but you choose)
- 2 TB tahini
- 2 TB liquid amino acids (I use Bragg)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 chopped onion (I prefer red but white or Vidalia can work)
- 2 TB onion powder
- 2 TB garlic powder
The Nitty Gritty
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brown your bratwurst in a pan or use an air fryer for approximately 10-14 minutes. You want a crispy “skin.”
Start by cooking your onions in the pot with your chopped fresh garlic. Avoid overcooking them, using medium heat until the onions are translucent. The garlic will cook throughout the process but be careful not to burn it or your dish will be bitter. Remove it from the heat. Pour in the vegetable stock, garlic powder, onion powder, liquid amino acids, tahini, carrots, and chopped bratwursts. Place in the oven with the lid on for one hour.
Remove from the oven and place on a heat-safe surface. Add the kale and cooked beans, stir, and place it back in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. You will not have to add salt to this recipe but pepper would be fine.
These dishes can put a yummy spin on your average dinner-time snooze fest. If you made it this far and you are not plant-based but are looking to make the leap even one day a week, give one of these a try. If you have tips, tricks, or feedback on these or other plant-based recipes, please comment below.