So you have just made the decision to go vegan. To eat food completely divorced from the killing, harm or suffering of animals at the hands of the food industry. Which means no meat, no eggs, and no dairy. Now you have a question to ask yourself, ‘What do I fix for dinner?’
A vegan diet means a whole new list of things you will have to get from the grocery story and other food retailers. It also means whole new cookbooks of recipes to guide you through the meals of your new lifestyle. Cookbooks however can cost money. Quite a bit of money even.
So to help you get a jump on your vegan journey here are some easy to put together and easy to cook recipes. The recipes listed here come from Keeping the Peas and Nutriciously.com.
Chickpea Pasta with Marinara and Spinach
Pasta is great. There are so many varieties it comes in. All of which can go with nearly any sauce and foodstuff, especially those vegans can eat. Thus we begin with chickpea pasta with marinara and spinach. It is simple and the ingredients are all in the name. Once you have figured out this dish you can use it as a starting point to experiment with other vegan pastas, ingredients, and sauces. To get started on this dish you will need the following ingredients.
- Chickpea Pasta
- Marinara Sauce- you can get pre-made for convenience, though check that the sauce contains 0 grams of sugar as well as no oil.
- Spinach- frozen or fresh, either is fine. Whichever works best for your convenience as well as preference.
- (Optional) Vegan Parmesan
- Follow the instructions on the packaging to cook the chickpea pasta itself.
- Heat the marinara sauce on a large saucepan with your stove set to medium heat. When the sauce starts boiling you then add the spinach.
- Reduce heat and cover. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the spinach wilts, whichever comes first.
- Pour sauce and spinach atop the drained pasta on a plate. If you have or want vegan parmesan you can sprinkle it on the pasta.
Thai Vegetable Stir Fry
Stir fry is great. Similar to pasta dishes there is a lot you can do with the potential combinations of ingredients that can all be effectively prepared the same way. It also goes great with things like brown rice.
Traditionally there is a great deal of oil involved in stir fry. Sometimes to a truly excessive degree. Fortunately when cooking at home you can not only determine how much oil you use but what kind. You do not have to go out to a restaurant or break your diet in order to enjoy various Asian cuisines.
In the case of this Thai Vegetable Stir Fry you can fix a tasty yet healthy and nutritious dish without needing oil.
- Pumpkin- really any kind of squash will do, but especially butternut and kabocha squash.
- Vegetables- true to any stir fry recipe nearly any vegetable produce will work. Classic stir fry includes sugar snap peas, mushrooms, baby corn, and egg plant, giving you a mix of textures and flavors but most importantly that *crunch* factor when you bite down.
- Veggie Broth
- Tofu- that staple of the vegan diet, especially for those who enjoy asian food. It is both healthy and highly compatible with stir fry sauce. It is in fact compatible with many sauces leading to its dish variety and thus popularity with vegans, vegetarians, and even non-vegans.
- Soy Sauce- A vital component for a stir fry recipe and what makes it a proper stir fry.
- Starch, Garlic, Vinegar, Ginger- give the stir fry a distinctly more ‘Thai’ flavor.
- Prepare ingredients: wash and chop vegetables; mix sauce ingredients- soy sauce, starch, garlic, vinegar, ginger- in a container, shake well until mixture is homogeneous; pour sauce into bowl with tofu then let it marinate and soak in the sauce.
- Use a non-stick pan or a regular pan with heat stable oil. Place pan on medium heat. Add cubed squash (pumpkin, butternut, kabocha) with some water.
- Cook squash for 5 minutes or until softened before adding the rest of the vegetables and veggie broth.
- Saute for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender but crisp (gotta keep that crunch). Stir frequently.
- After all liquid in the pan has been absorbed add marinated tofu cubes and sauce. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Again, stir frequently.
- (Optional) prepare brown rice separately or add leftover already cooked rice to the pan for warming.
Vegan Bean Chili
Who doesn’t love chili? It is great to eat any time of the year whether hot summer days or cold winter nights. You can enjoy it in so many ways or paired with so many things. Serve it with a salad or vegan cornbread muffins. Eat it in on a vegan burger or a vegan hotdog. You can even modify it to be as spicy or mild as you want, depending on your preferences and heat tolerance. With all the ingredients prepared it can be made in thirty minutes or less.
- Chopped Yellow Onion
- Chopped Organic Green Pepper
- Vegetable Stock- make sure to have 1 cup and a separate ¼ cup with which you will simmer vegetables.
- Organic Black Beans or whichever type of beans you might prefer (often sold in cans).
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes (sold in cans)
- Chili Powder- to start with do not use more than 1 tablespoon.
- Salt and Pepper to adjust the taste according to your preference.
- Use a large dutch oven or a pan to saute the onions in the ¼ of vegetable stock. Cook until it is translucent.
- Add chopped green peppers and chili powder. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Put in vegetable stock, beans, and fire roasted tomatoes.
- Simmer it all on low for 20 minutes.
- Taste regularly to determine if salt and pepper are needed.
Try out these recipes to get a feel for cooking vegan food. Each makes for a good start before you get into more advanced (and expensive to ruin with mistakes) recipes. In addition they are also easy to modify so can safely experiment.