There are many traditional dinners that can easily be adapted to be plant-based. Starting with familiar flavors can be helpful when making the switch to eating whole, plant foods.
As far as pre-made plant-based meals, here are some tasty options:
- Amy’s Chili – add a baked potato and a side of broccoli for a complete meal
- Amy’s also has yummy freezer meals such as Black Bean Enchiladas
- Tasty Bite has several plant-based options such as Mushroom Masala
- Daiya Pizza uses vegan cheese which may be a new flavor, the pizzas are gluten-free as well
- Veggie Burgers are made by a variety of companies, most of which taste good, especially on a bun with traditional burger toppings.
- Check Trader Joe’s freezer section for more options
Of course, eating home cooked meals is usually the best option. It tends to be the most healthy, delicious and affordable way to eat. Below I share some family favorites ranging from classic, veganized meals to international flavors from around the world.
If you like tacos try Black Bean Tamales or Lentil and Mango Tacos. Both are commonplace fare which replaces the meat with legumes. Legumes, including beans and lentils, are a great plant-based source of protein. Tamales can be made in a large batch, then steamed in the microwave throughout the week. Made with pumpkin, instead of oil, in the masa, these tamales tick all the boxes for an excellent plant-based meal. Lentil and Mango Tacos are also good candidates to cook once and eat two or three meals.
If you like one pot meals start by making Curried Vegetable Mulligatawny Soup, Jamaican Beans and Rice, Ethiopian Black and Red Lentils, or Italian Red Lentil Stew. Because plant-based meals often include grains and beans, they make outstanding one-pot or instant pot dinners.
- Curried Vegetable Mulligatawny Soup has it all- beans and rice, fruit and vegetables and a rich and complex flavor. Serve this soup to guests and no one will notice that their meal is meat-free because they will be so wowed by the flavor.
- Jamaican Beans and Rice uses coconut milk to transform rice into a creamy, savory dish accented with kidney beans and a hint of jalapeno.
- Ethiopian Red and Black Lentils deliver a dinner packed with nutrients and spice. Both red and black lentils are full of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients, In fact, black lentils have a higher antioxidant profile than kale! This pot is full of 100% goodness.
- Italian Red Lentil Stew is made with Beyond Meat Hot Italian Sausage. The sausage, lentils, and vegetables make a hearty, easy-to-make, one-pot feast even the most ardent meat-eater will enjoy.
If you are craving comfort foods choose from some veganized classics: Mushroom Stroganoff, Shepherd’s Pie or Sloppy Joes. These recipes all use soy-based protein alternatives. The stroganoff is smothered with a creamy sauce and chewy, meaty soy curls and mushrooms instead of beef. The shepherd’s pie and sloppy joe’s both use tvp (textured vegetable protein) to replace the hamburger. Soy curls and tvp don’t have a lot of flavor so they are perfect for layering on flavor.
If you are missing chicken then Chick’n Shawarma and Jerk Tofu Fingers are the answer. Chick’n Shawarma is super fast and easy to make then served on a pita with hummus for an irresistible meal. Soy curls are baked with onions and spices in this shawarma recipe. If you are missing chicken nuggets try these Jerk Tofu Fingers. The texture of the tofu is manipulated by freezing it then thawing it. Battered and toasted they can be eaten immediately or reheated another day.
If you like breakfast for dinner then tofu scrambles and Buckwheat Pancakes are quick and easy options. Turn the Superstar Tofu Scramble into a burrito or serve with hashbrowns and toast. If you have a hearty appetite and you need a filling, wholesome dinner that is quick and easy- make Buckwheat pancakes for dinner.
If you’re trying to help kids make the switch to a plant-based diet try Mini Hasselback Potatoes with a side of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli or carrots, or make Potato Soup with a salad. Potatoes are a universal favorite. By making them the star of the meal, minds can begin to shift from a roast and potatoes mentality to a potatoes and vegetable mentality. The switch to a plant-based diet can be started by simply phasing out the meat.