Quick & Easy Vegan Dinners

It’s no secret that I love to spend time in the kitchen, whipping up vegan recipes from around the world. For me, cooking is another creative outlet that allows me to stay healthy and fit, while forcing me to take a much needed break from my excessive daily screen regimen.

But some days I am just too busy with writing for clients, publishing my books, catching up with family back home in the U.S., and even just doing stuff for me. Days are long and days are busy, but that doesn’t mean I want to crack open a frozen pizza and call it a meal. But there is something in between vegan junk food and elaborate vegan dinners.

Right?

For me, yeah.

So today let’s take a look at a very simple vegan dinner that doesn’t require even an hour in the kitchen. What is this mythical vegan recipe, you ask?

Easy. Vegan falafel balls with a delicious barbecue sauce and one of my favorites…vegan garlic mashed potatoes!

Even the photos look as simple as this meal is to make, which means there is no reason to reach for takeout menus that probably don’t have enough vegan offerings to satisfy your hunger. Do it yourself.

It’s easy, I swear.

Lazy Vegan Chickpea Bowl

I’m going to let you in on a little vegan secret: not every meal requires you to be in the kitchen for hours on end. I know that may come as a shock to you, but sometimes you’re just feeling lazy and you want something quick, easy and nutritious.

When it comes to a lazy vegan meal, I try to keep it as simple as possible.

Does the meal have:

◊ Protein

◊ Carbs

◊ Fiber

If it does, you’re good to go…at least I am.

Let’s start with the easiest part of this meal first, the rice. I used a simple Jasmine rice because it was all that we had left in the pantry and because I love the fragrant goodness of Jasmine rice. It only takes about ten minutes to cook, but you want to give the rice time to cool so it gets good and fluffy when you take your fork to it later.

The fiber part of this lazy vegan meal includes crimini mushrooms, red bell pepper and onion. Simple, right? Sauté them up with or without oil until they reach the done-ness level you prefer. I like my mushrooms with a little bit of crisp on them so I cook them first before adding onions and peppers to the mix. The herbs and spices can be whatever you like, but if you’re going for simplicity I recommend, basil, oregano, garlic and thyme.

Sounds bland, right?

It’s not, especially because we still haven’t dealt with the chickpeas.

The chickpeas are the protein and the spice element to this meal for me. Grab a small ramekin and add any kind of spice mixture you like. I opted for cayenne pepper, spicy paprika, tikka masala spice, harissa, curry, turmeric, cumin and garlic granules. Rinse & dry the chickpeas and then toss with the spice blend. Bake on 200/400 for 20 to 25 minutes until they’re crispy and then…voila, your lazy vegan meal in 30 minutes or less.

Full disclosure: I have a tendency to make spicy dishes too spicy, which my husband is not a big fan of, so I preemptively made a cooling sauce featuring veggiegurt, scallions, fresh dill and lime juice. It did the trick…he didn’t complain once about the heat level, which was at about a 6 or 7 (he said 8 but we all know he’s totally exaggerating).

This is a great vegan meal no matter what you’re looking for: quick, easy, calorie friendly and DELICIOUS.

The Lazy Vegan’s Guide to Mealtime

It’s been almost two years since my husband and I adopted a plant based diet and aside from concern over my protein intake, the most common question I get asked is, “But what do you eat?”

I usually answer with sarcasm, something along the lines of grass and twigs because, let’s face it, that’s what people expect to hear whether or not it’s true. The truth is that I love to cook and would consider myself something of a foodie but that’s only if and when time permits. As a full-time writer and part-time author, my schedule is pretty packed most days. But a girl’s gotta eat, right?

So when we’re not whipping up fancy vegan feasts or rustic weeknight meals, we take the Keep It Simple, Stupid school of thought.

Step One: Grab some veggies

Depending on where in the world you live, you might find you can’t get all the produce all year long, which means you have to improvise. Don’t be afraid to spend some time in the produce aisle and see what’s on offer and what’s in season, more importantly, what’s not in season. You’ll notice that some fruits and vegetables may be available all year long they don’t always taste how they should.

If you’re not much of a cook, think about easy meals like stir-fry, vegetable medley, curry or a plain old casserole dish.

Step Two: Pick a grain.

This is my favorite part because the grains are where I’ll decide what this dish will be. Reach for bulgur or couscous and give your meal a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean flair, add rice to make it whatever you want, or my personal favorite, add a serving of your favorite Asian style noodle.

You don’t have to stick with any hard and fast rules here, just go with whatever flavors you feel like grabbing from your spice rack.

If you’re feeling really crazy, grab some tortilla shells and turn that veggie-tofu mix into tacos, burritos, nachos or fajitas.

Step three: Get your spices in order.

I firmly believe that the key to good, healthy vegan eating is variety. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, sure. But also variety in your spice cabinet, because this is how you’ll keep your taste buds excited about meal time.

You’ll want the basics like salt and whole black pepper, herbs like dill, thyme, oregano, basil and marjoram if you’re not ready for fresh herbs, but as you become more comfortable in the kitchen pick up more spices and herbs like cumin, cayenne pepper, curry, turmeric, garlic granules, all spice, smoky paprika and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Change up your spices and you’ll never be bored at mealtime.

Step four: Enjoy

Despite what you think or what you may have heard, being vegan doesn’t require you to spend hours in the kitchen. In fact, I would argue that it’s easier because there’s no animal protein you have to cook but we can debate that later.

This is my go-to method for creating quick and easy meals. It’s a fantastic way to eat healthy without ordering fast food or paying to eat out at restaurants on a regular basis.

Veggie taco.

Sticky orange cauliflower & rice

Just add rice & Sriracha and you’re good to go!