For new vegans, prepping easy and healthy meals can feel like a challenge. Many vegans are committed to eating more plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. To follow the healthiest vegan diet possible, it’s also important to limit ultra-processed foods that make up so much of the standard American diet. So, how do you get started in this new dietary journey? Let’s start with three easy vegan recipes that you can use as your go-to meals (and treats) as you get used to ditching animal products and dairy foods.
3 Easy Vegan Recipes
One thing you may miss as a vegan is the creaminess of dairy products, but there are ways to create the same consistency with plants. The key ingredient in this vegan recipe is cauliflower, which when blended, creates a thick and delicious cream sauce. Mix it with avocado oil, almond milk, nutritional yeast and Italian seasonings, and you’re left with a nutrient-rich, plant-based sauce for your favorite pasta. Some great options for gluten-free pasta include chickpea pasta, quinoa pasta or soba noodles, or zucchini noodles.
- 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped (about 3 heaping cups)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 2 teaspoons pine nuts
- 2 ¼ cup almond milk
- 2 teaspoons of each: salt, pepper, oregano and basil
- Juice from half a lemon
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- In a medium-sized pot, cook the avocado oil, garlic and pine nuts over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until garlic is golden brown.
- Add in almond milk and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to medium heat and add the cauliflower and spices. Cook until cauliflower is soft (about 8 minutes).
- Transfer to a high-powered blender and add in the lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Blend on high until smooth.
- Pour over your favorite gluten-free pasta or zoodles and top with fresh basil.
Looking for an easy (and delicious) way to get a ton of veggies into your meal? Make a big batch of minestrone soup and use it as your go-to meal for a few days. Make this soup with vegetable broth and load it up with nutrient-rich veggies like celery, zucchini, green beans, spinach and carrots. The beans provide fiber and protein, and you can add in a gluten-free pasta to make this soup even more filling.
- 1 ½ tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 zucchinis, end cut off and chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 ½ cups fresh green beans, end cut off and chopped
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth
- One 24-ounce can diced tomatoes
- Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed
- Two 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 cups spinach
- 2 cups gluten-free shell pasta
- Fresh basil for topping
- In a large pot, heat avocado oil and sautee carrots, onion, zucchini, celery and green beans for 5 minutes.
- Add in broth, tomatoes, beans and water.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add spinach and pasta, stirring until well-combined. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
- Allow soup to rest for 10 minutes, then serve topped with basil.
RELATED: Two Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes We Recommend
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Even when following a vegan diet, you can enjoy a sweet treat now and then. Although most chocolate chip cookie recipes require butter and milk, there are vegan-friendly ingredients that work just as well. These delicious vegan cookies are made with nut butter, gluten-free flour, dark chocolate and maple syrup. In lieu of eggs, they call for a “flax egg,” which is a mix of flax and water. And feel free to add oats, other forms of nut butter or even more chocolate chips to make this recipe exactly what you’re craving!
- 1 cup nut butter of your choice (we recommend chocolate hazelnut butter)
- ½ cup gluten-free baking flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup cacao nibs
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips, minimum 70% cacao
- Shredded coconut and extra cacao nibs to top
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a food processor, add in chocolate hazelnut butter (or butter of your choice), gluten-free flour blend, maple syrup, flax egg, vanilla extract, sea salt and baking powder.
- Blend until well combined.
- Add in the cacao nibs and chocolate chips and pulse 6 to 8 times or until they are well dispersed.
- Chill dough for 20 minutes.
- Scoop a tablespoon of the dough and shape into cookies. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Top with shredded coconut and cacao nibs.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, author of the best-selling books KETO DIET and COLLAGEN DIET and his upcoming book, Ancient Remedies, and host of “The Dr. Axe Show.”
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