The plant-based diet was one of the top food trends of 2019, and it looks to be gaining momentum into 2020. And while plant-based eating and veganism are not one and the same, they do share a commitment to eating far more fruits and vegetables. If you’re interested in packing more plants into your diet — or eliminating meat from your daily intake — here are two easy vegan dinner recipes that will satisfy your appetite and provide tremendous flavor. And did we mention they’re easy? Yes, ‘easy’ and ‘vegan’ can happily coexist! One is super fast, the other needs a little more prep and cook time.
Two Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes
Easy Vegan Pasta with Pine Nuts
If carbs and gluten don’t scare you, then let’s whip up an easy vegan pasta dish that will make mealtime fast and flawless. With just a handful of simple ingredients, this recipe is one you’ll return to again and again.
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or olive oil if you prefer)
- 3 shallots, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 8 oz fresh spinach
- 8 oz spaghetti
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ lemon
- ¼ c vegan Parmesan (ingredients below)
- ¼ c pine nuts
- ¾ c raw cashews
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- Boil salted water for pasta in a large pot.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and stir for one minute.
- Add fresh spinach to the skillet to wilt, using tongs to rotate it as it wilts. This portion of the process requires the most hands-on time.
- Once water is boiling, add pasta to cook for slightly more than half the called-for cooking time.
- Once the spinach is wilted and the pasta has been boiling for slightly more than half of the called-for cooking time, use a pasta spoon to lift the pasta out of the pot and add it to the skillet. With all the pasta now in the skillet, add two ladle-fulls of the water used to boil the pasta to the skillet and bring the heat up to medium-high. Use tongs to continue to mix the pasta and spinach mixture.
- When the first batch of pasta water has cooked off, add one more ladle. Add the juice of half a lemon.
- Once the last of the water has cooked off, transfer the mixture from the skillet to a pasta bowl. Add pine nuts and vegan Parmesan and mix completely before serving.
- Add all vegan Parmesan ingredients listed above to a food processor and mix to a fine texture. Store in an air-tight container or mason jar with lid and refrigerate for up to three weeks.
Coconut Lentil Curry
For a substantial stew that fills a hungry appetite the same way that a meat-based chili would, this vegan coconut lentil curry is just the thing. While it has a few steps to prep the meal, none of them require advanced cooking skills. This dish will wow your friends and family and leave your house smelling oh-so-good.
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 head of garlic, chopped (or 3 Tbsp chunky garlic paste)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp ginger paste
- 1 Tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 15-oz can coconut milk
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes, sliced
- Before you start cooking, prep all of the spices, garlic, and ginger, and set aside. It makes everything much easier!
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast them until they start to brown, about 45 seconds. Add garlic to the pot and let it brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion and let it cook down for 2-3 minutes. Then add the crushed tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sea salt to the pot, letting it cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils and cayenne pepper (if using) along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
- With 5 minutes left in the cooking time, add the garbanzo beans.
- Once the lentils are soft, add the coconut milk, followed by the spinach and cilantro. Serve with basmati rice and top with cherry tomatoes.
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