A vegan diet based on whole plant foods is healthy, humane and sustainable. Some basic vegan meals are simple to make and satisfy your hunger. They provide nutrients like protein, iron and calcium from plant-based sources.
Oatmeal with fruit and nuts is a hearty way to start your day. Cook oats in plant milk and top with berries, bananas and almonds. Tofu scramble, made with crumbled tofu, veggies like spinach and tomatoes and spices such as turmeric, is a protein-packed option.
A bowl with grains, greens and beans makes a balanced lunch. Combine rice and black beans or quinoa and chickpeas. Add a simple salad or steamed vegetables. A veggie burger in a whole-grain bun with fixings you enjoy, like lettuce and tomato, is always a favorite.
A stir fry over noodles or rice mixes fresh vegetables and a plant-based protein like tofu for an easy dinner. Lentil soup, chili or curry over rice or with crusty bread to dip make cozy, comforting meals. Pasta primavera with marinara sauce and loads of vegetables satisfies.
Eating more basic plant-based vegan meals has benefits for your health, the planet and animals. Focus on real, whole foods, limit processed options and keep experimenting – there’s so much variety in the plant kingdom to explore! A balanced vegan diet with the right nutrients will give you energy and help you feel your best.
Types of basic vegan meals
For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit, nuts, and coconut shreds or a smoothie made from bananas, berries, plant-based milk and a protein powder.
For lunch, try a hearty soup, stew, or chili loaded with veggies, beans, and grains. Some options include:
- Minestrone soup with pasta, beans, and veggies
- Lentil stew with potatoes, carrots and spinach
- Three bean chili with corn and zucchini
A simple sandwich, wrap or burrito with hummus, avocado, veggies and a plant-based meat substitute or nut patty also makes a satisfying midday meal.
For dinner, stir fries, curries, and veggie-centric pasta dishes are always a good choice. A few crowd-pleasers include:
- Tofu and veggie stir fry with rice or noodles
- Coconut curry over rice with chickpeas and mixed veggies
- Pasta primavera with marinara sauce, zoodles or spaghetti squash and your favorite veggies
- Bean and veggie enchiladas or fajitas with avocado, salsa and cilantro rice
With so many nutritious and delicious plant-based meals to choose from, following a vegan diet has never been easier. Experiment with different grains, legumes, nuts, and vegetables to find what you enjoy and keep things interesting. A balanced vegan diet can provide all the nutrients you need to thrive. Satisfy your appetite and do something good for yourself and the planet.
Nothing beats a delicious and satisfying breakfast to start your day. As a vegan, you have so many nutritious options to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:
Overnight oats are a perfect grab-and-go breakfast. Just combine rolled oats, plant-based milk like almond or soy, chia seeds or ground flax for extra protein, and your favorite add-ins like mashed banana, berries, nut butter, or maple syrup. Mix well, refrigerate overnight and enjoy cold or warmed up. This fiber-filled breakfast will keep you full for hours.
A tofu scramble is a hearty, savory option. Simply crumble extra-firm tofu and sauté in a pan with veggies like bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Season with turmeric, cumin, garlic and your favorite spices. Add in beans, avocado and salsa for a little Southwestern flair. Serve the scramble on its own, in a wrap, or on top of toast.
Fruit smoothies provide a refreshing, nutritious start to your day. Blend plant-based milk or yogurt with fruit like bananas, berries, mango or peaches. Add in extras such as nut butter for protein, greens like spinach for an antioxidant boost, or flax or chia seeds. A smoothie with the right balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats will satisfy you until lunchtime.
Other quick and easy options include:
- Oatmeal with nuts, seeds and maple syrup
- Whole grain toast with nut butter and mashed avocado
- Coconut yogurt parfaits with granola and fresh fruit
- Breakfast burritos with beans, rice, salsa and guacamole
A good vegan breakfast fuels you up and provides lasting energy to take on your day. Mix and match these delicious, balanced options for a perfect start to your morning.
For a satisfying vegan lunch, you have several nutritious options to choose from. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
A crisp salad is a perfect light lunch option. Some delicious vegan delicious vegan:
- Mixed greens with chickpeas, avocado, and a lemon vinaigrette
- Quinoa salad with black beans, corn, and salsa
- Potato salad with vegan mayonnaise, pickles, and fresh herbs
A hearty soup is comforting and filling. Try making:
- Lentil soup with vegetables like carrots, celery and tomatoes
- Minestrone with pasta, beans and lots of fresh veggies
- Vegetable chili with kidney beans, zucchini, bell peppers and chili spices
For a satisfying sandwich, load up vegan ingredients on bread, in a wrap or on a bun:
- Hummus, cucumber, tomato and sprouts on whole wheat bread
- Black bean burger with grilled mushrooms and onions on a bun
- Tofu banh mi with pickled veggies, cilantro and vegan mayonnaise on a baguette
Other lunch options include burritos, pasta, rice and beans, or noodle dishes. Keep some pre-made components on hand like cooked grains, beans, sauteed veggies and dressings to assemble quick, nourishing lunches.
A balanced vegan lunch should include protein from plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, tofu or nut butters along with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need by including a source of healthy fats like nuts or avocado and plenty of vitamins and minerals from fresh produce.
With so many delicious plant-based options, you’ll never run out of exciting vegan lunches to try. Pick a few recipes, do some meal prep on the weekends and enjoy nourishing, satisfying vegan lunches all week long.
For a satisfying vegan dinner, curries, stir fries, and casseroles are always a good option. These types of dishes are hearty, flavorful and filling—perfect for a main meal. Here are a few easy recipes to try:
Chickpea Curry over Rice
The spices in this curry dish will fill your home with an amazing aroma. Sauté chopped onions, garlic and chili peppers, then add coconut milk, chickpeas, and spices like cumin, coriander and turmeric. Simmer until heated through and serve over rice or with naan bread.
Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu
Stir fries are a perfect quick and healthy weeknight meal. Slice bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and tofu and stir fry in a wok or large skillet with soy sauce or tamari and rice vinegar or lime juice. You can also add cashews or peanuts for some crunchy protein. Serve your veggies and tofu over rice or rice noodles.
Enchiladas are always a crowd pleaser and this vegan version is just as satisfying. Sauté veggies like zucchini, spinach and corn, then wrap in tortillas with beans, salsa and vegan cheese. Place in a baking dish and top with enchilada sauce, more cheese and chili peppers if desired. Bake until bubbly for a delicious vegan comfort food.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
For a hearty casserole, lentil shepherd’s pie hits the spot. Sauté onions, carrots and celery, then add lentils, vegetable broth and herbs. Simmer until lentils are soft and mixture has thickened. Pour into a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes, corn and bread crumbs. Broil for a few minutes until the topping is golden brown. This protein-packed dish will satisfy any appetite.
With curries, stir fries, casseroles and more, you’ll never run out of delicious vegan dinner options. Experiment with different veggies, legumes, grains and spices for variety. Your taste buds will thank you!
Tips for cooking basic vegan meals
To make satisfying and nutritious vegan meals, keep these tips in mind:
Stock your pantry with vegan staples like beans, grains, nuts, and nut butters. These provide protein and fill you up. Cook beans and grains in bulk, then add them to meals throughout the week or freeze portions for later.
Get creative with vegetables. Roast, sauté, or stir fry veggies like broccoli, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes. Add extra veggies to pasta dishes, sandwiches, and salads. Try veggie-centric meals like veggie curry over rice, vegan chili, or vegetable pot pie.
Use plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Marinate and bake tofu or tempeh to add lots of flavor. Add crumbled tempeh to pasta sauce, chili, or tacos. Seitan can be stir fried, grilled, or breaded and baked.
Keep non-dairy milk, yogurt, and cheese on hand. Nut-based milks provide creaminess and calcium. Coconut-based yogurt and soft nut-based cheeses stand in for dairy.
Cook with healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Nut butters, tahini, and mashed avocado also provide healthy fats that add richness.
Use condiments and spices generously. Tamari or soy sauce, nutritional yeast, chili paste or sriracha, herbs, and spices boost flavor in vegan cooking.
Bread and bake when you have time. Homemade bread, muffins, granola, hummus, and snack bars fill your kitchen with wholesome vegan aromas and give you grab-and-go options.
Find vegan-friendly recipes or veganize your favorites. Many recipes can be made vegan by substituting plant-based ingredients. Get creative and don’t be afraid to experiment!
Eating vegan doesn’t have to be complicated. Focus on whole foods, plant-based protein sources, healthy fats, and lots of flavor. With a well-stocked pantry and a bit of creativity, you’ll be making satisfying vegan meals in no time.
As a vegan, eating a balanced and nutritious diet is important for your health and well-being. Vegan meals can provide all the nutrients you need when you focus on high-fiber, vitamin- and mineral-rich foods with phytonutrients.
Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day from foods like beans, lentils, oats, nuts, and seeds. Fiber helps keep you feeling full and promotes regularity.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens like kale and spinach which provide vitamins A, C and K. Citrus fruits, bell peppers and broccoli also provide vitamin C. Get vitamin B12 from nutritional yeast or a supplement. For calcium, try almond milk, tofu, sesame seeds. For iron, cook with cast-iron and eat lentils, chickpeas and quinoa.
Phytonutrients are compounds in plants that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Aim for 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies per day of different colors like sweet potatoes, blueberries, tomatoes and avocados which provide carotenoids, anthocyanins and lycopene.
Include good sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Use olive oil for salads and cooking over medium-high heat. Coconut oil is great for high-heat cooking and adds creaminess.
Most vegans should aim for 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day from plant-based sources like beans, lentils, tofu, seitan, nut butters and veggie-based meat alternatives. Combine complementary proteins like rice and beans or hummus and whole grain toast for complete protein.
Eating a variety of healthy, whole vegan foods can provide all the nourishment you need. Focus on fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats and protein with each meal. Your body and conscience will thank you.
Reasons to increase basic vegan meals
There are several compelling reasons to incorporate more basic vegan meals into your diet.
One of the biggest benefits of a plant-based diet is weight loss. Whole plant foods like grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are low in calories but high in fiber, which helps keep you feeling full. Studies show vegans tend to weigh less and have lower body mass indexes. So replacing some of your regular meals with vegan options is an easy way to cut calories and shed pounds.
Lower Disease Risk
A diet high in plant-based foods and low in animal products has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers like prostate and breast cancer. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes contain antioxidants, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds that promote health and help fight disease. Eating more vegan meals is an simple lifestyle change that can have big benefits for your long term health.
Industrial meat production strains natural resources and contributes to deforestation, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, plant-based diets have a much smaller environmental footprint. They require fewer crops, land and water to produce the same number of calories. By eating vegan meals, you’ll be helping the planet by reducing your carbon footprint and environmental impact. Every little bit makes a difference!
For many vegans, it’s about the ethics of eating animal products, especially in industrial food systems. Animal agriculture often subjects animals to cramped, confined living conditions, mutilations like dehorning, and prolonged suffering. A fully plant-based diet avoids contributing to these unethical practices. Whether for the animals, environment or your health, there are lots of good reasons to go vegan—even if just for a few meals a week. Why not give it a try?
You now have 15 satisfying and nutritious vegan meals to get you through the week. These recipes cover all the bases, providing healthy portions of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whether you’re vegan or just want to eat more plant-based meals, this collection of breakfasts, lunches and dinners will give you lots of inspiration.
To recap, the meals we covered were:
- Oatmeal with bananas and nuts
- Tofu scramble
- Hummus and veggie wrap
- Lentil soup
- Buddha bowl with quinoa and stir fry veggies
- Chickpea salad sandwich
- Vegetable curry over rice
- Pasta primavera
- Bean and barley chili
- Sweet potato black bean enchiladas
- Veggie fritters with salad
- Rice and beans
- Stir fry noodles with tofu and vegetables
- Potato pancakes
- Banana nice cream
As you can see, vegan cooking can be simple, affordable and delicious when focusing on whole plant-based ingredients. The key is choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to provide all the nutrients you need. These recipes are also highly adaptable – feel free to substitute different veggies and spices based on your tastes and what’s in season.
Eating more plant-based meals is better for your health and the planet. If you’re new to vegan cooking, start slowly by incorporating one or two meatless meals each week. Once you get familiar with staple ingredients and recipes, you’ll find that crafting satisfying vegan fare is a breeze. Here’s to healthy, sustainable and compassionate eating!