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Vegan Dinner Hacks

Tofu and Green Beans Teriyaki Dinner

Tofu and green beans teriyaki dinner

If you’d like to complete our Practically Effortless Tofu and Green Beans Teriyaki as a full vegan teriyaki dinner, here’s a fun way to do so with hardly any more work. Add store-bought veggie sushi and a few raw veggies and you’ve got a crave-worthy meal. When my partner is out of town and I’m dining solo, I daresay that this is one of my favorite vegan dinner hacks!

About that sushi — you didn’t think I expected make veggie sushi rolls from scratch, did you? Making rolls at home is a time-sucking food project, not to mention messy. It’s not called sticky rice for nothing, and we’re not messing around when we call these dinners “hacks.” Continue Reading…

Quick Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry Dinner

Lentil and Kidney Bean curry dinner

Not long ago, we presented a delicious shortcut recipe, Instant Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry, inspired by the classic combo from Indian cuisine. One of the many full-flavored Indian simmer sauces available these days makes the meal a breeze to prepare — no need for the zillions of individual spices that gives the dish an authentic character. From mild coconut-based blends to hot jalfrezi sauces, the choice is yours. If vegan is important to you, check labels, as many of the varieties of these sauces contain dairy.

Completing this high-protein dish as a meal is a great idea, and that’s just what we’re going to do here. Brown rice and a refreshing cucumber salad are just the right companions. This meal is a bit light on vegetables; okay, quite light on vegetables, so we recommend fresh fruit or simple fresh fruit dessert (Pineapple-Orange Ambrosia, for instance) to make up for that. Continue Reading…

Pesto or Hummus Flatbreads & Black Bean Salad Dinner

Not long ago, we presented super-easy and extremely tasty Pesto or Hummus Flatbreads in a make-as-many-as-you-need version. We enjoy these so much, especially during the warmer months, that we were inspired to present a full meal paired with a tasty black bean salad.

For the flatbreads, choose something that’s 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Flatbreads are pre-baked, so all they need is a quick warm-up on a dry skillet to get the bottom nice and golden and crispy. Pre-baked mini pizza crusts work very well too, as do sturdy Indian breads (make sure there’s no dairy in them).

Most breads come in packages of at least 4, but you can make as few or as many as you need. If you’re eating solo or serving two, just make those, and you can make them again the next day, as they’re best fresh and take almost no time to prepare. Continue Reading…

Delicious and Easy Salad Bar at Home

Salad bar at home

Salad bars are often an appealing option for healthy food fans at restaurants, so why not serve one in your own kitchen? Here’s how to put together a delicious and easy salad bar at home. It’s a fantastic way to put together a last-minute company meal or for building a dinner around fresh raw veggies when you’re too rushed or tired to do a lot of cutting.

For a larger meal, consider a soup (or chili) and salad dinner. Classic Veggie Chili is a crowd-pleasing choice for cooler months; a cold soup like Gazpacho for summer (and if you want to take the hack a bit further, try our Brilliant 4-Ingredient Gazpacho).

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Easiest Peanut Satay Noodles Dinner

Easy Peanut satay noodles dinner

World’s Easiest Peanut Satay Noodles is one of our favorite Shameless Shortcut Recipes, so we’ve worked it up into a full dinner that’s as easy as it is festive.

Central to this dinner hack is using good bottled Thai peanut satay sauce which ideally will contain all the exotic ingredients that would be a pain to find and use individually — tamarind sauce, lemongrass, red chili, and more. Some peanut satay sauce brands include A Taste of Thai, and Thai Kitchen; look for them in your supermarket’s Asian foods section.

To complete this easy meal, add readymade vegetable dumplings (or alternatively, spring rolls) and pre-grated carrots dressed in sesame-ginger dressing. Continue Reading…

BBQ-Flavored Tofu and Chickpea Bowl

BBQ tofu and chickpea bowl

One of the annoying things we’ve noticed about bowl recipes in cookbooks and around the web is how complicated they’ve become. Something that started out as a super-simple way to enjoy variety in a meal has gone kind of crazy — sometimes 3 to 4 sauces have to be made with a plethora of spices, along with a myriad of ingredients that have to be prepped just so.

It’s almost a minimalist bowl recipe these days that has “only” 15 ingredients, and we counted up a bunch that have in the neighbor hood of 30 ingredients! And the concept behind this is supposed to be simple, one-bowl meals? We don’t think so. And we’re here to prove that it doesn’t have to be that way. Continue Reading…

BBQ Tempeh Salad & Sweet Potato Fries

BBQ tempeh salad dinner

When this delectable BBQ tempeh salad is the centerpiece of a meal, the notion of salad as rabbit food is turned on its head. As a light meal, it can stand on its own. Or, if you want to add a little something yummy on the side, organic sweet potato fries (readymade, if you’re as much into meal hacking as we are. If you’re a bit more ambitious, of course you can make your own fresh sweet potato fries. Or baked sweet potatoes just as they are — it’s all good.

There’s something so nice about the contrast of BBQ flavors (provided by the tempeh cooked in a good-quality barbecue sauce) and a creamy dressing. Vegan ranch isn’t always easy to find, so you can make your own; use vegan mayo and a little lemon juice; or the alternatives suggested, French or a tahini-based dressing, both of which are easy find in natural vegan versions. If you’d like a more formal recipe for the salad, see BBQ Tempeh Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing. Continue Reading…

Stovetop BBQ Tofu Dinner

Stovetop BBQ Tofu Skewers dinner

When you see recipes and photos for (vegan) BBQ, are you bummed out that you don’t have a grill? To be honest, I’ve had various grills over the years, but I’m just too lazy to use them. Even an electric grill is too much godforsaken work to clean up afterwards. No worries — BBQ tofu is an easy hack to do right on the stovetop.

So these grills have gotten stashed and forgotten, or simply died from neglect. But still — there’s that delicious barbecue flavor. What to do? Fortunately, a bottle of good barbecue sauce does the trick, applied to a welcoming surface with heat on the stovetop or in the oven.

For the slightly less lazy, consider our Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce. OK, you’ve gotta get the individual ingredients, but once they’re all on hand, it takes minutes to make and rivals any prepared sauce. Continue Reading…

Polenta with Black Beans & Green Salad Dinner

Polenta with black beans

Prepared polenta offers great ways to add variety to the dinner repertoire. One of our long-time faves is pan-grilled polenta topped with a simple combination of black beans and spinach. In addition to being the main dish of a light yet satisfying dinner, this can also be a hearty warm appetizer.

There are a number of brands that offer tube polenta. You might find it in the Italian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets; near the flour products or gluten-free section of natural foods stores, and some Italian specialty markets. This kind of polenta is made only of cornmeal; some have a few herbs like basil to add a little flavor, but even unembellished it’s surprisingly tasty. If you like using it, you’ll love 8 Ways to Use Tube Polenta. Continue Reading…

Peanut Noodles & Broccoli Slaw Dinner

Peanut noodles dinner

What’s not to love about peanut noodles? And now, with flavorful Thai peanut satay sauce available almost everywhere, there’s more to love about them than ever. This delicious Asian-style dinner is made in a flash thanks to great shortcuts like the sauce, as well as pre-cut broccoli slaw and veggie spring rolls that come from your natural food store’s (or supermarket aisle’s) frozen foods section.

Even with all these healthy shortcuts, this meal is more economical than what the take-out equivalent would cost. And it’s off the scales as far as yumminess, and the kind of meal we love most — easy enough for weeknights, impressive enough for company. Continue Reading…

Vegan Antipasto Platter & Pasta Dinner

Vegan antipasto platter & pasta

If it’s summer, chances are that company will be coming at some point, and that you’ll have to gather your resources and brain cells to make a last minute-meal. Whether it’s the in-laws or friends you haven’t seen in forever, you’ll want that meal to be a crowd-pleaser, designed to impressed.

The dilemma is that it is summer, after all, and you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. A vegan antipasto platter can be the answer to your warm-weather entertaining quandaries. Served with fresh bread and pesto, it can make an almost instant lunch for four to six. Add a big pot of spaghetti or linguini with good store-bought sauce, and it becomes a fantastic dinner. Continue Reading…

Baked Polenta Casserole & Broccoli Slaw Dinner

Polenta Zucchini casserole dinner

What could be better than a comforting casserole at the end of a long, busy day? A comforting casserole that takes almost not time to prepare, like our Baked Polenta Casserole with Zucchini and Spinach, that’s what! And while it’s in the oven, all you need to do is kick back, because bagged fresh broccoli slaw and fresh bread complete a full dinner with no extra work.

The casserole is made up of layers of prepared polenta, the kind that comes in a tube, zucchini, and baby spinach. It’s smothered in marinara sauce and topped with melty vegan cheese, resulting in a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly main dish. Lots of casseroles need prep of the various components, but this one requires only minimal hands-on time. Use a really flavorful prepared marinara— roasted tomato, garlic, mushroom, or chunky vegetable. Continue Reading…

Salsa Verde Quinoa & Veggies Dinner

Salsa Verde Quinoa dinner - Vegan Food Hacks

When you have a delicious, nourishing (and quick) dish like Salsa Verde Quinoa Pilaf as the centerpiece of a dinner plate, the rest of the meal comes together quickly. Here, we’ve completed the veg-centric meal with a late spring flavor, though it can be enjoyed almost any time of year.

Asparagus used to be a sign of spring; and though it’s a little less special now that it’s available nearly throughout the year, we won’t complain; it’s a veggie that doesn’t need chopping or prep (other than a little trim off the bottom), and that’s always a good thing. Continue Reading…

Colorful Quinoa Protein Bowl

quinoa protein bowl recipe

This quinoa bowl recipe is quick, colorful, and an easy way to get your plant-powered protein in a one-dish meal. And while it looks like there’s a bit of prep involved, that’s not the case at all! The only cutting involved is the bell pepper. If you’re really slothful, well-stocked supermarkets sell cut bell pepper. But really, you can do this.

Grating carrots isn’t much fun, though, so we’ll use pre-grated, which are easy to find. The edamame and cashews add even more heft to quinoa’s already impressive protein profile. The only task you’ve got is to arrange the toppings artfully over cooked quinoa, then pass around the flavorful dressing. Continue Reading…

Cauliflower Fried Rice & Sautéed Tofu Dinner

auliflower fried rice and tofu dinner

Chinese-Style Cauliflower Fried Rice served with Simple Sweet and Savory Sautéed Tofu makes a tasty vegan dinner menu, filled with healthy shortcuts.Those of you who follow Vegan Food Hacks know that we’re big fans of cauliflower “rice.” So many of you liked the cauliflower fried rice recipe we shared recently that we decided to build a meal around it.

What this meal needs is a tasty protein dish, and for that we suggest a simple sweet and savory sautéed tofu preparation. You can substitute tempeh or seitan for this as well. Our dishes are nothing if not flexible. Continue Reading…

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak & Salad Dinner

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak dinner

I’ve always wanted to try making vegan Philly cheesesteak, but something always stopped me. The problem has been that most of the recipes I’ve looked at use seitan in place of you-know-what. And while otherwise I have no quibble with seitan, it just seems like pure gluten served on bread is redundant.

Occasionally, a recipe will swap in portobello mushrooms, which do have that meaty umami thing going on. But for me, this would make it a portobello mushroom sandwich. While undeniably tasty, not exactly what I’d call the ideal vegan cheesesteak. Continue Reading…

Butternut Soup & Hummus Wraps Dinner

20-minute Butternut soup & hummus

Here’s a tasty vegan dinner featuring shortcut butternut squash soup and simple hummus and avocado wraps that make a perfect companion. No need to follow exact recipes, just a few easy steps and a delicious meal is yours in 20 minutes or less!

Smooth, mellow butternut squash soup has to be among the top comfort soups on the planet. I don’t mind making fresh butternut squash soup from scratch for special occasions like Thanksgiving, but when the craving hits at 6 o’clock pm or later on a weekday, a soothing bowlful seems out of reach. Or is it? The good news is that butternut squash soup (organic and vegan!) comes in 32-ounce containers — a convenient, instant soup starter. Continue Reading…

Crazy-Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes Dinner

Easy vegan Sloppy Joes dinner

There are 1,001 great ways to use vegan burgers — other than as burgers, of course. Our latest veggie burger creation — using a grand total of 4 items (5, if you count the little bit of optional oil) — are these crazy-easy vegan sloppy joes. And to make the entire dinner, you’ll be picking up 7 ingredients — head straight to the express lane!

The number one reason we like to use vegan burgers in meaty meatless dishes is because they give you a wide choice of healthy ingredients. Many burger crumbles and meat imitators are based on soy protein isolate, which isn’t the healthiest ingredient; veggie burgers come in a wider range of ingredients including quinoa, beans, kale, eggplant, pea protein, and more. Here’s a handy listing of the best vegan store bought veggie burgers. Continue Reading…

Vegan Spinach Quesadillas & Pinto Bean Salad Dinner

Vegan spinach quesadillas

 I have to admit that I often need to remind myself to eat more beans. It’s not always easy to get excited about a meal centered around beans (unless it’s a spicy, soul-satisfying chili on a super-cold day). Beans may not as sexy as other plant proteins, but they’re definitely an under-appreciated food group. So with this easy meal, we’re going to sweeten the deal by pairing the beans with vegan spinach quesadillas. They give the meal a definite yum factor.

As it turns out, the simple bean salad in this meal turns out to be no slouch in the yumminess department, embellished with olives and avocado. All in all, this pairing adds up to a dinner that will leave you feel virtuous and satisfied at the same time.
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Greens-Stuffed Potato Curry Dinner

Greens-stuffed curried potato dinne

Spinach potato curry is a classic combination in Indian cuisine. There’s Saag Aloo, as well as Aloo Palak. Neither are particularly difficult to make, but involve numerous ingredients — mostly, the numerous spices that add up to those amazing flavors.

If your spice rack is underwhelming, or if you don’t have the stamina to measure, toast, and grind the requisite spices, then do what we do here at Vegan Food Hacks — use readymade Indian simmer sauces to create amazing approximations of favorite curry flavors. For this dinner, we’ve also upped the nutritional ante with baby “power greens,” though it will be just as good with baby spinach. Continue Reading…

Vegan Recipes by VegKitchen logo
Vegan recipes by VegKitchen