Vegan Recipes and Foods
Eating a diet of 70% vegan foods can reduce high blood pressure, help with weight loss, make it easier to get fiber and antioxidants, prevent heart disease, and things like that. In fact, a plant based (vegetarian or vegan) diet has been shown in this study BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, and Health to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19. Pescetarians also had a reduced risk, though it was not as substantial. Article explaining it
Added 11/29/20: A magazine with some vegan info Veg News Here's its vegan food guide section. Vegan Food Guides And here is its taste tests section. Taste Tests Added 3/16/21: Vegan product reviews from Vegan Kitchen Magick Link out
If you want to get more vegan foods in your diet, it's better to start with simple things. Remembering that vegan food has a tendency of being too carb-heavy, light on protein, iron, and calcium, here's a list of ideas to help you avoid shriveling up and dyin'. If you can get away with eating something vegan for one meal a day for a long time, then try adding more vegan things into your diet. Slow steps. Don't go 100% vegan unless you're sure you can handle that.* Most vegan websites online claim that everything they make is "delicious" because their food is vegan. Beware the siren lure of these things' recipes. They can cost a ton, take days to make, and still taste bad. Your best bet is searching for accidentally vegan recipes on cooking websites you trust, such as The Pioneer Woman, Instructables, or The Woks of Life. You can also often find vegan recipes in Indian cuisine. One good way of getting into it is trying a few vegan replacement-for-animal-product products per week as a substitute to something or other. Eventually you'll find the products that work in your usual recipes or diet. There is just one animal product that might actually help with the environment, however: honey. Beekeepers at your average farmer's market (in my experience) slave away for the health of their bees and help protect the bee population from dwindling. This article link out claims that humans always steal honey and replace it with sugar syrup, and unless the beekeeper is really greedy, that isn't true; they provide honey plants galore to feed the bees, save bee swarms from being killed by terrified homeowners and adopt them, give 'em a Langstroth hive, smoke out bees & centrifuge some of the combs only when the hive is getting overfull, replace the combs, and this prevents the hive from overflowing with honey and attracting honey-hungry predators, plus prevents other problems source second source Of course, just like all other animal husbandry, if you screw it up, it's bad, but you can totally backyard beekeep in a way that is ethical. So keep that in mind.
*I tried once and turned out to have a genetic B12 and other B vitamins deficiency problem (YES, I WAS TAKING LOTS OF B12 SUPPLEMENTS, YES, IT STILL WASN'T ENOUGH). Wasn't pretty. As in, I wound up in the emergency room. If I can manage to eat vegan 2/3 meals a day and 2-4 days 100% a week, you can probably do it.
Easy Vegan Breakfast Ideas
- Clif bars are vegan. They are also my favorite backup meal that I carry around with me in whatever purse or pack. You can probably survive on them alone for weeks, although I wouldn't recommend it. For variety you could try the Luna kind or the Builder Bar. Heart Thrive cakes and Bobo's Oat Bars also work but all of these options are really sweet. Better to eat falafel for breakfast probably.
- Storebought flour tortillas filled with roast potatoes, cooked or canned black beans, and salsa; some green chiles or sauteed bell peppers in here would be good too
- Oatmeal with toppings, such as sliced apples and walnuts, chocolate chips and raisins, bananas and walnuts, or peanut butter and brown sugar
- Muesli made with almond milk and topped with nuts and fruits - if eaten each morning this stuff might lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Toast with plain mashed avocado, almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, storebought vegan cream cheese and tomatoes, or tempeh bacon. Or heck, any of the large array of jams, jellies, spreads, and nut butters works well.
- Storebought granola, vegan yogurt, toasted nuts, and fruit in a parfait
- Warm up a can of kidney beans on the stove. Add soy sauce and/or ketchup. Serve over toast with some chopped green onion. Time-honored. Supposedly vegans have been eating beans on toast as a staple food since the 70s. Change it up with different kinds of canned beans and different seasonings, such as molasses and brown sugar and mustard powder for Boston baked beans.
- Breakfast cereals are basically all vegan. Throw a handful of some toasted nuts in there for protein. Soymilk is the best bet for adding complete protein but quinoa milk is also complete, however it tastes absolutely terrible, so I hope for a decent dairy substitute to exist soon.
- If you're one of those people with no appetite in the morning, try a fruit plate. Slice up fruit, mix it with lemon juice or pineapple juice, and lay it out on a plate to munch.
Easy Vegan Lunch or Dinner Ideas
- Storebought veggie burgers with storebought frozen fries and all the fixings
- Peanut butter jelly sandwich with chips. Also time-honored.
- Storebought flour tortillas filled with refried beans, salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo and hot sauce
- Storebought falafel in a pita with hummus and a chopped salad, warm up some frozen fries on the side
- Some ramens are vegan. Read the label and be sure to serve them with a protein food of some sort.
- Meat Substitute burgers A taste test revealed that Beyond and Impossible burgers, according to Serious Eats, are the best on the market.
- If you have a rice cooker, try making rinsed quinoa or some rice and then top it with cooked or canned beans, lentils, or what have you. Add sauces and cooked vegetables to taste. There, a buddha bowl. These are not as easy as the other ideas but they'll fill you up and they're customizable. If you get boxed quinoa, there's usually a recipe on the box to ensure the quinoa turns out right. Some ideas for buddha bowl combos include 1. Quinoa, black beans, sauteed bell peppers, lemon or lime juice and salt 2. White rice, lentils, sauteed onions, and cooked elbow macaroni 3. Quinoa, roasted red onions and sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice
- There is a vegan cheese substitute called Daiya. The shredded mozzarella kind makes a pretty good pizza. Get a premade crust or follow a recipe, put pizza sauce on it, top it, bake it. Any pizza recipe will do. If you can make the crust whole wheat so much the better. Decent vegan pepperonis can be had from Yves if you like those.
- An easier version of pizzas is bagel pizzas here or french bread pizzas here. Just swap out the cheese with mozzarella Daiya or Miyoko's (the latter if you're loaded...), load 'em up with veggie toppings, and you're good to go.
- Amy's makes a whole lot of frozen vegan meals. It takes about two or three of them to fill you up.
Easy Vegan Sides Ideas
- Smoothies. No, these aren't breakfast! Ffs!
- Fruit plate, crudite tray. Arrange stuff in a pretty fashion and add vegan dips. Mix up the fruit with some pineapple juice first to prevent browning.
- Boil or steam green vegetables until they become a brighter green, drain, optionally dunk in ice water and drain again, done. Perfect side dish.
- Storebought hummus with crudites and either sliced up pitas or crackers - warm up the sliced up pitas with a little olive oil brushed on there in a 200F oven for 20 minutes first, and drizzle some olive oil on that hummus, and you'd be hard pressed to find a restaurant doing better
- Make a humongous salad and pour some storebought vegan dressing on it. It ain't pretty but it works. If you are daring, try some of the Joy of Cooking's dressing recipes.
- Blend up some pesto using walnuts and no parmesan. Choose any recipe that you like; it'll come out fine without the cheese. Also works using sun-dried tomatoes instead of basil. Good on toast.
- Lightlife is a good brand for fake bacon. The stuff comes in "bacon strip" type things and "tempeh bacon." I have not tried the other meats by the brand. Also the CEO has criticized the guy attempting to turn the US into his own dictatorship so that's good enough for me. Source
- Canned soup. If you have the skills you can make your own; vegetable soups work out okay as do lentil soups.
- A tomato soup with coconut milk and cilantro is pretty dope if you can pull it off. You saute an onion and some garlic with black pepper in olive oil, add a can of whole tomatoes and 2 tablespoons coconut milk, simmer for 15 minutes, puree it with a stick blender or in batches in a blender. Return to the pot, take it off the heat, add chopped cilantro, season to taste.
Vegan Storebought Snacks: because it's easier to buy snacks than it is to make them
- Several junk foods are vegan, and are so awesome you'll wonder why on earth people call veganism "healthy." Dandies marshmallows for instance, those are great. Also you should try covering popcorn in hot sauce, Spike, and nutritional yeast. Potato chips, most popcorn, kettle corn, candied almonds, terra chips, Equal Exchange chocolate bars, GoMaxGo candy bars, coconut fake ice cream, and chocolate sauce are all vegan. I suggest tossing a scoop of that fake ice cream in some soda.
- Chips and salsa
- More than a few chip-type things in health food stores are vegan. Just do yourself a favor and avoid rice cakes. Not the Asian-style rice crackers aka sembei but the Western-style stuff made by Quaker and Lundberg. They'll eat your soul.
- Dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate
- Sesame crunchies
- Breads and spreads, such as nut butters
- Wasabi peas
- Bubble tea
Vegan stuff that's nutritious which can be a diet staple
- Roast or fried potatoes with the skin on. Good source of iron and vitamin C, plus other vitamins and minerals
- Sauteed or stewed kale or collard greens, washed multiple times in a sink or bowl of cold water to get rid of grit, then flavored with salt, sauteed garlic, and a splash of lemon juice
- Salads, and lots of them, with many kinds of vegetables. Not good as a main meal but certainly helpful as an addition to all 3 main meals of the day no matter what kind of diet you have. Develop a taste for this and you might also improve the way your skin looks, since lettuce and other salad greens are so rich in folate, fiber, and other kinds of good stuff.
- Lentil soup, if you find a good recipe for it, or dal
- Nut butters of various kinds, to avoid getting stuck in the peanut butter rut
- Wholegrain bread; can be gluten free - you should probably bake this yourself or find a trustworthy brand because quality varies so much. Great Harvest is generally good. The gluten free alternatives include home cooked quinoa, white rice, nonstale brown rice, and gluten free pastas such as Tinkyada.
- Any kind of dish with lots of beans or legumes, because protein
- Roast or boiled carrots, sweet potato, or beets, for the vitamin A
- Roasted chickpeas
- Green smoothies
Hints for vegan cooking and substitutes, as well as things that are vegan already
- Bland vegan foods, like tofu, beans and rice, or veggie burgers, can be made way better with sriracha. Most baked vegan savory dishes can be improved with pressed or minced garlic added before they cook. Onion powder is the supreme savory seasoning. Fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut generally improve bland meals if served on the side but are super expensive, so if you can afford the investment of jars with airlocks and fermenting weights, and if your home's temperature is usually below 75 F, make your own. No, you can't make ferments without these three things, ask me how I know. *grumble*
- To up your cooking game, try veganizing things from The Pioneer Woman. A surprising amount of stuff on this website is vegan already. Seriously. I used to read it almost every day, there's a lot in there. Bonus: these recipes don't fail. Since they cater to omnivores, taste is everything.
- Tofu is not the answer to everything. Too much will make you sick.
- Once you're cooking vegan foods a lot you will probably use applesauce, tomatoes, cashews, bananas, potatoes, and avocado. They're pretty useful.
- Substitute products include Miyoko's cheese and faux dairy (not that expensive anymore), Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Just Egg, Freely Vegan, Violife, and Kite Hill. I haven't tried the latter five. Kite Hill and Impossible Foods have good reviews. Here are a bunch of vegan fish and seafood substitutes. VegNews article And here is a big bunch of vegan products. GTFO It's Vegan Vegan steak may be closer than we think. Veg News article Ditto vegan milk. Second Veg News article Ditto vegan cheese. New Culture Food
- Miyoko's cheeses are the best on the market as far as I can tell when it comes to vegan cheese. The fake cheddar shreds or blocks are pretty amazing as snacks on top of crackers, but are no good melted. If you want a good melted vegan cheese, Daiya mozzarella has the opposite problem, halfway decent as a melted cheese but absolutely terrible when not melted. Suggestion: try that Miyoko's cheese on top of potato chips. The cheese tested was the fake cheddar, on jalapeno potato chips, but I bet it'd be good on your favorite kind. Bonus: normally when you pig out on cheese you get the itis, but with Miyoko's you feel like a million bucks after gorging.
- There are some soy-based puddings out there and agar-based jellos. You can find these in health food stores. Check in the refrigerators. The vegan pudding with the panda logo is awesome stuff, try it.
- The best kind of vegan yogurt is called Forager. Here is its website It's got an unsweetened kind which is really good. You can also mix it with berries that've been frozen and then thawed.
- Beyond Meat is okay. It's not great, it's okay. Avoid it if you have the MTHFR gene defect.
- Beware dried beans! You have to pick out the rocks, rinse the dust off, soak the bastards overnight, drain them, and THEN cook them for four hours. Don't even bother if you don't have either a large stockpot and a lot of patience, or a slow cooker that gets hot enough to actually simmer.
- Hands down the easiest foods to make vegan are actually baked goods. It's hard to screw up when sugar's involved, but avoid all recipes that use these things in their sugary baked goods: flax "eggs," oil-free anything, fat-free anything, chickpea flour in sweet stuff, quinoa or tofu in dessert, other weird stuff that really shouldn't belong in dessert but somehow is in there. Also, most bread recipes are vegan already, especially the crusty artisan ones like baguette, focaccia, and ciabatta.
- The best vegan mayonnaise is called Vegenaise and the best kind of it is the soy-free kind.
- There is one vegan margarine on the market. It's called Earth Balance and it sucks. Please someone make a competitor, please and thank you.
- Ignore recipes that call for canned jackfruit and use artichoke hearts packed in brine instead.
- Fruit plates and fruit salads are vegan by default.
- Most alcoholic drinks are vegan. Here are some. They aren't all vegan but a lot are. Divas Can Cook
- Crudite trays are also vegan. Just cut up some raw vegetables, find a recipe for vegan ranch dressing or go with Italian dressing, and there you go.
- You can make some simple swaps of stuff you normally get - swap out regular milk for almond or soy, butter for margarine, soy yogurt for regular. These aren't too bad.
- While we're swapping stuff, the keto community has made several ingenious swaps for sugar. You can mine this website for advice. Sugar Free Londoner
The Vegan Foods Gallery of Infamy
Hands down the worst, most infamous, most inedible substances to grace a plate. If you would live a happy life, stay away.
- Sophie's Kitchen fake fish - the strange and surreal experience of eating something that looks like food, and smells like food, but doesn't actually taste like food.
- Tofu, plain
- Seitan, plain
- Tofu pups - they look like hot dogs. They taste like smoked leather.
- Crispy Western-style rice cakes - they try to flavor these and fail.
- Most brands of veggie burgers - good luck. Amy's has the least worst imho
- Follow Your Heart vegan cheese
- Chao vegan cheese
- Sweetened soy yogurt
- Various kinds of nondairy "milk" that are just kind of sad: quinoa milk, rice milk, oat milk
- The Western-style attempt at Japanese-style mochi
- Brown Rice, because it's almost never fresh
- Tomato paste - Most brands taste overcooked. Tomato puree aka passata is a better bet.
Inexpensive kitchen doodads for making cooking somewhat more fun or easy
- Popsicle molds
- Corncob holders
- Cookie cutters
- More mixing bowls. More mixing bowls. More! You can never have too many.
Expensive kitchen equipment for going a little extra with vegan foods in particular as well as everything else
- Instant pot or pressure cooker, for things like beans and lentils. No more cooking for 4-6 hours, alright.
- Reliable slow cooker that has a high heat setting, for everything but uncooked kidney and fava beans (poisonous if undercooked or cooked at too low a temperature!). You might want to deliberately seek out a slow cooker with a nontoxic insert to ensure that the surface in contact with the food is not coated in some kind of plastic, both for reasons of taste and health.
- An apron and a stupid looking chef's hat for morale so when you're cooking mostly naked you don't get grease splattered in hurtful places. Not that I'm condoning that, we wouldn't want to be politically incorrect now would we.
Super expensive kitchen equipment that could in theory help with making vegan foods and incidentally all foods. Nope, I don't have any of this stuff but it's good to know it exists!
- Cuisinart or other kind of food processor
- Vitamix blender - even more expensive than Cuisinart. Could also potentially go with that blender sold by the "Will It Blend?!" guy aka Blendtec brand.
- Stand mixer, for uh, bread, or a bread machine
- Ice cream maker
- Mortar and pestle for making stuff like curry paste
- Fermentation gear for stuff like pickles, kimchi, etc.
- Actually good cookpots that hold the heat in for a long period of time, like large enameled Dutch ovens and the like
Links to vegan recipes
Links to vegan recipe hubs
The best vegan recipe websites
The best vegan cookbooks
- The Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak because all of the fake cheese recipes on the internet are vastly inferior
- How It All Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer plus the two others in that series. Note: The recipes are hit-or-miss so adapt them until you get results you like. However be aware that this is possibly the best vegan cookbook series on the market and truly surprising with the recipe results. Give it a shot.
- Skinny Italian by Teresa Giudice, for legit pizza dough and tomato sauce recipes
- This Ain't No Picnic by Joshua Ploeg
- Vegan Indian Cooking by Anupy Singla, but beware, for it requires expensive equipment and ingredients