Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!
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These super simple beginner vegan recipes will make meal time delicious and easy! Whether you’re starting a vegan lifestyle for the first time, or looking for some easy meatless meals, these recipes will inspire your taste buds!
Beginning a vegan diet can seem overwhelming. Especially if you’ve been used to an omnivore diet for quite some time. Finding easy and delicious recipes is the key to success.
I’m not vegan, but I do follow a vegetarian diet. The recipes here at The Picky Eater are a combination of both vegan and vegetarian. Sometimes when I’m whipping up a meal, I don’t realize until it’s completed that it’s actually vegan.
Whether you want to dive into a vegan lifestyle, incorporate more meatless meals into your diet, are looking for dairy-free alternative recipes, or having a vegan guest over for dinner, these beginner recipes will do the trick.
I’ve added breakfast, lunch/dinner, dessert, and snack recipes for all of your needs!
How To Stock A Vegan Kitchen?
When you’re beginning a vegan lifestyle the first essential task is stocking your kitchen with pantry and fridge staples. A vegan diet consists of grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, and non-dairy milks.
Seasonal Produce: You want to start by stocking your fridge and pantry with seasonal produce. This may include squash, potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables in the winter. In the spring, you may include asparagus, and leafy greens. In the summer take advantage of fresh tomatoes, peaches, and berries. Luckily, we’re able to get a lot of produce year round. However, fruits and vegetables will taste the best when in season.
Whole Grains: A large part of a vegan diet consists of whole grains. This includes whole wheat, bulgar, farro, quinoa, barley, oats, brown rice, and more! You can use whole grain bread to create sandwiches, and toast. Add quinoa and brown rice to make a buddha bowl. Enjoy oats for your morning breakfast. You may also include whole grain pastas.
Beans and Legumes: Black beans, white beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils provide both fiber and protein to a vegan diet. They can be added to your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert! Include them in your curries, soups, tacos, burritos, and more!
Nuts and Seeds: I recommend using raw unsalted nuts when possible. Nuts and seeds may be used in the form of nut butters as well. Look at the ingredients to be sure there aren’t any added oils or sweeteners. Sprinkle seeds on your salads. Add flax and chia seeds to your smoothies and oats.
Dairy-Free Milk: There is a wide variety of dairy free milks out there. Some of my favorites include almond, cashew, oat, soy, coconut, and rice milk. There are also dairy-free cheeses, butters, ice creams, and yogurts. Just about every dairy item now has a dairy-free alternative. I recommend making your own homemade dairy alternatives when possible. They don’t take a ton of time, and don’t require many ingredients, but the result is both tastier and healthier. Many of the dairy-free alternatives contain added preservatives and other ingredients that are not beneficial to your health.
How Do You Start A Vegan Diet?
I recommend when starting any new lifestyle change to take it slow and one step at a time.
Depending on what your diet may look like before the change, you may want to do the following.
Try incorporating one meatless meal into your diet for a week or more. If you are used to eating a heavy meat and cheese diet, substituting one meal, whether that’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, is a first step to getting used to a new lifestyle.
Once you’ve mastered one meal a day, I recommend trying to cut out either meat or dairy all together. You don’t want to do both at the same time, as that can be a big change that could lead to you giving up all together. If you eat a heavy cheese and dairy diet, you may want to consider cutting that out first, and experimenting with dairy free milk alternatives. Try your hand at making your own vegan cream sauces, or even cheeses!
Once you’ve given up dairy, try letting go of meat. This is likely going to be the most difficult change. Be sure to start adding a lot of beans and legumes into your diet at this time. When you give up a main protein source, you want to be sure to add in a plant-based protein source. This is also a good time to experiment with tofu, and tempeh. I recommend trying to stay away from the processed versions of vegan meat alternatives. These are full of processed ingredients, and provide a bit of a crutch when trying a vegan lifestyle. Be sure to add natural whole food protein sources into your diet.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Incorporating healthy vegan choices into your diet at home, and enjoying alternatives when you go out to eat is okay, if that’s what works for you and your lifestyle. The more healthy unprocessed plant-based choices you make the better for your health!
Additional Tips For Beginning A Vegan Lifestyle
Embrace whole grains. Opt for sprouted wheat bread (which is high in protein), whole wheat bread, brown rice, and other whole grain options. If you’re used to white bread, make the switch. You’ll get additional nutritional benefits from whole grains, as well as more fiber.
Reduce your sugar intake. While sugar is allowed on a vegan diet, white sugar is a bit tricky if you live in the United States. Some white sugars are processed with bone char. If you choose to use sugar in your diet, opt for organic sugar which is vegan friendly. As well as sugar alternatives such as coconut sugar, and maple syrup. However, reducing your overall sugar intake will have great benefits for your health.
What Should A Beginner Vegan Eat?
My favorite beginner vegan recipes are so easy, and simple you don’t even need a recipe!
Chickpea pasta and marinara with spinach
Black bean tacos with corn tortillas, avocado and salsa
Oatmeal with ground flaxseed + your favorite fruit for breakfast
Lentils with vegetables and brown rice
Fresh veggies with hummus for dipping
Stir-Fried Vegetables and Tofu
Tips And Tricks To Preparing Beginner Vegan Recipes
Start with simple meals that don’t require a ton of ingredients.
Don’t make it overly complicated! Think about filling half your plate with vegetables, a quarter of your plate with whole grains, and a quarter of your plate with plant protein.
Add lots of spices! To create a depth of flavor, be sure to add lots of spices, both fresh and dried to your meals. It will make your vegetables and legumes taste different and amazing every time.
50 Quick And Easy Beginner Vegan Recipe Ideas
Here are some of my favorite beginner vegan recipes! I’ve got you covered for breakfast, lunch or dinner, dessert, and even snacks! These recipes are quick, easy, simple, and super flavorful.
Even if you’re not vegan you won’t notice that these recipes are missing meat and dairy!
Beginner Vegan Breakfasts
Smoothies, oats, and quick breads are a great way to incorporate meat free choices into your breakfast rotation.
Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
This Strawberry and Banana Smoothie is naturally sweet, filled with fruit, and so simple to make. With just 5 ingredients, you can easily customize this energizing smoothie recipe and be sipping on it in under 5 minutes.
Get your day started right with some homemade Healthy Flapjacks. They are so full of flavor, easy to make, and are the perfect breakfast even on those busy mornings. Vegan, gluten-free, and can be a healthy snack option too!
Adding lots of vegetables, plant-protein, and whole grains will help you create filling and delicious meals to enjoy for lunch or dinner!
Tofu Skewers with Ginger Soy Marinade
These healthy Tofu Skewers are an easy meal that can be made in under 30 minutes! Each kabob has tofu, peaches, onions, zucchini, and a sweet and salty ginger soy marinade that pulls all the flavors together!
This fresh vegan ratatouille is full of seasonal vegetables simmered in a richly flavored tomato broth. It’s the perfect healthy way to fill up on your veggies while still getting a comforting, warm, and satisfying meal!
This comforting, super satisfying Vegan Wellington is filled with lentils, onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and mushrooms, inside a flaky pastry. Seasoned with herbs and completely nut-free, it’s perfection in every bite!
Comforting and delicious, this Sweet Potato Dahl is a fast and easy meal. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this dahl is filled with warm Indian spices, kale, sweet potatoes, and yellow split peas. It’s vegan, gluten-free, hearty, healthy, and nutrient rich!
This creamy vegan mushroom stroganoff is packed with fresh flavors. It's a warm, hearty, healthy and comforting recipe that comes together in less than 40 minutes. Perfect for a weeknight dinner, or a meal to impress your non-vegan friends and family
There is nothing more comforting than warming up to a bowl of this homemade Moroccan Stew. This hearty dish has sweet dried apricots, quinoa, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas in a spiced broth. It’s perfect for a cool weather days when you want something healthy and satisfying.
Vegan Enchiladas with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes
Lip-smacking Vegan Enchiladas are easy to make, delicious, and a real crowd-pleaser. Each enchilada is filled with sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, spices, and they are topped with a 5 minute homemade enchilada sauce!
This healthy version of matar paneer (made with tofu paneer!) is so rich and creamy it pretty much melts in your mouth when you take a bite of it. Made with only five ingredients, you can enjoy gourmet, restaurant-quality Indian food at home in just 20 minutes!
Pav Bhaji (or Indian Spiced Vegetarian Sloppy Joes)
This Pav Bhaji is the perfect Indian inspired street food, but it has a healthy and nutritional twist that is insanely good. Munching on this Indian spiced vegetarian sloppy joe style sandwich will keep the entire family happy and makes for an easy dinner idea.
These healthy and delicious vegan tacos are great for an easy weeknight meal. Packed with black beans, veggies, and spices, they're full of flavor, ready in 30 minutes, and perfect for the whole family!
This delicious Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry is packed with goodness and great flavors! The texture of this healthy curry is just perfect, it's full bodied and the chickpeas give it just the right amount of bite!
This traditional Cauliflower Biryani is one of my favorite vegetable curry recipes! It's made with chickpeas, brown basmati rice, and quinoa for a well balanced and tasty vegetarian meal, full of Indian spices!
This spicy Thai Sweet Potato Soup gets an extra kick with the addition of poblano peppers. It combines the flavors of a traditional curry with some unconventional spices and seasoning for a rich and healthy soup with a real depth of flavor.
This vegan tikka masala with tofu is quick, healthy, easy and oh so tasty! Packed full of delicious Indian spices, this recipe is a perfect option for a weeknight meal. Made with coconut milk, this mild curry will be a hit with the whole family!
This easy Instant Pot Pinto Beans Vegan Posole is a delicious Mexican stew that is packed full of flavor. Ready in just 30 minutes, with rich spices, crunchy veggies, and chewy hominy – this healthy soup is perfect for a quick one-pot meal.
This Vegan Chana Masala tastes like something you’d order from a fantastic Indian restaurant. It’s a healthy, gluten-free, naturally vegan, yet still rich and flavorful with the perfect amount of heat.
This healthy vegetable stir fry sauce tossed with fresh veggies, tofu and quinoa is a quick and easy vegan weeknight meal. It's loaded with flavor from lemon and ginger, and is ready in just 15 minutes!
Just because you follow a vegan diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy dessert now and again! These sweet treats use natural unprocessed sugars, and whole grains to create out of this world sweets!
Dark, rich, creamy vegan nutella is made with raw hazelnuts, dark chocolate, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. It is a decadent chocolate hazelnut spread for dipping fruit, or slathering over pancakes, toast, and more!
With a sweet, tart coconut milk lemon curd filling, and almond flour crust, these Gluten Free Lemon Bars are the perfect dessert for picnics, bake sales, and more! Naturally sweetened, these bars are vegan friendly.
Creamy, homemade mango nice cream made with frozen bananas, mangos, natural sweetener, and almond milk, is a dairy-free healthy treat! With 4 simple ingredients, and a few minutes, you’ll have a decadent dessert in no time!
Chewy, soft, sugar-coated, vegan snickerdoodles are dipped in white chocolate and dusted with sprinkles to create a fun and festive treat. Super easy to make and guaranteed to be the best snickerdoodles you will ever eat!
This is the best Healthy Vegan Carrot Cake recipe you'll ever make! This dairy free, lightened up carrot cake is soft, moist, and beautifully sweet. Lots of cinnamon, allspice, and walnuts in every bite!
When you sink your teeth into these homemade Vegan Rice Krispie Treats with Pumpkin Spice, you will feel like you are in food heaven. They are perfectly sweet and gooey, great for fall, and so easy to make!
These vegan oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips use tahini (a sesame seed paste) to bind these cookies together. It adds a wonderful rich flavor that compliments the walnuts and chocolate chips for a soft and chewy cookie!
This healthy guacamole recipe is easy and simple to make. It's a great variation on the authentic Mexican recipe. It's perfect to serve as a topping on tacos and enchiladas, or great as a dip with some chips.
This easy fruit salad recipe is so simple to make, and you can use any fruits you like (or that are in season!) A versatile dish, perfect for a brunch side-dish, on-the-go snack, or healthy dessert. Ready in less than 15 minutes and kid-friendly too!
If you have tried any of these beginner vegan recipes, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!