5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader who told me about her husband’s decision to go vegan for health reasons, and, as the primary cook in the family, her struggles adapting ways in the kitchen to follow suit. She had always taken great pleasure in turning out delicious traditional dishes – especially around the holidays – and was almost feeling like this change has sucked the joy right out of her time in the kitchen.

She asked me to send her five of my favorite vegan recipes – my own go-to recipes that are simple, straightforward, and don’t have a bunch of unrecognizable ingredients. I’ve been thinking a lot about what that list would contain, but life – Christmas, vacation, and birthdays – got in the way of an actual email reply. Folks, I promise to do better with emails in 2015!

Anyway, I thought this was a perfect idea for a Friday round-up – a list of 5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners. Essentially, recipes that might just help you – and those around you – dip their toe into vegan waters without having to resort to “foo foo bean sprout tofu” as my carnivorous guy likes to say. And most meat-eaters or dairy-and-egg-eating vegetarians should be able to embrace these recipes, too.

5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners

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Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili from Kitchen Treaty

Chili! I’m of the mind that chili is the single most easy way to go vegan without knowing (or caring, for that matter). With endless possibilities and familiar ingredients, veggie chili is where it’s at for someone easing their way into being vegan. I love quinoa in chilis because it adds heft – both nutritionally and texture-wise. For another quinoa chili, try this Slow Cooker Quinoa White Chili with Roasted Poblanos. Or, if quinoa isn’t your thing, here are a couple of vegan chilis with even more mainstream ingredients: Slow Cooker Black Bean Pumpkin Chili, My Favorite Vegan Chili with Vegan Sour Cream from Oh She Glows, and Vegan Beer Chili from Minimalist Baker.

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Vegan Vanilla Cashew Smoothie from Kitchen Treaty

If you think you’ll miss milkshakes when you 1) embark upon a weight loss plan, 2) go vegan or 3) both, this is the smoothie for you. It tastes just like a vanilla milkshake! When you eat vegan, the smoothie options are endless. If the recipe calls for milk, just swap the dairy for almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Another common smoothie ingredient, yogurt, might thicken and add protein, but it’s not usually necessary. You can try store-bought coconut yogurt, or leave the yogurt out altogether and still have a great result. This vanilla cashew smoothie relies on a surprisingly rich combination of cashews and water, plus a banana, for its creaminess. When you’re dipping your toe into veganville, smoothies are a great place to start.

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Vegan Spiced Carrot Muffins from Oh My Veggies

If you think vegan baked goods are dry and tasteless, think again! Just make a few simple ingredient swaps and you’re good to go. This recipe relies on flax “eggs” – simply ground flaxseeds and water mixed together – along with coconut oil in lieu of butter. Almond milk in place of cow’s milk works well in many vegan baked good recipes. Flaxseed meal, coconut oil, and almond milk may not seem like the most mainstream ingredients ever, but they’re pretty straightforward and, these days, rather easy to find at most grocery stores. Two more favorite vegan baked good recipes: Vegan Lemon Coconut Doughnuts and Super-Moist Vegan Banana Bread Muffins. Yum!

5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners!

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Black Beans & Quinoa from Kitchen Treaty

With protein-rich quinoa, this simple recipe makes for a satisfying – and easy – dinner. If you’re not sure about quinoa, rice will always work in its place. Perfect when served with a side of steamed broccoli! Here’s another simple-yet-luscious legume recipe:  Mashed White Beans with Spinach and Lemon.

5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners!

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One-Pot Sesame Noodles & Veggies from Oh My Veggies

It’s easy for vegans to get in on the one-pot pasta action with this veggie-packed version. Others to try: One-Pot Vegan Pasta from Minimalist Baker; Summer Vegetable Paella from Eats Well with Others.

5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners!

 

My Favorite Vegan Bloggers

Connoisseurus Veg – Alissa consistently churns out the most incredibly creative (and seriously delicious) vegan goods.

Minimalist Baker – Not strictly a vegan blog, but with so many unfussy vegan recipes, I have to include them in this list.

Oh She Glows – Angela is just straight-up inspiring – not to mention seriously innovative. She also wrote my favorite cookbook of 2014. Such a great book for newly minted vegans to, um, sink their teeth into.

5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners!

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.