From miso soup, soba noodles, beet salad, and roasted cauliflower - the world of vegan dishes are as diverse as it is delicious. If you’re deciding whether or not to go vegan, already on the vegan bandwagon or just vegan-curious, finding healthy vegan recipes online can be overwhelming.

Veganism has risen to global popularity, to the point where the market now stands at 12.7 billion dollars in the US alone.

Entire websites and guides have now been designated for eating vegan while traveling around the world. With the amount of meat and dairy-free alternatives there are in today’s food environment, it’s never been easier to be a vegan. While eating a plant-based diet, as with any type of diet, you might find yourself running out of meal ideas.

Cooking up interesting, delicious and affordable meals every week is already exhausting - let alone with the countless number of vegan dinner recipes on the internet to try! If you’re not into cookbooks and want to find some free recipes, the internet will be your best tool.

Before diving into making your first tofu scramble or brown rice burger, take a quick read through this guide as we walk you through all the basics of vegan history, nutrition and tasty recipes for you to try at home!

vegan vegetables
Vegetables are beautiful and delicious! (Photo credit: Monika Grabkow via Unplash)

The Basics of a Vegan Diet

Whether you're interested in learning the basics in order to give you a clearer idea on how to craft your vegan meal plan or you're simply curious to know more about the origins of veganism, understanding the history of the vegan diet has many benefits.

Being vegan essentially boils down to not eating meat and dairy products including eggs, butter, and milk.

While the first vegan is a contested fact, veganism, as we recognize it today, wasn't truly created until 1944. With the establishment of the Vegan Society, people in the UK were able to start experiencing the joys of a plant-based kitchen.

From hearty lentil soup to fluffy falafels, vegan food has risen to mainstream popularity in the 21st century and shows no signs of slowing down!

Healthy Vegan Cooking and Lifestyle

Eating a healthy vegan meal is probably one of the easiest things to do. With ingredients such as white bean paste, couscous, red lentil lasagna, risotto and more, the ease in eating healthily is one of the many reasons why people transition to this type of diet.

If you want to eat healthy as a vegan, the best advice to follow is to keep it simple and affordable. With spices like cumin and dishes like vegetable soup, you'll keep your calories down without having to sacrifice delicious flavor.

Vegan Recipes: Where to Look for Ingredients?

Whether you're cooking your first vegan dinner or are already years into your vegan journey, knowing what to cook all the time is hard to do even with a standard diet. From snacks like cashews to dishes like stir fry, shopping for ingredients as a vegan can be done for all types of budgets and locations.

While not a complete guide to shopping as a vegan, having these basic ingredients in your kitchen can help you cut down on cost:

  • beans
  • tofu
  • rice
  • TVP
  • frozen vegetables
  • nuts (cashew, peanut, etc.)

While basic, these can be enough to get you started on many recipes for beginners.

easy vegan salad
Try a great vegan salad recipe! (Photo credit: Anna Pelzer via Unplash)

Vegan Food You’re Bound to Love

While many people believe that cutting out animal products out of your diet will leave you with only vegetables and fruit to eat. However delightful a vegetable or fruit can be, eating fresh produce doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of plant-based food.

While many vegans still opt to buy things like veggie burgers, vegan chocolate, meatless sausages and more - trying out vegan recipes can actually open you up to the world’s palette in ways that the standard American diet can’t.

When you’re a vegan, the nature of your diet will force you to try ingredients you’d never even heard of before. The typical American grocery haul includes cereal, frozen dinners, milk, eggs, packaged meat, and good old peanut butter and jelly.

While cereal, jelly and peanut butter - yes, peanut butter doesn’t actually contain butter - are vegan, the standard grocery list for an average American isn’t too vegan-friendly.

Outside of this comfort zone, you’ll be able to enjoy ingredients that have been used in cuisines in the US and around the globe for decades. From vegan food that will get you through harsh winters to vegan creole jambalaya - here are some of the best, most affordable vegan recipes that are finger-licking good!

Vegan Coleslaw

A typical vegan recipe is both affordable and simple. With delicious and quality ingredients such as hummus, edamame, portobello mushrooms and more, it's easy to make a creative and delicious meal.

Veganism is more than just granola and curried lentils - it also involves innovating non-vegan recipes towards a plant-based lifestyle.

One great resource to check out if you're interested in getting new recipe ideas, or if you're just getting started with veganism, is Veganuary. A non-profit organization that strives to encourage people around the world to try going vegan for the month of January, they have tons of recipes available online. Here's what you'll need to make their coleslaw:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Dijon mustard
  • black pepper
  • soy milk
  • sunflower oil
  • red cabbage
  • white cabbage
  • carrot
  • onion

Sweet Potato Bean Burgers

The bean burger is one of the most classic dishes for vegetarians and vegans alike. Before dairy or meat-free products became more widely available, the bean burger reigned supreme.

Even in today's vegan-friendly environment, burger patties made out of beans is still preferred by many over the ready-made, plant-based burgers.

The reason why can be seen in the recipe's versatility. Apart from black beans and white beans, you can also make lentil and chickpea patties. Whether you go with black bean patties or want to experiment with more ingredients, here is one recipe that can get you started. You will need:

  • ground flaxseed
  • water
  • sweet potato
  • canned chickpeas
  • dry quick oats
  • bread crumbs
  • white or yellow onion
  • cinnamon, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt
  • maple syrup
  • dijon mustard

This recipe is part of the Veganuary series, where the full instructions are available on their website.

vegan dinner
Dinners can be made with a range of different ingredients! (Photo credit: Edgar Castrejon  via Unplash)

Roasted Pumpkin Macaroni

Another recipe that's part of Veganuary, this macaroni takes the flavor to another level. If you're not familiar with the concept of dairy-free, vegan macaroni, it often boils down to making a "cheese" sauce out of vegetables and nuts. You can also opt to use ready-made vegan cheese.

Perfect for those going vegan or for your non-vegan family and friends, this recipe will take about 40 minutes to make. To make this recipe, you'll need:

  • butternut squash
  • lemon juice
  • vegan parmesan or Nutritional yeast
  • powered garlic
  • mustard powder
  • grated nutmeg
  • Oat Unsweetened milk
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sage
  • chopped hazelnuts
  • macaroni

Baking the butternut in the oven, you'll need to puree it afterward to make the cheese sauce. This recipe is perfect for a cold winter day!

Comfort Food: Vegan Meals

Comfort food means something different for everyone - but it has the unique characteristic of food that, when eaten, feels like a balm to the soul. While that might sound cheesy, eating food can carry memories of birthdays, family members and impactful events.

This is why it can be even more important, when becoming a vegan, to make sure your favorite recipes don't get lost in their translation to a plant-based lifestyle.

From mushroom pasta to cauliflower salad, your comfort food isn't necessarily the same as others. Trying out comfort food from around the world can open you up to a recipe or dish that lasts you a lifetime. Here are some ideas on comfort-style recipes you can try at home:

  • jambalaya
  • agua chile
  • Shepard's pie
  • caldo verde
  • tater tots
  • vegetable dumplings
  • cauliflower pizza

If you're interested in getting ideas on the food you can modify to fit your vegan lifestyle, Tasty is an online recipe hub that has published

Baking Without Animal Products

If you want to start baking on a vegan diet, there are a couple of products you will need to have in your pantry. While many of the ingredients involved in vegan cooking, such as lentils and tahini, can also be used for baking, you should be sure to have these ingredients on hand when baking:

  • non-dairy milk
  • egg replacer, applesauce or flax seeds
  • margarine or vegan butter

Vegan Recipe Blogs

The internet will be your best friend when it comes to finding vegan recipes and tutorials. From tempeh stir fry to seitan bacon, make sure to check out some of these blogs for delicious recipes:

  • Minimalist Baker
  • It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken
  • The Spruce Eats
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