It is simple enough to commit to an eating style or diet in its truest meaning but not so easy when it comes to finding and preparing the right foods. It is one thing to say you will be a vegan and another knowing how to create enough variety from easy vegan recipes so you do not get bored out of your mind in one week! There is a learning curve and if you are not patient, creative and open to possibilities, you may as well kiss your new eating promises goodbye.
In the first part of this easy vegan recipes series, I wrote about the subtle perspectives that help you ease into a radical life change, in this case a vegan diet. The premise, nonetheless, you can apply to any other change in your life. Now it’s time to get practical, to share some real advice on what to eat, how to prepare easy vegan recipes, and how to watch for symptoms so that you make sure this is indeed the best and most nutritious diet for you.
I love food and I love to eat. My first 5-day juice fast tried every ounce of patience in my body. Juice fasting is hard but so rewarding! In the end, I won but it was extremely hard. I am not one of those women who eat three bites or never more than half of their plate or skip meals or starve all day. I simply cannot be. I expend far, far too much energy and I am blessed (although I swear that lifestyle has helped this one) with a wonderful metabolism. Ravi, a yoga teacher, says, “Metabolism moves youth and beauty.” Incredibly powerful words! If I had to summarize, I’d say that I eat for a strong, healthy metabolism. In other words, I eat what I know I can easily digest and I need an easy vegan recipe to make in order to make those delicious foods.
To make an eating style accessible, an easy vegan recipe must meet 4 nonnegotiable elements:
3. Easy to prepare.
4. Full of variety
In this post, I focus on the easy vegan recipes that are both delicious and give you heaps of variety, nutrition and enjoyment. Hope you find some fun recipes here and enjoy the photos as well.
Easy Vegan Recipes to Make at Home
Easy Vegan Recipe #1: Chipotle Hummus with Salad
I finally — finally! – learned how to make hummus at home. It is a delicious food and a great source for protein. Hummus salads are wonderful filling lunches. I usually add baby spinach, green onions, lettuce, tomato, dill and pepper. Be selective about your hummus. There are many brands out there. Find one that you love or learn to make it at home. Hummus has got to be my favorite easy vegan recipe of all!
Easy Vegan Recipe #1: Chipotle Hummus Recipe:
1 1/2 cans of Trader Joe’s chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 dashes of sea salt and optional a dash of paprika
3 individual Chipotle peppers from Trader Joe’s can
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 heaping cup of tahini sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Makes about 3 cups of hummus.
Wash the garbanzo beans with cold water. Then put them in your food processor – you need a food processor for this. Add everything else above on top except olive oil, which you pour gently and very very slowly as you process. Process for about 2 minutes, stop it, taste, then add more olive oil if need be. Stop it to scrape down the sides and continue til it is the texture to your taste. If you are not used to spicy pepper, use only 2 Chipotle peppers. Same with garlic, you can use less if you are sensitive. Refrigerate immediately. It tastes much better when cold!
Easy Vegan Recipe #2: Pesto with Greens
I have learned to make a mean pesto!! It is delicious and filling. You can eat it with vegetables, greens or crackers. It stays good in the refrigerator for a few days.
Basil Pesto Recipe:
3 cups of fresh basil leaves
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 or 5 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
A dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Makes about 2 cups of pesto
Put all ingredients except olive oil and the greens inside the food processor. Pulse it a few times. Then add all the greens and keep processing as you pour the olive oil slowly over the chute. Stop it to scrape down the sides and continue til it is the texture to your taste. Refrigerate right away. Served best when cold.
Easy Vegan Recipe #3: Coconut Mushroom Soup
Andy, the resident chef, makes amazing, mouth-watering, beyond-delicious kind of soups. His genius is coming out through his cooking and I was thanking heavens for this talent when celebrating our 9th year anniversary this week. But I digress. You want the soup recipe, I know. Relax, I got him to give it up and I’ll give it to you. Just realize you’ll fall in love with his soups; here’s another one for proof. This may not be the best example of easy vegan recipe but it’s SO worth the extra effort.
2 14.5 oz cans of coconut milk
2 cups water
2 inch piece of ginger, chopped into a few pieces
4 stalks lemongrass, bruised and coarsely chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 lb shiitake (or crimini) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup lime juice
3 Tablespoons vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
1- 2 teaspoon red curry paste
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions or cilantro, as garnish
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, as garnish
In a large pot, bring the coconut mile and 2 cups of water to a simmer. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and basil. Simmer about 20 minutes, then strain coconut milk into a clean pan. Discard the seasonings. Simmer your mushrooms in coconut milk for about 5 minutes. Stir in veggie fish/soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar. Add curry paste. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with green onions (or cilantro) and red pepper flakes.
Easy Vegan Recipe #4: Chipotle Baked Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
After you eat baked vegetables done the right way, you may never think about vegetables the same way! My favorites baked are cauliflower and brussel sprouts (above), mushrooms (below) and also broccoli, which I would not eat any other way except baked. Here’s how we do it.
3 cups of fresh or frozen cauliflower (or broccoli)
3 cups of fresh or frozen Brussels Sprouts
1/3 cup olive oil
A pinch of salt/pepper
2 spoonfuls of Chipotle paste from the jar (not the whole peppers)
A good dash of turmeric
Set the oven to bake at 400 degrees. Wash the vegetables, even if frozen, with some cold water. Rinse. Cut your Brussels Sprouts in half so the oil takes out the slight bitterness of this vegetable. Make sure cauliflower is bite size; if not cut or break by hand. Pour in a big bowl. Put all ingredients in the bowl. Wear gloves or not. Mix everything really well. Get two big oven pans and use either Parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spread the vegetables. Put them in the oven when ready. At 15 minutes in, swap the top and bottom and even switch the front/back position so they bake evenly. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Easy Vegan Recipe #5: Ginger Garlic Baked Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms
This one is very similar to above but with different taste.
3 cups of crimini mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom)
3 cups of Brussels Sprouts
2 heaping spoonful of a ginger-garlic paste sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
A pinch of salt/pepper
A pinch of Garam Masala
A good dash of turmeric
Few leaves of fresh rosemary
Set the oven to bake at 400 degrees. Wash the vegetables, even if frozen, with some cold water. Rinse. Cut your Brussels Sprouts in half so the oil takes out the slight bitterness of this vegetable. Cut mushrooms in half. Pour in a big bowl. Put all ingredients in the bowl. Wear gloves or not. Mix everything really well. Get two big oven pans and use either Parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spread the vegetables. Put them in the oven when ready. At 15 minutes in, swap the top and bottom and even switch the front/back position so they bake evenly. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve hot with rosemary sprinkled on top.
Easy Vegan Recipe #6: Green Smoothie
For breakfast or anytime during the day, I love green smoothies. I make green smoothies instead of all-fruit smoothies to cut down sugar level and sweetness factor.
3 cups of collard greens, kale or spinach or a combination
A few fresh mint-leaves
½ cup of frozen strawberries or fresh pineapple
2 spoons of coconut milk
1 spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of pecans for protein
2-3 ice cubes if desired
Blend in your blender and pureÃ© to your desired consistency. Enjoy!
Easy Vegan Recipe #7: Fruits and Nuts:
Snacks are a must. I eat every 2 hours at least. Fruits and nuts can be a great snack in the winter. Berries and walnuts go very well together. Or you can cut up pineapple or avocado. Yes, each by itself with Oolong tea. Quantities depend on you.
Easy Vegan Recipe #8: Buckwheat Noodles with Baked beets:
One of my favorite noodles are the Japanese buckwheat noodles. They are so easy to make. And just note that they are not related to wheat so it should be considered gluten-free. Thanks to Sandra Lee for pointing this out!
Directions for buckwheat noodles: Bring hot water to boil and throw the noodles in for about 5-7 minutes. Rinse with warm water or if you like them cold, rinse with cold water and serve. Add a dash of soy sauce and some fresh chopped cilantro.
Directions for the baked beets: Beets are an amazing fruit, and another delicious treat and wonderful for your digestion. Wash and peel. Cut them in slices. Lather some olive oil and any herbs. Bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Easy Vegan Recipe #9: Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
I like baking so much more than cooking where vegetables are concerned. Something about baking brings out the taste! Sweet potatoes have nutritional value and can be very delicious.
Directions for sweet potatoes: Clean and peel 2 sweet potatoes. Cut into shapes of fries. Throw them in a bowl. Put in 1-2 spoonful of Trader Joe’s Chipotle pepper from a jar if you wish, 1/3 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Put in the over at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Yum!
I know that everyone has different food sensitivities; for instance, I know that many people may be gluten-intolerant, thanks to Sandra’s post for awareness. You can modify even a vegan diet to suit that lifestyle.
There you have it! Some of my favorite easy vegan recipes!
Tell me if you make them, if they taste appetizing and filling, and if you are eating for your heart and your metabolism these days.