Vegan Meal Plan #3: 30-Minute Meals
10 quick and easy vegan recipes to add to your weekly repertoire
More and more people are going meat-free at least part of the time. Their reasons might be health-related (after all, research suggests cutting way back on meat can help you live longer), or perhaps they want to help save the Earth from climate change. When I began transitioning to a plant-based diet four years ago, it was part of a plan my doctor and I had hatched to lower my cholesterol without drugs (it worked).
Whatever their reasons, a recent report shows that almost 10 million Americans now describe themselves as plant-based. That includes vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians, too. Perhaps the number would be even higher if people knew how easy vegan meal planning can be.
One of the biggest roadblocks people point to when it comes to eating more plant-based meals is time. There’s this idea that vegan home cooking is super labor-intensive and takes so much more time than more conventional omnivorous cooking. (And if you follow a lot of vegan “influencers” on social media, it’s easy to see why that misunderstanding persists. Spoiler alert: most people don’t cook with all those fancy tools and ingredients.)
The truth is creating a quick and easy vegan Meal Plan is more effortless than you may think. With a few staples on hand like canned beans, several kinds of seeds, and a few veggies like bags of pre-washed spinach and kale, vegan cooking can be simple, fast, and fresh.
If you’ve got a busy week on deck, this Meal Plan will help you eat vegan with a minimum of time and fuss in the kitchen. Or if you’ve been curious about exploring a vegan diet for health, animal welfare, or environmental reasons, this Meal Plan makes it easy to give it a try. So, let's get started! Every recipe in this healthy Meal Plan is ready in 30 minutes or less.
Note: Meal Planner is available only to Yummly paid subscribers. Learn more here.
With the Yummly Meal Planner, it’s easy to save recipes to your personalized Meal Plan. From there, create a smart Shopping List, add custom items, sync lists across devices, and even get groceries delivered.
Do you have five minutes in the morning? Great! You can make this pretty and tasty smoothie bowl. It’s full of great nutrition, thanks to the addition of leafy green spinach. Frozen banana gives it a sweet tropical flavor and terrific smooth texture. Load on fresh fruit to garnish your bowl and sprinkle on chia seeds (or another type of seed, like sunflower or sesame) for crunch, healthy fat, and some protein. Feel free to sub any leafy green you’ve got for the spinach.
The best thing about overnight oats is you fix the dish when you have a few minutes in the evening, and then breakfast is done and waiting for you in the morning. Fiber-filled oats combined with protein-rich soy milk give you everything you need to be full, satisfied, and energized all morning. If you’re a fan of almonds, try adding a little almond extract instead of the vanilla — and almond milk instead of the soy. They will beautifully complement the toasted nuts in the recipe.
This is a public service announcement: Avocados are not just for guacamole and avocado toast. This versatile ingredient is capable of so much more, including becoming the base of a wonderfully creamy pasta sauce you can put together in less than five minutes. Seriously — start boiling your pasta first, because it will definitely take longer. Combined with garlic, tangy lemon, olive oil, and fresh parsley, the avocado is reminiscent of a creamy pesto, but vegan. It’ll be a while before you crack open a jar of marinara once you’ve tried this.
While a vegan Meal Plan shouldn’t be all salad, it certainly has its place, especially when time is a factor. This spinach salad is no side dish. The addition of rich avocado and plenty of crunchy almonds and hemp seeds contributes healthy fat and protein to create a well-rounded meal. The simple homemade vinaigrette also comes together in a flash. The recipe calls for baby spinach, but any other dark leafy salad green would be good, especially baby kale.
Chickpea-based hummus is a staple of vegan and plant-based diets everywhere for good reason, but it can get a little same-old. Try this verdant green pea twist. There are still plenty of chickpeas here to bring the fiber and protein, but tons of green peas and mint make it lighter, sweeter, and fresher-tasting than the classic. Turn the hummus into a meal by serving it with crackers or whole-grain flatbread and fresh veggies (like carrots and cucumber) for scooping up every last bite.
First of all, save your kale stems (you’ll use them in the next recipe in this Meal Plan). There’s a secret to making a kale salad like this tender and delicious: give the greens a quick relaxing massage. It’s true — the rubdown melts that trademark kale toughness away. Bathed in a rich tahini dressing and mixed with avocado and grapefruit, this filling entree dish will keep you satisfied for hours. Best of all, this rare kind of salad improves in the refrigerator for days after you've dressed it. You may want to make it on Sunday and double the batch for lunches throughout the week.
Remember those kale stems you saved? Now is their time to shine. This quick pesto makes brilliant use of a perfectly good ingredient you may have been throwing away. Whirred in the food processor with garlic, fresh basil, sunflower seeds, and nutritional yeast, this fresh green pesto is rich with seeds and olive oil and bright with herbal fragrance. You won’t even notice those stems adding nutrition, bulk, and fiber to your flavorful and quick pasta sauce. Serve this over a whole-wheat or chickpea-based pasta for even more filling fiber.
When you’re planning a work week's worth of vegan meals, you may be stumped about what to do for lunches, especially if you usually have lunch meat or tuna salad sandwiches. That’s where this clever mock tuna salad can save the day. Based on hearty chickpeas and mild hearts of palm, this mixture makes a convincing substitute. The secret is dulse flakes — a type of seaweed — which add just a hint of ocean flavor. No dulse flakes? You can finely dice a sheet of nori (another form of seaweed) or put a drop of vegan fish sauce instead.
Not only can the veggie burgers you make at home taste better than the ones you buy at the store, but you can also cook them in about 10 minutes. Once again, canned chickpeas provide the substance of this meal. Shredded veggies (carrot, zucchini) also lend flavor and texture to the patties. Chickpea flour does the job of holding the burgers together, and spices like cumin and sriracha sauce give them a serious kick of flavor. To prevent soggy burgers, shred the zucchini into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out extra moisture before mixing it with the other ingredients. This will ensure your patties are firm, grillable and not brittle.
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, you need an easy chickpea soup in your cooking repertoire. This one features fresh tomatoes and convenient canned chickpeas and is hard to beat. Don’t be tempted to skip the smoked paprika, which adds depth, or the lemon juice, which gives the dish brightness. Like all soups, this will only get better over a few days in the refrigerator. It might be worth doubling the recipe.
Keep exploring the vegan diet
On Yummly we have loads more healthy vegan recipes to choose from, including favorites like BBQ Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with cilantro, creamy white bean and butternut squash soup made with cashew milk, Asian-Style Peanut Butter Tempeh over brown rice, and Instant Pot Vegan Burritos with bell peppers and black beans. Healthy eating awaits! Get more dinner ideas for your vegan weekly Meal Plan with these next collections.