The best vegan recipes: 6 easy plant-based meals

These delicious vegan recipes will have you extending Veganuary way past its finish date

Best vegan recipes
(Image credit: Getty)

Finding the best vegan recipes for a plant-based diet can be hard – especially if you are new to this way of eating. So, having a few go-to meals in your arsenal is really handy.

We can't deny that the post-holiday blues have kicked in (as well as the post-Christmas pig-out slump) and these recipes from Being Vegan are definitely helping to solve those January woes. Not only are they healthy, meat-free and delicious but the colours!? Easy on the eye, too. 

And you don't have to be vegan to give them a go. Packed with flavour and goodness, they are perfect whether you plan to cut down on your meat intake, or stop eating animal products altogether.

So, keep scrolling for the best plant-based salads, burgers, pasta dishes and curries!

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1. Vegan tofu salad

Tofu has a bad rep among carnivores, but it is a staple in Asian cooking for good reason. It takes on flavour extremely well and just needs cooking properly to be the best it can be. We love this zingy recipe for light mid-week meals or take to work lunches.

See a shortened version of the recipe below, but you can head over to the full recipe for this vegan tofu salad for all the tips and tricks of cooking tofu.

Tofu salad

(Image credit: Getty)

Ingredients:

  • 350 g | 12½ oz extra-firm, water-packed tofu 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar 
  • 2 tsp brown sugar 
  • 200 g | 7 oz green beans 
  • 10 cherry tomatoes 
  • 10 yellow cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only 
  • 2 lemons, one zested and juiced, the other in slices

Method:

1. Drain and press the tofu for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, crush the garlic. Then, in a bowl, mix together the garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sugar, to form a marinade. 

3. Cut the tofu unto 5cm cubes and marinate for at least 15 minutes on each side. Then remove the tofu and set aside the leftover marinade for later.

4. Spray the tofu with cooking spray, then griddle it on a medium heat for 3–4 minutes. 

5. Boil the green beans for 3 minutes, until tender then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Chop the cherry tomatoes into halves.

6. Combine the tofu, beans, tomatoes and thyme in a bowl and dress with lemon juice and 1–2 tbsp of marinade. Scatter with lemon zest and serve.

2. Tabbouleh and hummus

This quick and easy dish is super satisfying. Tabbouleh stores well in the fridge for a couple of days so it is a great lunch on the go. And you can pair with lots of side to make it part of a Middle Eastern meze. Flatbreads and falafel go well with it, for a filling feast.

You can buy hummus to pair with the tabbouleh or make your own... head over to the full hummus and tabbouleh recipe to find out how.

tabbouleh and hummus

(Image credit: Getty)

Ingredients:

  • 100 g | 3½ oz | ½ cup giant bulgur wheat 
  • 4 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely sliced 
  • 1 bunch mint, finely chopped 
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • 1 cucumber, chopped 
  • 125 ml | 4 fl oz | ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with about 2½cm | 1" of water. Let sit for 30 minutes, until it has doubled in size.

2. Meanwhile, rinse the parsley in cold water and pat dry. Remove the stems, finely slice and place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Chop the mint, tomatoes and cucumber, and add them to the mixing bowl.

4. Drain the bulgur, gently squeezing out any excess water, and add it to the mixing bowl.

5. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Sweet potato and chickpea curry

Perfect for batch cooking and freezing, we love a curry. Prep following this method, or adapt for cooking in a slow cooker. Check out this sweet potato and chickpea curry recipe in full here.

Crock Pot slow cooker recipes vegan curry

(Image credit: Crock Pot)

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil 
  • 2 onions 
  • 3 tbsp rogan josh curry paste (see how to make rogan josh paste below, or use ready-made) 
  • 1 fresh chilli 
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled 
  • 1x 400 g | 14 oz tin chickpeas 
  • 1x 400 g | 14 oz tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 230 ml | 7¾ fl oz | 1 cup water 
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated 
  • 400 ml | 13½ fl oz | 2 cups coconut milk 
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped

To serve:

  • Cooked basmati rice 
  • Steamed broccoli 
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges 
  • A few sprigs fresh mint (optional)

Method:

1. Heat round 2 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan, then finely slice the onion before adding to the pan along with the curry paste. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is soft and beginning to turn golden. 

2. Finely chop the chilli – remove the seeds first if you’d prefer a more mild curry. Now chop the peeled sweet potato into rough 2cm | 1” chunks. Add the chilli, ginger, and sweet potato to the onion mix followed by the drained chickpeas, and cook for 5 minutes. 

3. Next add the chopped tomatoes and water then bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on, then remove it and cook for a further 15 minutes. If the sauce hasn’t thickened much or the sweet potato isn’t cooked through, keep it on the heat, uncovered, for a little longer. 

4. Stir on the coconut milk and cook the curry for 5 more minutes. 

5. Scatter with coriander and serve the curry with some rice and broccoli, plus a few sprigs of mint (if using) and a couple of lime wedges to squeeze over the top.

4. Cauliflower and bean chilli recipe

This vegan chilli is a great way to pack lots of veggies into one meal. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can experiment with different veg, pulses and spices to match your tastes. See the full cauliflower and bean chilli recipe.

vegan chilli with beans and cauliflower

(Image credit: Getty)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (mild or hot, to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 peppers (red or orange), deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1–2 red chillies, to taste, sliced into rings (or deseeded and chopped, if preferred)
  • 1 head cauliflower, florets diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1x 400 g | 14 oz tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 800 g | 28 oz tomatoes, chopped (or 2x 400 g | 14 oz tins chopped tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small handful coriander, leaves only, to garnish
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges, to garnish
  • Cooked basmati rice, to serve

Method:

1. In a large pan over a medium heat, warm the oil and add the spices, onion and garlic and gently fry for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The onions should soften and the spices should become fragrant. 

2. Add the peppers, carrots, red chillies and cauliflower florets to the pan, stir everything together and cook for 5 minutes more. 

3. Next add in the kidney beans and tomatoes and bring the stew to a simmer. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, you may need to add in up to 240 ml | 8 fl oz | 1 cup water during cooking depending on how much moisture they naturally contain. 

4. Cover and leave the chilli to bubble away on a gentle simmer for 1-1½ hours, checking occasionally to give everything a stir. If you prefer a thicker stew, take the lid off for the final 20–30 minutes to allow the chilli to reduce. 

5. When it’s cooked, have a taste and season as required. Serve the chilli on a bed of fluffy basmati rice, scattered with a few fresh coriander leaves and a wedge of lemon on the side

5. The ultimate vegan burger recipe

It is hard to miss your meaty favourites if you have a good burger recipe to hand. The ultimate burger isn't called ultimate for nothing... see the full ultimate vegan burger recipe to learn how to make the chips and relishes it is served with.

ultimate vegan burger

(Image credit: Getty)

Ingredients:

  • 145 g | 5 oz | 1 cup cashews or almonds
  • 170 g | 6 oz | 3 cups cooked black beans or kidney beans
  • 190 g | 6¾ oz | 1½ cups cooked rice (either white or brown)
  • 40 g | 1½ oz | ¼ cup ground linseed (flaxseed)
  • 120 ml | 4 fl oz | ½ cup water
  • 15 g | ½ oz parsley, finely chopped
  • 165 g | 5¾ oz carrots, finely grated
  • 25 g | 1 oz | ¼ cup spring onions, finely chopped
  • 100 g | 3¾ oz | 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1–2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • Olive or vegetable oil (if frying)

Method:

1. To make the burgers, mix the ground linseed and water together in a small bowl and set aside. 

3. Add the cashews to a food processor and pulse until they are breadcrumb-sized. Add the rice and beans to the food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture forms a paste, but with some small chunks of beans still visible. 

4. Pour the cashew, rice and bean mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the linseed paste along with the remaining burger ingredients and stir everything together well. 

5. Take about ½ cup of the mixture, roll it into a ball with your hands. Place it on a chopping board or baking sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand to form a patty about 2cm | ¾" thick. Repeat this step for the rest of the burger mixture. Freeze the remaining patties for next time. 

The burgers can be fried, barbecued (step 6) or baked (step 7). To fry: heat some oil in a pan and cook the patties over a medium heat for about 4–5 minutes each side. 

6. To barbecue: brush the grill with some oil and cook on a medium-high heat for 4 minutes each side. 

7. To bake: preheat the oven to 175°C (160°C fan) | 350°F | gas mark 4 and place the burgers on a baking sheet for 35 minutes, flipping them half way through. 

8. To assemble each burger, spread some relish on the lower bun, stack a lettuce leaf, the burger, chopped tomatoes, half the grilled pepper, a dollop of onion chutney, more relish and another lettuce leaf before topping with the other bun. Serve with a side of your favourite fries and dig in!

6. Rainbow lasagne

There are lots of steps to this recipe, but boy is it worth it. We challenge you to find a lasagne that has more veggie goodness in it – from the beetroot layer, to the nutty cream on top, it is nutrient packed for sure. Read the full recipe for this rainbow vegan lasagne.

rainbow vegan lasagne

(Image credit: Getty)

Ingredients:

  • 30 vegan lasagne sheets
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to season each filling, to taste)

For the beetroot:

  • 1½ kg | 53 oz beetroot, peeled and chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves 

For the pumpkin:

  • 1½ kg | 53 oz pumpkin, peeled and chopped 
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg 
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1 tsp peanut butter 

For the spinach & ‘ricotta’:

  • 500 g | 16 oz fresh baby leaf spinach 
  • 5 tbsp cashews, soaked overnight 
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • ¼ lemon, juice only 
  • 2 basil leaves 
  • 1 tsp nutmeg ground 

For the tomato sauce:

  • 680 g | 24 oz | 2½ cups passata 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1½ cups hot water 

For the mushrooms:

  • 700 g | 24 oz | 9 cups mushrooms 
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) | 400°F | gas mark 6. For the pumpkin layer, mix the pumpkin in a bowl with the nutmeg, garlic, sea salt, chilli and a drizzle of olive oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the roasted beetroot. 

2. Spread the pumpkin on one baking tray and the beetroot mixture on another. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. 

3. While the vegetables roast, start the tomato sauce. In a medium saucepan gently cook the onion, garlic and chilli flakes in a little oil until soft. 

4. Add the passata, thyme, bay, salt and hot water and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

5. When the pumpkin and beetroot are finished roasting, remove them from the oven (leave the oven on as you’ll need it later). Leave the pumpkin to cool slightly before blending with the peanut butter until smooth. Set aside for later. In a separate bowl, blend the beetroot mixture until almost smooth. Set aside. 

6. To make the ‘ricotta’, drain and rinse the cashews and pop them in the food processor. Add the pumpkin seeds and blend until smooth. Add in the garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon, basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add a little water if it's dry. 

7. In a large pan, cook the spinach with the chilli flakes, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Remove from the heat and once cool stir through the ‘ricotta’. 

8. In another large pan fry the mushrooms and thyme in olive oil until soft. 

9. Season each filling to taste. Now it’s time to assemble the lasagne. In a large, deep dish, arrange the ingredients in the following order, with a layer of lasagne sheets (LS) in between each mixture: ½ the tomato mix, LS, ½ the tomato mix, LS, the spinach mix, LS, the pumpkin mix, LS, the mushroom mix, LS, ¾ the beetroot mix, LS, then the rest of the beetroot followed by one final layer of lasagne. 

10. In a small saucepan, make a roux from the flour and 2 tbsp of oil, then add the almond milk a little at a time until smooth. Add a vegetable stock cube and the nutritional yeast. Keep stirring until the mix begins to thicken. 

11. Pour the vegan cheese sauce over the top of the lasagne and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes. If you want a crispy top try scattering with breadcrumbs.