This is a modified version of the document I sent my mom when she asked for good vegan recipes. It’s a helpful list whether you’re trying to cut down on animal products in your diet or eliminating them altogether. It’s a little short on breakfast/lunch ideas because my mom was mainly askin for help with dinner ideas, I may add to this list as I get ideas.
First of all remember: you are eating vegan to feel healthy, energetic, and hopefully to help animals and the environment. Focus on making sure you’re getting the right amount of carbs, proteins, fat, salt, and vitamins. I recommend taking a multivitamin, especially one with iron and B vitamins. Go about it intelligently, gather the information you need, and give your body the fuel it needs to do what you need it to do in life, and you should begin seeing positive effects on your health and energy. Plus knowing you aren’t contributing to the torture and death of innocent animals is a truly fantastic feeling.
Here’s a great list of ways to replace eggs in recipes: http://www.peta.org/living/food/egg-replacements/
Here’s an infographic on non-animal protein sources: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ad/14/9d/ad149dea61f730d7fffbdc95bd602b08.jpg
Make your own vegan Parmesan: http://www.ezontho.com/blogg/vegan-parmesan/ (nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores; it’s got lots of vitamins in it & has a nice cheesy flavor without all the fat and cholesterol)
On butter: Earth Balance has both spreads, for toast & such, and sticks, for baking.
Non-dairy cheese can be hard to find, even “veggie” cheese often has casein in it which is a milk protein. Make sure you check that the label says it’s vegan, otherwise it almost certainly has some milk in it. Also, some such cheeses can spoil rapidly so anything leftover should be kept in the freezer.
Center your meal planning around fruits and vegetables; it helps to keep a lot of fresh fruits and veggies on hand so you know if you don’t eat them they’ll go bad. When you think of protein sources, your go-to should be nus, beans, tofu, and other non-animal sources. For instance, sprinkling nuts on a salad instead of cheese. Carbs can tie it all together, providing a base/excuse for veggies/fruits (for instance, rice to serve curried vegetables over, spaghetti to serve vegetables cooked in sauce over, oatmeal to serve fruits & nuts over).
If you find yourself craving meat despite having a well-rounded diet with enough protein, you may just be missing the flavorings. Try using some of your favorite marinades and sauces for vegetables or tofu instead (for instance, I put barbecue sauce on potatoes all the time).
A note on protein powder: There are tons of plant-based protein powders out there. I look for two things: how much protein per tablespoon? (and watch the serving size; some list three tablespoons as the serving size and trust me you do NOT want to be consuming that much protein powder at once, it’s gross.) and how expensive? In my experience, rice protein is usually the cheapest and it’s fairly easy to find something that runs 10-12 grams of protein per tablespoon. Also make sure it’s not sweetened. You’ll want to throw this in oatmeal & smoothies, if you’re desperate you can make a protein shake with a couple tablespoons of protein powder, some cocoa powder, and some soy milk but in my experience that’s not nearly as tasty as it sounds.
A note on non-dairy milk: Soy milk is the only non-dairy milk that really provides a good amount of protein. Almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, and others are great if you’re just looking for a taste/texture substitute but nutritionally they don’t pack a punch like soy milk does.
When you’re eating out, you can usually put together a really veggie-heavy meal out of side dishes. Most restaurants are very accommodating when you ask them to modify entrees (like leaving out the meat or cheese in a pasta dish). Of course, you’ll want to look up specifically vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. Ethnic restaurants are also great places for vegan meals. Finally, most burger restaurants will have veggie/black bean/vegan burgers and sometimes portabella sandwiches/burgers.
This is my formula every morning: Oatmeal + fruit (dried is fine, I usually do raisins or dried cranberries) + nuts + protein powder + spice(s) (cinnamon and/or cloves are my favorite) + flaxseed + non-dairy milk [try to at the very least have 1 fruit and 1 protein source in the oatmeal] Can also add honey or maple syrup.
Either for breakfast or a midmorning snack, drink a smoothie.
“Buttermilk” pancakes: http://www.oneingredientchef.com/vegan-pancakes/ (The flaxseed/water mixture in this recipe is an egg substitute. What you can also do, what I do since it’s much easier, is use ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce).
This is a link to 30 soups, salads, and sandwiches: http://www.fitsugar.com/Vegan-Lunches-You-Can-Take-Work-14859587?stream_view=1#photo-14859594
My favorite sandwich: tomato, sprouts, mustard OR vegan mayonnaise, black pepper, rosemary
This tofu scramble is one of my absolute favorite things, you can throw in more veggies if you want. I like to use tempeh “bacon”: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/breakfastrecipe1/r/tofuscramble2.htm
This soup is one of my very favorites: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/09/roasted-corn-chowder-with-cilantro.html
Tacos are always good, you can make fresh guac (http://www.bevegananywhere.com/post/93512424548/simple-guacamole-for-two) add salsa, some beans or some tofu flavored with taco seasoning, and other veggies that you like (i like diced tomatoes and black olives). In fact throwing leftover tofu scramble into a tortilla with salsa & guac is absolutely delicious.
Split pea soup in the crock pot: http://www.oatmealwithafork.com/2013/11/01/easy-slow-cooker-split-pea-soup-vegan/
Speaking of the crock pot, I substituted red lentils for the meat in my mom’s chili recipe & it turned out well. You could also probably substitute quinoa (a protein/nutrient-rich grain that I believe you can find nearly anywhere these days).
Falafel is quite good & quite simple to make: http://www.justataste.com/2011/08/homemade-falafel-with-tahini-sauce/
The technique described in this recipe for cooking the tofu could be used with any sauce/seasoning: http://veganyumyum.com/2008/06/sweet-chili-lime-tofu-with-wok-steamed-collards-and-quinoa/
This recipe is the most flavorful fall/winter stew I’ve ever tasted; omit the saffron because saffron is ridiculously expensive so who needs it?: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/health/nutrition/18recipehealth.html?ref=recipes_for_health&_r=1&
Of course it’s always possible to throw tons and tons of vegetables into the sauce when you’re making spaghetti, my usual trio is mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, but carrots and kale are good too.
Try making pizza without cheese, load it up with sauce and veggies, and sprinkle some vegan parmesan on top. This can be a great strategy for ordering pizza too.
For any recipe that calls for ricotta, here’s a wonderful tofu-based substitute: http://www.thewannabechef.net/2011/07/14/tofu-ricotta-cheese/ I use that plus vegan mozzarella & parmesan to make a three-cheese lasagna recipe & it is delicious.
This recipe for my Nona’s minestrone soup is vegan.
There are so, so many resources and websites out there, if you have an idea for a recipe or an ingredient you want to use, just look it up on google. A good resource I like to use is http://www.vegweb.com/
For pre-made food (soups, frozen dinners, etc.) Amy’s is a really excellent brand but it can be VERY pricey. Their food is really delicious vegetable-oriented food (several amazing Indian and Mexican frozen dinners that I love and a really awesome vegan mac ‘n’ cheese; not all of their food is vegan so read the label).
Vegan brands include Earth Balance, Follow Your Heart, and Daiya.
Keep staple grains, bean, nuts, fruits and vegetables in your house at all times. Also keep basic spices stocked.
Beware of “sneaky cheese.” Many vegetarian meals have a lot of cheese, many spaghetti sauces include cheese even when cheese isn’t in the name. Basically, read the ingredient list. Also stay alert for “casein” the leading sneaky milk protein that’s in everything.
Instead of using yogurt as your base, use bananas as your base. I usually do banana + 1-2 leaves raw kale + ½-1 cup frozen fruit (usually strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or mango) + protein powder + flaxseed + a handful of raw cashews for a cheesy/creamy flavor + a mixture of juice of your choice plus coconut water or non-dairy milk (soy milk, almond milk, etc.) Of course you can mix it up a bit but that’s my basic formula. This means I always keep bananas, kale, frozen fruit, and some sort of juice around.
Here’s a mix/match chart you can use as another formula: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4d/57/94/4d5794e001b9767c19164c92ce32963b.jpg
Here’s a really really delicious smoothie that’s a wonderful treat: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12945/raspberry-cheesecake-smoothie-raw-vegan.html
For more recipes, check out my vegan pinterest boards: