5 Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes and Meal Ideas for the Week | Brownble

5 Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes and Meal Ideas

diet & exercise on being vegan podcast May 13, 2022

Show notes:

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Ep 2085 easy vegan lunch ideas

Youtube video and recipe for our creamed spinach pasta casserole

Youtube video and recipe for our weeknight noodles

Youtube video and recipe for our homemade vegan chipotle sausages

Our online program My Brownble

Today’s episode is a food inspired one, and meant to be a source of inspiration and motivation to prepare some delicious home cooked goodies this week. I was recently going through your answers from our most recent listener survey and among the top favorite episodes listed, one that was very high across the board were the food inspiration and meal idea episodes.

I get it, sometimes you might be listening to the podcast on your way to or from work, and sometimes it just happens that you’re out of ideas, feeling uninspired, and you know you need to stop by the store on your way home but are drawing a blank on what to get. I also find that the two meals of the day that people struggle the most with are finding vegan recipes for breakfast and/or dinner. Lunch is a bit easier for most, since we can all quickly picture having vegan sandwiches, wraps, hearty salads, etc, and still, please remember that in ep 208 of the podcast we talked about 5 easy vegan lunch ideas. Today we’re focusing on plant-based recipes for dinner, and for any international listeners where you’re culture might have its largest, shared meal at lunchtime, this is what I’m focusing on, that main meal in which you’re sitting down with family, and enjoying a hearty meal together. As a side note, remember that some of these cultural traditions and norms are meant to be examined and changed with what works for you, for some of us lunch is a quicker meal, for many dinner is the largest meal of the day, for others like me, lunch and dinner are interchangeable and a very similar meal is served in both, you get the idea, listen to and follow what works for you and your family, there are no set rules.

Before we get started with all those yummy vegan dinner ideas and menus, here’s our sponsor for today’s post and podcast episode:

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Thank you so much to today's sponsor, now let’s get to our dinner ideas!


Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes #1: Lentil Shepherd’s pie

People always think a shepherd’s pie takes hours to prepare, but in fact, you can introduce some shortcuts to have this ready in no time, especially by using already cooked lentils and even leftover mashed potatoes. 

Steps for this easy vegan dinner:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil some potatoes (I use 4 potatoes - and you can also use sweet potatoes- for a large shepherd’s pie). Reserve some of the cooking water for creating the mash, and once your potatoes are tender, drain them, add them back to the pot, and mash them using a potato masher or ricer, and add a bit of non-dairy butter, non-dairy milk and some of the reserved cooking water, until you have the texture of mashed potatoes you love. Season and set these aside.
  2. In an oven proof pan or dutch oven, sauté some onions, celery, garlic, and finely chopped mushrooms in a bit of oil until golden and fragrant, season with salt and pepper. Add about  1&1/2 tablespoons flour and stir, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and stir. Then deglaze the pan with some red wine, add your cooked lentils, I usually add 4-5 cups cooked lentils for a large shepherd’s pie, and stir. Season with salt and pepper and add vegetable stock or water plus a bouillon cube (about 1 cup in total), this will help create a thickened sauce around the lentils. If you need to keep this gluten free, you can skip the flour, and add the same amount of cornstarch diluted in a bit of water and added at this stage.
  3. Let the sauce reduce and thicken slightly, taste and adjust the seasoning, then top the lentils with the mashed potatoes and bake in a 350ºF /(180ºC) oven for 15-20 minutes to warm everything through and brown the top.


Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes #2: Grilled Tempeh and Vegetable Tacos with Salsa Verde

Steps for this easy vegan dinner:

  1. Slice your tempeh and steam it in a steamer basket for 10 minutes, or alternatively, simmer it in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Season it with a drizzle of soy sauce, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and grill it along with any favorite vegetables in a grill pan or outdoor barbecue. My favorite vegetables for this are oyster mushrooms (grill them whole and then slice them), corn, fennel, onions, peppers and thin carrots. 
  3. Get some nice char marks on them and then slice them so they’re easier to eat.
  4. Warm up some corn tortillas in a pan or on the grill to soften, and get a bit of char if desired.
  5. Top them with the grilled tempeh and veggies, and top with your favorite salsa verde (salsa verde is delicious tomatillo salsa, one of my favorites for tacos), we’ll be teaching you how to make it in our online program My brownble soon.


Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes #3: A Pasta Casserole

 Any pasta casserole that you can make ahead of time and just pop in the oven when you get home is so easy during the week. One of our favorites is our creamed spinach pasta casserole.

Steps for this easy vegan dinner:

  1. Watch me make it in this video, but you’ll basically be creating a quick béchamel sauce in a pan, cooking your favorite pasta until al dente in a separate pot, and once your béchamel is nice and creamy, you add a ton of spinach, and then add your drained cooked pasta.
  2. You add everything to an oven proof casserole dish, top with some vegan cheese shreds if desired and when you’re ready to warm it up, you bake in a 400ºF oven until warmed through and bubbly, and the cheese on the top has melted. You can boost the protein in this dish by using a legume based pasta, or blending up some soft or silken tofu and adding it to the béchamel (this is a great trick to add plant-based sources of protein to other dishes like blended soups as well).


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Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes #4: Veggie and Tofu Stir-fry or Weeknight Noodles 

I love Asian inspired dinners and one of my favorites are noodle dishes. You can add so many vegetables, a protein source like edamame, tofu, tempeh, or your favorite vegan meat or chicken alternative, seitan, and add all of those goodies over rice or noodles or even transform it into an Asian style soup.

Steps for this easy vegan dinner: 

You can watch me make one version of this style of meal in this video

  1. Soak your noodles if using, or make your rice.
  2. Add some oil to a pan or wok, stir-fry your protein source like tofu, tempeh, seitan or vegan meats if using, and add some maple syrup, liquid smoke and soy sauce. Once golden remove from the wok and set aside.
  3. Finely mince your aromatics, mainly garlic, ginger, scallions (and chili if you like a bit of heat).
  4. Slice or chop any vegetables you want to use in your stir-fry, my favorites are scallions cut into strips, mushrooms, onions, peppers, carrots and snow peas (in any combination you love).
  5. Add a bit more oil to the wok or pan and stir-fry the vegetables, then add the aromatics making sure the garlic doesn’t burn, add soy sauce or your favorite stir-fry sauce.
  6. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
  7. Add a bit more oil to the wok or pan and add your drained noodles, if possible serving by serving so you don’t overcrowd your pan.
  8. Season the noodles with your favorite stir-fry sauce or some simple, sriracha and soy sauce, add the vegetables for that serving in, mix everything together and serve in bowls topping them with your previously stir-fried vegan protein source and top with scallions and sesame seeds if desired, as well as with a drizzle of sesame oil for flavor.


Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes #5: Pizza night!

Keep some store bought pizza crusts or freeze dough when you make it if you like making it from scratch, and keep it in the house for a quick meal.

Steps for this easy vegan dinner:

  • Assemble your pizzas by topping your pizza dough or store-bought base with some tomato sauce (I always make extra when I make Italian red sauce and freeze it in individual baggies or containers (you have the most delicious red sauce recipe in our online program but you can make your favorite recipe or use a store-bought brand you enjoy)
  • Add your favorite vegan cheese shreds.
  • Add your favorite toppings: I usually add thinly sliced mushrooms and onions, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil, but other favorites at our house are, adding some vegan pesto, sun-dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, olives, peppers, vegan pepperoni or sausage (like our homemade chipotle vegan sausage recipe), fresh arugula and basil once your pizzas are out of the oven, etc.
  • Bake in the oven according to package directions if using a store-bought pizza base or as a general rule, at 480ºF (250ºC) for 8-10 minutes.


I’ll bring you 5 more in future episodes, but remember that vegan dinners can be as varied and as traditional or untraditional as you want them to be, including your favorite cultural foods, to simply having some leftovers in wraps or bowls, to making quick vegetable curries, to roasting a ton of veggies, some potatoes or sweet potatoes and throwing those together with some seitan steaks, you can make fajitas, burgers, big hearty salads like Cobb salads that have a ton of components, The sky is the limit and we've only scratched the surface, but now you have some ideas of quick and easy vegan dinner ideas and recipes to choose from.


Thank you so much to today's sponsor Green and Experience and their one of a kind, handmade and all natural vegan hemp dryer balls.

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