Breakfast, lunch, and dinner: The 3 best vegan meals for beginners

Going vegan doesn’t mean lettuce and lentils for the rest of your life. Nor does it require a trip to culinary school. Plant-based food options are expanding by the day in grocery stores and corner cafes, but the options are still limited, and they can get pricey too. This makes it important for vegans to add some go-to dishes to their home cooking repertoires.

The vegan recipes below are doable for novice chefs as well as experienced cooks. We’ve identified one recipe each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All are delicious and 100% plant-based.

A woman cooks vegan food
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Crowd-pleasing vegan breakfast: Banana baked oatmeal

This recipe is bananas. In fact, that’s its secret weapon. On top of the flavor and health benefits they provide, bananas act as a substitute for eggs in this dish, essentially serving as a plant-based binding agent.

Top with extra banana slices, maple syrup, or your favorite nut butter to make it even more delicious. The best part is it’s ready in under an hour.

(Recipe courtesy of A Couple Cooks.)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup mashed banana (roughly two bananas)
  • 1 3/4 cups dairy-free milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then slowly drizzle the wet ingredients over the dry mixture. In a 375-degree oven, bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Oatmeal with bananas
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Lunchtime: Vegan pulled “pork” sandwich

Nothing beats a good sandwich, but it’s about time we expanded our options beyond the PB&J. Jackfruit is having a vegan moment as an alternative to pulled pork because it has a similar texture when cooked and shredded. Native to South Asia, jackfruit has a neutral taste on its own but sponges up the flavors around it.

You might think that barbecue is challenging to veganize, but jackfruit makes it easy. Let this fruit do its flavor-soaking thing and marinate it in all of your favorite glazes and oils. In no time, you’ll have a sandwich worthy of Kansas City (well, maybe not quite, but close enough).

This recipe adds avocado and an easy homemade vegan ranch sauce to jazz it up, but feel free to stick to the basics.

(Recipe courtesy of Vegan Heaven.)

Pulled “pork”

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 20-ounce cans of young green jackfruit, packed in brine or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup BBQ-sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Vegan ranch sauce

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk

Toppings

  • 2 buns
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • lettuce

Drain and rinse jackfruit and remove the tough cores. Combine jackfruit and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat, then sauté the chopped onion for about 3 minutes or until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Now, add the jackfruit and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add BBQ sauce, liquid smoke, and vegetable broth, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. After cooking, use a fork to shred the jackfruit flesh.

While the jackfruit cooks, make the ranch sauce by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Assemble sandwiches (serves two), and enjoy.

Vegan beans and rice
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Hearty vegan dinner: Sheet-pan Cuban rice and beans

If you think of meat and potatoes when you think of dinner, think again. This plant-based twist on a time-honored classic will keep you satisfied.

(Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.)

  • 2 bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and coat a sheet pan with cooking spray. Combine bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oil in a medium bowl and toss with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Spread the vegetables on the pan and roast until slightly soft (about 15 minutes). Remove veggies from the oven and stir.

Now grab another bowl and combine rice, beans, cumin, oregano, fennel, coriander, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt with 2 1/2 cups of water. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, stir again, and cover with foil. Bake until vegetables are tender and the rice is soft (about 30 minutes). After removing it from the oven, let stand for five minutes before digging in.

The internet is chock full of delicious and healthy vegan recipes. Don’t be intimidated by complex or unfamiliar ingredients and techniques — any time you change your diet there’s a period of exploring new and different flavors and ingredients. Coax your inner chef, and your intrepid inner vegan, out of the shadows and enjoy these easy recipes. All can be solid staples of a vegan diet or an easy meal plan for your next Meatless Monday.

Recipes like these are not only delicious and healthy plant-based options, but they also help remove the stigma of veganism as a niche diet lacking in flavor and variety — modern veganism is anything but. No kid, no matter how picky, can resist a batch of banana-baked oatmeal for breakfast. And who knows? It might even win over a few skeptical grown-ups.

Disclaimer: BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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