10 Traditional Meals That Can Easily be Made Vegan

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

It's surprising how easy it is to turn your favourite meals plant based, once you get the hang of it.

It’s surprising how easy it is to turn your favourite meals plant based, once you get the hang of it.

On some level, I think quite a lot of people would probably like to eat a plant based, vegan diet. Especially if they were made aware of the potential benefits, not just for their health, but for their performance, for the environment, and for the other species we share the planet with too.

But despite this awareness, there would inevitably still remain one big barrier blocking the path for so many people: they wouldn’t know what to eat.

They wouldn’t know how to replace the meals they’re currently having with substantial plant based alternatives. Cut out the meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods, and what are you left with? Am I just gonna eat salad and sawdust?! They get the notion that a vegan diet would be too difficult.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s really not difficult. Yeah I said it. You’ve just gotta get started, experiment a bit, fail a lot, and after a while you’ll find some good solid meals that you’ll forget are vegan at all. But if you want a head start on all that, I can give you a little direction.

If you’re starting to become a little plant curious, or if you’re already plant-strong and looking for new ideas, here’s ten examples of everyday dishes that with a few small adjustments, can easily be made into healthy, delicious, plant based meals. Nothing complicated. Nothing expensive. Just quick and easy nutritious food.

1. Breakfast Porridge

Breakfast PorridgeA hearty meal to start the day. Especially in the winter. Simply substitute the cow’s milk for almond, soy or coconut. Porridge is so versatile, you can really mix it up and get creative. Check out this banana, berry and date version if you’re stuck for ideas. It tastes awesome, even if I say so myself… Switch the oats for the gluten free version too if you’re that way inclined.

 

2. Simple Smoothie

Raspberry and pear smoothie Health RoomSimple. Nutritious. Quick. Delicious. Grab yourself a half decent blender, a variety of fruit, a little water or plant based milk, and you’re good to go. The Super Smoothie is one of my go to meals if I’m after a quick breakfast or speedy snack.

3. English Breakfast

Tofu scramble

Say whaaat? Yeah you heard. English breakfast, vegan style. It may seem a little long winded, but like anything, with a little practice it becomes a breeze.

  • The usual baked beans are good as they are, but I usually swap them for a lower salt variety, or make my own sauce from scratch with tomato paste, harissa and smoked paprika. Sick.
  • Scrambled egg? Swap that with some scrambled tofu my friend, and be amazed.
  • Sausages? You can make your own using a mixture of beans, onions and spices (like these), or go for ready made veggie sausages. Here in the UK the Linda McCartney ones are pretty good.
  • I’ve yet to try a bacon substitute myself, but this one from Christine Hein on the No Meat Athlete blog looks tasty.
  • Add to that a nice green salad for good measure, and you’re set.

4. Mexican Burritos

Mexican bean burritoAlmost definitely my favourite meal, and so simple to make vegan. Give the cheese and sour cream a miss, and swap out the meat for more rice, veggies and beans. You can even make your own easy guacamole by mashing some avocado with red onions, tomato and lime. Simple. Feel free to check out my spicy wrap recipe if you like, and we’ll have a burrito one up within the next few weeks hopefully.

5. Indian Curry

Simple Vegan DahlIndian cuisine is a very close second to Mexican food when it comes to my food preferences, although sometimes it can edge in front, depending on how I’m feeling… Thankfully most dishes can easily be veganized!

Give the ghee a miss, and check your naan bread for milk. Other than that, be sure to substitute your chicken tikka with a load of chickpeas and lentils, and you’ll be good to go. I have a dahl recipe on the blog if you wanna check that out, and a simple korma. And my friends at Plant Basic have a Lazy Jalfrezi that’s really good too.

6. Stir FryPeanunt and miso stir fry, luke jones, health room

So simple, and one of my go to meals. Avoid the fish sauce and crispy duck, and substitute the meat with extra veggies, legumes, and maybe a few nuts and seeds. And just because you’re frying, doesn’t mean you need to use oil. I substitute it instead with a little water, which does the trick nicely. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started.

7. Thai Green Curry

Thai Green 1Thai food is pretty vegan friendly on the whole. Again, it’s usually just a case of upping the veggies and substituting the meat with legumes (in case you haven’t realised by now, legumes are your friends). We made a simple Thai curry a few months back if you wanna check it out.

8. Pizza

pideWe made one last week using spelt flour in the base, which went down well after a long bike ride. Give the cheese a miss, or switch it for some home made cashew cheese (soaked cashews blended with nutritional yeast). It can easily be made gluten free too by  using rice or buckwheat flour.

9. Paella

Paella

How can you have a paella without seafood, chicken and chorizo? My sentiments exactly, before I gave a home made plant based version a whirl. We used a mix of beans instead of the meaty medley, and it turned out surprisingly well.

10. Spaghetti Bolognese

spag bolAgain, my friends at Plant Basic have got you covered. It is simply a case of switching that fatty beef mince with a soy alternative, or forgoing it altogether and using lentils and beans instead.


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