With Veganuary starting up again a few days ago, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite vegan recipes that we’ve been loving over the past year that might help you out with some recipe inspiration. While Shane and I aren’t vegan, we did go pescatarian back in March last year, and we don’t really eat any dairy now except for cheese (whyyy is it so hard to give up).
These are the recipes that I’ve found myself making at least once a month since the summer, sometimes once a week! Most of them are pretty quick and easy to make, but others you can get them going in about 30 minutes and just leave them to it for an hour or so while you get on with other stuff, so there’s a nice mix there.
Lentil Meatballs and Pasta
This is one of my absolute favourite recipes and I cook it at least once every two weeks. I tend to make a huge batch, then cook and freeze the rest of the meatballs for me to have another time, with enough to have some for my lunch at work the next day too!
I just leave them on a chopping board to cool down then carefully place them in a freezer bag so they don’t break apart. Then when I need to cook them, I leave them on the side to defrost for an hour or two (they defrost really quickly) and then re-heat them in the oven for 15 minutes until they’re warmed through.
I also just buy jars of marinara sauce (we get ours in bulk from Costco and I freeze the rest in small bags to use with the leftovers), rather than cooking my own, but it’s still pretty simple to make yourself if you prefer.
Greek Style Rice Stuffed Veggies
This is another one that I cook every couple of weeks. I serve it with a greek salad which obviously isn’t vegan, but you can just leave out the feta to make it vegan. This one takes a good couple of hours to cook, but once you’ve done the initial cooking which takes about 20-30 mins, you just pop it in the oven and leave it for the rest of the time.
I half the recipe for 2 people, so we only use 1 aubergine, 1 courgette, 1 pepper and 1 tomato rather than 2 of each as the recipe calls for. This gives us enough for dinner, plus the leftovers for lunch the next day. I also like to add in a little extra stock than the recipe calls for, as I find it evaporates super quick and the rice doesn’t soften enough, so I use the amount of stock stated in the recipe (rather than halving it).
For the greek salad, I just finely slice a red onion, green pepper, 1/4 cucumber (removing the seeds), 2 tomatoes and mix it all in a bowl with 1/2 tsp of oregano, a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar and it’s SO good!
This is a super easy option to just throw together and you can use whatever ingredients you have leftover in your fridge. For this one here, I used avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, vegan cheese, coconut yogurt and some frozen chunks of butternut squash roasted in the oven with some cajun spices and then sprinkled on some pumpkin seeds for a little crunch.
For the rice, you can either use shop bought mexican flavoured rice or plain rice. Or for a bit more flavour if you have some spare time, I like to fry up some onion, garlic, black beans and cajun spice and a splash of stock and cook it until soft, then add in a pack of pre-cooked plain brown rice, mix it all up together and serve that with it for a little extra flavour.
I’ve also used plain rice with my favourite black beans recipe which was SO good too. Just do what you fancy!
Cumin & Tahini Crushed Lentils
Yotam Ottolenghi is well known for his middle eastern style of cooking, which is one of my favourite cuisines. I still haven’t gotten round to buying one of his recipe books yet, but you can find a few of his recipes online and on his website. One of my recent favourites is his Cumin & Tahini Crushed Puy Lentils.
It’s a nice quick meal, especially if you buy tinned green lentils rather than cooking your own (though they only take around 30 minutes or so to cook anyway). I like to serve it with a mix between a kisir and a tabbouleh as the sharp flavours cuts through the deep tahini and cumin flavours of the lentils. In the picture it’s served with an egg, as per the instructions on his recipe, but you can leave this off for a vegan meal.
Pumpkin & Red Lentil Curry
One of my favourite easy go to recipes over the past year has been Tania’s Red Lentil Dahl which we love served with coconut kale and rice. I adapted the recipe to include pumpkin and kale, aswell as turn it more into a curry than a lentil dahl and it is so good!
It’s perfect to use up any leftover pumpkins around Halloween, but you can also sub that for butternut squash throughout the rest of the year. And if you don’t fancy chopping up and baking the pumpkin/squash yourself, you can swap it out for frozen cubes that you just add in towards the end to cook through.
It’s such a warming recipe this time of the year full of flavour!
So I’ve just realised that it looks as though I really like lentils and rice! Literally every recipe has either of the two in it, or both! I guess they’re just super easy and quick to cook, and I’m not too much of a fan of beans – they have a really weird mushy texture that I don’t like, though I can just about cope with black beans. I hope this gives you some ideas of some really great tasting recipes, most of which are super easy and quick to make.
I’m planning on sharing a vegan recipe each Sunday this month too for Veganuary – I really love cooking and I used to post quite a few recipes years ago, so I want to get back into that this year. I think I might try for at least 1 new recipe each month, and while they won’t all be vegan, there’ll be a few veggie and the occasional fish recipe in there too!
What are some of your favourite vegan recipies? Or have you got any suggestions of recipes that I could post this year?