Here are the best vegan dishes: some of the most exciting meals you’ll eat! They’ll become go-tos whether you eat vegan or just want to eat more veggies.
Do you eat a plant based diet? Or are you just looking to eat more vegetables? Either way, vegan dinner recipes can be some of the most delicious and creative meals you’ll eat. Alex and I have compiled our best vegan dinner recipes that have become fan favorites. Whether you eat strictly vegan or just want to add more veggies to your diet, we promise you’ll find some dinner recipes you love!
A study came out recently called the EAT-Lancet Study that talks about how eating more plants and a little less meat is better for the planet. It’s also a better for our personal health, too. Alex and I started eating this way about 10 years ago when we read a book called Food Matters by Mark Bittman. So, this is becoming more and more of a theme in research and media. The upside to all of this is: eating lots of veggies has never been more exciting and creative! Because of the internet, we have access to all sorts of ideas for eating vegetables stemming from cuisines from around the world. And access to literally millions of recipes. Eating your vegetables has never tasted so good.
WOW! This vegan lasagna is majorly good. No matter how you eat, this vegan lasagna will be a hit! Promise. It's smothered in a zesty marinara sauce, layered with spinach, mushrooms, and our secret ingredient: hummus! Top with a sprinkling of "Parmesan" and it's a favorite vegan dish that pleases everyone at the table. We guarantee it!
Next up in our vegan dishes: Sloppy Joes! These vegan Sloppy Joes have a zingy lentil filling that tastes just as good as the meaty version. Put it on a toasted bun with some bread and butter pickles, and WOW! You’re going to love this one (promise). A fantastic plant-based meal for people who are on the fence about veggies, they're crowd pleasing and have a cozy, comforting vibe!
Your noodles are destined for greatness with this vegan pasta alfredo! The impossibly creamy sauce is a healthy spin on the traditionally rich pasta. It’s made with nutrient-dense cauliflower and protein-packed cashews instead of dairy. Said one reader: “YUM! I love it! It’s super easy to make. I made it again 2 days later!”
The falafel sandwich is the stuff dreams are made of: and one of the most iconic vegan sandwiches...ever! The crunch of the fried chickpea fritters, the soft herby interior, and the sauces that dribble down your chin….it’s our ultimate meal. Might we present the ultimate falafel sandwich! It features crunchy fritters, ultra soft flatbread, crunchy veggies and creamy, garlicky sauces.
This vegan shepherd’s pie is cozy comfort food to the max! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of mashed potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden. This one’s a whole food plant based (WFPB) stunner!
Next up in our best vegan dishes: Vegan Pizza! Pizza without cheese needs big flavors. This one has of hearty veggies including ultra-savory mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Since cheeseless pizza can’t make up for flavor with cheese, this pizza sauce is the best you'll find! It features fire-roasted tomatoes, which bring a lovely sweet flavor.
Another major crowd pleaser: vegan pot pie! It’s become one of our top fan favorite vegan dishes and for good reason. The flaky crust is scented with sage, and the inside is pure creamy, savory goodness with sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and white beans. Take it from one reader: “WOW. This is seriously amazing pot pie. I love the flavor of the sauce. And the CRUST! So flaky and wonderful.”
These vegan chickpea burgers are extra special! They’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with a hint of nuance from smoked paprika. Painted with BBQ sauce and served with shiitake bacon and spicy mayo, they’re pretty darn tasty (if we do say so ourselves).
WOW is all we can say about this vegan enchiladas recipe! It tops the charts as one of our most crowd-pleasing plant based recipes…ever. Tortillas are wrapped around a veggie filling oozing with flavor, and it’s all doused in a zesty homemade enchilada sauce. With the crunchy veggie topping, this dish looks simply incredible. It tastes even better than it looks! Another variation: try the same filling in our Vegan Burrito!
Here's the ultimate vegan chili recipe! Everyone loves chili, and it's the perfect way to make vegetables taste delicious. It’s hard to find someone who will turn down this vegan dinner! It’s full of savory flavor starring beans, quinoa, and a hint of adobo sauce for complexity. Top it with our vegan sour cream and some pickled jalapenos and well: it’s out of this world good.
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is used as a plant based substitute for pulled pork. That might sound crazy, but it’s absolutely delicious. This jackfruit BBQ sandwich has barbecue sauce that’s perfectly balanced: sweet, tangy, savory, and a little boozy from a bit of whiskey. Place it on a bun with either our easy vinegar coleslaw or our best creamy coleslaw. It’s one of the most seriously satisfying vegan dishes you’ll try!
Here's one of our coziest, most comforting vegan dishes: meatballs! The ingredients for these plant based meatballs are simple: just oats, potatoes, cashews, garlic and spices! They’re then pan fried in a bit of oil until crispy, then doused in tangy marinara sauce and topped with vegan Parmesan. And that vegan Parmesan — it's got the texture of that popular shaker can Parmesan cheese, but it’s fully plant based and super flavorful!
Poke is a Hawaiian specialty, typically made with ahi tuna. But here's a whole food plant based (WFPB) version of this popular healthy bowl meal: vegan poke bowls! They're bursting with flavor, and they’ve got an unusual ingredient that amazingly gives the same texture and flavor as poke. Beets. Yep, you’re going to have to taste this to believe it…but it really works! Drizzle with spicy mayo and enjoy.
Add to those best vegan dishes...this incredible vegan chickpea curry! This one is the epitome of healthy weeknight dinners. It can be made in just 20 minutes, a speed record for sure. But there are no flavor shortcuts: it's bursting with garlic, ginger, cumin, and curry powder, with a bit of coconut swirled in for a creamy body. Serve with basmati rice (or Instant Pot rice) and it's a true gem. Also try: Vegetable Curry
Want to make stunning ramen in the comfort of your own home? Authentic ramen from a Japanese restaurant is the absolute best. But the next best thing is trying it homemade! This vegan mushroom ramen broth is so savory, flavored with the umami of both dried and fresh mushrooms. Swimming in that gorgeous broth are bok choy, colorful veggies and tofu. It’s an explosion of flavor that’s a total crowd pleaser. (Also try: Tofu Ramen.)
Nachos for dinner? Yes, please! These loaded vegan nachos are the best because they’re piled high with smoky, meaty lentils, crunchy veggies, and topped with our vegan nacho cheese. To make them one of our healthy vegan dinner recipes, look for organic corn chips with minimal ingredients (ideally corn, oil, and salt).
This eggplant pasta has got it all! This vegan recipe is packed with savory and zesty flavor: tender roasted eggplant, zesty marinara sauce, peppery basil, and salty capers. This Mediterranean-style vegan dish is incredibly versatile: it works for weeknights and for serving to company! It’s cozy yet elegant all at once.
2 25-ounce jars tomato basil pasta sauce (or any marinara sauce)
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
10 to 13 ounces no boil lasagna noodles* (see note!)
8-ounce container hummus
Dried oregano, for sprinkling
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make the spinach mushroom filling: Pull out the stems of mushrooms with your fingers. In a food processor or with a large knife, roughly chop the mushrooms, 1/2 cup of the cashews and the rosemary. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet and bring to medium heat. Sauté mushrooms and cashews for 3 minutes until soft but still hold their shape. Add the spinach (saving out a few leaves for the garnish) and sauté until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the lemon juice. Let stand until assembling.
Make the dairy free Parmesan topping: in a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 cup cashews with the garlic powder and lemon zest until it’s ground into about the texture of a shaker can of grated Parmesan. (Alternatively, chop as finely as possible with a knife.)
Mix the sauce: In a large bowl, mix together the pasta sauce and tomato sauce.
Layer the lasagna: In a 9 x 13” baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of noodles (our pan held 3 noodles longwise and 3/4 noodle widthwise), breaking noodles as necessary**. Spread with half of the hummus, half of the mushrooms and a tomato sauce layer. Repeat again: 1 layer of noodles, half of the hummus, half of the greens and tomato sauce. Finally, top with noodles, then tomato sauce again. Sprinkle the entire top with the “Parmesan” and dried oregano.
Bake: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, then 10 minutes uncovered. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set). If you’d like, finely chop spinach leaves to use as a garnish (for looks only!). Cut into pieces and enjoy.
*Important: You must use no-boil lasagna noodles for this recipe! Do not substitute standard noodles. The amount of sauce is formulated for no boil noodles, which need more liquid than standard lasagna noodles.
**If you have a large 9 x 13” aluminum pan with square sides, you’ll need 13 ounces noodles. A 9 x 13” glass baking dish with rounded sides only needs 10 ounces of pasta noodles! Baking dish shapes and noodle shapes can vary, so make sure you have enough pasta based on your baking dish.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.