Easy Vegan Recipes for Beginners

These easy vegan recipes for beginners make eating a whole food plant-based diet fun, healthy, and most importantly: delicious!

When Alex and I started eating lots of vegetarian and vegan recipes, at first it seemed daunting. How the heck would we feed ourselves? After a short time though, we realized vegan recipes can be some of the most creative and delicious out there. Not to mention beautiful! We’ve devoted our lives to showing people–you–how to eat lots of vegetables in delicious ways. We even wrote a book to prove it: our Pretty Simple Cooking cookbook. Our forte is creating recipes that are tasty, healthy, and pretty simple to make. Now that we eat a mostly whole foods plant based diet, we have chances to do that every day! Here are our top easy vegan recipes for beginners.

Related: What’s a plant-based diet?

Cauliflower Tacos with Yum Yum Sauce

Cauliflower Tacos | Easy Cauliflower Tacos

First up in our easy vegan recipes for beginners: Cauliflower Tacos! This fan favorite recipe stars our crispy breaded cauliflower (baked, not fried), which are reminiscent of the texture of fish tacos. Add to that refried beans and silky Yum Yum Sauce and they’re all about one thing: big flavor!

Vegan Italian Pasta Salad

Easy Vegan Recipes for Beginners | Vegan Italian pasta salad

This Italian pasta salad is full of zesty flavor, featuring lots of veggies, kalamata olives, capers, and crisp romaine. It’s like eating pasta and salad all at once! Not only is it delicious, but the romaine and veggies helps you feel satisfied eating less pasta overall. Instead of relying on cheese for flavor, this one is tangy and salty without the dairy! It’s one of our tried and true easy vegan recipes.

Mexican Sweet Potatoes

Mexican Sweet Potatoes | Easy Vegan Recipes for Beginners

Loaded sweet potatoes is one of our favorite easy vegan recipes. And you won’t believe the flavor in these Mexican sweet potatoes! They’re the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The spicy pico de gallo is the perfect complement to the light sweetness of the potato. Topped with creamy cilantro sauce made out of a secret vegan ingredient (cashews!), it’s a little bit of heaven.

Golden Vegetable Soup Recipe

Golden vegetable soup recipe | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

This homemade vegetable soup recipe is all things comforting, featuring turmeric and lots of veggies. You know that noodle soup that your mom made you growing up? This one tastes like a cross between that and an elevated version of canned soup. It was actually inspired by recovering from an illness, so it’s got a limited ingredient list. Use it as a template and you can other veggies to your liking! If we were making it into a more filling soup, we’d add can of drained and rinsed white beans, and add some baby spinach in the last few minutes of cooking.

Loaded Quinoa Tacos

Loaded Quinoa Tacos | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

These vegan tacos are a bit outside the box, since the filling is made of quinoa! The quinoa filling is toasted and filled with taco spices and lime. Then combine it with a bell pepper slaw, spicy cashew cream, and feta cheese, and you’ve got a new level of delicious. Oh and pickled red onions for color and crunch!

Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea salad sandwich | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

Another at the top of our easy vegan recipes, this Chickpea Salad Sandwich! It’s quickly becoming a fan favorite, and it works for both vegetarian and vegan diets. Essentially a vegetarian chicken salad sandwich using chickpeas, the chickpea salad features mashed chickpeas, celery, green onion, a little mayo, and a pop of lemon. We served this one up with hummus spread on both sides of the bread, and it added an extra dimension. Use vegan mayo for the vegan version, which is available at many mainstream groceries and online.

Best Stir Fry Vegetables with Teriyaki

Best stir fry vegetables | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

This one’s the best veggie stir fry out there. The homemade teriyaki sauce is so easy to make: it takes just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes. The teriyaki also has no refined sugar, instead relying on maple syrup! Combine it with nutrient dense brocolli, bell peppers, and tempeh, and you’ve got a satisfying and protein-filled meal. It’s become a serious go to in our house for easy vegan recipes.

Quick Coconut Lentil Curry

Coconut lentil curry | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

This coconut lentil curry is another in our fan favorite easy vegan recipes, and a quick way to get to something on the table that tastes like it’s been cooking all evening! This is not an authentic Indian or Thai curry, just a coconut lentil curry inspired dish that’s a fast dinner idea. It has a fairly short ingredient list, so it’s feasible to make on a weeknight. The base of the curry is simple: just lentils, coconut milk, Thai curry paste, and tomato paste. It’s also a great way to eat your dark leafy greens! Throw in handfuls of any of your favorite greens; this recipe calls for baby spinach.

“Verde” Lentil Vegan Tacos

"Verde" Lentil Vegan Tacos | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

These tacos have a special theme, and it’s a color: green! These “verde” vegan tacos are full of fresh flavors, featuring green lentils, green cabbage, and a bright green cilantro drizzle. They’re one of our easy vegan recipes you can whip up on a weeknight.

Tomato Basil Gnocchi Soup

Tomato basil gnocchi soup recipe | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

This soup is one of our most comforting easy vegan recipes, full of tangy tomato, peppery basil, and those lovely pasta dough balls that are gnocchi. Not all gnocchi are vegan (homemade gnocchi are traditionally not), but our favorite brand of gnocchi is vegan and we’ve linked to it in the recipe. It’s easily accessible and makes it simple to enjoy an 100% plant-based bowl of Italian goodness.

Homemade Acai Bowl

Homemade acai bowl | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

Many times when we think of easy vegan recipes, we tend to think towards dinner ideas. But we wanted to give you some breakfast inspiration too! This Homemade Acai Bowl is a tangy purple smoothie made of acai berries and tropical fruit, topped with vibrant toppings of all kinds. Acai pulp can be found in the frozen section in most groceries or online. It’s absolutely worth finding some if you can; the flavor is unique and it makes for a special treat.

Best Instant Oatmeal Recipe

Best Instant Oatmeal Recipe | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

If we’re talking easy vegan recipes for beginners, this one is probably the easiest breakfast you’ll ever make. Promise. The instant oatmeal mix takes just 5 minutes to put together and makes enough for breakfasts throughout the week. Then each morning, just add water and microwave for 2 minutes! It’s a genius life hack that makes for simple mornings. Top with nut or seed butter for a filling breakfast.

Black Bean & Quinoa Chili

Black bean & quinoa chili | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

Of course, what’s a list of easy vegan recipes without a good chili? This savory, hearty quinoa vegan chili is packed with protein and is gluten-free as well. It’s got lots of veggies and the secret ingredients are a bit of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chili peppers in adobo (available at most groceries in the ethnic foods aisle). And if you’re looking for other vegan chili recipes: we’ve got quite a few! Our Classic Chili, Mango Black Bean Chili and Sweet Potato Chili are all vegan without the toppings. Instead of cheese and sour cream, top with our Vegan Cashew Cream or Nacho Cheese.

Bliss Bites (Healthy No-Bake Cookies)

Bliss bites (healthy no bake cookies) | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

Easy vegan recipes have got to include treats, right? If a no bake cookie and a peanut butter cup had a baby, it would be these bliss bites! This one is a vegan recipe we recommend to everyone: not just beginners. It’s our most popular recipe to date! They’re such a fan favorite that we even made sure to include them in our cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking. We tend to make the “mini” version of bliss bites using a mini muffin tin, to keep the portion size smaller. And then you can eat more of them!

Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce

Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

This recipe is relatively new but we’ve started to recommend it as one of our top easy vegan recipes for beginners. Why? In just 25 minutes, you have a fresh bowl of delicious vegetables that’s smothered in a tangy lemon tahini sauce. If you’re just starting to eat plant based recipes or have been eating them for years, this one is a truly tasty way to eat your veggies. Pro tip: we used couscous in this bowl because it’s so quick to cook: bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat for 5 minutes! You could also substitute quinoa or rice.

Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup Recipe

Wild Rice Soup Recipe | Easy vegan recipes for beginners

And finally, one of our fan favorite easy vegan recipes: wild rice soup! This soup is creamy and oh so comforting, featuring white beans, carrots, mushrooms and wild rice. And, it’s vegan! It’s naturally creamy using cashews blended with some of the soup to create a creamy body. It makes for a filling and satisfying wild rice soup that rounds out our list of easy vegan recipes. And don’t worry: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, there’s a stovetop version in the recipe as well.

Looking for more recipes?

Outside of these easy vegan recipes, here are a few more collections of dinner recipes:

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"Verde" Lentil Vegan Tacos | A Couple Cooks

Vegan Tacos & More Easy Vegan Recipes


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 (8 tacos total) 1x

Description

These easy vegan recipes for beginners make eating a whole food plant-based diet fun, healthy, and most importantly: delicious!


Scale

Ingredients

For the lentils

  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

For the tacos

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 small green cabbage
  • Salsa verde (purchased or homemade)
  • Creamy Cilantro Sauce, to serve
  • Avocado, optional

Instructions

  1. Soak the cashews for the Creamy Cilantro Sauce for at least 30 minutes while making the remainder of the recipe, more if time (or make ahead — see instructions in the cilantro sauce recipe).
  2. Place the lentils in a pot with 6 cups warm water. Bring to a low boil, then boil for about 15 to 20 minutes until just al dente (taste often to assess doneness). Drain, then stir in the olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
  3. Thinly slice the green onions. Thinly slice the cabbage. If using, chop the avocado.
  4. Meanwhile, make the Creamy Cilantro Sauce.
  5. Warm the tortillas according to the package instructions. (We typically char ours on an open flame, but that’s not the preferred method with the One Degree tortillas.) To serve, top the tortillas with lentils, green onions, green cabbage, salsa verde, torn cilantro leaves, and cilantro drizzle.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired

Keywords: Vegan Recipes, Easy Vegan Recipes for Beginners

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.

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