22 Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes to Start Your Plant-Based Journey

Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Photo: VICTOR PROTASIO

We're all in. Not only is plant-based eating good for the environment and for your body, it can be incredibly satisfying and tasty, especially with these hearty recipes. And who doesn't love a theme party (and an excuse to BYO reusable water bottle to the table)? Grab your best chef's knife—you'll be needing it for all these veggies.

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Cauliflower Tartine With Romesco Sauce

Roasted and Pickled Cauliflower Sandwiches With Romesco
Caitlin Bensel

You'll get rave reviews from guests with this delicious open-faced sandwich—it looks high-maintenance but is super simple to make. Golden raisins and fresh parsley are in the mix to freshen and sweeten the delectable combo of Romesco and cauliflower, but you can try using cilantro and chopped dates for a different spin. Heads up: make sure to buy vegan sourdough bread.

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Eggplant-Mushroom Meatball Sub

Eggplant-Mushroom Meatball Sub
Caitlin Bensel

Eggplant meatballs mixed with umami-rich mushrooms, served on fluffy whole-wheat hoagies? These sandwiches are so flavorful, your dinner guests will forget they're made without any meat. To make them vegan, make sure to skip the Parmesan cheese. And if you want the salty, savory flavor of cheese without the dairy, use nutritional yeast.

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Spicy Coconut Noodles

Spicy Coconut Noodles
Beatriz da Costa

This Asian-inspired dish gets its richness from coconut milk, tomato paste, and spices.

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Cool Southwestern Salad With Corn and Avocado

Cool Southwestern Salad With Corn and Avocado
Con Poulos

Serve this refreshing salad with tortilla chips for added texture and flavor.

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Winter Lentil Soup

Winter Lentil Soup
Kana Okada

Use kale, leeks, and sweet potatoes in this warming one-pot meal. Skip the Parm for a completely vegan version.

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Quick Nutty Noodles

Vegetable and Noodles Dish in a bowl
Greg DuPree

The star of this vibrant noodle dish is a slurpable sauce that's made with a few pantry staples, including apple cider vinegar, almond butter, and toasted sesame oil. The gluten-free soba noodles, which help soak up the sauce, are then tossed with crunchy salt-marinated cucumber, peppery watercress, and quick-pickled radishes. What we love most about this flavorful plant-based meal is that it comes together in just 20 minutes.

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Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Tofu and Vegetables

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Tofu and Vegetables
Christopher Baker

To ensure that the tofu browns, pat it dry before cooking.

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Three-Bean Chili With Spring Pesto

Three-Bean Chili With Spring Pesto
James Merrell

Three types of beans—chickpeas, cannellini, and kidney—ensures this chili is filling and full of protein.

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Fettuccini With Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce Recipe
Victor Protasio

While some of the main ingredients in traditional alfredo sauce are heavy cream and cheese, you can totally whip up a vegan version of the pasta topper courtesy of healthy cauliflower. The versatile veggie is combined with cashew milk and nutritional yeast to create a savory, creamy sauce made without dairy. Finish your bowl of pasta with a dusting of lemon zest and a shower of chopped, fresh parsley leaves and you're all set!

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Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Keep your broccoli stems handy to whip up the pesto that coats this pasta. In addition to that often discarded portion of the vegetable, the savory pesto is made with roasted broccoli florets, almonds, lemon zest, lemon juice, arugula, olive oil, salt, and pepper. While the pesto does call for an optional dose of cheese, you can always use vegan-friendly nutritional yeast instead. Once the sauce is done, toss it with the pasta and top the finished dish with some extra broccoli florets and baby arugula.

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Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous

Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous
John Kernick

Toasted pine nuts go a long way in providing flavor and texture to this sweet and savory dish.

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Hummus and Cucumber Toast

This recipe for hummus and cucumber toast pairs Persian cucumbers with hummus and a sprinkle of za'atar spice mix.
Caitlin Bensel

On nights when you really don't want to fire up the stove, give this hearty, plant-based toast a try. It features a slice of toasted whole-grain bread slathered with some store-bought (or homemade) hummus. The toast is then topped with thin slices of Persian cucumbers, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of za'atar spice mix. If you're especially hungry, make two slices of toast, or serve the toast alongside a simple salad.

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Linguine With Caper and Green Olive Sauce

Linguine With Caper and Green Olive Sauce
Hector Sanchez

Spanish olives and capers give this pasta an assertive, briny bite.

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Mediterranean Campanelle With Roasted Red Peppers and Almonds

Mediterranean Campanelle With Roasted Red Peppers and Almonds
Con Poulos

Stir some of the pasta cooking water into the finished dish to add moisture and bring all the components together.

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Curried Eggplant With Tomatoes and Basil

Curried Eggplant With Tomatoes and Basil
Con Poulos

Eggplant's meaty texture makes it a great ingredient for vegan and vegetarian dishes. To ensure that this meal is entirely vegan, use plant-based yogurt.

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Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice
Antonis Achilleos

This Latin American staple does double duty as a main or a side dish.

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Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini
Jennifer Causey

Meaty eggplant stands in for, well, meat, in this filling salad. You'll also find crispy pita rounds and fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, but the best part is the flavorful green tahini that ties the whole meal together.

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Spicy Summer Squash Stir-Fry

Spicy Summer Squash Stir Fry
Greg DuPree

This colorful stir-fry, which comes together in just 20 minutes, is packed with healthy vegetables. More specifically, you've got summer squash and Japanese eggplant along with spicy red jalapeño slices. The whole thing is coated in a cornstarch-soy sauce, and served over a hearty helping of white rice.

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Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew With Couscous

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew With Couscous
Lisa Hubbard

Couscous is a miracle quick-cooking ingredient: Just cover it with hot water and allow it to steam for five minutes.

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Chickpeas With Chard and Pan-Roasted Tomatoes

Chickpeas With Chard and Pan-Roasted Tomatoes
Romulo Yanes

Fresh lemon juice and golden raisins give this dish unexpected brightness and sweetness.

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Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs Recipe
Greg DuPree

Upgrade your pasta salad game with this vegan dish, which is perfect for summer picnics and potlucks. The toasted Israeli couscous base is paired with juicy summer corn kernels and a showering of fresh herbs—basil, chives, and dill—plus some caramelized onions for good measure. Trust us, you won't be longing for any meat here.

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Loaded Sweet Potatoes With Coconut and Kale

Loaded Sweet Potatoes With Coconut and Kale
Victor Protasio

For an easy vegan meal, load up a cooked sweet potato with some of your favorite veggies. This particular recipe calls for a filling of kale that's cooked in a rich and spicy coconut sauce, which is flavored with lime juice and fragrant curry powder. You'll also find toasted coconut flakes for a little crunch, while the potato itself is flavored with grapefruit juice, butter, and allspice. For a completely plant-based recipe, just omit the butter or use vegan butter (which you can find at Trader Joe's) instead. We guarantee you won't taste the difference.

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