These days, the popularity of and prevalence of plant-based food is hard to ignore. Studies show that veganism was twice as popular in 2020 than it was just five years earlier, and the interest shows no signs of slowing down. Where once, vegan food had the reputation of consisting of only quinoa, kale and salad, today more and more people are becoming aware of how diverse and delicious plant-based food can really be. Following a vegan lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up all the meals you like. Often, it’s just a case of swapping out some ingredients.
So whether you’re interested in vegan food for health reasons, environmental factors, or simply because you love animals, here are ten vegan recipes to get you inspired!
1. Moroccan jackfruit tagine with lemon couscous
If you love the rich, fragrant flavours of Moroccan food, then you’ll hopefully love this Moroccan jackfruit ‘lamb’ tagine by BOSH! Jackfruit is an exotic fruit that’s become really popular as a meat substitute in recent years – and that’s because when it cooks, it becomes deliciously tender and stringy, just like pulled pork or other types of shredded meat. In this case, it also makes a great substitute for lamb in an otherwise traditional tagine.
Jackfruit is high in vitamins and antioxidants, so it can provide powerful health benefits, and because it’s so popular these days, you can buy cans of jackfruit from almost all supermarkets. The earthy Moroccan flavours go really well with fluffy and fresh lemon couscous and a dash of mint sauce – and for an extra dose of protein, you can add a dollop of hummus, too. For even more extra oomph, top with fresh coriander, parsley, pistachios, and pomegranate seeds. Have a watch of the video below to see how it’s done.
2. Vegan NYC style baked cheesecake
There are few people who don’t enjoy a slice of cheesecake now and then – and this is a treat that you definitely don’t have to forgo on a vegan diet. There are literally thousands of vegan cheesecake recipes online, but many of them are raw cheesecakes that use ground nuts and dates for the base. They can be delicious and healthy(ish), but what if you want more of a ‘proper’ cheesecake – one that has a baked biscuit and butter base, and a decadently creamy filling?
If that sounds like it’s more up your street, then you might want to make this vegan NYC style baked cheesecake by chef Gaz Oakley. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also pretty quick to knock up: simply mix bashed up biscuits with vegan butter and bake, then blend vegan cream cheese with non-dairy milk, sugar, cornstarch and flour, and top with a refreshing blueberry dressing. A seriously gorgeous dessert that will impress all your non-vegan friends! Have a watch of the video below to see how it’s made.
3. Vegan enchiladas
If you’re looking for a colourful, delicious and comforting dish that’ll please every palate, whether vegan, veggie or omnivore, you can’t beat these vegan enchiladas by Oh She Glows. Soft tortillas are stuffed with smoky roasted red peppers, sweet potato, black beans and sun-dried tomatoes, topped with enchilada sauce, and then drizzled with a zingy-yet-creamy coriander, cashew and lime sauce. Packed with protein, good fats and vitamins, these enchiladas are just as healthy as they are delicious.
Because you’re making three things from scratch (the enchilada sauce, the veg and bean filling, and the cashew cream) it isn’t the quickest meal to knock up – but it’s undeniably worth it. If you want to knock off a bit of prep time, you can always buy the enchilada sauce – or make it the day before, along with the cashew cream. After baking the enchiladas, smother them in cashew cream and top with spring onion, chilli pepper flakes, fresh coriander and chopped avocado, if liked. A mouthwatering meal that will truly blow your taste buds away.
4. Vegan red lentil curry
Almost everyone loves a good curry – and this vegan red lentil curry by Rainbow Plant Life is one of the best recipes to introduce people to the delights of plant-based food with. It’s quick and easy to rustle up, so it’s a great weeknight meal, and because it contains red lentils, it’s high in protein as well as fibre, folic acid and potassium – all of which help promote heart health. Lentils often have the reputation of being healthy and filling but a little dull… but this recipe will prove otherwise!
Because this curry is packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients like fresh garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric, it isn’t only extremely flavoursome, it’s also great for boosting your immune system. Plus, because it contains coconut milk and almond butter, it’s deliciously creamy and contains plenty of good fats, which can help boost brain health. To see how this dish is made, have a watch of the video below.
5. Fudgy vegan brownies
If you have a sweet tooth or love chocolate, it’s probably a safe bet to assume you love brownies – and if that’s the case, you might want to think about making these fudgy vegan brownies by Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen. There are plenty of recipes for vegan brownies online, and many are aimed at the health-conscious, swapping sugar for dates, and flour for almond flour. While these recipes can be delicious, sometimes you just want to enjoy a ‘real’ brownie without thinking about health.
As any brownie connoisseur will know, brownies should never be cakey – they should be moist, gooey and fudgy, and these ones definitely hit the spot. Wrapped up in paper and string they make delectable gifts for loved ones… or you can just keep them all for yourself. Have a watch of the video below to get inspired… and your mouth watering!
6. Garlic & white wine pasta with Brussels sprouts
If a creamy and indulgent bowl of pasta is your go-to comfort food, then this garlic and white wine pasta by Minimalist Baker might become a new favourite. This dish is the perfect combination of flavours and textures: crispy roasted sprouts, chewy fettuccine pasta, and a rich, smooth sauce that’s made with almond milk, garlic and nutritional yeast (which is a superfood you can buy in health food shops or supermarkets, and a staple in vegan cooking).
The sauce is so creamy you’d never know there wasn’t dairy in it, and you can adapt the flavours to your own taste preferences. If you don’t have Brussels sprouts at home, or you don’t like them, you can simply swap them for other veggies (spinach and mushrooms go really well with this dish). To see how simple this recipe is to make – and how delicious the finished product looks – have a watch of the video below.
7. Chilli non carne
Few things are as comforting on a dull evening as a big, steaming bowl of chilli… and just because summer is approaching doesn’t mean we need to give up on warming comfort food. This vegan chilli by Cookie + Kate is seriously tasty – and because it only needs 20 minutes prep, it’s a great meal to cook on a busy evening: once you’ve done the prep, you can just leave the pot slowly cooking away while you go about your business.
The beauty of this vegan chilli isn’t just that it’s so flavoursome; it’s also incredibly nutritious. Packed with black beans and pinto beans, it’s high in protein and fibre, and veggies like tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots and peppers will help give your immune system a boost.
Chilli is traditionally served with rice, but if you’re looking for a low-carb alternative, why not serve it with a side of cauliflower rice instead? Alternatively, this chilli also goes well served as a protein-rich topping for nachos or baked potatoes. Have a watch of the video below to see how to make this delicious chilli.
8. Healthier salted caramel cheesecake
If you love the idea of salted caramel cheesecake but are watching your sugar intake, cholesterol levels, or just generally trying to be healthy, then you’re in luck. This salted caramel cheesecake by The Happy Pear is entirely sugar-free – but tastes absolutely heavenly. The ‘caramel’ is made from dates, nut butter and coconut oil, and because dates are high in fibre, which is vital for gut health, it even has some health-busting properties too.
Though this cheesecake looks impressive, it only takes around 15 minutes to prepare – and even better, no oven is required. The base is made from cashew nuts, dates and coconut oil, which are blended up; then you simply add the blended caramel ingredients, a layer of melted chocolate, and leave to chill in the fridge for an hour. Watch the video below to see this too-good-to-be-true tart come together!
9. Cauliflower mac ‘N’ Jack with crispy caper bites
Cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese are two of the most popular types of comfort food around – and if you think vegans have to forgo these delicious dishes, think again! This cauliflower mac ‘N’ Jack with crispy caper bites recipe by award-winning chef and Masterchef finalist Jackie Kearney is a vegan version of macaroni cheese… but one that takes things to the next level.
With the addition of roasted cauliflower, crispy capers, and an optional dash of Jack Daniels (or any other whiskey), it’s comforting, creamy, and packed with rich, savoury flavours. Plus, because it contains no eggs or dairy (though you wouldn’t know from the taste), it’s entirely cholesterol-free, and much lower in fat than ‘normal’ mac and cheese. So if you need a justification for a second helping, that might be it…
10. Vegan brown butter peach cobbler
Summer is the season for sweet, ripe and delicious fruit, and if you prefer fruity desserts rather than chocolatey ones, you can’t go wrong with this heavenly vegan brown butter peach cobbler by Rainbow Plant Life. With the addition of blueberries, this dessert is a fresh and zingy twist on the classic peach cobbler – though you always can mix it up and add strawberries, raspberries, apples, or any other sweet fruit of your choice.
To make this recipe, a rich plant-based cobbler batter is swirled with vegan brown butter, then topped with sweet fresh fruit tossed in a sugary, spicy mix. When it cooks in the oven, the cobbler becomes gooey and caramelised on top, but light and fluffy inside, making every mouthful a delight. This is a truly indulgent dessert that’ll please everyone – and it still counts towards your five-a-day! To see how to make this fruity treat, have a watch of the video below.
As these nine recipes above hopefully show, vegan food isn’t all about salads and lentil – it can be hearty, comforting and indulgent. The plant-based movement is rising rapidly, and as it does so, all kinds of new ingredients are being discovered, and delicious new recipes are being created.
Whether you’re already vegan and looking for some tasty new recipes, or you’re just looking to cut down on animal products and eat more plant-based food – we hope your appetite has been whetted by these recipes, and that you’re inspired to go and get creative in the kitchen!
Are you vegan – or are you looking to eat more plant-based food? Do any of these recipes above get mouth-watering? We’d love to hear about your foodie experiences! Leave us a comment below or join the conversation on the Rest Less community.