Veganism, the practice of abstaining from animal meat or products, has maintained momentum in the food sphere. With new technology-backed meat, egg, fish and cheese alternatives hitting the market, herbivorous commodities have more real estate on grocery store shelves and in fast food menus. Here are some vegan recipes that are sure to make for an easy and delicious meal.
People adopt a plant-based diet for a variety of reasons—among the most often cited are advocacy for animal rights or to lower their carbon footprint, but phytophagous habits also have several health perks: stabilized blood sugar, lower cholesterol, potential weight loss and getting more of certain vitamins and minerals (with the notable exceptions of Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids).
For those going meatless on Mondays or lifelong vegans, these dishes are worth adding to the weekly rotation. Creamy alfredo sauce gets an overhaul with a surprise leading ingredient: When boiled and blitzed, cauliflower transforms into a luscious sauce. Top the generously coated spinach tagliatelle or wheat fettuccine with fried garlic bits to add a small crunch and some big flavor. Also highly recommended: stirring fresh arugula, sautéed mushrooms or sundried tomatoes into your prepared sauce before serving. Consider topping your alfredo with some fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley.
Tofu is another well-known vegan staple with a mild flavor profile. Grilling tofu adds a smoky char that perfectly complements a tempting (vegan-friendly) barbecue sauce. If you’re craving meatless chicken wings, try dredging the tofu in panko bread crumbs and frying it before adding the sauce. These tofu barbecue bites make great vegan appetizers or healthful dinner options when accompanied with steamed rice and grilled broccoli. The best part is the entire dish comes together in just over 30 minutes.
Whether you’re vegan-curious, a vegan enthusiast or just looking for a healthy dinner idea, these recipes are for you.
Grilled Barbecue Tofu
Makes 2 cups
Prep time: 35 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 (14-oz) package of extra firm tofu
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 cup vegan-friendly barbecue sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
Drain the tofu and wrap it in paper towels or a clean dish towel. Place a cast iron or heavy pan on top of the covered tofu. Let dry at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Cut the tofu into six 1/2-inch thick slices. Combine soy sauce and avocado oil in a shallow bowl, and coat both sides of each slice of tofu. Grill tofu for 2-3 minutes on each side, until a nice char is achieved.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cut tofu into bite-sized pieces and toss in barbecue sauce. Serve with steamed rice and grilled broccoli.
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes
- 5-6 cups (1 head) cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tbsp salt, plus 2 tsp salt
- 12 oz dried fettuccine, linguine or tagliatelle
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 1 shallot (optional), chopped
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- Nutritional yeast (optional)
- Optional mix-ins: sautéed mushrooms, fresh spinach or arugula, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes
Place 6 cups of water in a large stock pot over high heat and season with 1 tbsp salt. Once water reaches a rolling boil, add cauliflower florets and cook for 8-10 minutes (until very tender). Transfer cooked cauliflower to a blender along with 1 cup of the cooking water. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook per the package directions.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove half of the garlic and transfer to the blender. Let the remaining garlic cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp. Remove from heat and set aside. (If using shallots, saute them in remaining olive oil at this time before transferring to the blender).
Add dairy-free milk, 2 tsp salt, Dijon mustard, black pepper and nutmeg to the blender. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Toss prepared pasta generously with sauce and top with fried garlic and nutritional yeast (if using). Also consider stirring sautéed mushrooms, baby greens or tomatoes into the prepared pasta before serving.