That’s when I had to start to think outside the box. Or better yet, the things I can add to my dinner plate, rather eliminate.
The good news is that there is a wide range of dinner ideas that are affordable, easy, and plant-based. Including the things you might already be eating, namely, spaghetti, vegan pizza, loaded potatoes, and vegetable stews. And you might already be working with everyday pantry ingredients that are vegetarian including lentils, beans, rice, quinoa, and spices.
It will take some time, creativity, and a little bit of cooking skill – but I promise it’s approachable to switch to a plant-based diet, especially for those nighttime meals.
What Are Plant-Based Foods?
Plant-based foods are those that derive from plants. Vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds are all examples of plant-based foods.
A plant-based diet consists mostly or entirely of plant-based foods, some of which may be minimally processed. It can be a balanced, wholesome, and nutritionally generous diet when done right.
Additionally, it’s a delicious and healthy way of eating that can be approachable and affordable with a little bit of planning.
Here are 21 delicious plant-based dinner recipes that can be paired with your favorite sides. Very easy recipes, so they are perfect for plant-based beginners!
Not sure how to make your breakfast plant-based and healthy? Check out our 18 Frugal Plant-Based Breakfast Recipes.
Habichuelas Guisadas From Scratch
DINNER TIP: To make habichuelas guisadas a complete meal, pair it with white rice, plantains, and sliced avocado. For the plantains, either go for salty “tostones” or sweet “maduros,” which can be fried or baked for a healthier version.
Black Bean Tofu Burger Recipe
DINNER TIP: Dress up your burger with your favorite items. Just like regular burgers, we can add onions, tomatoes, pickles, our favorite sauces, and a slice of vegan, melted cheese.
20-Minute Black Bean Soup
Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
20-Minute Chipotle Sofritas
DINNER TIP: This Chipotle-inspired sofritas dish is just as versatile as what you get from the restaurant. Go for a burrito, taco, salad, or rice bowl – the choice is yours. Add all of your favorite topping and sides and you have a full meal.
Cannellini Bean Veggie Burger
Mushroom Vegetable Tomato Soup
DINNER TIP: Nothing beats a big bowl of cozy vegetable soup with Puerto Rican spices! My favorite way of having this soup is with a side of quick and easy flatbread.
Vegan Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
DINNER TIP: If you’re missing Indian food, good news, you can still have it! This “butter chicken” recipe goes perfectly with a side of naan, roti, rice, or some raw onions. You won’t need anything else.
Vegan Carne Guisada (Meatless “Beef” Stew)
Oil-Free Vegan Fried Rice
DINNER TIP: This oil-free “fried” rice is the perfect opportunity to throw in your favorite vegetables that need to get used up. Feel free tomake this dish a little more interesting by addin corn, edamame, or even green beans.
Extra-Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
DINNER TIP: Finger-foods for dinner is always a great idea. Pair these bad boys with a side of fries or vegan mac and cheese. Choose any dip you like, including ranch, BBQ, or dijon mustard.
Tomato Braised Mushroom
Smoky Vegan Mac and Cheese
How To Cook Dry Black Beans (No Soak)
DINNER TIP: Dry beans are ridiculously easty to make, they just need a little bit of time. I love pairing these beans with a side of white rice and steamed vegetables.
Vegan Palak “Paneer” With Tofu
Vegetarian Tofu Bean Chili
DINNER TIP:Chili is cozy anytime of the year – whether it’s for game day, winter, or to use as a topping for summer veggie hot dogs. I like to keep things traditional and add a side of homemade corn bread.
Vegan Teriyaki “Chicken” Stir Fry
Stovetop Vegan Tofu Meatballs
DINNER TIP: The only things you need to make this recipe comlete is a pile of spaghetti and tomato pasta sauce.
Roasted Carrot Red Lentil Soup
DINNER TIP: This soup might look light, but it’s anything but! Made with lentils and carrots, this soup is thick. To mix things up, I like to add a side of crispy flatbread and a side salad.
Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Yellow Rice)
There you have it – 21 plant-based dinner ideas that’ll make everyone at home asking for seconds!
Did you try any of the recipes on the list?