I get it – after a long day of just being a busy human being, a 30-minute dinner recipe sounds like the perfect thing to wrap up a night (or let’s be real: takeout).
As much as I love cooking and exploring new plant-based recipes, sometimes I just want to hang up the apron and get something on the dinner table quick and easy.
When I think about dinner, the first thing I think about is utilizing the ingredients I have in my kitchen. That way, I can skip the grocery trip. Additionally, using what I already have helps me reduce food waste and be a little more intentional about thinking outside of the cooking box.
Pro-tip: shop more pantry items that stretch out for a long time (canned beans, rice, pasta, sauces, and spices). These items are useful in quick dinner plant-based recipes. Plus, they are typically inexpensive.
5 Tips To A Quick, 30-Minute Dinner
A great way to create a quick dinner is to prepare beforehand. This could mean chopping, organizing, or even discovering a new plant-based recipe before it’s time to whip something up in the kitchen. It also helps to have ingredients already on hand to avoid a grocery trip.
What I do is take a look at what I have around in my pantry and kitchen and come up with something with what I already have. For example, if I have cooked brown rice ready to be used, I drag that out and make loaded stir-fry rice.
Go For Recipes With Minimal Prep Time
When searching for recipes online, take a look at the recipe first. Take note of the prep time, cook time, and the steps needed. Anything that requires too many steps or too long of a cook time, toss it. Look for something different.
Most recipes will note the cooking time. If not, reading the recipe steps will give you a good idea of how long it might take to create the dish.
Search For One Pan/Pot/Baking Sheet Recipes
Using only one cooking tool can make things easier and faster. Examples include an Instant Pot, wok, baking sheet, and cast iron skillet, or dutch oven. These cooking tools often do not need help from others and whole meals can be made from them.
Currently, one of my favorite kitchen tools that I purchased recently is a dutch oven. It helps distribute heat more evenly, great for longer cook times like stews, by preventing it from drying out, and it can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven.
Heat Pre-Made Frozen Dinner
Keep your freezer well-stocked with already cooked, plant-based meals that simply need to be heated through. If there’s a day during the week when you have ample time to meal prep, use that time to cook freezer-friendly meals that can be warmed throughout the week.
If you need something cozy for dinner, check out 10 Soup Recipes For Fall.
Keep It Simple
Look for recipes that only require a handful of ingredients, steps, and cookware. A great option would be a classic spaghetti dish. Other easy plant-based recipe options include, a tofu sandwich loaded with chopped veggies, tacos, and stir-fry.
There are plenty of recipes online that are reasonable, fast, using everyday ingredients and cookware. Or, cook something that you’ve made more than a dozen times before. So there are no surprises – just get straight to the cooking point.
Ten 30-Minute Plant-Based Dinner Ideas
1. Tempeh Stir-Fry With Honey Garlic Sauce
A tempeh stir-fry with a honey garlic sauce with a side of steamed brown rice will always be one of my favorite dinner pairings. Because you know, sweet-and-savory is always a good idea
All you need for this recipe are 7 ingredients and a crazy short 15 minutes of your time. We’re reinventing the term “fast food” here.
Tempeh Stir-Fry With Honey Garlic Sauce
2. Stewed Mushrooms and Onions
Stewed mushrooms and onions remind me of one of my childhood favorites called “bistec encebollado,” which is a meat-heavy Puerto Rican dish. However, I’ve reinvented the dish to be plant-based, fast, and packed with wholesome flavors.
This recipe only requires 8 ingredients, a basic non-stick pan, and 30 minutes. Make it complete with a side of rice or baked potato.
Stewed Mushrooms And Onion
3. Vegan Broccoli Curry
This 10-ingredient broccoli curry is creamy, simple, and instantly flavorful from the full-fat coconut milk, peanut butter, curry powder, ginger, and a dash of sugar.
To cut back on time, use pre-cut broccoli florets or chop them beforehand. If you opt to use frozen broccoli florets instead, cook them until heated through – about 8 minutes.
10-Ingredient Vegan Broccoli Curry
4. Teriyaki “Chicken” Stir Fry
Teriyaki “chicken” stir-fry is made with easy-to-find and affordable ingredients including tofu, broccoli, bell peppers, and teriyaki sauce.
To decrease the prep time, prep the tofu a day in advance (freeze, drain, press). Or, use extra-firm tofu that does not need to be pressed.
Serve this dish up with a side of rice, noodles, or a salad.
Vegan Teriyaki “Chicken” Stir Fry
5. Meatless “Beef” Stew
We’re taking the classic Puerto Rican “carne guisada” and turning it into a savory, juicy, meatless beef stew using mushrooms, Puerto Rican spices, carrots, and potatoes.
Serve this dish with sliced, ripe avocado, rice, or a quick salad.
Vegan Carne Guisada (Meatless “Beef” Stew)
6. Mac And Cheese
Don’t get intimidated – a vegan mac and cheese recipe is easier than you think. With the help of raw cashews and a high-power blender are an important part of creating this creamy dish.
Many recipes will call for cashews to be soaked. However, if you forgot to do this or simply don’t want to do it, the raw cashews can simply be boiled for a few minutes.
Cheers to a plant-based dish that only requires 10 ingredients and 20 minutes.
Smoky Mac and Cheese Recipe [Vegan]
7. Oil-Free “Fried” Rice
Without the oil but with all of the flavor – this oil-free “fried” rice is the perfect dish for must-use veggies and leftover rice. Thie rice recipe is versatile – taking use of what we already have in the kitchen.
Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes. Get those loose pants on – you’ll want seconds for this one.
Vegan Fried Rice Recipe [Oil-Free]
8. Vegan Butter Chicken
You’re going to love this vegan butter “chicken” recipe. If you’re looking for something packed with flavor, time-friendly, using pantry ingredients -look no further.
This Indian-inspired dish has turned dairy-free and meat-free. Serve it with rice, roti, naan, or pre-made Indian snacks.
Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe
9. Roasted Carrot Red Lentil Soup
If you’re into a soup that’s filling, satiating, using everyday ingredients, you’ll love this one. This soup is more than just salted water. We’re blending up ingredients for a thick-and-sassy bowl of flavor.
Ready in 30 minutes and perfect for a warm dinner treat during a cool night.
Easy Roasted Carrot Red Lentil Soup
10. Easy Thai-Style Vegetable Curry
This Thai-style vegetable curry is the kind of creamy, flavor-packed, easy dinner recipe you need in the next night-time meal rotation.
Take a look at your clock – you’ll only need 25 minutes of cook time and 10 ingredients.
Easy Thai-Style Vegetable Curry
Kitchen Tools For Quick Dinners
Consider cooking equipment that does not need help from any others.
When we cook, we might need to use several pieces of cooking time which create more of a mess, added steps, and additional cook time.
Below are cooking equipment that typically does not need any additional cookware for many recipes.
Did you try any of the recipes on this 30-Minute Plant-Based Dinner Ideas list?