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The Secret Ingredient: How to Make Incredible Vegan Dishes at Home

Alert the media—

The vegan lifestyle is in for 2020. 

What used to be considered a radical lifestyle is now mainstream with 26% of millennials claiming to have cut meat out of their lives. 

The vegan lifestyle is in the limelight, and that means one amazing thing—

The recipes are getting better and better. 

You no longer have to rely on a fancy night out to get the meal of your dreams. You can be the master chef from the comfort of your home!

Ready to learn a new skill AND eat some tasty vegan dishes? 

Yes?

Well, then. You’re in the right place! Here is what we’ll be covering in this article:

  • Cooking Tools You Need in Your Home
  • Meal Prep 101: Tips to Get You Started
  • Vegan Cooking Hacks You Have to Learn
  • 51 Vegan Dishes to Make at Home

spoons and spatulas hanging in kitchen

Cooking Tools You Need in Your Home

Behind every great chef—

Is a great set of cooking tools. 

Whether you are an absolute novice or a seasoned cook, this cooking guide will help you organize your kitchen. take this time in your cooking journey to stock up on the cookware you’ll need to create delectable vegan dishes!

The Basics:

Here are the basic necessities you need in your kitchen to make mouth-watering meals:

  • Cutting Board
  • Cooking Knife
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Pot
  • Wooden spoons
  • Spatula
  • Salad Spinner
  • Colander
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Can-opener

Invest in these kitchen essentials! If you take care of these items, they will last you for years to come. 

Intermediate Cookware:

Do you want to branch out and try different recipes? 

Do you want to perfect your signature dish? 

Then consider purchasing some intermediate cookware for your household!

  • Food processor
  • Blender
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Baking Sheet
  • Measuring Cups
  • Whisk
  • Knife Block
  • Variety of different sized pots and pans

Once you incorporate a few of these tools into your routine, you’ll wonder how you ever cooked without them!

Luxury Items:

There are a few pieces of cookware that will make your life more convenient if you have the chance. 

These luxury items will help you cook up a storm in no time: 

  • Instant Pot
  • Air fryer
  • Microwave/Toaster Oven
  • Mixer (this might be essential if you are a pro-baker!)
  • Spiralizer

If you have space in your kitchen to get one or two of these items, you won’t regret it!

meal prep glass jars

Meal Prep 101: Tips to Get You Started

Meal prep saves you from the dreaded question, 

“What’s for dinner?” 

You already have it decided and ready to go! 

Keep reading to find the essential things you will need to become a meal prep master. 

1. Make Time!

When you meal prep, you are making your meals for the whole week! 

That means you’ll need a good chunk of time set aside on the weekend or a weeknight to bust all of this cooking out. 

We recommend setting aside at least 3-4 hours when you first get started. As you practice, you’ll be able to shorten the amount of time you’ll need!

To make the time go by and have a bit more fun, include your spouse, a friend, or your kids in the cooking! 

If cooking solo and cranking up the tunes is your jam, that’s okay too. 

2. Invest in Good Storage Containers

Have you heard of that myth, “every time you lose a sock in the dryer another tupperware lid ends up in your kitchen?” 

Everybody’s tupperware cabinet is an absolute mess until they spend some time getting organized! 

Take the time and invest in quality storage containers

Once you get into the rhythm of meal prep, you’ll be thankful you did! 

3. Shop Your Pantry First

When you’re making a list of the meals you want to make for the week, make sure to take a look around your pantry!

Meal prep can save you time AND a ton of money if you do it right!

What foods are close to their expiration date? What spices have you been itching to try? 

This will help you create your meal plan for the week and cut down on food waste! 

With these three main tips, you’ll be a master meal-prepper in no time! 

vegan dinner dish

Vegan Hacks You Have to Learn

Are there a few recipes back from your omnivore days that make you nostalgic?

Creamy mac and cheese?

Brownies? 

Pizza?

Don’t worry! 

There are INCREDIBLE vegan versions of these foods. 

Vegan cooking is all about using hacks to transform bland food into mouth-watering recipes. 

Here are our favorite vegan hacks to try:

1. Let’s Go Bananas!

Bananas are an amazing fruit that have become the staples of vegan cooking and baking. Here are a few amazing hacks bananas can be used for:

  • Substitute one banana for two eggs in a baking recipe
  • Freeze a banana and blend it up to make “nice cream”
  • Put a ripening banana next to other unripe fruit to speed up the process! (We’re looking at you, avocados.)

Bananas are gooey, creamy, and packed with yummy flavor!

2. Nutritional Yeast to the Rescue

Nutritional yeast is a great source of vitamin b12, antioxidants, and proteins! 

But, the best part?

It makes the best vegan cheese replacements! 

This food may look suspiciously like fish food… Give it one try and you’ll be hooked!

3. What on Earth is Aquafaba?

Aquafaba is “bean water.”

When you drain a can of chickpeas, the briny water that comes out can be used to create unbelievable vegan recipes!

Here are our tips for using aquafaba:

  • Use aquafaba as an egg replacer
  • Whip aquafaba to make fluffy concoctions like puddings, meringues, and more! 

The more you know, right?

4. Crazy about Cashews

Cashews are creamy, sweet, and nutty in flavor!

This makes them a versatile ingredient in a vegan kitchen!

Here are just a few vegan cashew hacks: 

Many recipes require you to soak cashews overnight, which can be time-consuming. 

Our trick?

Boil the cashews for 10 minutes! This will give you the same result. 

5. Seeds, seeds, seeds!

Not only are seeds packed with protein and essential vitamins and nutrients—

They are packed with flavor, too! 

Here is how you can use seeds in baking and cooking:

  • Combine 1 tbs of chia seeds with 3 tbs of water to use as an egg substitute. Wait a few minutes after combination so that the chia seeds absorb the water!
  • Combine 1 tbs of ground flaxseed with 3 tbs of water to use as an egg substitute

Easy and nutritious!

6. Step Aside Gelatin, Agar-Agar is on the way!

Gelatin is an ingredient that is found in yummy treats like marshmallows, jellos, and gummy candy. 

However, it is not vegan!

What can you use when gelatin is not an option?

Agar-agar!

This ingredient is made from seaweed.

The jelly-like substance is the perfect substitution for gelatin!

7. Try Something Sweet

The go-to sweetener for many recipes is honey, which is made from bees. 

If you are cutting out honey, try some of these fabulous vegan sweeteners instead!

  • Liquid Stevia
  • Agave Nectar
  • Maple Syrup

These sweeteners can be added to baking recipes, oatmeal, dressings and more to add a nice note of flavor. 

vegan eggplant dish

51 Delectable Vegan Dishes to Make at Home

Just reading over some of these recipe names is going to make your mouth water. 

Whether you live on your own, have roommates, or a family to feed—

There is a recipe for everyone. 

Vegan Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less

Beginner chef?

No problem! 

Grab the basics and let’s get cooking. 

These meals all have 5 ingredients or less and will teach you all you need to know about keeping vegan staples stocked in the kitchen. 

1-5. 3 Ingredient Vegan Meals by Madeleine Olivia. This video includes creamy hummus pasta, roasted butternut squash soup, cheat’s chili, chips and guac, and vegan pizza! Oh, and did we mention all the meals are less than $2? 

6-11. Easy 5 Ingredient Meals by Caitlin Shoemaker. This video will walk you through how to make “cheesy” pasta, chickpea salad, stir fry, nachos, a burrito bowl, and fries and salad. 

12-15. 4 ingredient Vegan Meal Ideas by Mina Rome. This video has recipes for mac and cheese, loaded sweet potato fries, pulled jackfruit bowls and lentil dahl! 

Pizza Makes Everything Better

It’s possible that pizza is the most universally loved food. 

What’s not to love? 

The seasoned crust, sweet sauce, and endless variations of toppings make this dish an instant hit. 

Here are a few mind-blowing vegan pizza recipes to try out!

  1. Spinach Artichoke Pizza by Vegan Pizza. This classic combo is a vegan’s dream! 
  2. Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza with creamy ranch drizzle by Crowded Kitchen
  3. Mexican Pizza Recipe topped with corn, vegan cheese and red bell pepper by Ela Vegan

19-21. 3 Amazing Pizza Recipes with a red sauce, pesto, and butternut squash variation by Simply Quinoa

  1. Vegan Margherita Pizza with cashew mozzarella by Vegan Richa
  2. Hawaiian BBQ Vegan Pizza with tofu and vegan mozzarella by Nora Cooks

Vegan pizza can be made for just one person or the whole family! It’s the easiest dish to customize and make your own. 

All you have to do is dice up some veggies, slap on some sauce and stick it in the oven! 

Everybody Loves a Burger

Ahhh, yes.

The vegan burger. 

Packed with protein, sweet sauces, and carby goodness, this American staple can’t be ignored. 

Many restaurants have been breaking out the famed “beyond meat” and “impossible” burgers…

These are delicious, but—

We have a few recipes that you can try at home that will give trendy restaurants a run for their money!

24-26. 3 Incredible Vegan Burger Recipes by Avant Garde Vegan. Each burger has a different patty base- sweet potato, black bean, and beats! 

  1. Black Bean Walnut Burger with saucy sweet onions by Vanilla and Bean
  2. Vegan Mushroom-Barley Burgers that can be made oil-free and pan-fried by My Quiet Kitchen
  3. Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Burgers with chickpeas and garlic by Simply Quinoa
  4. Easy Vegan Lentil Recipe with tofu, oats, and ground flaxseed by Namely Marly

The great part about burgers is that the whole family— even kids and picky eaters— will love them! 

Instant Pot Concoctions

Instant Pot recipes are the saving grace of busy individuals! 

With the instant pot, you can just dump the ingredients in and forget about it until you are ready to chow down. 

31-33. Easy Vegan Instant Pot recipes by RainbowPlantLife. These recipes include Mexican rice and beans, peanut butter banana oatmeal, and lentil cabbage soup!

34-36. Super easy instant pot vegan recipes by SweetPotatoSoul. These creative recipes are for black bean coconut soup, spaghetti squash alfredo, and eggplant curry!

37-44. 8 Vegan Instant Pot Recipes by WellDone that prove that the instant pot can be used for anything! 

Pastas to Die For

Pasta is inexpensive, healthy, and satisfying. 

That’s why it’s a vegan staple to keep in the house. 

You might already have a couple of vegan pasta recipes up your sleeves, but we bet you haven’t tried these yet:

45-48. 3 Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes by EdgyVeg. There are recipes for Vegan Carbonara, Vegan Alfredo, and Vegan Spinach and Gnocchi that you absolutely must try! 

Jaw-Dropping Dinners

When cooking at home, it’s always nice to practice a show-stopping signature dish that you can show off at your next dinner party!

These recipes are out of this world. Give them a try!

  1. Vegetable Paella originating from the East coast of Spain by Cookie + Kate
  2. Miso-Glazed Eggplant Grain Bowls with basil by Bon Appetit (pictured above)
  3. Cauliflower Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by One Green Planet

These recipes are packed with intricate cooking techniques, exotic spices, and fresh flavors! 

Once you master one of these dishes, you’ll be itching to get back into the kitchen to experiment some more. 

woman cooking

You’ve Been Promoted to Head Chef

Who runs the kitchen in your household? 

You!

Now that you know the basics:

  • Cooking tools
  • Meal prep basics
  • Vegan hacks 
  • 51 new recipes 

You are ready to run your very own restaurant—

Your kitchen! 

Want to learn more about vegan cooking?

Check out our Complete Guide to Vegan Breakfast or our article How to Transition to a Plant-based Diet [ For Beginners ]

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