Quick and satisfying vegan meals can be easily prepared with your own creativity, along with what you have stocked in your pantry, refrigerator and/or freezer. Some of the best (and most delicious) quick recipes that I have come up with were born from desiring a home cooked meal, not having much time to cook, and deciding to experiment with whatever I had on hand! (See some easy recipes posted below this article).
Smoothies are the quickest instant meals. With a good blender, some frozen or fresh fruit and good quality H2O, you can blend a meal together in seconds. A favorite breakfast of mine is to blend together a frozen banana, some frozen raspberries or blueberries, a handful of organic baby salad greens, a few pitted dates and a bit of nondairy milk, all combined to make a tasty and satisfying shake.
Salads are next up on the simple-to-prepare-scale. I like to pre-wash greens early in the day and refrigerate them, so they are nice and crisp by suppertime. I combine these crunchy, leafy gems with canned garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), a bit of sliced onion, pretty grape tomatoes, sunflower seeds, chopped carrots and my favorite dressing. This makes a tasty and filling main dish salad. For fancy toppers try jarred artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers or cubed tofu.
Pasta makes a super easy vegan meal. One of my preferred quick dinners consists of a flavorful sauce made from combining jarred, low fat vegan marinara with thinly sliced crimini mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of capers. Simmer for fifteen minutes. Toss the sauce with a pound of cooked penne, (al dente of course) and you’ve got perfect pasta-with-pizazz. Or sauté baby spinach, white beans and chopped garlic in a bit of veggie broth. Let it simmer for 5 to 7 minutes while you cook up some whole grain spaghetti. Toss the spinach sauce with the cooked spaghetti and serve. Jazzylicious!
Soups make the ultimate quick meal because they are satisfying and simple. A great 20-minute soup can be prepared by combining 4 cups of of vegetable broth, plenty of thinly sliced mushrooms, and some fines herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add a 1/2-cup of whole grain rotini and cook another 10 minutes. Soup time!
Hard to eat vegan? Nope, it’s easy…and quick too – Here are a few “no-cook” recipes for simple summer fare!
Fancy Chickpea Salad
Makes 2 to 3 servings
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained
1 cup minced celery, with tops
11/2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and minced
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 to 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise or unsweetened vegan yogurt, plus more as needed
Put the garbanzo beans into a medium mixing bowl and mash them up using a potato masher. Add the celery, parsley, sea salt and cayenne and continue mashing to combine. Stir in the capers and walnuts. Stir in the vegan mayonnaise 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Chill for 2 to 6 hours. Serve as a sandwich spread or serve on a bed of greens, as a main dish luncheon salad.
Almond “Creamy” Pudding
Makes 4 to 6 servings
14 to 16 ounces soft or firm regular tofu, drained
6 heaping tablespoons almond butter
6 heaping tablespoons maple syrup
4 to 6 almonds, for garnish
Put the tofu, almond butter, and maple syrup in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Spoon into six espresso cups, four martini glasses, or four small dessert dishes and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours. Serve chilled, garnished with a whole almond on top, if desired.