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The older I get the more I love meals where I can just throw whatever I have into one pot, bowl, or skillet. I’ve noticed that these “easy dinners” usually fall into five distinct categories: stir fries, bowl meals, curries, soups and stews, or salads. It doesn’t matter what ingredients you have on hand or what you happened to get at the farmer’s market or in your CSA that week, you can usually toss just about anything into one of these easy vegan dinners.
And guess what? If you have some family members who are vegan and some that aren’t, it’s super easy to cook a meat on the side and add it to individual portions of any of these meals!
Stir fry is the ultimate use-whatever-you-have meal. All you need is a hot pan, a few handfuls of vegetables or proteins, a simple sauce, and some noodles or rice to spoon to soak up all that delciousness. Ultimately, the stir fry is all about the stir fry sauce. Check out these simple vegan stir fry recipes to explore some different simple stir fry sauces:
Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry
This rich and spicy coconut vegetable stir fry is adaptable to whatever vegetables are lingering in your fridge, making it a great sweep the kitchen recipe!
The “bowl meal” formula is easy. Base (grain or greens) + protein + vegetable(s) + sauce. Every bowl is a complete meal, no need to plan side dishes. And an added bonus: bowl meals are great for meal prepping, so tomorrow’s lunch is covered! Here are some of my favorite vegan bowl meals:
Sweet Chili Stir Fried Tofu Bowls
Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls are an easy, fresh, and flavorful vegan weeknight dinner, packed with vibrant colors and flavors. Perfect for meal prep!
Curries are another “it’s all about the sauce” meal. As long as you have a delicious curry sauce, you can pour it over any vegetable or protein and your meal is going to be awesome. I like to make my curries with either a tomato based sauce or a creamy coconut based sauce. Both varieties are super easy, flavorful, and versatile! Try these simple vegan curries:
Creamy Coconut Curry Lentils with Spinach
These rich, creamy, and earthy Coconut Curry Lentils are an easy and delicious vegan option for dinner or weekly meal prep!
Salads aren’t just for side dishes! Pile ’em high with lots of vegetables and whatever protein you prefer, and you’ve got a filling meal with more color, flavor, and texture than most people get in one day. Get creative with your salad greens, too. In addition to the traditional mixed greens, spinach, or Romaine, you can also build a great salad on kale, cabbage, or parsley. Beef up your salad by adding a grain or a handful of nuts for extra filling power. Try these meal-worthy vegan salads:
Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep
These Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep boxes are an easy, no-reheat, plan-ahead lunch option that will help you get your daily vegetables!
Soups and stews are the cold-weather counterpart to my big ol’ summer salads. They’re always very quick and easy to make, they don’t require any difficult cooking skills, and they are so flexible. Plus, because they’re usually large-batch recipes, they’re great for busy people. Soups and stews make great leftovers and often freeze well. So if you’re a busy bee but want to still eat meals full of flavor and texture, check out some of these vegan soups and stews:
Vegetable Barley Soup
Loaded with colorful vegetables and filling pearled barley, this Vegetable Barley Soup is a healthy, freezer-friendly staple recipe for winter!
Kelly SeatonKelly makes sure all things run smoothly behind the scenes at Budget Bytes. She’s the friendly voice behind our customer service helping you find the perfect dinner, navigate tricky recipes, and get you all set with your meal plans. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three kiddos. She loves all things Colorado, hiking, skiing, and of course cooking!More About Kelly
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My family has been using your website for a few years now and it’s our favorite! You have listed several of our go to meals in this list. I have to mention that our 8 year old also loves all the recipes we make from your site. Being vegan can be a challenge but your recipes make it fun, affordable, easy to make, and excellent for leftovers! Keep up the great work.
You should add a a template. What about Sandwiches/Wraps?
Thank you so much for putting this kind of list together! I deeply appreciate how accommodating you are towards vegans. I’ve been vegan for a while now (4+ years) so I have figured out what works for me, but it’s neat to see how a lot of the “templates” you have here are similar to the types of go-to meals I keep in my back pocket.
Great collection! Many of these delicious recipes have appeared at least several times on my table, and we are neither vegan nor vegetarian. Dedicated carnivores can add various animal proteins to most of these recipes, but my family likes them just as they are. This is a terrific guide–how to eat both cheap and healthy, while never sacrificing taste.
Ohhh Delicious dinners. I really like it.
I’m very creative in the kitchen and lately I’ve been eating mostly plant based. I need a few easy go-tos for weeks that are busy and that doesn’t require a lot of planning and food prep. I just loved this post! Each and every dish looks easy and inviting and exactly the kind of variety that is delicious on hand. I find a lot of simple recipes are kind of boring since I like to have fun with my flavors and these combinations are the exact opposite. Thanks so much! I’m glad you showed up in a feed for me and I look forward to exploring the rest of your site. All good wishes ✨
About 90% of my meals fall into one of these categories – I find it so time-consuming to cook multiple dishes and have all those pots to wash, not to mention the stress of getting everything to finish at the same time. The most diverse my meals get are a soup or stirfry with some rice on the side. Plus a lot of these make big batches so I have leftovers for days, perfect for those busy weeknights.
Thank you for this compilation. I have been making most of them except the lentil recipes. Going to try them soon!