Cap off the Day with these Delicious Dinner Ideas

Posted: February 26, 2022 11:25 am

Dinner allows you to cap off the day, enjoy some good conversation and make a big spread to wow your family, roommates or yourself. Whether you like hearty fare or something lighter, one big movement that has taken hold is the increase in vegan dinners.

People are realizing that eating a more plant-based diet is better for their health, animals and the very planet on which we live. And, most of all, it is not boring or drab. Alternatives for even the most celebrated of meals exist now. This month (and beyond), ditch the meat for plant-based alternatives with these vegan dinner recipe ideas. Get cooking and eating these tasty meals!

Recipe 1: Impossible BBQ Meatloaf

This take on meatloaf substitutes ketchup for barbecue sauce. And, dare we say it, it might be even better than the original. The sauce adds a smokiness to complement the chewy fake meat. To make things simpler, onion and garlic powder works well for some added flavor. Old Bay Seasoning can be added or omitted, but we suggest adding roughly ½ cup of breadcrumbs to help the mixture come together.

Once it has been removed from the oven, let it sit about 20 minutes before slicing to get a clean cut. Serve with green salads and baked potatoes topped with veggie chili or vegan spread.

Recipe 2: Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Steak

These well-seasoned slabs of cauliflower have a steak-like thickness. Garlic powder, paprika and coriander are rubbed on top of olive oil-coated halves of cauliflower and then baked in the oven until brown and tender. Even picky eaters and those who rarely eat plant-based enjoy these. To make smaller pieces, simply cut the cauliflower pieces in half. How is that for a tasty vegan meal?

Recipe 3: Zucchini Pasta with Lentil Bolognese

Get on the veggie noodle trend by turning zucchini into a pasta substitute. Grab a spiralizer or vegetable peeler and get to work. Shallots, onion, garlic, lentils, carrots, pepper, basil, oregano and lentils bring your favorite marinara to the next level. This is also a low-carb meal that is delicious and filling. Add another veggie on the side and you have a meal! If you want to treat yourself, feel free to have a vegan buttered roll with garlic powder as well. It can truly be as healthy as you want it to be.

Recipe 4: Vegan Coconut Curry

This rich and creamy curry is enhanced with coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, coriander, baby corn, bell pepper and zucchini. Add tomatoes, sea salt and dried pepper and get things simmering. Serve over basmati rice with some lime and cilantro thrown on top. Kick things up a notch by adding chickpeas if you want more protein as well. As coconut milk can be rich, only a little bit of this curry makes for a satisfying meal.

Recipe 5: The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese

Yes, it is possible to make a plant-based version of mac and cheese! Cashews, lemon juice, water, sea salt, nutritional yeast, chili powder, garlic, cayenne pepper, mustard, pepper and paprika are blended to make an oh-so-creamy sauce to go on your favorite egg-free pasta. Note: once refrigerated, the sauce will become a bit more solidified, making eating easier. This dish is almost better on day two than when it is fresh. Mind blown!

Recipe 6: Best Veggie Burger

Note that this burger is not bean-based. Instead, shitake and portabella mushrooms take center stage. Tamari, balsamic vinegar and mirin (optional—omit or substitute with liquid smoke) join forces with smoked paprika, siracha, garlic, shallots, walnuts, rice, breadcrumbs, flax seed and your go-to buns to be a viable substitute for meat burgers. Top with mayo, ketchup, relish, mustard, cole slaw or whatever strikes your fancy. These are great for a grilled meal or simply a comfort dish at the end of a long day.

Recipe 7: Beer Battered Vegan Fried Fish

Hearts of palm, Old Bay Seasoning and beer batter, made from flour, garlic powder, paprika, seasoning, salt, pepper and beer (any kind works well, but the more basic, the better!), transform into something that tastes very similar to fish and chips. Whip up a vegan mayo tarter sauce, cook some steak fries and indulge.

Get the full British experience by cooking mushy peas for a vegetable. Serve plain, with tarter sauce or with ketchup. For those who do not want to give up their love of deep frying to eat vegan, this recipe idea is for you.

Recipe 8: Chipotle Portobello Tacos

Tacos are fun since they can be topped however you would like: with beans, with tomatoes, vegan cheese, lettuce, cilantro, plant-based sour cream, guacamole and more! We could not make this compilation without including at least one idea for Taco Tuesday, and think these Chipotle Portobello Tacos fit the bill.

The mushrooms are roasted on a sheet pan and topped with a chipotle-based marinade, vegan sour cream, avocado, pickled onions and peppers. These work in flour wraps, on tortilla chips or on crunchy corn shells. For a lighter take, omit the cilantro and vegan creams and serve over a salad of greens. Or, serve on corn tortillas that have been baked, not fried.

Recipe 9: Vegan Maple Sesame Tofu

This savory maple dish is perfect for the maple season that comes around March each year. Soy sauce, maple syrup, ground ginger, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar are poured over tofu that has been cooked to a golden brown. Stir the sauce to make it thicker and serve everything with sesame seeds, green onions and rice—jasmine or brown works well. For a vegetable, serve a simple stir fry of peas, broccoli, peppers and carrots on the side. Eat up! Hint: try maple syrups beforehand to know which one you would like in the sauce, as the flavor is quite prominent.

These ideas prove that plant-based cooking has come a long way over the years. What will you try first? Maybe the tofu is up your alley, or you are looking for more ways to use cauliflower. This list certainly gives you options! Savor these vegan dinners and add them into your weekly rotation. Meatless Monday, anyone?



Get a daily dose of cooking inspiration! Be the first to see newly added recipes and holiday ideas.