Vegan

44 Vegan Dinners for Vegans, Vegetarians, Flexitarians, You Name It

January 30, 2020
Photo by James Ransom

You don’t need to be a vegan—or even a vegetarian—to appreciate a vegan dinner. While I personally eat anything and everything, some of the Food52 recipes I make most often fall into this category. Creamy pastas! Hearty stews! Overachieving salads! Yes, please. Below are 44 of my favorite dinner recipes on our site—that just so happen to be vegan.


Noodles & Pasta

1. Gingery Noodle Salad

Whatever vegetables are halfway to mush in your crisper drawer would love to hop into this gingery noodle salad. Don’t hesitate to swap out the whole-wheat angel hair for your favorite twirly shape, like ramen or flat rice noodles.

2. Simple Weeknight Vegetarian Curry Noodles

Crispy mushrooms, tender butternut squash, and snappy broccoli team up in the coconut milk–based curry. Highly recommend with a cold beer.

3. Indian Peanutty Noodles

The secret to these chubby noodles? A cumin-spiced, chile-laced peanut chutney.

4. Cauliflower Alfredo Bake

Cauliflower works a double shift here—both as a creamy sauce and savory nuggets. This is my perfect idea of a cozy winter night.

5. My Favorite Vegan Mac & Cheese

This mac and cheese has no shortage of tricks up its sleeves. Soaked cashews, cannellini beans, ground turmeric, white miso, and nutritional yeast, all add up to an utterly cheddar-y flavor.

6. Lentil Bolognese With Cashew Parmesan

A new way to bolognese: Ground meat, make way for nubby lentils and savory mushrooms. When stewed with red wine, tomato paste, chile flakes, and herbs, this sauce has all the cozy, hearty vibes of the original.

7. Simple Vegan Pesto

No cheese? Who knew? Fatty nuts (walnuts are my favorite) and a few spoonfuls of magical nutritional yeast make this vegan pesto a favorite for pasta nights and roasted vegetable sandwiches.

8. Penne Vodka

As its name suggests, vodka sauce is tomato sauce plus vodka and cream—cashew cream, that is.


Grains & Legumes

9. Rice Pilaf With Chickpeas & Cashews

A rice pilaf worthy of the main event. Chickpeas ensure it’s plenty filling, while cashews add crunch-crunch and sour cherries, a wink of sweetness.

10. Coconut Dal With Turmeric Rice

Inspired by the meals she ate at her grandmother’s home in southern India, Chitra Agrawal’s dal is creamy from coconut, with a subtle sticky tanginess from tamarind.

11. Creamy Polenta With Tempeh Sausage & Tomatoes

Tempeh dresses up as sausage and we can’t tell what’s what anymore. The trick to the creamy polenta is stirring in a splash of non-dairy milk, like soy, almond, or even oat.

12. Tofu Scramble Fried Rice

Freezing, then thawing, the tofu gives it a chewy texture, a perfect sub for scrambled eggs in fried rice.

13. Vegan Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John often hinges on some sort of pork, be it bacon, fatback, or a ham hock. The trick here is to...leave it out. Yes, it’s that simple. And yes, it’s just as great.

14. Lentil Meatballs With Indian Fenugreek Sauce

While Italian meatballs are mostly ground meat and bread crumbs, this vegan recipe has neither. Instead: lentils, tofu, and quinoa—with fennel seeds and garlic for A+ flavor.


Salads

15. Spicy Miso Eggplant Broccoli Salad

This miso dressing, with rice vinegar and lime juice, knows how to make any roasted vegetable feel special. Heck, it makes me feel special, too.

16. Buffalo Chickpea Salad With Vegan Ranch

Ranch dressing was dreamed up with buttermilk in mind. This vegan version has another idea: creamy-dreamy cashews. A squeeze of lemon adds just the right twang.

17. Traditional Vegan Caesar Salad

Don’t skimp on the black pepper here. It gives the salad its Caesar-y vibes, even without the usual suspects, like anchovies, egg yolks, and cheese.

18. French Lentil & Arugula Salad With Herbed Cashew Cheese

Herbed cashew cheese, you never let us down! If you’re smart, you’ll double the quantity and save the extra for some cheesy toast tomorrow.


Sandwiches, Wraps & Then Some

19. Indian-Spiced Vegan Potato Burger

Many veggie burgers are bean-based, but not this one: Here, russet potatoes turn into a hearty patty with a fluffy texture.

20. Smoky Tempeh & Hummus Sandwiches

This bacon-esque tempeh is a sandwich’s best friend. In this recipe, it teams up with hummus. But we can’t wait to try a BLT look-a-like with juicy tomatoes, lettuce, and vegan mayo.

21. Black Bean & Corn Burgers

A longtime community favorite: “Very good!!!” says Susan. “I've made these a few times and every time, they're a hit,” says Sylvia.

22. Zucchini-Quinoa Burgers

These grainy patties are chock-full of chickpeas (you can use canned to speed things up), pumpkin seeds, Dijon, and dill.

23. Fully Loaded Vegan Burritos

If you want to really show off, make a batch of cashew queso to serve alongside these big boys for dunking.

24. Lentil-Walnut Tacos With Cabbage-Lime Slaw

Looks meaty, tastes meaty...is actually lentils and walnuts. If hard shells aren’t your thing, swap in warm corn or flour tortillas.


Soups & Stews

25. One-Pot Coconut Water ABC Soup

The secret to a full-flavored vegan stock? Not tahini, non-dairy milk, or other creamy things—but coconut water.

26. Cheesy Cream of Broccoli With Smoky Roasted Chickpeas

Potatoes add lots of lush thickness to this vegan cream of broccoli soup. If you’re in a hurry, you can drop the smoky roasted chickpeas and crumble some seedy crackers on top instead.

27. Yellow Curry With Root Vegetables, Cashews & Basil

A happy, hearty curry, here to cheer up chilly winter days. Make sure you get unsweetened coconut milk, preferably full-fat for the best flavor.

28. Vegan Cream of Mushroom & Wild Rice Soup

Thanks to wild rice, this chunky-brothy soup is a meal in itself. Extra-creamy cashew milk or oat milk would make nice substitutes if you aren’t feeling coconut’s fruitiness.

29. Vegan Palak Paneer

I would eat this tofu paneer every week (every day?!) if I could. It’s cheesy thanks to nutritional yeast with a funky-tanginess from lemon juice.

30. Yam & Peanut Stew With Kale

This stew is ripe for riffing. Instead of creamy peanut butter, try cashew butter, almond butter, or tahini.

31. White Bean Soup With Garlic & Parsley

Here’s a trick to keep in your pocket: The next time you’re making a soup with stock and beans, blend the two in a blender to thicken the rest of the broth.


Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, Etc

32. Chorizo-Style Seitan Tacos

It took me a minute to come around to seitan—but now that I’ve seen the light, it’s always in my fridge. This recipe shows you how to spice up a plain variety, inspired by chorizo.

33. Baked Almond-Crusted Tofu Triangles

Tofu for people who think tofu is too soft. These hunks are coated in almond meal, which crisps into an extra-crusty crust.

34. Tempeh Kebabs With Homemade BBQ Sauce

If you’re new to tempeh (welcome!), try pairing it with a big-personality sauce like BBQ, which underscores its inherently meaty personality.

35. Tofu Breakfast Scramble

I would very much like to pile these on a thick slice of toast.

36. Burmese Tofu (aka Chickpea Flour Tofu)

Instead of soybeans, this Burmese style of tofu starts with chickpeas—chickpea flour, to be exact. Which means if you keep that in the pantry, you can have this whenever you want.

37. Vegetarian Mapo Tofu

“The best meal we've had all week,” says community member Grahampositive. Can’t ask for more than that!

38. Tempeh Chili

Here’s a clever way to change the texture of tempeh entirely: grate it, like cheese, then put this toward chunky chilis.


Vegetables!

39. Twice-Baked Potatoes With Creamy Chive Pesto

Baked potatoes can be dinner, too. These are stuffed with greens and plopped on top of a cashew-creamy chive pesto.

40. Coconut Milk–Braised Eggplant With Shiitakes & Scallions

Tough meat braises, like brisket and pork shoulder, take hours. But tender vegetable ones, like eggplant and mushrooms, come together like that.

41. Kung Pao Potatoes

“I’m not really sure what prompted me to put the flavors of kung pao chicken and potatoes together,” writes Pat Tanumihardja. “But I’m glad I did!” Me too.

42. Baked Sweet Potatoes With Spiced Lentil Salad & Lemon-Tahini Dressing

An all-in-one dish to roll out for company—or just when you’re feeling like treating yourself. Which I hope is often!

43. Stuffed Zucchini With Freekeh Pilaf & Currants

A few plan-ahead tips: You can par-cook the zucchini, cook the freekeh, and assemble the stuffing a few days in advance.

44. Spaghetti Squash & White Bean Ragout

Just like spaghetti and pork ragu, but it’s squash and beans! Throw in a bottle of red and some olive-oily garlic bread and you’ve got a date night to sweep me off my feet.

What are some of your favorite vegan recipes? Let us know in the comments!
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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.

1 Comment

Misa M. January 30, 2020
I love this! Thank you so much for the list.