5 Templates for Easy Vegan Dinners


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!

Collage of six easy vegan dinners with title box in the center

 

Stir Fry

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: 

A bowl of Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry ready to be eaten.

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!

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Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry

Eating a large plate of Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein

Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein

When you need dinner to be fast, easy, and satisfying, this Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein is your answer. It’s as simple and satisfying as it gets!

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Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein

With just a few ingredients you can make these easy and delicious Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles for a fast weeknight dinner. BudgetBytes.com

Simple Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles

With just a few ingredients you can make these easy and delicious Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles for a fast weeknight dinner.

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Simple Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles

Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli

This Pan Fried Sesame Tofu is seriously crispy and drenched in a tangy sesame sauce. Broccoli florets and cooked rice make it a meal.

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Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli

Vegetable Stir Fry Noodle Bowls - Budget Bytes

SNAP Challenge: Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles

This colorful vegetable stir fry with noodles is packed with vegetables and drenched in a salty sweet sauce. Fast, easy, and customizable.

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Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles

 

Bowl Meals

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!

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Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls

These rich and spicy Coconut Jerk Peas are super simple to make and pair brilliantly with a sweet and vibrant pineapple salsa. BudgetBytes.com

Coconut Jerk Peas with Pineapple Salsa

These rich and spicy Coconut Jerk Peas are super simple to make and pair brilliantly with a sweet and vibrant pineapple salsa. 

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Coconut Jerk Peas with Pineapple Salsa

Sesame Tempeh Bowls being eaten with chopsticks

Sesame Tempeh Bowls

These Sesame Tempeh Bowls are a great vegan alternative to sesame chicken and only take about 20 minutes to make. An easy fast vegan meal prep! 

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Sesame Tempeh Bowls

Broiled Balsamic Vegetables with Lemon Parsley Rice

Broiled balsamic vegetables top a vibrant and fresh lemon parsley rice to make this light and healthy dish. Works great as a side or a light meal. 

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Broiled Balsamic Vegetables with Lemon Parsley Rice

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. 

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Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls

Chili Garlic Tofu Bowls

Chili Garlic Tofu Bowls are a fiber and flavor filled healthy lunch that you can pre-pack for your week ahead

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Chili Garlic Tofu Bowls

These Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce are prefect for meal prep and bursting with color, texture, and flavor! BudgetBytes.com

Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce

These Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce are prefect for meal prep and bursting with color, texture, and flavor!

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Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce

 

Curry

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:

A hand dipping a piece of naan into the Creamy Coconut Curried Lentils with Spinach on a plate with curry roasted carrots

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!

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Creamy Coconut Curry Lentils with Spinach

These super fast Curried Chickpeas with spinach are packed with flavor and nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Plus they freeze great! BudgetBytes.com

Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

These super fast Curried Chickpeas with spinach are packed with flavor and nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Plus they freeze great!

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Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

Two bowls of chana saag with rice, next to the skillet and a piece of torn naan

Chana Saag

Chana saag is a creamy chickpea and spinach curry that comes together quickly, is full of warm spices, filling, and vegan! Perfect for meal prep!

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Chana Saag – Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils are an easy, hands-off, fiber filled, freezer friendly vegan dinner. 

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Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils

 

Salad

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: 

Four glass containers with Roasted Vegetable Salad and three dressing containers

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!

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Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep

Overhead view of Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad in a bowl with lemon wedges and a fork.

Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad

This Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad is a light and refreshing summer salad that holds up well in the refrigerator and is perfect for meal prep!

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Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad

Peanut Lime Dressing being poured onto a bowl of Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

This Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with homemade peanut lime dressing is the perfect meal prep for summer! No reheating necessary.

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Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

This Roasted Cauliflower Salad combines sweet roasted red onions, spiced chickpeas, tender cauliflower, and a tangy lemon tahini dressing. BudgetBytes.com

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

This Roasted Cauliflower Salad combines sweet roasted red onions, spiced chickpeas, tender cauliflower, and a tangy lemon tahini dressing.

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

This Apple Dijon Kale Salad is tangy, sweet, and crunchy with Granny Smith apples, walnuts, raisins, and a homemade Dijon vinaigrette. BudgetBytes.com

Apple Dijon Kale Salad

This Apple Dijon Kale Salad is tangy, sweet, and crunchy with Granny Smith apples, walnuts, raisins, and a homemade Dijon vinaigrette.

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Apple Dijon Kale Salad

A bowl of Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad on a teal napkin.

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

This Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad holds up well in the refrigerator for days, making it perfect for meal prep or brown bagging your lunch. 

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Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

 

Soup & Stew

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:

Overhead view of a pot full of vegetable barley soup with bread on the side

Vegetable Barley Soup

Loaded with colorful vegetables and filling pearled barley, this Vegetable Barley Soup is a healthy, freezer-friendly staple recipe for winter!

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Vegetable Barley Soup 

A hand scooping up a spoonful of Vegan West African Peanut Stew with Rice

Vegan Peanut Stew

With a rich peanut and tomato sauce, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and crunchy peanuts, this Vegan Peanut Stew is comfort in a bowl! 

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Vean Peanut Stew

Overhead view of secret ingredient tomato soup in a white bowl with black rim, and a black spoon.

Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

This super thick, warm, and comforting tomato soup has two secret ingredients that make it rich and delicious without any dairy. 100% vegan!

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Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of vegan creamy mushroom ramen with chopsticks lifting some noodles

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

This incredibly simple Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen is a rich and flavorful 15 minute meal that only requires a handful of ingredients! 

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Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

A bowl of Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup with two pieces of toasted bread and a black spoon in the middle.

Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup

This incredibly easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup takes only eight simple ingredients to deliver a bowl full of rich, bold flavor.

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Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup

A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Winter Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. Budgetbytes.com

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Winter Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. 

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Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! Budgetbytes.com

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! 

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Slow Cooker Lentil Vegetarian Chili

Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup

This Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is packed with hearty flavor, texture, and good-for-you vegetables! 

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Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup





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