5 Fast, Healthy, and Easy Vegan Meals

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex. You can eat healthy, tasty, cruelty-free food even if you’re short on culinary skill and time.

Here are five fast and easy meatless meals that’ll have even omnivores cleaning their plates.

1) Spicy Lettuce Cups: 


Spicy Lettuce Cups

Drizzle a bit of your preferred cooking oil in a pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add 4 chopped baby portobello mushrooms to the hot pan. Once the mushrooms start to sizzle, add 1/4 cup of prepared lentils, 1 chopped avocado, and the juice of 1 lemon. Sprinkle in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Finish with a liberal dose of crushed red pepper flakes. Once heated through, serve the warm mixture on leaves of freshly washed Boston lettuce.

2) Broccoli-Bean Soup

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Broccoli-Bean Soup

Drizzle you preffered cooking oil in a pan. Thaw 3 cups of frozen broccoli in a pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add 1.5 cups of vegetable stock, 2 Tbl garlic powder, 1 Tbl onion powder, 1 tsp dried basil, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tsp smoked paprika, a dash of liquid aminos (or soy sauce), and salt and pepper to taste. Add in 1 can of drained and rinsed butter beans. Turn off heat and carefully blend the soup with an immersion blender until it reaches your desired smoothness. Optional: sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.

3) Barbecue Beans:

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Barbecue Beans

Add 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots to a pan over medium-high heat. Cook until thawed. Stir in 1 can of drained and rinsed beans (pinto beans and kidney beans are our favorites), 1/3 cup of vegan barbecue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce), 1 tsp cumin, and 1/2 tsp chili powder. Heat for 2 minutes then serve. It is great on its own, mixed into short-cut pasta, or as shown here served as a sandwich topped with vegan mayo.

4) Raw Nut-free Kale Pesto 

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Raw Nut-free Kale Pesto

Add 1 cup baby kale, 4 Tbl extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tbl raw unsalted hulled sunflower seeds, 1 Tbl nutritional yeast, 1/2 Tbl garlic powder to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir into cooked Banza (chickpea flour) pasta and top with 3 handfuls of sliced cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with hemp hearts for an added nutrition punch.

5) Black Bean Bowl

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Black Bean Bowl

Place 1 bag of microwaveable brown rice into the microwave and cook per the package instructions. While the rice cooks, add 1/4 chopped sweet onion to a greased pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 1 minute then add 1 chopped red bell pepper to the pan. After the vegetables have cooked for 1 minute, add 1/4 cup of frozen sweet corn to the pan to heat through. Stir in 1 Tbl garlic powder, 1/2 Tbl cumin, 1/2 Tbl chili powder, 1/2 Tbl onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste (throw in a touch of cayenne if you like some heat.). Place the rice in a bowl, spoon the bean mixture over the rice, top with 1/4 sliced avocado, squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime over top, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Easy Dairy-free Kids Dinner

Yesterday was an I-donn’t-wanna-cook kind of day. However, I still wanted to give my kids a healthy, produce-heavy, dairy-free dinner.

Fortunately, LAJ Foods LLC had provided me with a few soups to sample and review. (Just to be clear, I am in no way being paid for my insights.) Creamy Cauliflower Soup to the resue!

I partnered the simple yet flavorful, dairy-free soup with Natural Sea’s Premium Cod Sticks and cherry tomatoes from a friend’s garden.


LAJ Foods’ Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Natural Sea’s Premium Cod Sticks and Cherry Tomatoes

I was so excited to find these dairy-free, responsibly fished, simply made, tasty fish sticks at Wegmans. The kids polished them off!

The soup, though, that’s where my focus rested. My 5-year-old is open to some serious flavor so the vegan soup’s jalapeño kick didn’t bother her. I’m a total spice wuss — to an embarrassing degree — and it even struck me as no more than a comfortable heat. However, my 3-year-old found the soup spicy. A drizzle of honey and a splash of cashewmilk tamed the soup’s flame, and he readily slurped it down.

Verdict: LAJ Foods’ Creamy Cauliflower Soup was a win. Just add a little sweetness and creaminess for novice palates.

Pickle Discovery & Vegan Soup Find

I have been wasting my life until now! All of the grilled cheese — and “cheese” — sandwiches I’ve eaten and I only now thought to put dill pickle slices in between the goo-ified, crispiness? I haven’t LIVED! Believe me, it’s a must-try.

I also found a delicious, vegan soup at my local farmer’s market made by LAJ Foods. As the kids and I happily sampled the soup, the owner told me her own son has a dairy allergy and that spurred their dairy-free journey. Dairy-allergic, myself, I was hooked. I knew allergen safety would not be a concern with this vendor. I ordered a big container of the creamy kale soup on the spot.

I read the ingredients on the soup container and fell in love with the simplicity: kale, stock (celery, carrot, onion, lemon, kale, garlic), water, onion, coconut milk, nooch, parsley, salt. (For the dairy-free newbies, “nooch” is nutritional yeast, a vitamin-packed vegan powder often used to mimic a cheese flavor.)

After a jam-packed busy day capped off by late afternoon pool fun, an easy dinner was welcome. Our meal: Grilled Chao “Cheese” and Dill Pickle Sandwiches with Creamy Kale Soup. So yum!

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