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20 Deliciously Simple Plant-Based Meals

Want to eat healthily but tight on time? No problem. These veggie-filled recipes can be ready in minutes.
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Vegetarians aren't the only ones who are eating more plants now. Take a look at any of the trending diets—Whole30, DASH diet, even the meat-centric Paleo diet—and you'll see that veggie-filled concept has entered its way into many meal plans. And that's for good reason.

A plant-based diet (even one that includes meat on occasion) has been shown to increase lifespan and prevent many chronic diseases, including heart disease and obesity.

So what are you waiting for? If you're looking to eat more plants and follow a diet rich in fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants, then you should start incorporating these recipes into your weekly rotation. Oh, and just so you know, just because you have a jam-packed schedule doesn't mean you can't eat healthily. All these recipes are semi-homemade, meaning most of the work will be done for you with plant-based products. All you have to do is throw in some of your favorite fresh veggies. Speaking of veggies, don't miss these 26 Best Vegetarian Sources of Protein.

Creamy Lemon Penne with Peas and Asparagus

Modern table lentil creamy lemon penne peas asparagus
Courtesy of Modern Table

Pasta doesn't have to be off-limits when you're looking to eat healthier. In fact, pasta acts as the perfect base for a veggie-filled meal, like pasta primavera. Level up this spring-inspired recipe by choosing a box of Modern Table's Lentil Penne. This superfood pasta is made from a blend of lentils, rice, and peas, which pumps up the noodle with an impressive 11 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber per standard 2-ounce serving. (For comparison, the classic flour-based pasta will only provide 7 grams of protein and equivalent amount of fiber.)

Serves: 4


1 8-ounce box of Modern Table Lentil Penne
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 lemon, zested
2 Tbsp unsalted Kerrygold butter (or another grass-fed butter)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz Kite Hill plain cream cheese style spread

How to Make it

Step 1: Cook pasta according to box instructions. Toss frozen peas in water in the last minute to let them warm up.

Step 2: Heat olive oil in a frying pan and then add and sauté asparagus over medium heat until semi-soft.

Step 3: After reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water, add drained pasta to a large serving bowl and fold in cooked veggies and lemon zest.

Step 4: Fold in Kite Hill plain cream cheese style spread using reserved pasta water to thin out and serve.

Black Bean Enchilada Skillet

Black bean enchilada skillet

One of our favorite go-to weeknight meals is a good one-pot meal. If you're looking to cut down on carbs, consider turning this into a skillet meal with a couple tortillas topping the entire veggie-based stir-fry.

Serves: 4


1 can low-sodium black beans
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
½ medium red onion, diced
½ cup frozen yellow corn
5 corn tortillas
1 cup Mexican cheese blend
1 packet Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce
Fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)

How to Make it

Step 1: Dice pepper and onion and cut zucchini into half-moons.

Step 2: Saute onion and pepper on medium-high heat in an oven-safe pan (like a cast iron skillet) until par cooked and onions begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss in zucchini and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in a can of beans, drained, as well as the corn and enchilada sauce.

Step 3: Allow sauce to come up to a simmer, then lower the heat. Layer corn tortillas on top, top with cheese, then place entire skillet under the broiler until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Roasted Veggie Bowl with Goat Cheese

Kale beet sweet potato goat cheese salad

A quick way to make a hearty bowl is to roast up some veggies and serve them on top of some kale alongside some creamy goat cheese.

Serves: 2


1 sweet potato
2 cups kale
3 Love Organic roasted beets
½ apple, cubed
4 oz goat cheese
⅓ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra Virgin Olive Oil

How to Make it

Step 1: Lightly coat sweet potato and Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast in oven at 400℉ until the potato is soft and the Brussels sprouts are lightly crisped.

Step 2: Divide kale into two bowls and top with roasted sweet potato and Brussels sprouts. Then, toss in cubed apples, slivered almonds, and goat cheese, rationing evenly.

Step 3: Mix remaining olive oil with balsamic vinegar in a separate bowl and evenly drizzle over both bowls. Mix together and serve.

Mediterranean Falafel Bowl with Tzatziki Sauce

Mediterranean falafel bowl

Serves: 2


½ package Trader Joe's Fully Cooked Frozen Falafel
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
12 cherry Tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced
2 cups romaine
4 oz. Montchevre Goat Feta
4 tablespoons Cedar's Tzatziki Sauce

How to Make it

Step 1: Heat falafel according to package instructions.

Step 2: Chop lettuce and onions; cube the cucumber; and slice cherry tomatoes in half, and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Step 3: Portion out salad into two serving bowls and top with goat feta cheese and falafel balls. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of tzatziki sauce per each bowl, and serve cold.

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Craisins, Spinach

Spinach walnut quinoa craisin salad

This fall salad can be eaten all year round. Wondering where the protein is? Check the quinoa. This ancient cereal is full of 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per cup.

Serves: 2


1 package Ancient Harvest Microwaveable Quinoa
½ butternut squash
¼ cup Ocean Spray Dried Craisins
2 cups spinach
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic
2 tablespoons EVOO
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

How to Make it

Step 1: Microwave Ancient Harvest quinoa according to instructions and roast butternut squash in the oven until tender.

Step 2: Combine spinach, craisins, and pumpkin seeds in a mixing bowl. Mix Dijon mustard, EVOO, maple syrup, and balsamic together in a small separate bowl. Drizzle dressing into salad.

Step 3: Transfer dressed salad into two serving bowls and top with quinoa and butternut squash.

Plant Lover's Sausage & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Modern table white cheddar mac and cheese
Courtesy of Modern Table

Fancy up your classic mac and cheese with some spice (crushed red pepper flakes) and a delicious plant-based sausage. Check out the complete protein version of your favorite blue box meal with Modern Table's White Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

Serves: 2


1 box Modern Table Mac & Cheese Complete Protein White Cheddar
2 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Grass-fed Butter
1/3 cup organic milk
4 soy-based sausages

How to Make it

Step 1: Prepare Mac & Cheese as directed on the package.

Step 2: Grill or pan sear soy sausage. Slice sausage into 1-inch pieces and stir into pasta.

Step 3: Add parmesan, crushed red pepper, and chopped parsley if you are feeling fancy.

Taco Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Taco salad bowl

Who needs Chipotle when you can whip up a taco salad at home?

Serves: 2


½ avocado, sliced
4 Tbsp Rojo's Organic Pico de Gallo
½ can low-sodium black beans
4 oz. shredded pepper jack cheese
2 cups romaine lettuce
4 Tbsp Organic Girl's Avocado Cilantro Dressing
1 handful corn tortilla chips, crushed (optional topping)

How to Make it

Step 1: Toss two cups of romaine into a large mixing bowl and stir in all 4 tablespoons of avocado cilantro dressing and 4 ounces of pepper jack cheese. Transfer into two individual bowls.

Step 2: Top each bowl with black beans, pico de gallo, and avocado slices, and then serve.

Roasted Veggie Lentils with Crumbled Feta

Lentils roasted vegetables tomatoes feta

Lentils can take some time to make, so save yourself the trouble by buying already steamed lentils from a grocery store.

Serves: 2


1/2 package Trader Joe's Pre-Cooked Steamed Lentils
¼ package Trader Joe's Bruschetta or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, 1 scallion
5 oz feta cheese

How to Make it

Step 1: In a mixing bowl, combine and stir lentils, bruschetta sauce, feta together.

Step 2: If you don't have access to bruschetta sauce, you can toss a pint of cherry tomatoes, and 1 sliced scallion on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until slightly charred. Toss in some julienned basil and serve with lentils and feta.

Vegetable Red Curry with Rice Noodles

Butternut squash red curry

Make a lower-fat version of your favorite takeout dish at home.

Serves: 2


2 Tbsp Mae Ploy Red Curry paste
1 cup 365 Everyday Light Coconut Milk
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 head of broccoli
1 zucchini
2 red bell peppers
House Foods Firm Organic Tofu

How to Make it

Step 1: Chop broccoli and green bell peppers and slice zucchini into one-inch pieces. Press tofu to drain water out and then slice into two-inch cubes.

Step 2: Pour light coconut milk into a deep pan and let it come to a low simmer. Then, stir in green curry paste until it dissolves.

Step 3: Add in broccoli, green peppers, zucchini, and tofu, and cook for about 20 minutes, until fragrant, keeping the lid on.

Peanut Zoodles with Cucumbers and Carrots

Zucchini peanut noodles

Like cold sesame noodles from your favorite Chinese restaurant? How about turning that into a veggie-filled classic. Your kids won't even notice their favorite noodles have been replaced with zucchini noodles.

Serves: 4


2 zucchinis, spiralized (or buy 1 packet of Green Giant Veggie Spirals Zucchini)
1 cup snap peas, blanched
1 carrot, julienned or shredded
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
½ cup Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter
¼ cup chopped peanuts
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp. ginger, grated
4 tbsp. sriracha
4 tbsp. sesame oil

How to Make it

Step 1: Cook zucchini spirals according to package instructions.

Step 2: Saute snap peas, carrots, red bell peppers, and ginger in sesame oil in a medium saucepan until veggies are semi-crunchy. Then, stir in sriracha and soy sauce.

Step 3: Melt the peanut butter in the microwave and then coat the noodles with it. Transfer peanut butter and noodles into the saucepan and fold everything together.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Fried rice

Hop on board the cauliflower train. This veggie helps to slash the calories and carbs of your favorite rice dishes.

Serves: 4


1 package Frozen Cauliflower Rice
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
4 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. Sriracha
4 tbsp. sesame oil
2 cloves garlic

How to Make it

Step 1: Cook cauliflower rice according to package instructions.

Step 2: Saute garlic, mushrooms, orange pepper, and zucchini in sesame oil until soft.

Step 3: Stir sriracha into cooked cauliflower rice and transfer into saucepan, mixing all ingredients together. Portion into individual bowls and serve.

Black and Red Bean Chipotle Chili

Black bean chipotle chili

Nothing warms you up like a rich, spicy chilly on a cold day. This one gets its spice from chipotle peppers.

Serves: 4


1 15-oz. can low-sodium black beans
1 15-oz. can low-sodium red kidney beans
2 chipotle peppers, diced (and juice)
1 cup Mexican Cheese Blend
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp. olive oil

How to Make it

Step 1: Saute onion with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, until tender.

Step 2: Add chipotle peppers, beans, tomatoes, into the saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat.

Step 3: Ladle into individual bowls and top with cheese blend.

Mushroom Wild Rice Bowl with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Mushroom rice kale bowl

The meaty taste of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with a sesame ginger dressing.

Serves: 2


½ cup dry Trader Joe's Frozen Wild Rice Blend
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups shredded kale
1 cucumber, sliced
small handful basil, torn
6 oz. firm tofu
4 tbsp. Annie's Organic Sesame Ginger Dressing

How to Make it

Step 1: Cook wild rice blend according to instructions. Meanwhile, press the water out of the tofu and then roast in the oven on medium-high until browned.

Step 2: Toss kale, mushrooms, cucumber, basil, and sesame ginger dressing together in a large mixing bowl and then portion into two individual bowls.

Step 3: Top bowls with tofu and wild rice blend, and serve.

Simple Veggie Stir Fry

Vegetable stir fry

Serves: 4


1 red bell pepper
1/2 package snap peas
1 small head broccoli
1 zucchini, diced
1 package firm tofu
1/4 cup Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Less Sodium Marinade & Sauce

How to Make it

Step 1: Dice and chop veggies to desired cuts.

Step 2:  Add a tablespoon of oil into a skillet. Fry tofu cubes after patting them dry. Remove and fry up the veggies.

Step 3: Add tofu back to stir-fried veggies and then toss with Teriyaki sauce.

Roasted Eggplant Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Roasted eggplant mushroom arugula pizza

Who said pizza can't be part of a balanced diet? Not us—especially when you layer it with roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and fresh arugula.

Serves: 6


1 Caulipower plain pizza crust
½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 eggplant
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
¼ cup spicy marinara sauce
½ cup crimini mushrooms
Fresh arugula
1 tbsp olive oil

How to Make it

Step 1: Cook Caulipower pizza crust according to instructions.

Step 2: Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Coat eggplant and sliced crimini mushrooms with olive oil, and roast on medium heat until golden brown, flipping once.

Step 3: Evenly spread marinara sauce on pizza crust, and top with mozzarella, roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes.

Step 4: Cook for another 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted. Top with fresh arugula.

Lemon Barley With Peas, Asparagus, and Parmesan

Lemon barley peas asparagus

Everyone loves risotto, but not everyone enjoys standing over a stove for an hour. Buy a microwaveable packet of grains to get dinner on the table in a jiffy.

Serves: 2


2 cups Seeds of Change Seven Whole Grains Microwaveable packet
1 lemon, juiced
½ lb asparagus spears
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Kerrygold unsalted butter
Freshly grated parmesan
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

How to Make it

Step 1: Wash asparagus and cut off the bottom fourth of the spears. Cut spears into fourths, then drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle sea salt, and roast on medium heat. Add peas in the last minute of cooking.

Step 2: Cooked grains according to package instructions. Toss with butter, fresh lemon juice, sprinkle of sea salt, cracked black pepper, and parmesan.

Step 3: Once the asparagus and peas are done, stir into barley mixture and serve.

Brie-Stuffed Veggie Burger With Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Veggie burger

If you want to cut back on carbs, keep the bun on the side and just load up your veggie burger with even more roasted veggies and a side salad.

Serves: 2


2 veggie burgers of choice
4 ounces Brie cheese
¼ jar of marinated artichoke hearts, sliced
2 sprouted grain buns
2 tbsp whole-grain mustard

How to Make it

Step 1: Cook veggie burger according to box instructions.

Step 2: Once done, slice the burger lengthwise and stuff with two ounces of Brie per burger. Cook until Brie melts, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Spread mustard on toasted bun and stack with burger and sliced artichoke hearts.

One-Pan Garam Masala Tofu With Chopped Kale

Kale edamame tofu rice

This green-filled veggie stir fry is here to cure your take-out cravings.

Serves: 4


1 12-ounce package firm or extra firm tofu
2 cups frozen kale
1 cup frozen edamame
1 package frozen, microwaveable brown rice
⅓ can full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp Pereg Garam Masala spice
2 tbsp sriracha
4 tbsp soy sauce

How to Make it

Step 1: Press tofu until most of the water is drained.

Step 2: Add tofu to skillet, breaking it apart, and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Add frozen kale, frozen edamame, coconut milk, soy sauce, sriracha and Garam Masala spice. Cook until kale has wilted, about 15 more minutes.

Step 4: Heat rice according to package instructions and serve alongside veggie stir fry.

Mushroom Tofu Miso Soup

Mushroom tofu bok choy miso soup

This warming soup comes together in less than 15 minutes and is just as flavorful as your local Asian restaurant thanks to an organic miso paste from Miso Master.

Serves: 2


½ cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
6 oz. tofu, cubed
4 tbsp. Miso Master Mellow White Miso paste (available at Whole Foods)
½ cup scallions, chopped
1 thumb-size piece ginger, minced
4 cups water

How to Make it

Step 1: Place water in a medium saucepan. Once it simmers, add minced ginger and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Step 2: Stir miso with 2 tablespoons boiling water and add to saucepan.

Step 3: Toss mushrooms, tofu, and scallions into saucepan and let cook for 5–10 more minutes. Serve hot.

Roasted Chickpea, Cauliflower, Quinoa, Kale Salad with Curry Yogurt Dressing

Roasted chickpea stuffed sweet potato

This is a classic pantry meal. Grab a sweet potato, a can of chickpeas, and that last bit of yogurt in your fridge and you'll have a filling meal right when the sweet potato comes out of the oven.

Serves: 1


½ cup chickpeas
1 sweet potato
½ cup cooked quinoa
⅓ cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. lemon Juice
¼ tbsp. garlic powder

How to Make it

Step 1: Puncture sweet potato with a fork and then slice in half. Roast in an oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheight for 25 minutes or until soft. I

Step 2: Toss chickpeas with curry powder and add to sweet potato sheet tray in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Step 3: In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, curry powder, garlic powder, honey, and lemon juice. Then, drizzle into the two bowls, mixing well. Serve.

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