plant power: our favorite vegan recipes & cooking tips

There’s a secret to making vegan dishes delicious. Okay, there are several secrets, and the biggest one is that none of them are difficult. Everyone should...

By: Anna Decker / 07/29/2016

There’s a secret to making vegan dishes delicious. Okay, there are several secrets, and the biggest one is that none of them are difficult. Everyone should eat mouthwatering meals, so we’ve rounded up our pro tips for craveworthy plant-based eating. Consider this your guide to a delicious vegan life, or month, or week (or day? It’s also no secret that our love of cheese knows no bounds here in the test kitchen). Whatever your reasons are for embracing a vegetable-focused diet, we promise there are ways to satisfy longings for sharp cheddar for those of us who just can’t kick those deep-rooted hankerings.

Embrace seasonal produce - While some people enjoy eating faux meats like seitan and tempeh and other soy-based products, they’re not for everyone. We’re of the “eat whole foods” school of thought and thankfully there’s no shortage of incredible vegetables that shine beautifully as the star of the dinner plate. Incorporating grains and legumes are also excellent ways to add some bulk and extra protein to a meal. This is a dish we love all year round.


Satisfy your creamy cravings - Beans, seeds, and nuts can provide a whole world of flavors and textures that you never knew existed. This miso tahini sauce is tangy and velvety and delicious draped over roasted vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and potatoes (and while we’re on the subject, let’s give a shout out to miso!). If you want to get creative, dust off your food processor or blender and whip up some cashew cream. Quick tip: Most recipes tell you to soak the cashews overnight, but if you have a really good quality blender at home you can get away with soaking them for about an hour and puréeing them really well. The consistency will be just as smooth. Use it in vegan mac n’ cheese, or as a crema on enchiladas. Let your imagination run wild and experiment with adding different ingredients, both sweet and savory, to your cashew cream. And let’s not forget about our friend the legume, and the power of mashed beans.


Variety is the spice of life - Incorporating a number of textures into any dish is the key to a memorable meal. Ever enjoy a bowl of soup and find yourself craving potato chips after? Most often when we have soft-textured foods, we yearn for something crunchy to complement it. The lesson here is to always pay attention to flavors and textures (and colors!) when you’re developing a recipe. This chickpea tagine is a great example—hearty couscous, soft sweet potatoes, tender chickpeas, and crunchy toasted almonds with lemon zest and fresh herbs. It’s a dish that satisfies all of the senses, and your taste buds will be especially thankful.

It may seem like a daunting task to come up with new vegan recipes, but we’re here to prove that salads and seared tofu are not your only options. Cook, relax and enjoy!


vegan adobo vegetable stew with white beans and quinoa We just couldn’t get enough of this nourishing and warming stew. It’s full of nutritious ingredients thanks to baby kale and fennel and our favorite protein-packed quinoa. A chipotle in adobo sauce and a stick of cinnamon add a little heat and sweetness to the delicate broth. The stew gets topped with feathery fronds and a last drizzle of olive oil for a fragrant finish.


quinoa vitality bowl with sundried tomatoes and caramelized fennel This quinoa bowl is an explosion of flavors, colors and textures. Sweet slices of caramelized fennel anchor the meal, like a delicious vegetarian steak worthy of a fork and knife. The quinoa salad paired with it is packed with herbs and flavors of cumin and lime. The sundried tomatoes add a fresh chew and the edamame offers protein and a hint of green.


roasted sweet potatoes & spiced chickpeas with tahini dressing, pomegranate seeds and dill We’ve roasted sweet potatoes until soft enough to spoon. These are the perfect base for dark red pomegranate seeds (so crunchy and sweet!), crisped up chickpeas dusted with plenty of spices, and feathery dill. It’s no coincidence that the colors of this meal–orange, red and green–will remind you of the leaves turning outside your window.


broccoli coconut soup with spinach and crispy shallots This brilliant green soup is packed with antioxidants from spinach, cilantro and broccoli and has a smooth, silky texture from coconut milk. A little curry paste adds just enough spice and depth and crispy shallots scattered on top bring a delightful crunch.


roasted tomato-basil soup with beans and barley This filling dinner soup makes the most of those wonderful summer flavors like the perfect combination of tomatoes and basil. Plum tomatoes get charred under the broiler then simmer in their juices with fresh basil leaves. A quick zip of the blender purees them together and provides a base for the cannellini beans and pearl barley. A splash of sherry vinegar brightens all the flavor and a touch of red chile flake gives it some warmth.


cauliflower steaks with garlicky mashed beans and almond-olive relish If you haven’t noticed, vegetables are really taking center stage these days. We sliced a whole head of cauliflower into thick “steaks” so we could eat them with a knife and fork. Roasted until tender and served over garlicky mashed beans we didn’t miss the meat at all. Our favorite part is the sweet-salty-crunchy relish spooned over the top. Don’t worry if the cauliflower steaks fall apart a bit–they’ll still be delicious.

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