Reduce your kitchen cooking time without sacrificing flavor by cooking up big batches of these vegetable-forward plant-based meals that are sure to give you leftovers.
From the abundance of delectable seasonal produce, to reimagining classic dishes of our childhood, these plant-based recipes are perfect to cook up for a hardy dinner and enjoy leftovers for days for quick lunches or dinner. Bonus: they’re full of fiber, kids love them, and they taste better the second (or third!) time around.
1. Mollie Katzen’s Sesame Noodles (Adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest)
I have been making this famous Mollie Katzen recipe from the Moosewood collections for more than half my life. And it still holds up as a classic.
When I was barely 20 years old, I started doing kitchen prep work for a woman who had a very small catering operation running at the Carnegie-Mellon University campus in Pittsburgh. We would make vegetarian lunches daily and sell them at the Fine Arts college.
This one was always a hit with the students, faculty — and me! I had never tasted peanut butter on noodles before and it rocked my world. It still does, every time I make it.
This dish is so simple and easy to make and always hits the spot. I go heavy on the red chili flakes and you can’t go wrong with adding crisped tofu atop. There are always lots of leftovers, even if you go in for a second helping.
2. Vegan Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Sour Cream and Guacamole
It’s a sweet potato. It’s a taco. It’s heavenly!
Sweet potatoes have always been my go-to for a quick and healthy meal any time of the year. I roast them and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I serve them with steamed kale, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, and a splash of umeboshi vinegar.
But with a hungry 9-year-old to feed, plain sweet potatoes and kale don’t always cut it. Since my daughter loves tacos, this loaded sweet potato recipe is the best of both worlds—the healthy beta-carotene-rich potato and all the taco favorites she loves: beans, corn, guacamole, and sour cream.
There are so many fun variations for this, too. You can swap in vegan chicken or taco meat, tempeh, lentils, or pinto beans. There are no mistakes here, just delicious and nutritious stuffed sweet potatoes. Bake up a few extra potatoes and you can make variations of this dish all week long.
3. Tofu Quiche Recipe
Who says quiche is just for brunch? This tofu quiche is a perfect dinner, too. It’s warm and flavorful and a break from some of the heavier dinner dishes.
These days, there is all manner of egg replacements you can use to mimic the taste and texture, but I’m a sucker for a simple tofu quiche. This recipe calls for a homemade crust, but most times, I use store-bought to save time. You can go crustless altogether and make it a frittata, too. Just pour the batter into a cast-iron skillet and bake it in there.
You can easily add as many or as few vegetables to your quiche as you like. This one features cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, but you can add in broccoli florets, chopped arugula, or kale. Or make it extra herby and go with fresh chives and parsley. Serve with a side salad or steamed veggies and you’ve got the perfect dinner. But be sure to save a slice or two for the next day.
4. Buffalo Vegan Chicken Mac N’ Cheese With Dairy-Free Jalapeño Ranch
Who doesn’t love mac n’ cheese? It’s a dinner staple all right, but this isn’t the Blue Box of your childhood. This recipe from Lauren Toyota gets a modern, vegan twist with two of my absolute favorites: plant-based chicken and buffalo sauce. It’s a meal match you won’t soon forget.
A note on vegan chicken: there are a lot of options on the market (like a whole lot), which can make it difficult to know which is best for a dish like this. My personal advice is if you’re going all out, pick a fried chicken. A few standouts include Daring Foods, VFC, and Hungry Planet. But give a few different ones a try and see which one works best for you. There are likely to be new contenders on the market by the time you read this, anyway!
Whichever chicken you decide on, you’ll say goodbye to boring dinner forever and a refreshed hello to leftovers with this recipe.
5. Jamie Oliver’s Quick Veggie Curry
When doesn’t curry hit the spot? It’s such a satisfying dish with so many variations. Case in point: this quick curry from Jamie Oliver. He recommends subbing in whatever veggies you have in your fridge and I couldn’t agree more. Use beans, tofu, or tempeh as a base, or stick with Oliver’s chickpeas for a more traditional take on Chana Masala.
But everyone knows the very best part of curry night is the leftovers. Whether you mix it into your tofu scramble for breakfast, serve up with naan for lunch, or have it again for dinner, curry is the dish that keeps on giving. And don’t be shy about giving this to the kiddos, either! Kids love to explore new flavors and textures, so start them young. Just leave chili flakes and cayenne out.
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