Vegan home cooks have a lot of company in the tofu, seitan and fresh vegetable aisles of the grocery store when the new year strikes. They know that eating dairy- and meat-free can be delicious year-round, not just when New Year’s resolutions hit. It’s the rest of us who are catching up.
Cooking a vegan supper can be much easier than you’d suspect. Soy- and other non-meat-based proteins tend to cook up in a flash. The right recipe, whether mingling meaty mushrooms and protein-packed farro or velvety eggplant with silky tofu, can be eye-openingly delicious. Here are a few of our favorite vegan recipes designed especially for hungry weeknight cookery.
Steamed eggplant takes a quick bath in a tiny bit of oil with garlic and ginger in this delightful Sichuan-style eggplant with tofu recipe. Tofu provides all the protein you need, and a black vinegar-sugar-Sriracha-black bean sauce binds the whole thing together marvelously. (Pro tip: When you’re especially exhausted, it’s totally OK to grab takeout rice from the local Chinese place.)
How beautiful is this vegetable tofu barley bowl? It’s flexible enough to accommodate whichever vegetables are in-season near you right now, and it’s a delight to look at. (Call it “rainbow dinner” and see if you can’t persuade a tetchy child to give it a shot.) We’re particularly fond of the harissa-shellacked slabs of tofu, which along with tender, easy-to-cook barley give the whole meal a good bit of protein.
Farro is a grain that’s packed with fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins. This roasted acorn squash with farro recipe is a lovely way to showcase its charms. Whether you serve it as an appetizer or an entrée, you’ll appreciate its eclectic flavors: fresh lemon, earthy squash and sage, bright fennel and juicy pomegranate seeds. The recipe calls for butter, but those with dairy-free diets can easily swap in vegan butter.
When properly prepared, nothing is heartier than the humble chickpea. (Unless it’s mushrooms or farro.) This winter warmer is hugely satisfying thanks in large part to classic stew ingredients like rosemary, tomato paste, garlic and onion. You’ll want to sauté the mushrooms separately (in vegan butter or olive oil) before folding them in to evaporate excess water and concentrate their flavor.
A delicious sauce containing roast cashews, Thai basil and chiles is the key to this excellent Thai cashew bowl with tofu recipe. This dish is jam-packed with yummy vegetables, from spiralized zucchini to spinach to watercress. Tofu and quinoa provide additional sources of protein, and the super-savory cashew sauce binds all the elements together.
The texture of seitan is hugely appealing to many of its fans. This umami-packed stir-fry recipe shows off its appeal. Chinese black bean-garlic sauce is the sole specialty ingredient, and it’s one worth picking up; you’ll use it in all sorts of other Asian and meatless dishes for its booming flavor. Red bell peppers, shiitakes, and bok choy bulk up the vegetable side of things, and ginger adds its inimitable fresh, pungent note. Best of all, this dish is ready in a snap.
This stir-fry comes together so quickly that you actually need to start the rice before you start cooking; that way they’ll be done at once (in about half an hour). Broccoli rabe lends its very slight bitterness and wonderfully satisfying texture to a combination of shiitakes and tofu. Classic Chinese ingredients (soy, sambal oelek, sesame oil, green onions and ginger) coalesce for a wonderfully aromatic sauce. A touch of cornstarch helps the sauce “velvet” the vegetables and tofu to marvelous effect.