5 Vegan Dinner Recipes That Are Better Than Takeout
From warm nacho dip to creamy pasta, vegan cookbook author Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows turns classic comfort-food recipes into light vegan dinners.
Vegan dinner recipes are nutrient packed and delicious, especially in the hands of recipe developer Angela Liddon. Liddon is the founder and writer behind OhSheGlows, an award-winning recipe site that celebrates her love of plant-based foods. She's also the author of two cookbooks, including the best-selling Oh She Glows Cookbook. Here are five of Liddon's favorite vegan dinner recipes, which are sure to become staples in your own meatless Monday rotation. Should you require more inspiration to eat more plant-based meals, check out the 13 amazing things that happen to your body when you eat a vegan diet.
For more recipes and healthy-eating inspiration, pick up Angela Liddon's The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out.
Empowered Noodle Bowl, Two Ways: Thai Peanut and Orange-Maple Miso
"Choosing between my Thai Peanut and Miso Ginger sauces felt like choosing a favorite child, so of course I had to include both of them in the book. It’s always fun to have options, don’t you think? The miso dressing is a great option if you’re looking for a nut-free noodle dressing, and the Thai peanut dressing is perfect if you are a big fan of creamy peanut or almond butter."
FOR THE THAI PEANUT SAUCE:
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons (30 mL) toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons (45 mL) natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter
2 teaspoons (10 mL) grated fresh ginger (optional)
3 tablespoons (45 mL) fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (37 mL) low-sodium tamari
1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 mL) granulated sugar
FOR THE ORANGE-MAPLE MISO DRESSING:
3 tablespoons (45 mL) light miso
2 tablespoons (30 mL) rice vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) tahini
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon (5 mL) maple syrup
FOR THE SALAD:
4 ounces (115 g) gluten-free soba (buckwheat) noodles
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the noodles
1 (16-ounce/454-g) bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1⁄2 seedless (English) cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped, plus more for serving
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Sesame seeds, for serving
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOK TIME: 5 to 9 minutes
This recipe can be made: Gluten-free, nut-free option (Orange-Maple Miso Dressing) or soy-free option
1. Make the Thai Peanut Sauce: In a mini or regular food processor, combine the garlic, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger (if using), lime juice, tamari, sugar (if using), and 2 to 3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) water. Process until combined.
Make the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing: In a mini or regular food processor, combine the miso, vinegar, sesame oil, tahini, orange juice, water, and maple syrup and process until well combined.
2. Make the Salad: Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Be sure not to overcook them—they should only take 5 to 9 minutes, depending on the brand. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and toss them with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (this prevents the noodles from sticking together).
3. Add the edamame, bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, green onions, and cilantro to the bowl with the noodles and toss until well combined.
4. Pour your desired amount of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. (Any leftover dressing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
5. Portion the salad into 4 bowls and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and some green onions. Serve any leftover dressing on the side.
Tips: For a soy-free Thai Peanut Sauce, replace the tamari with coconut aminos. To make this dish completely soy-free, omit the edamame as well.
If you need a soy-free and gluten-free miso, look for chickpea miso. My go-to brand is South River Miso and it’s absolutely lovely in this sauce.
For a raw version, serve this noodle bowl with spiralized or julienned zucchini, instead of the soba noodles.
Quick and Easy Chana Masala
"I’m a huge fan of chana masala, a spicy Indian chickpea dish, but I always thought that it would be too time-consuming to make at home due to the long list of spices the recipe requires. Once I purchased a few spices to add to my collection, there was no excuse not to make this easy, budget-friendly dish, and as it turns out, throwing them into a skillet really isn’t very time-consuming after all! You’ll be wondering why you didn’t make it sooner. To streamline this recipe, be sure to prep all the ingredients before starting; the cooking process for this dish moves quickly and it helps to have everything ready to go."
1 tablespoon (15 mL) coconut oil or olive oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons (7 mL) cumin seeds
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced peeled fresh ginger
1 green serrano chile pepper, seeded, if preferred, and minced
1 1⁄2 teaspoons (7 mL) garam masala
1 1⁄2 teaspoons (7 mL) ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground turmeric
3⁄4 teaspoon (4 mL) fine-grain sea salt, plus more as needed
1⁄4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
1 (28-ounce/793-g) can whole peeled or diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 (28-ounce/793-g) can chickpeas, or 3 cups (750 mL) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup (250 mL) dry/uncooked basmati rice, for serving
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
PREP TIME: 15 to 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
This recipe can be made: Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free, grain-free option
1. In a large wok or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles upon hitting the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cumin seeds. Stir and toast the seeds for a minute or two until golden and fragrant, watching carefully to avoid burning.
2. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano. Cook for a few minutes or so, then stir in the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, salt, and cayenne (if using), and cook for 2 minutes more.
3. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and their juices and break them apart with a wooden spoon (skip if using diced tomatoes). You can leave some chunks of tomato for texture.
4. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to develop.
5. Serve over cooked basmati rice, if desired, and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some chopped cilantro just before serving.
Tips: To thicken the tomato gravy, add a ladle of the curry into a mini processor and process until almost smooth. Stir this back into the curry to thicken.
For a grain-free option, serve the chana masala atop a baked potato.
Walnut, Avocado, and Pear Salad with Marinated Portobello Caps and Red Onion
"This salad was inspired by a dish at a local restaurant where my girlfriends and I meet for lunch once a month. With buttery pear slices, grilled marinated red onion, and Portobello mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and creamy avocado, it’s a delicious mix of my favorite flavors and textures, and it’s filling, too. Each Portobello mushroom packs in around 6 to 8 grams protein, so add one or two and you have yourself a protein-packed salad that will go the distance."
2 large Portobello mushrooms
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Balsamic vinaigrette
1 (5-ounce/142-g) box mixed greens
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 avocado, pitted and chopped
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) walnuts, toasted
PREP TIME: 15 to 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 8 to 10 minutes
This recipe can be made: Gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar–free, grain-free
1. Gently rub the outside of the mushrooms with a damp towel to remove any debris. Remove the stems by twisting the stem until it pops off; discard it or freeze for another use, such as a stirfry. With a small spoon, scrape out and discard the black gills.
2. In a large bowl, combine the mushroom caps, onion, and half of the balsamic vinaigrette and toss until fully coated. Marinate the mushrooms and onion for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing every 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the mushroom caps and onion on the pan and grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and the vegetables are tender. Reduce the heat if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mushroom caps are cool enough to handle, then slice the mushroom caps into long strips.
4. For each salad, place a few handfuls of mixed greens in a large bowl and top with half of the chopped pear, avocado, walnuts, and grilled mushrooms and onion. Drizzles with some of the remaining balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!
15-minute Creamy Avocado Pasta
"Praised for how easy it is to prepare and for its dairy-free avocado cream sauce, this recipe is one of the most beloved on my website. Heart-healthy avocados are processed with garlic, a touch of olive oil, fresh basil, lemon juice, and sea salt to create one amazing creamy pasta sauce you won’t soon forget."
9 ounces (255 g) uncooked pasta (use gluten-free, if desired)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, to taste
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
4 to 6 teaspoons (20 to 30 mL) fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL) fine-grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon zest, for serving
PREP TIME: 5 to 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 8 to 10 minutes
This recipe can be made: gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free, grain-free option
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a food processor,combine the garlic and basil and pulse to mince.
3. Add the lemon juice, oil, avocado flesh, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add another 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add the avocado sauce and stir until combined. You can gently rewarm the pasta if it has cooled slightly, or simply serve it at room temperature.
5. Top with lemon zest, pepper, and fresh basil leaves, if desired.
Tips: Because avocados oxidize quickly after you slice them, this sauce is best served immediately. If you do have leftover sauce, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 day. [Editor's Note: And if you see only unripened ones in the store, find out how to ripen an avocado in 10 minutes.]
For a grain-free version, serve this avocado sauce with spiralized or julienned zucchini or on a bed of spaghetti squash.
Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip
"You’d never know there isn’t a lick of dairy or oil hiding in this mouthwatering hot-out-of-the-oven dip! This dish is always a crowd-pleaser. It’s best when hot, so serve it on a plate warmer or pot holder so it stays warm for as long as possible. I like to bake it in a cast-iron dish, which keeps it warm for almost an hour."
FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE:
1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews
1 cup (250 mL) peeled and chopped carrots
2 tablespoons (30 mL) nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1 1⁄4 teaspoons (6 mL) fine-grain sea salt
3⁄4 teaspoon (4 mL) chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) onion powder
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL) cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
FOR THE DIP:
1 cup (250 mL) chunky marinara sauce
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped sweet onions
2 to 3 handfuls of baby spinach (about 3 ounces/85 g), roughly chopped
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) crushed corn chips or bread crumbs
1 to 2 green onions, finely sliced, for serving (optional)
Tortilla chips for serving
PREP TIME: 25 to 30 minutes, plus soaking time
COOK TIME: 25 to 30 minutes
This recipe can be made: Gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, sugar-free, grain-free
1. Make the Cheese Sauce: Place the cashews in a medium bowl and add water to cover. Set aside to soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you have the time. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly grease a 2-quart (2-L) cast-iron or casserole dish.
3. Place the carrots in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook the carrots for 5 minutes, or until just fork-tender. Drain. You can also steam the carrots, if desired.
4. In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, cooked carrots, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne (if using), and 2⁄3 cup (150 mL) water and blend until silky smooth, adding a splash of extra water if needed. Pour the sauce into a large bowl.
5. Make the Dip: Stir the marinara sauce, onion, and spinach into the Cheese Sauce until fully combined. Spoon the sauce into the prepared dish and smooth out, and sprinkle the top evenly with the crushed corn chips.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered, watching closely toward the end of the cooking time to make sure the corn chip topping doesn’t burn. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
7. Reheat any leftovers in the oven at 400°F (200°C) for 10 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. Store the dip in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Tip: For a gluten-free option, use crushed corn chips and corn tortilla chips for serving.