Coming up with easy vegan meal ideas can be a surprisingly challenging task for a busy mom.
Between loads of laundry, diaper changes and family time, it’s not always easy to feel inspired. Nor is it practical to spend hours in the kitchen.
If your goal is to get a quick vegan meal on the table in the shortest amount of time possible, you may appreciate some quick meal ideas and time saving cooking tips. As a busy mom, I know I do!
So in honor of this year’s nutrition month, I’ve rounded up a few tips from fellow plant-based registered dietitians. They’re meant to help you eat well and feed your family nutritious foods even when you’re short on time.
My Favorite Time-Saving Cooking Tip
I personally find the whole process of looking for recipes, shopping for their ingredients and following the step-by-step preparation method to be very time consuming.
That’s why I usually rely on improv-cooking to whip up delicious, quick and easy vegan meals in under 20 minutes.
This simply consists of combining whichever nutrient-rich ingredients I have on hand following the plate method and seasoning them with my favorite condiments.
No more recipes, shopping for hard-to-find ingredients or step-by-steps preparation methods — what a relief!
The key to doing this successfully is to have the right ingredients on hand. Feel free to download the weekly grocery list I personally rely on down below for inspiration.
Quick and Easy Meal Ideas from Plant-Based Registered Dietitians
In the section below, you’ll find a few additional tips generously shared by my fellow plant-based dietitians.
Their blogs are a great place to get inspired or discover new vegan recipe ideas.
What has helped me most during pregnancy and these early stages of motherhood has been cooking one big batch of a protein source and planning meals from there. One week was “refried” beans, the next lentils, etc. Anytime I need a quick snack, I can grab a scoop and go!
You can get a healthy meal on the table in the time it would take you to order takeout and pick it up. One tip I like to suggest is to make easy one dish meals that have all of the elements of dinner in one pot or dish.
These dishes provide a healthy protein source, a whole grain, healthy fats, and lots of veggies. One of my go to recipes is this Tempeh Noodle Skillet—it has everything you need for a balanced meal in one, and it takes under 30-minutes to prepare.
If people collect several go-to recipes that they can turn to on busy nights, they will start making sure they have the ingredients in their pantries to make that meal time and time again.
Stock up on canned beans, they have a long shelf life and are über versatile. Here are a bunch of ways to use them.
Soft tacos are one of my go-to meals. Best of all, they’re ready in 5 minutes or less. Simply warm up some organic corn tortillas and a portion of Amy’s refried beans.
Then add salsa, avocado, shredded cabbage or cut up peppers. And voilà — you’ve got yourself a healthy yet super quick vegan meal.
Aim for “good enough” rather than perfection! Some people think it has to take a long time to make an amazing dinner. For instance, by cooking it from scratch using only fresh ingredients. But it doesn’t.
Aiming for “good enough” when you’re short on time may mean that you combine beans and rice with warmed frozen veggies and a piece of fruit. Just as healthy but much quicker.
I like to chop some veggies and just throw them in the oven. It takes 40 minutes which can feel long but I spend that time getting out of work clothes and into my jammies, taking a shower or whatever else. Then I have some roasted potatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots etc. to add to whatever meal.
I also don’t shy away from those vegan meat alternatives. I know they aren’t as wholesome as straight tofu, tempeh or lentils, but they are convenient and still nutritious. It’s nice to pop one of those burgers into the oven with said roasted veggies.
Finally, soak any grains in the morning before leaving the house. That way when you come home, they will take half the time to cook. Soaking also helps boost your body’s ability to digest said grains.
I always try to remember simplicity. When I’m busy, I just grab a bag of carrots, crackers, tomatoes and hummus or nuts and bananas and I am set for lunch and snacks.
Then for dinner I do tomato sauce, a veggie – for instance, spiralized zucchini –– and a plant-based meat replacement and voilá, dinner!
I will aim to update this list periodically – so keep an eye out for new additions!
What tips do you rely on to get a healthy meal on the table when you’ve had a hectic day? Help a mama out in the comments below!