Have you signed up for Veganuary yet? Maybe you’ve thought about becoming vegan in the past and then decided giving up meat was just too hard? Or maybe you’re all for the lifestyle, but are having a hard time winning over the rest of the family.
I hear you. Convincing the naysayers isn’t easy.
A lot of people realize the health and environmental benefits of eating a plant-based diet, but can’t imagine life without burgers or steak. For some, even the thought of Meat Free Monday is a stretch. What on earth would you eat?
And please don’t say salad, right?
Sporty and I love our leafy greens as much as the next vegan, but sometimes we want something ‘meaty’ to sink our gnashers into. When we first transitioned to this lifestyle we ate a lot of soy burgers and hotdogs, but we quickly realized they weren’t all that healthy.
And if I’m honest, they weren’t all that tasty either.
Eventually, I decided to get into the kitchen and channel my inner chef. The results were astounding, I even won Sporty’s kids over with the mushroom burgers I made. The recipes below may not have people ditching their carnivorous ways right off the bat, but they’ll at least show them that a meal without meat can be just as tasty and satisfying.
Veganuary Never Tasted This Good
1. Smoky Black Bean Beet Burgers
Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker
Minimalist Baker is hands down one of my favorite foodie blogs. Dana is a genius in the kitchen. She’s as much about healthy as she is decadent, junk foody deliciousness, so you’re guaranteed to find something to please everyone.
Her smoky black bean beet burgers are perfect for satisfying those killer burger cravings. You know, the ones that usually arrive on Friday night. The nice thing about these guys is that they’re not loaded with unnecessary calories.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re not tasty. They’re hearty, smoky, flavorful, tender and moist on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. They even look the part, not like those veggie patty imposters you often find taking up space on the interwebs.
2. Veggie Black Bean Enchiladas
Photo Credit: Cookie & Kate
Cookie & Kate is another one of my go-to blogs when I’m on the hunt for a little kitchen inspiration. Along with her dog Cookie (who catches all the crumbs), Kate spends her time coming up with vegetarian and vegan dishes that have been known to impress even the most ardent of meat lovers. If you come across a recipe that isn’t 100% vegan, just swap out the relevant ingredient. Easy peasy.
These veggie black bean enchiladas work well as a casual, hearty entree. Generously filled with sautéed bell pepper, broccoli, onion, spinach, black beans and some warming spices, smothered in Kate’s homemade enchilada sauce and topped off with lashings of vegan cheese, you’ll be forgiven if you decide to keep them all to yourself.
I’m imagining a Mexican evening with nachos and margaritas.
3. Smoky Southern-Style Meatless Meatloaf
Photo Credit: Veganosity
When it comes to comfort food nothing beats meatloaf, mash and gravy. Am I right or am I right? This smoky southern-style meatless meatloaf from Veganosity duo, Alex and Linda, is bound to hit the spot on a cold winter’s night. Though it will be just as impressive as a Sunday lunch main.
It’s a little on the complicated side and requires a food processor, but you just have to look at the picture to see it’s totally worth the effort. A lot of vegan meatloaf recipes call for soy, nuts and mushrooms, but this black bean and chickpea version has none of that. Loaded with Southern BBQ flavor, the texture will take you straight back to your childhood.
4. Vegan BLT
Photo Credit: BoshTV
Pre-vegan, one of my absolute best things was indulging in a hearty BLT with extra bacon. Sorry pigs! Fortunately, I can still enjoy my favorite meal without hurting Esther and her ilk in the process. I just replace the bacon with marinated tofu and Bob’s your aunt.
Bosh TV has a vegan BLT recipe that’s on point when it comes to flavor, meatiness and all-round eating satisfaction. Ian and Henry (the genius foodies behind the brand) have a burning desire to show the world just how easy it can be to not just eat plants, but eat plants that are tasty, delicious and more-is.
Their recipes are generally easy to prepare and use ingredients you’re likely to have on hand. This one is no different. If you’re counting calories you can always skip the mayo and just keep the avo. It’ll still be super delicious.
5. Vegan Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
Photo Credit: The Big Man’s World
These vegan sweet and spicy meatballs from The Big Man’s World are sure to win points with omnivores and veggies alike. Made with Gardein meatless grounds and a host of other ingredients, the recipe requires almost zero kitchen skills. All you have to do is toss everything into a mixing bowl, mix, roll into balls and pan fry until golden brown. Even a bachelor would be hard-pressed to mess this one up.
These are just a few examples of the fun you can have on a plant-based diet. Google things like vegan holiday dishes, vegan breakfast ideas or even recipes that make being vegan exciting and you’ll be inundated with ideas. Happy cooking!
What About Fake Meat?
Photo Credit: Beyond Meat
The vegan jury is still out when it comes to faux meat and animal products. The purists believe you should make everything from scratch just like your vegan Grandma did, while the rest of us think there’s nothing wrong with a little store-bought assistance every now and then.
Sporty and I don’t indulge nearly as often as we used to, but we’re definitely not averse to buying readymade on the odd occasion. As newly transitioned vegans, we found these products to be a godsend. Finding your way around the kitchen takes time, so it’s nice to have something to fall back on every now and then.
Besides, now that we have Beyond Meat, fake meat just got a whole lot healthier and a lot less processed. Yes, the price tag is a little high, but knowing you’re not causing any harm or suffering more than takes the sting out of it.
Signing up for Veganuary will yield a ton of helpful resources for everyone from fence-sitters and newbies to stalwarts like Sporty and I. But, like with any topic, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole if you’re so inclined. If that appeals to you, I’ve added some additional info here.
- Nutriciously >> Complete Vegan Starter Kit
- Mostly Mindful >> 3 Tips to Stay Healthy on a Vegan Diet this Veganuary
- Vegan.com >> Essential Vegan Information
- The Vegan Society >> School Lesson Resources
- The Vegan RD >> Vegan Nutrition Resources
There you have it, a bunch of excellent reasons to sign up for Veganuary. 🙂