We all know the feeling. The work day is over, your tummy starts to rumble and suddenly all you can think about is dinner! If you’re struggling with which dish to choose this evening, allow us to parachute in with eight healthy vegan dinners. Not only are they packed full of healthy nutrients, they come together in a flash.April 27, 2022 4:43 pm April 20, 2021 11:56 am
Tips for putting together a healthy and quick vegan dinner
If you’re following a plant-based diet, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to food prep. This is because typically, vegetable-based mains are quicker to cook than those involving meat. Think how fast it is to stir fry shredded vegetables; with some dishes, you can have a healthy vegan dinner on the table in under ten minutes!
However, if you don’t want to eat a stir-fry every night (although that doesn’t seem like a bad idea, now you mention it…) there are plenty of little hacks you can use to save time when it rolls around to dinner.
Here are just a few of our favourites.
Batch cook your grains and beans
We adore whole grains: millet, quinoa, buckwheat, pearl barley, you name it. All of these are super nutritious and full of fibre to help keep you feeling satisfied from your meals.
The downside? They can take ages to cook.
Often, when we’re short on time, the temptation to swap them for a faster-cooking processed variety becomes too great. (We’re looking at you, white rice!)
But processed starchy foods like white rice and pasta are missing lots of the nutrients whole grains can offer, particularly when it comes to essential minerals.
If you’re at home on a Sunday afternoon catching up on your latest reads and TV series, pop a couple of pans on the hob and cook up a large batch of grains. Make sure to cover them in plenty of water, pop a lid on the pan, and just check on them every so often to make sure they haven’t boiled dry.
Voilà, by the end of the episode you have yourself a batch of cooked grains which will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days!
Similarly, if you find yourself cooking grains for another meal, make double and save the rest for another time.
You can also store grains and beans in the freezer and simply defrost them when you’re ready to use.
Slice and dice in the mornings
If you’re one of those incredibly lucky people who are predisposed to getting up early in the morning, put that time to good use.
Having pre-prepared vegetables ready to go as soon as you get back from work will be an incredible morale-booster when you’re feeling too tired to cook.
Some vegetables are more content to be prepared in advance than others. However carrots, potatoes, peppers and broccoli are all fine examples of veggies you can wash and chop in the morning. By the evening, they’ll still be absolutely fine to use in your recipes.
Simply keep them in a covered bowl or tub in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
For potatoes and sweet potatoes, you may find that keeping the chopped veg in a bowl of cold water in the fridge stops them from drying out or discolouring while you’re out.
Some vegetables, such as aubergines, can discolour very quickly when chopped, so best to leave those ones for when you get home.
You can also go one step further than simply prepping your veg ahead of time. Why not prep a full healthy vegan dinner in advance?
An easy way to do this is to simply make double the quantity of your ordinary recipes and put the leftovers in a container to enjoy tomorrow.
Or, depending on how much you like to plan ahead, you could even set yourself up several days in advance.
For example, spending an afternoon roasting a few different types of root vegetables, cooking a couple of pans of grains, and chopping a few bunches of herbs could provide you with dinners for days!
Then, all you have to do is reheat your homemade ready meal in the microwave or oven when you need it.
This is vastly healthier than buying a supermarket ready meal, as you have total control over the ingredients. This includes some of the less desirable ones you often find in ready meals, such as excess salt, fat or sugar.
Make the freezer your friend
Made more than you need right now? Pop it in the freezer; your future self will thank you.
This goes for meal components (such as cooked grains and beans) as well as whole meals.
Just transfer your homemade freezer meal from the freezer to the fridge the night before you need it. When you get home, your dinner will be thawed and ready for you to reheat.
Some foods, such as certain herbs, cucumber and celery, don’t do so well in the freezer thanks to their high water content. If they are an element of your meal, either store them separately in the fridge to add after cooking or remember to pick some up on the day you plan to eat the meal.
Plan your meals
In life, there are two kinds of people: the planners and the spontaneous sorts.
While we may be less likely to go bungee jumping or skinny dipping, planners really come into their own when it comes to meal prep. (Spontaneous sorts, take a break from the bungee and join us over here!)
Just a little bit of forward thinking can save you a lot of time during the week and will make weeknight dinners a breeze. Thinking of what to have for dinner every night, shopping for the ingredients, then coming home and prepping them all is quite a mental burden to deal with every day.
So, spend an hour planning and shopping for the week ahead of time. That way, you have a list of healthy vegan dinners set out for each day, and you don’t have to waste time at the supermarket.
It’ll also likely save you money, as we tend to waste less when we plan ahead.