Life gets busy and sometimes it is hard to find the time or energy to prepare ourselves and our families something to eat and on top of that something healthy to eat. This guide will inspire you to be more creative in the kitchen, stick to a healthier diet and help you come up with quick and easy meals for dinner when you are short on time.
When sticking to a healthy diet, it takes a little planning ahead and always having a few staple ingredients stocked, and ready to go in the pantry to make your favorite easy-to-make plant-based meals.
Here are 6 easy dinner ideas for when you are too busy or just too tired.
Pasta is a quick and easy dish that can come together quickly with whatever vegetables, plant-based protein, and sauce you have on hand.
Vegetable Pasta Dinner Idea: Opt for a gluten-free chickpea pasta (high in protein) with whichever vegetables you have available, like zucchini, kale, spinach, and yellow squash. While the pasta is cooking, saute the vegetables with olive oil, fresh garlic, and herbs.
Try this easy zesty veggie pasta recipe for dinner. This is a vegetable pasta that will make you feel cozy and comforted from the inside out and that is packed with colorful vegetables.
Try this more classic (but vegan and gluten-free) take on spaghetti and meatballs. It is recommended to batch-cook these meatless meatballs ahead of time and they can be kept frozen until ready to eat.
Gluten-Free Pasta: There are many different types of gluten-free pasta noodles on the market, some of our favorites are made from chickpeas, brown rice, corn, quinoa, lentils, or often a combination of grains. An added benefit to opting for gluten-free pasta is that many of these options are good plant-based protein sources.
Vegetarian chili is a hearty meal that is easy to heat up on busy weeknights and it is a good source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Batch cook your favorite vegan chili with tofu or quinoa crumble and freeze leftovers for later or stock up on canned veggie chili or tofu chili.
Dinner Example: your favorite vegan chili on top of a baked potato and top with your favorite toppings, like:
- crunch - freshly diced bell peppers and onions
- extra vegetables and greens - cilantro, tomatoes, crispy baked kale
- healthy fats - avocado chunks or vegan sour cream
- spice - salsa or hot sauce!
3. Tacos + Burritos
Your choice, tacos or burritos, either can be filled with plant-based protein or meat substitutes like beans, tempeh, jackfruit, or grains and topped with your favorite toppings, like salsa, avocado, and slaw.
Bowls are a filling way to create a nutritious meal and the possibilities are endless. Just changing up the sauce or grain can liven up a simple meal.
Dinner Example: choose between grains, legumes, or noodles, and add vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sauce.
Try this grain bowl recipe with garlic herbed aioli recipe. This grain bowl can be prepped ahead of time and easily heated up in the oven for dinner or eaten cold as leftovers for lunch the following day.
Salads may sound boring, but we all should probably eat more salads, they are loaded with nutrients, and easy to digest.
Dinner Example: choose from leafy greens, fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds, and your favorite dressing.
Try this italian chopped salad recipe with a garden patty for added plant-based protein.
Soup is one of the easiest go-to plant-based meals, and once it is made all that needs to be done is heat and serve. There are many delicious plant-based options that can be bought in stores or even better made from scratch and kept frozen for later.
Try this sicilian chickenless vegetable soup recipe made with shredded jackfruit.
Try this vegan Zuppa Toscana soup is made with a rich creamy garlic broth and is loaded with kale, potatoes, and Italian-style quinoa meat crumbles (which can be batch cooked and kept frozen until ready to eat).
Having the kitchen stocked with healthy foods and keeping unhealthy foods out of the house will make sticking to a healthy plant-based diet easier. Go for plants and always fill up on whole foods as much as possible.
Want to go plant-based, but are not sure where to start, check out our guide on how to go plant-based and make more health-conscious choices.