Starting a plant-based diet as a family can change your life and health. But when you're new to eating this, and your family's used to most Standard American Fare, it feel overwhelming to come up with simple plant-based recipes that'll actually have your family excited to go meat-free. Throw in a busy weekday schedule and it can be downright impossible to truly make the transition.
Well, take a deep breath! One step at a time. And these delicious meatless meals all fit the plant-based bill, and are easy and quick to make.
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10 No-Stress Meatless Meals to Save Busy Weeknights!
1. One-Pot Mushroom Stroganoff
Image and Recipe from From My Bowl
When you're just starting a plant-based diet, one of the bests way to transition your family smoothly is to focus on familiar flavor profiles. In other words, give their favorite dishes a plant-based spin! If you thought you had to say goodbye to your favorite stroganoff, think again. This delicious mushroom stroganoff recipe is a hearty. family-favorite, with a mouth-watering umami, comforting flavor. Oh, and you only need one pot to make it!
2. Oil-Free Vegan Alfredo with Cajun Broccoli
Image and Recipe from The Vegan 8This vegan alfredo will make the transition away from dairy so much easier when you're starting a plant-based diet. It's not just free from dairy — it's oil-free, too! Pro tip: it's the perfect vehicle for sneaking a little broccoli to your little ones.
3. Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Soup
Image and Recipe from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen
Lentils are an immunity-boosting powerhouse of nutrition...and they make a hearty swap for meat. Plan for a cozy night in as a family and simmer up this easy yet delicious roasted cauliflower and lentil soup.
4. Roasted Veggie Pasta
Image and Recipe from Love and Lemons
Sometimes, the simpler the better. And it doesn't get much simpler than pasta, am I right? It's also a super familiar food, making it an ideal meal to make meatless as you're starting a plant-based diet as a family. Whip up this quick roasted veggie pasta on a Monday night and become your children's superhero.
5. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas
Image and Recipe from Forks Over Knives
There is something so playful about quesadillas, I can't quite put my finger on. And I don't know about you, but I haven't met a kid who turns his nose up at them. While they're usually made with dairy, this vegan quesadilla recipe features black beans and sweet potato! The results: filling, familiar, and kid-approved.
6. Vegan Chickpea Nuggets
Image and Recipe from Strength and Sunshine
If you have come to depend on chicken nuggets for quick weeknight dinners, don't worry, we've got you covered. Replace the chicken with chickpeas with this quick and easy meatless meal — then sit back and watch as the whole family devours every last nugget!
7. Kidney Bean Burgers
Image and Recipe from Vegannie
Nothing gets a child's stamp of approval quicker than a homemade burger with all the fixings. And going meat-free doesn't mean going burger-free. Swap the beef for beans! Use these heavenly kidney bean burgers as the base and let your kiddos choose their favorite vegan burger toppings.
8. Chinese Noodles in Ginger-Garlic Sauce
Image and Recipe from Forks Over Knives
Used to rely on takeout? If it's Chinese food you're craving, try this tempting meat-free variation of Chinese noodles. Tossed in a tangy ginger-garlic sauce and your family might just think you actually ordered takeout.
9. Oil-Free Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe
Image and Recipe from MamaSezz
Move over stuffed peppers, these stuffed tomatoes are what's for supper! And they're a great way to get a veggie-loaded dinner in front of your family...that they'll actually eat. May I suggest cooking extra? They freeze beautifully and will make for an easy and healthy meatless meal down the line when life gets even busier.
10. Spiced Chickpea Stew
Image and Recipe from Veggie Inspired
This spiced chickpea stew is the perfect meatless meal for comfort food fans. It is warming and ideal when paired with crusty, aromatic, whole grain bread for dipping!
Need More Help Getting Your Family on the Plant-Based Train?
Try these healthy vegan swaps in your kids' lunchbox and take note of these genius mom hacks for (gently) sneaking more fruits and veggies into your family's diet.
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.