Blog, Food

GO-TO VEGAN RECIPES – Game-Changing Plant-Based Recipes

When I first went vegan, I didn’t know anything about cooking or baking. The learning curve was steep and I took it slowly and tried to be kind to myself and have fun with it along the way. I have learned a lot in the five years since I went vegan. I thought this post would be interesting and helpful to people who are new to a plant-based diet or those looking for tried and true healthy and delicious go-to recipes.

TOP 5 FOODS / Plant Fit Meg Recipes

All of the recipes we create and post have been tested numerous times. Some of the recipes we have developed stand out as game-changers, especially the ones we developed early on in our vegan journey. These are simple, delicious recipes that we make all the time that helped us eat a healthier version of something, or opened our eyes to new ingredients, flavours, and ways to prepare foods.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This may seem like a weird one to lead with, but finding ways to love Brussels sprouts made us realize we could probably make any vegetable taste delicious! Before going plant-based, I didn’t like vegetables and I especially despised Brussels sprouts. Chris and Ryerden (my husband and son) didn’t enjoy Brussels sprouts either, so I experimented with flavouring them in new ways to make them delicious. I came up with three different flavour combinations that we all really enjoy! Figuring out how to make Brussels sprouts appealing has inspired us to find new ways to prepare and season other vegetables we previously detested or had never tried before.

Easy Vegan Chili – Mom’s Chili

I have always loved chili, and after going vegan I definitely made and ate a TON of it. I modified my Mom’s old recipe that called for ground beef and substituted beans for the meat. Chili is a great comfort food during the colder months, so we make this one often. We also like to jazz it up with different beans, more veggies, and pairing it with different greens and whole grains.

Veggie Marinara Sauce

Pasta was one of my favourite dishes before going vegan, and Chris and Ryerden absolutely adore pasta! I came up with this easy marinara sauce recipe when I first went plant-based and we have been enjoying it ever since. 

WE LOVE OATS

Whether they are rolled oats, steel cut, or oat groats we love them all! When I first went vegan, I kept it super simple with apples and cinnamon or banana and cocoa powder. Now, we love to make baked oat dishes and we also mix up our oats and try different combinations with different fruit, veggies, nut butters, seeds, jam, and more!

Powered by Potatoes

Potatoes are one of our favourite foods. We always ate a lot of potatoes, but it was generally fast food or restaurant french fries, packaged processed fries, or pre-made wedges from the hot and ready section at the supermarket. Preparing potatoes for ourselves at home rather than purchasing these prepared products has been a huge game changer and cost saver for us. We make oil free baked potatoes, fries, chips, mashed potatoes, and hash browns! 

TOP 10 Go-To Vegan Recipes

There are several recipes that have been game changing for us as we have progressed through our vegan journey. Some of these recipes were the first healthy vegan options we tried! Other recipes included in this list were found after trying many other recipes until finding ‘the one’ that we were looking for.

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Breakfast (or Dessert)

Jane Esselstyn and Ann Crile Esselstyn – All-Oat WafflesThe Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook 

We were able to enjoy waffles again!! We hadn’t had waffles for years, and were excited to get our griddler with waffle plates to start testing different waffle recipes. This is the first waffle recipe we tried, and we were so impressed with it that we have stuck with it! The recipe is simple with wholesome ingredients and tastes scrumptious! We make this recipe once a week (unless we’re using our Pumpkin Spice Pancake/Waffle recipe or experimenting with new pancake/waffles flavours for recipe development).

Modifications to recipe:
-omit orange zest
-double or triple the recipe

Chef AJ – Apple Pie Squares – The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss

We have always been big fans of apple pie, apple crumble, and apple blossoms. I was curious to try this recipe as it looked like dessert, but contained “breakfast-like” ingredients. I wondered, is it breakfast? Is it dessert? Well, we have certainly enjoyed this recipe as both breakfast AND dessert! Made with wholesome ingredients, like apples, oats and apple sauce, this recipe is a super healthy treat that tastes like dessert and really hits the spot!

Note: I thought I had seen Chef AJ’s Apple Pie Square recipe online, but I haven’t been able to find it (if it exists). You can check out the recipe in her book linked above or check out her YouTube channel for other recipes.

Lunch & Dinner

Even after going mostly whole food plant-based, we would still purchase processed burgers and hot dogs from time to time. The following three recipes were game-changing! Once we found these recipes, we stopped buying processed burgers and hot dogs!

Dr. Greger & Robin Robertson’s – Black Bean Burgers ~ How Not to Die Cookbook

Finding a good burger recipe was essential for us. After trying this recipe it became our go-to burger recipe! It contains quite a few ingredients, but is easy to whizz up in the food processor. We like to cook them on our griddler or charcoal barbecue in the summer. We have made double batches and put one batch in the freezer after cooking, but they never last long!

Modifications to recipe:
-we have substituted tamari or soy sauce for the miso
-we have used 1/2 tbsp dried parsley flakes in place of fresh parsley

Brand New Vegan – Smoky Vegan Carrot Dogs

Carrot hot dogs? I was extremely skeptical before trying it out. How could a carrot ever taste like a hot dog? The texture is different, but surprisingly, carrot dogs give a very similar flavour to hot dogs. It’s so weird, but true! We tried a couple of carrot dog recipes and enjoyed them, but I absolutely fell in love with carrot dogs after trying this recipe! The flavour is amazing and they’re super simple to prepare in the Instant Pot. Since finding this recipe, we stopped eating processed vegan hot dogs.

Modifications to recipe:
-double the recipe

The Jaroudi Family – Breakfast Sausage Patties

Chris has always loved sausages, so when Brittany Jaroudi released this recipe, I thought I’d try to make the batter and shape it into a tube-like hot dog shape to see how it would turn out. It worked! They turned out deliciously and BBQ very nicely! Since finding this recipe, we haven’t purchased any processed vegan sausages!

Modifications to recipe:
-shape into hot dog/sausage shape

Brand New Vegan – Tzatziki (featured in baked falafel recipe post)

We used to order a lot of Greek takeout before going vegan. It was fairly easy to find many delicious falafel recipes, but we had a hard time finding a delicious tzatziki. Chuck Underwood’s recipe is super simple to whip up in the blender and it’s super delicious.

Modifications to recipe:
-omit vegan yogurt
-1/2 to 3/4 cucumber
-we have used dried dill in place of fresh – about 0.5 tbsp
-1/4 tsp salt

Dr. McDougall & Mary McDougall – Tofu Lasagna ~ The Starch Solution

We used to eat a lot of frozen lasagna and restaurant lasagna. We had never made a lasagna from scratch at home until AFTER we went vegan. Chris especially loves lasagna and this recipe is amazing! It is even omnivore approved!

Modifications to recipe:
-we use our homemade veggie marinara sauce
-we use freshly chopped spinach or baby spinach
-we use nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan topping
-we use the vegan ricotta recipe listed below

Cheap Lazy Vegan – Tofu Ricotta (from lasagna recipe)

As much as we adore the McDougall lasagna above, the ricotta calls for two blocks of tofu and a few more ingredients than this simpler version from Rose Lee (aka Cheap Lazy Vegan). This tofu ricotta is just as delicious, but it is more cost-effective and a bit simpler to make.

Modifications to recipe:
-add 1/8 tsp pepper
-reduce salt – 1/8 tsp

Desserts

Kim Campbell – Chocolate Chip CookiesThe PlantPure Nation Cookbook

Before we found this recipe, we were purchasing vegan cookies or making chocolate chip cookies that had vegan butter and sugar in the ingredient list. They tasted good, but weren’t exactly wholesome treats. We were on the lookout for a healthier oil free cookie that would still be a sweet and yummy treat. We tried several cookie recipes, before finding just what we were looking for with this recipe! These chocolate chip cookies have almost a cake-like texture which makes them seem extra special and decadent. 

Modifications to recipe:
-use whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour
-substitute date syrup (or maple syrup) for sucanat and mix with wet ingredients

Dreena Burton – Chocolate Chia Pudding ~ Plant-Powered Families Cookbook

I have always been a big fan of chocolate pudding and used to buy snack packs often. This chocolate pudding is sweetened with dates and is a tasty treat. We have made this recipe countless times and I especially used this recipe a lot while I was eating a raw vegan diet for a couple of months to help improve some health issues (see How I Regained My Health for details). My son also adores this recipe and gets so excited to make it with me. He calls it chocolate “puddin’ “ and we thoroughly enjoy making and eating this simple chocolate chia pudding recipe together!

Modifications to recipe:
-omit salt, coconut, and chocolate chips
-double the recipe

Dreena Burton – Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake (with Chocolate Sweets Frosting) ~ Plant-Powered Families Cookbook

Bake a cake? Bake a cake with SWEET POTATOES? To say I was skeptical is an understatement…but after enjoying other recipes from the Plant-Powered Families Cookbook, I got curious and thought it would be worth a shot. I’m SO glad that we gave it a go! We served it for my son’s birthday a few years ago, and it immediately became our go-to cake recipe! It’s moist, fluffy, and super decadent with the frosting. I would never be able to guess that it is made with sweet potatoes and it is also omnivore approved!

Modifications to recipe:
-used date sugar in place of coconut sugar (or omit coconut sugar from cake)
-omit coconut sugar in frosting (use dates or date syrup to taste if needed)

Bonus – Hannah & Derek Howlett (High Carb Hannah) ~ Epic Vegan Instant Pot Cooking

After thinking about it for a long time, I was so excited to purchase an Instant Pot. However, I was a bit intimidated by it. I had never used a pressure cooker before; and I was concerned about using it safely and not blowing up my kitchen! Getting started was a bit scary for me, so I picked up the Epic Vegan Instant Pot Cooking Cookbook from Hannah Howlett (aka High Carb Hannah). It was great to have a full cookbook dedicated to healthy, flavourful, vegan Instant Pot recipes. We have made most of the recipes from the cookbook, and using this cookbook was a great introduction to making yummy meals in a pressure cooker. The Instant Pot is a great addition to our kitchen and we use it all the time now!

Thank you to all of the wonderful chefs and recipe creators listed above. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes through your cookbooks, YouTube videos, and websites. We are so grateful that we found your recipes, and you have made our lives in the kitchen easier, healthier, and more delicious than ever!

We would love to hear about your favourite go-to recipes or cookbooks. Leave us a comment below letting us know if you have tried any of our go-to recipes listed above or what your game changing recipes are. We would love to give them a try!

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