Food by VICE

25 Recipes to Eat Well for Vegan January

Giving up animal products for a month doesn’t mean giving up nachos, pizza, mac and cheese, or burritos.

by Munchies Staff
Jan 3 2018, 8:00pm

Photo by Daisy Meager

Whether it's skipping the booze, giving Whole 30 a try, or attempting Vegan January, the new year means plenty of people are suddenly rethinking their eating habits. So, hello: maybe you're one of the intrepid souls giving "Veganuary" a try, or maybe you've read enough articles and seen enough documentaries to make you reconsider your cheese habit. Either way, you're trying to eat a little more plant-based, whether it's just for a month or more long-term.

We're here to help. New Year's resolutions and lifestyle changes are hard; they're even harder if you feel miserable as you eat sad, unsatisfying food. Cutting your use of meat, milk, and cheese doesn't have to mean giving up all the dishes you know and love, and it can even make cooking a little more fun as you figure out new ways to approximate old standbys like a mad scientist.

We rounded up some of our best vegan recipes to help you keep that New Year’s resolution and Vegan January goal, and—who knows?—maybe carry your new habits through to February, too.

Vegan Mapo Tofu Recipe

Its name might make you think "vegan" or at least "vegetarian," but the spicy, tingly Sichuan dish mapo tofu usually contains meat. For January—or anytime you're looking to cut your meat consumption, really—this vegan mapo tofu recipe will hit the spot just the same, with plenty of face-melting spice but no animal products.

Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe

A Caesar salad without eggs and anchovy? You might say it can't be done. But we've got just the recipe to prove you wrong. This vegan Caesar salad uses a fish-free Worcestershire sauce, capers, lemons, and soaked cashews for a creamy and umami-rich dressing that you'll want to make all year-round that's perfect for vegans and anchovy haters alike.

Red Curried Sweet Potato Soup

The late Walter Scheib, former White House executive chef to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, shared this presidential soup recipe with us. This simple soup is perfect for winter, and it's totally vegan if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken. Plant-based food can be hearty, too.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Recipe

If you’re looking for ways to lighten up your go-to comfort foods, it’s a good idea to master the art of the cauliflower crust pizza. We topped this version with a vibrant basil pesto and roasted vegetables, but you can use it as a blank canvas to top with whatever your heart desires.

Vegan Pulled Mushroom Barbecue Sandwich Recipe

Sometimes you get a craving for something sloppy, satisfying, and covered in barbecue sauce. Try this vegan barbecue sandwich, which relies on smoked, shredded mushrooms instead of the usual pork. Be sure the store-bought sauce you’re picking up is vegan, too.

Caramelized Onion and Cauliflower Casserole Recipe

Silken tofu and nutritional yeast are what binds this comforting casserole together, and you won’t miss eggs or cheese even a little bit. There’s hardly a better combination of winter veggie flavors than caramelized onions and roasted cauliflower, and this is guaranteed to leave you satisfied.

Easy Bok Choy Salad Recipe

Oh boy, between all the casseroles and pasta and pies, it's been a winter full of rich food. We've still got plenty of months until spring, but that doesn't mean that you can't have something light and refreshing to perk up your tastebuds after all that indulgence. When you need a break, start your month with this spicy and fresh bok choy salad.

Vegan BLT Recipe

The hardest part about sticking to a food-related resolution is that some days you just don’t wanna cook anymore. This vegan BLT recipe is for those days when spending an hour and a half in the kitchen is not in the cards. Whip this up in 20 minutes, and you’ll feel better that you didn’t cave and order takeout.

Blueberry Chia Pudding Recipe

The best way to prevent the desperate mid-afternoon purchase of some cheese powder-covered snack from the office vending machine is to start the day with a solid breakfast. This chia pudding is packed with protein and fiber, anti-inflammatory turmeric, and "super-foods" like blueberries and goji berries.

Spiced Porridge Recipe

This winter-worthy spiced porridge could be breakfast or lunch, but either way, its super easy to make and guaranteed to be filling. Top it with homemade applesauce, granola, or your favorite fresh fruits, and it gets even better.

Vegan Flautas Recipe

If you’re entertaining while trying to stick to a Veganuary meal plan, you might be tempted to break your own rules because you want to make something that appeals to everyone. Don't give in: These vegan flautas swap out meat and dairy for seitan and vegan mozzarella, but your guests will never know the difference.

Cannabis Hot Chocolate Recipe

Sure, you could go to the store and buy a carton of non-dairy eggnog, but why bother when you can whip up an indulgent vegan hot chocolate instead? This THC-laced hot cocoa is, in fact, dairy-free, and with fresh turmeric and ginger in the mix, it shapes up to be a remarkably good-for-you alternative to Swiss Miss.

Shiitake Bacon Recipe

Use these bacon-like strips in a sandwich, on a veggie burger, or crumbled on a salad or mac and cheese like good ol' bacon bits. If fully dehydrated and stored in an air-tight container, these shiitake bacon bits will keep for about a month in the freezer, or two weeks in the refrigerator.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Winter weather is hitting the U.S. hard right now, and nothing is homier on a "damn, it’s cold" kind of night than a heaping shepherd’s pie. The mashed potato topping on this vegan version gets a perfect golden crust, and you can hide away from the snow for days with these leftovers.

Grilled Cabbage Wedges Recipe

It’s both roasted veggie season AND cabbage season, and this preparation from chef Elise Kornack combines the two for a dish hearty enough to serve as a center piece to a Veganuary meal. Charring the hell out of these cabbage wedges and adding a herby, spicy dressing takes the humble head of cabbage to a whole new level.

Vegan Potato and Pea Curry Recipe

Most year-round vegans probably have a dozen back-pocket vegetable stew recipes that they can throw together with whatever’s lying around. If the concept is new to you, this quick and easy curry recipe serves as a great template. If peas aren't your thing, use whatever veggies you have on hand for this meal prep-friendly stew.

Chickpea Egusi Recipe

The seeds of the egusi melon are used for a lot of culinary purposes in West African cooking, but especially for egusi stew. This comforting dish is hearty and full of vegetables and plant-based protein. Even better, it comes together in just 40 minutes.

Vegan Lasagna Recipe

January is prime time to hunker down in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon and tackle a cooking project—which means it’s the perfect time to give something as labor intensive as homemade lasagna a go. This vegan lasagna from Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph skips the animal products, but it's not lacking in melty cheese goodness.

Vegan Vegetable and Grain Bowl Recipe

The "high-grade" sauce in this vegan grain bowl has a lot of ingredients, but it comes together easily and it'll turn any assortment of vegetables into something instantly delicious. Even after Veganuary is over, you'll want to keep making this sauce and assembling grain bowls with whatever vegetables come into season.

Easy Red Lentil Dhal Recipe

Going vegan for a month might already be enough of a lifestyle change for you to tackle, but if you’re up for a bit of meal prepping, chef Bruno Loubet suggests making a big batch of this lentil dhal that you can portion out and store in the freezer.

Harmony Congee Recipe

Congee, the stick-to-your-ribs rice porridge dish eaten all over Asia, is perfect for a warm January meal that’s hearty but not overly heavy. Perfect for any time of day, this congee recipe is garnished with a satisfying mix of sweet potatoes, squash, and collard greens. Skip the soft-boiled egg to keep it vegan.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese with Coconut Bacon Recipe

Cashews and coconut cream make a decadent base for this vegan cheese sauce, while miso, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste are the key to approximating that savory cheese flavor. Add noodles and coconut-based "bacon" bits, and you've got a comforting vegan mac and cheese to lift your spirits on a sad, cold winter day.

Vegan Teriyaki Chik'n Burritos Recipe

Full of vegan cheese, stir-fried veggies, and satisfying teriyaki-glazed faux chicken, this takeout-inspired vegan burrito recipe will help you stick to your month-long Veganuary goal. But when you realize plant-based eating is easier than you think, they just might become your new weeknight staple, too.

Easy Vegan Nachos Recipe

It might be Vegan January, but we're not here to tell you to give up the junk food for a month—just to prove that you can still have a month of dope eating without all that meat and cheese and dairy. The secret to these easy vegan nachos is a cheese-like sauce made of cashews, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and even queso lovers will want to eat it by the spoonful.

Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

There is no shortage of vegan baking substitution hacks out there in the world, so yes, you can still indulge your sweet tooth during Veganuary. This vegan spin on the classic British dessert uses vegan margarine, nut milk, and coconut milk to recreate the spongy, golden, syrupy perfection.

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