No time to cook? Welcome aboard the Vegan Express!

There’s nothing nicer than cooking meals from scratch, but let’s face it, most of us barely have time to think about what to have for dinner, let alone cook it! But preparing vegan food doesn’t need to be time-consuming. There are loads of quick vegan recipes available online, and many supermarkets even sell ready-made vegan convenience foods – from pizza and burgers to soups and salads.

But – If you’d rather make your own food – we’ve compiled our top five quick vegan eats to help you on your way to a vegan Lent. Minimal time in the kitchen, maximum taste!

  1.    Beans on toast

Not just for students and toddlers, beans on toast is one of the quickest vegan meals to prepare, and it’s actually very nutritious. Beans pack a powerful protein punch and even count as one of your five a day. They also contain folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin B6. Meanwhile, wholemeal bread is packed with fibre, and many brands are vegan-friendly (double check the label if in doubt). Then, just choose a dairy-free spread from the range available in every major supermarket.

We probably don’t need to tell you how to prep this one as it speaks for itself – pop the bread in the toaster, heat a can of beans on the hob or in the microwave, then top the toast with your favourite vegan spread if desired, add the beans and voila! – the easiest vegan meal on the planet.

Estimated prep time: 1 minute

Estimated cook time: 5 minutes

  1.    Smashed avocado with baked sweet potato

Avocados are one of the most nutritious vegetables available – they’re full of healthy fats, and contain more than 20 different vitamins and minerals. They also make a delicious accompaniment to baked sweet potato, which is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and dietary fibre.

To prepare, preheat your oven to 180C/350F, wash and dry the sweet potato, coat with a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and bake for around 40 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, spoon the flesh of an avocado into a bowl and squeeze over some lime juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – and a pinch of chilli flakes if you’re feeling adventurous!

Once the potato is ready, top with the smashed avocado, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and a handful of chopped coriander, and serve with a side salad.

Estimated prep time: 5 minutes

Estimated cook time: 40 minutes

  1.    Pasta with pesto and nutritional yeast

Pasta is also one of the easiest dishes to make and most supermarkets now sell ready-made vegan pesto, and many other vegan pasta sauces. Keep this recipe super simple by simmering some dried pasta – or fresh if you can find a vegan version in-store – until soft, then stir in the ready-made pesto or sauce. Top with nutritional yeast for added B12, sprinkle some pine nuts on top, and serve on a bed of mixed leaves. Quick, tasty, and full of nutrition!

Estimated prep time: 2 minutes

Estimated cook time: 10-15 minutes

  1. Plant-based burger

All major supermarkets in the Western world now sell plant-based burgers. From the ‘bleeding’ Beyond Burger to bean burgers, tofu burgers and jackfruit burgers, vegans are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to meat-free options. The burger patties are also super easy to cook – either oven bake, fry or grill based on the heating instructions, and serve warm on a fresh burger bun (most are vegan). Top with the garnish of your choice – we love gherkins, vegan mayo, crisp lettuce and a slice of juicy tomato. Serve with a side salad or fries. Or both. Delicious!

Estimated prep time: 5 minutes

Estimated cook time: 10-15 minutes

  1.    Tofu and vegetable stir-fry

This Asian-style dish is another that can be made simple by opting for pre-prepared vegetables, but even when chopping the vegetables yourself, it’s still super speedy to cook.

Simply chop a pack of extra firm tofu into small rectangles and add to a wok or frying pan with a drizzle of coconut or vegetable oil. Fry until crisp and golden brown then add a variety of vegetables of your choice to the pan. Sliced cabbage, bean sprouts, chopped onion and peppers, baby corn and pak choi, are all great options. Add in a handful of fresh noodles or pre-cooked rice and stir until heated through.

Meanwhile, mix together a drizzle of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame seed oil, add in a minced garlic clove, and stir into the pan to warm.

Serve while hot and sizzling – chopsticks optional!

Estimated prep time: Less than 5 minutes

Estimated cook time: Less than 10 minutes

For more vegan recipe ideas or tips on where to buy vegan convenience foods, download the free Vegan Starter Kit from the Million Dollar Vegan. 

Caroline Burgess-Pike is Million Dollar Vegan’s International PR Manager. She has been vegan for over three years and made the switch after watching documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Earthlings. Caroline went vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, and has also spent much of her professional and personal life campaigning for a better world for animals. Her career spans journalism, marketing for vegan brands, charity campaigns and corporate communications.

Try vegan today

Get the Vegan Starter Kit