10 Easy Weeknight Meals

This might very well be the most important Meatless Monday article of all time. As any home cook knows, an easy weeknight meal is invaluable. Because we are all well aware of the alternatives: fast food, pizza, cereal and milk, cookies, etc., etc. And while it’s fine to treat yourself to something from the drive-thru on a special occasion, it’s better to have some easy recipes in your repertoire that you can make from the comfort of your own kitchen.

 When compiling this list of weeknight meatless meals, we considered ease of preparation, types/quantity of ingredients, number of dishes, and overall appeal (will the whole family eat it). Many of the necessary ingredients are staples that you can likely find in your pantry or refrigerator right now!

We’re happy to say that we landed on a list of dynamite recipes that highlight a variety of culinary styles and flavors, ranging from coconut curry to Mexican-style pesto to kung pao tempeh stir-fry. But the other advantage of these recipes is that they can be customized to your liking. That means you can add whatever vegetables, grains, or other leftovers that you have lurking in your fridge to give the meals a little more heft. This Monday, don’t sweat about dinner thanks to these 10 easy weeknight meatless meals.  

Coconut Curry Noodles

A more nutritious alternative to pasta and tomato sauce, these coconut curry noodles are loaded with vegetables and tofu, and tossed in a sweet, spicy, creamy coconut sauce. Cook the vegetables and noodles separately, then mix it all together with sauces, vinegar, and a splash of coconut milk for a quick and easy dinner.  

For the Coconut Curry Noodles recipe, click here.

Kung Pao Tempeh Stir-Fry

Once all the vegetables are prepped, this recipe for kung pao tempeh stir-fry takes only a few minutes to cook and assemble. The meaty texture of tempeh serves as the perfect foil to the tangy, sweet-and-sour kung pao sauce.

For the Kung Pao Tempeh Stir-Fry recipe, click here.

Mexican Pesto Pasta

This is a flavorful spin on the classic pesto pasta. Instead of using basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, this Mexican-style pesto uses cilantro, tarragon, avocado, and toasted pistachios. Half of a serrano pepper adds a pop of heat that pairs well with the smooth avocado and herbs. You can always fold in roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes, or chunks of tofu or seitan to make the meal more complete.  

For the Mexican Pesto Pasta recipe, click here.

Microwave Chili

Chili doesn’t need hours of simmering on the stove top to develop deep flavor. This 5-minute microwave chili from Jack Monroe of BBC Good Food is a quick midweek meal that you can make completely plant-based by swapping out the butter and sour cream from vegan alternatives.

For the Quick Microwave Chili recipe, click here.

Protein-Packed Chili Nachos

Perfect for gatherings or an after-school snack, these protein-packed chili nachos can be made with whatever you have on hand, but they’re best when loaded with vegetarian chili, corn kernels (thawed), meatless crumbles, and pico de gallo. You can also sprinkle some plant-based cheese or top with guacamole for an extra pop of flavor.

For the Protein-Packed Chili Nachos recipe, click here.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Impress guests (or yourself) with these super-simple roasted cauliflower steaks. All you need to do is cut a whole head of cauliflower into one-inch slices, rub with a light coating of oil, and sprinkle with your favorite spice blend. After 20-25 minutes in the oven, you’ll have beautiful golden slabs of cauliflower, which can be served alongside a salad or starch.

For the Roasted Cauliflower Steaks recipe, click here.

Unchick’n Caesar Wrap

A wrap is an excellent way to transform random ingredients into a meal. The foundation of this plant-based Caesar wrap is plant-based chicken strips or baked tofu, but you can dress it up with everything from romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, or whatever else you may have in the refrigerator.

For the Unchick’n Caesar Wrap recipe, click here.

Vegan Ceviche Lettuce Cups

Classic ceviche is a combination of fish, seafood, and vegetables, chopped roughly, and marinated in citrus juice. The acidic nature of the citrus actually cooks the ingredients slightly, making for a bright and refreshing dish that’s perfect to start a meal. This vegetarian version uses tofu, tomato, and hearts of palm in place of fish for a cheaper meat-free alternative.

For the Vegan Ceviche Lettuce Cups recipe, click here.

Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas

There are few dishes more satisfying than enchiladas. Think of it as a burrito casserole: You roll tortillas up with your favorite filling and line them up in a dish before adding sauce and baking in the oven. This recipe is made even simpler by using a can of black bean soup as part of the enchilada filling. Add regular or plant-based cheese, some scallions, and a dollop of black beans and black bean sauce to the tortillas and get rolling.   

For the Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas recipe, click here.

Veggie Zoodle Pad Thai

This might be the easiest meal to make on this list because most of the ingredients can be purchased already prepared. That means all you have to do is assemble and/or customize to fit your taste preferences. Just cook some pre-cut zucchini noodles or a packet of instant ramen noodles and top with thawed edamame, shredded carrots, peanuts, and cooked tofu. Sprinkle on your favorite Thai peanut dressing and you’re all set for dinner.

For the Veggie Zoodle Pad Thai recipe, click here.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.