9 Homemade Microwave Meals for the Fall
It’s time to get reacquainted with your microwave. When used properly, this handy device can save you time, effort, and dirty dishes. Microwave ovens have been around for a long time, nearly 80 years, and they’re really good at rapidly heating foods, thawing frozen foods, and melting ingredients like chocolate or butter.
But what you might not know about your microwave is that it can also help retain the nutrient content of your food. Because ingredients like vegetables tend to leach out their vitamins and minerals in cooking water, the quick cook time and low water usage of a microwave oven helps preserve these nutrients.
This week, we’ve rounded up nine different microwave meals, many of which are inspired by the fall season. Most of these recipes can be made using just a mug, but all of them will inspire you to cook and eat more plant-based foods.
2-Minute Cinnamon French Toast
We absolutely love this recipe from Lemon and Zest for two reasons: it’s entirely plant-based, and you can make it in a mug. And there’s no better way to embrace the fall spirit than with some gooey cinnamon French toast. Coat chunks of bread in a creamy, vanilla-cinnamon-maple mixture and microwave for around 90 seconds. And there you have it, quick-and-easy vegan French toast.
For the 2-Minute Cinnamon French Toast recipe, click here.
5-Minute Microwave Chili
Despite what your uncle might tell you, chili doesn’t need to cook for hours on the stove top to develop a deep flavor. This 5-minute microwave chili from Jack Monroe of BBC Good Food is a quick mid-week meal that you can make completely plant-based by swapping out the butter and sour cream from vegan alternatives.
For the 5-Minute Microwave Chili, click here.
Blueberry Banana Microwaved Baked Oats
We’ve all had oatmeal for breakfast—sometimes it’s good, other times it’s fine—but this recipe for blueberry banana baked oats from Kim’s Cravings takes breakfast (and oats) to the next level. Baked oats are a little denser than your average oatmeal, bordering on cake-like, but they still cook in only 2-3 minutes in the microwave. Add an extra teaspoon of ground flaxseed or 2 tablespoons aquafaba to make it vegan.
For the Blueberry Banana Microwaved Baked Oats recipe, click here.
Breakfast Sweet Potato
One of the best kept secrets is cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave (although the trick works for regular potatoes, too). This recipe from Tawnie Kroll of Kroll’s Korner uses cinnamon, peanut butter, and sliced banana for extra flavor, but you can also add a drizzle of syrup for an extra touch of sweetness.
For the Breakfast Sweet Potato recipe, click here.
Easy Burrito Bowl
This is a low-cook meal, meaning that you just have to assemble some pre-prepared ingredients. We recommend starting with a grain (quinoa, brown rice, cauliflower rice), and adding some thawed corn kernels, canned beans, and a packaged guacamole or salsa. Microwave all the ingredients (sans the guacamole and/or salsa), and you have yourself a super-healthy plant-based meal.
For the Easy Burrito Bowl recipe, click here.
Microwave Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is one of those perfect fall ingredients because it has a delicate flavor and stringy texture, making it a suitable pasta replacement. This recipe from Spend with Pennies shows how you can quickly cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave, saving the hassle of heating up the oven. From start to finish, you can have shredded strands of squash in under 15 minutes. Just toss with your favorite pasta sauce and some vegetables for a complete plant-forward meal.
For the Microwave Spaghetti Squash recipe, click here.
No-Fuss Microwave Ramen
Making ramen in the microwave is nothing new, but this jazzed up version from Sneaky Veg is much more complex than anything you’d get from a package. Adding ginger, miso paste (optional), and dried shiitake mushrooms elevates the umami flavor of the broth—just in time for soup season.
For the No-Fuss Microwave Ramen recipe, click here.
Simple Butternut Squash Soup
Another staple of the autumn harvest, butternut squash is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. To make this simple butternut squash soup from La Cucina Italiana, cook chunks of butternut squash in the microwave with vegetable broth for 10 minutes (just to soften), and blend the mixture together with a hand mixer or blender. Season the soup with salt, and top with pumpkin seeds or croutons.
For the Simple Butternut Squash Soup recipe, click here.
Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese in a Mug
All the creamy deliciousness of macaroni and cheese—without the cheese (and piles of dirty dishes). Using almond milk, paprika, vegan butter, and nutritional yeast, you can recreate the silky-smooth texture of classic mac in under 10 minutes. Another great thing about this recipe from Tasty is that is can be made in one big mug.
For the Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese in a Mug recipe, click here.
Want to know which ingredients you should be buying at the supermarket for amazing plant-based meals? Check out our list of Inexpensive Plant-Based Ingredients That Won’t Go Bad.