Quick Plant Based Cooking Hacks for Easy Weekday Meals

Many of us love to cook, but there are days when we simply don’t have the patience, energy, or ingredients to prep and assemble an elaborate meal. Sometimes, we just want to whip up a quick bite that’s satisfying, and easy. Being a good cook is great, but being a smart cook is even better.

Thankfully, you don’t need tons of time or ingredients to create masterful plant-based and vegan meals. By using some simple tips and tricks, you can quickly elevate your cookery closer to restaurant quality.

This Monday, discover the secret to making the crispiest Buffalo tofu wings, the tenderest kale, the most delectable veggie chili, and many other plant-based and vegan dishes with our round up of cooking hacks, culinary tricks, and kitchen tips.

Check out our extensive collection of cooking tips, hacks, and visuals to make your Meatless Monday even easier and more delicious.

Bring Balance to Meals With More Umami

Umami is one of the basic five tastes (the others being sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) and is responsible for giving foods a decadent, savory flavor. Although it’s typically found in meat and cheese, many plant-based and vegan ingredients can also be good sources of umami. Experiment with foods like green tea or matcha powder, miso, mushrooms, tomatoes, and nutritional yeast to add another dimension of complexity to ordinary meals.

Customize a Creamy Tofu Herb Dip

Tofu comes in all different types and textures. Blend soft silken tofu together with salt and fresh herbs — basil, parsley, chive, cilantro, rosemary — for a quick and easy dip for crudité. Add some avocado or a splash of citrus to round out the flavor.

Photo Credit: CrowdedKitchen

Learn How to Bake With Vegan Eggs

When whipping up plant-based desserts and baked goods, using the right substitute for eggs is critical as it is a key ingredient that gives structure to cakes, color to cookies, and thickness to sauces and custards. See how you can turn aquafaba (chickpea water), flax seeds, and apple sauce into vegan egg alternatives.

Massage Kale for Tender Salads

Kale needs some TLC to become, well, tender. To break down the tough fibers, rip the leaves off the rib (or stem), add to a bowl, coat with some olive oil, and knead them (as if you would bread dough) for around four minutes. Add them to a Mediterranean salad for a quick weeknight meal.

Make Your Own Plant Parmesan “Cheese”

Parmesan elevates anything from pastas and risottos to soup and roasted vegetables. Recreate the sharp umami flavor of Parmesan with a combination of nutritional yeast, walnuts (or cashews), salt, and garlic powder. Give the mixture a couple of pulses in the food processor and you’re good to go.

Press Tofu for Crispy “Wings”

Removing the moisture from tofu allows it to get nice and crispy, an important step if you’re baking, pan frying, or cooking up Jamaican jerk tofu tacos. To properly press tofu, line a plate with paper towels or clean kitchen towel and place the block of tofu on top. Place another layer of paper towels on the tofu block and apply something heavy — book, cutting board, pan — on top. Let it “press” for at least 20 minutes, replace the paper towels and let it rest for another 10 minutes for an extra chewy meaty texture.

Take Advantage of No-Cook Recipes

Sometimes we simply don’t want to turn on the oven or the stovetop. Thankfully, you don’t always have to cook with fire to make something yummy. You can use your blender or a sharp kitchen knife to quickly make different dips, dishes, and desserts in no time. Try some of our favorites like blueberry “nice” cream, fig and rosemary tapenade, or miso zucchini noodles.

Photo Credit: A Virtual Vegan

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.