10 tips to cook vegan food
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Tips to Cook Vegan Food + 40 Vegan Recipes You’ll Actually Like!

Are you new to being a vegan? Or are you just looking for some great recipes and tips to cook vegan food you’ll actually like? Check out these 10 tips and get 40 fabulous vegan recipes, to boot!

10 Tips to Cook Vegan Food You'll Actually Like collage

If you read some of my earlier posts you might have noticed that I was vegan for a good stretch of time.  About two years, actually.  I went straight from a full meat eating diet to vegan.  

I didn’t pass through vegetarian or pescatarian, so I literally of had no idea what I was doing.  One day I just made the change!

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I did pretty much everything through a lot of trial and error and hours and hours and hours of reading blog articles.  I thought it would be good to post an article sharing what I learned and some tips to cook vegan food you’ll actually like!  

There are so many different posts I could write about stocking your kitchen, eating out, and choosing meal ideas, but this is a general list of tips that you should use to cook as a guideline to delicious meals yourself!  Learn from my mistakes – I made them so you don’t have to!

10 tips to cook vegan food

Whether you’re a new vegan, a seasoned vegan vet, or just someone looking to live a more plant-based life, I hope you enjoy these 10 tips to cook vegan food you’ll actually like!

Vegan rice paper rolls

1.  Make vegan versions of your favorite foods.  Kind of…  

Is there a comfort food you’re really missing?  Do you really love mac and cheese?  Do you just have to have some spring rolls tonight? I’ve got some semi-bad news for you.  Pretty much nothing will taste exactly like the comfort food you’re used to.

However, if you make it your mission to make a “copy-cat” version of one of your favorite non-vegan foods, you’ll be so satisfied when you achieve that!  I had plenty of foods I missed while I was vegan, but as long as you keep a (slightly) open mind, you can recreate something pretty close to the original.  

Plus, with how many meat substitutes there are on the market if you don’t like one, there are plenty of others you can choose from!  Don’t get discouraged, you can do it!  I remember one time when I went home for Christmas, my mum and I thought up the recipe for Vegan Spring Rolls (the ones pictured above).  

I used to love shrimp spring rolls, but this version – though not exactly the same – is also delicious!!

dark chocolate peanut butter

2.  Don’t forget your sweet tooth!

 Just because most processed desserts have non-vegan ingredients in them (eggs, milk, butter, etc), it doesn’t mean that you have to give up desserts all together!  If you cook and bake at home you can make all sorts of yummy vegan desserts.  

And if you’re like me and your sweet tooth is really big you can make a LOT of them!  The picture above is some homemade dark chocolate peanut butter I was (and still am) addicted to when I was vegan!  I put it on everything.

vegan fruit platter

3. Be colorful and play with your food!

Take some extra time to make your plates really pretty.  If you look at a dish that is beautifully plated, has every color of the rainbow and is styled like it came from a fine dining restaurant, I guarantee you’ll love it more

Crock pot vegan vegetable curry

4.  Cook a well balanced meal.  

When I first became vegan i was worried I wouldn’t get all the right nutrients and vitamins.  Fortunately for us, this is the age of the internet and there are TONS of ways to track your nutrients.

(I used Spark People where you can track any vitamin you’d like as well as calories).  Just sort of keep an eye on this, and you won’t have to stress out about it!  If you notice you’re missing a vitamin see what foods contain it.  

If you do this, your body won’t be craving particular nutrients due to being deprived of them.  So go ahead, fill up on the good stuff, like the Crock Pot Vegetable Curry pictured above!

Tips to cook vegan food - use fresh summer produce

5.  Use fresh seasonal produce.  

Try to use foods that are in season if you can.  If you use Farmers market produce the flavors will be fresher and you’ll enjoy your dishes more.  There’s no comparison between the flavor of a fresh farmers market heirloom tomato versus a store-bought tomato.  (see how I used heirloom tomatoes in my burrata bruschetta, and my sourdough baguette recipe.

If you take pride in your produce, you’ll be able to take pride in your meals!  If you’re looking for a great farmers market, read this article it spells out all my thoughts on farmers markets.

vegan sushi

6.  Try different cuisines.

If you’re used to eating a typical American diet, you’ll notice it’s pretty protein heavy.  However, not all cuisines are that way!  

Try experimenting with some cuisines that are more vegetable and grain based, like Thai, Chinese, and Indian food!  You may find a new go-to dish.

vegetables in bins

7.  Variety is the spice of life.  

For heaven’s sake, please please please vary your vegan diet.  The quickest way to burn out is to eat the same thing over and over (trust me, I’ve done it).  There are more sources of protein than just nuts and beans, and there are more options for dinner than a salad, pasta or stir fry.  

All those things are so delicious, but if you make that ALL you eat, you’ll get tired of it quickly.  Mix it up a little!

Tips to cook vegan food - use fresh spices

8.  Speaking of spices…Use them. 

Sometimes vegan food can be a little boring if you don’t spice it up.  And I’m not necessarily talking spicy here… rather, more seasoned with spices to give it rich flavor.  Nobody wants to eat steamed broccoli and rice for the rest of their days, but if you season the broccoli and rice well, it’s a different story!  Seasoning can change the entire flavor profile of a dish!

Vegan meal

9.  Vegan Cooking Tip – Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  

Wondering if Thai chilies will go well with kale and potatoes?  TRY IT.  (I’ve never tried that combo, so I have literally no idea what it would taste like).  

It could be great!  Worst case scenario – It could also be terrible.  In that case you’ll know not to make that particular combination again.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s all a learning experience.  

If this happens, I should mention another mini-tip: Find some go-to takeout options from your favorite restaurants. The picture above is from one of my favorite all-vegan restaurants in LA called Native Foods.  

This can help you out if you make a dish that is absolutely inedible (it happens).  Then you call up your go-to takeout restaurant and you won’t have to stress about a bad meal!

vegan cookbooks

10.  Read and research in your free time – Plan your meals in advance.  

Pinterest is your shining star.  I promise.  Use some of your free time and just explore.  Read cookbooks!  The two pictured were two I really loved using:Meat Free Mondays and The Vegan Cookbook.  

Take time to look at pictures, comment on blogs with questions, make foodie friends!  The sky is really the limit.  If you make learning about this new lifestyle a journey as opposed to a chore,

I guarantee you’ll enjoy your vegan meals more!  Plus if you plan out your meals, you’ll really be looking forward to them by the time you get to cooking!

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in August of 2015. I have updated the post to add more vegan cooking tips and additional recipes for you to enjoy.

40 Awesome Vegan Recipes

Are you new to being a vegan? Or are you just looking for some great recipes and tips to cook vegan food you'll actually like? Check out these 10 tips!

Now that you’ve learned 10 tips to cook vegan food you’ll actually like, why don’t you try them out?  I’ve made a list of recipes to get you started.  Here’s 40+ of yummy vegan recipes to try!!

Have fun cooking!

1. Avocado Pesto

2. Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

3. Stoplight Baguettes

4. Summer Mushroom Salad

5. Avocado, Tomato and Almond Bake With Crispy Toasts

6. Gluten Free Vegetable Salad Rolls with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

7. Vegan Lasagna with Eggplant and Mushrooms

8. Homemade Salsa

9. Peanut Butter Walnut Fudge

10. Baked Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

11. Curried Carrot Tofu Soup

12. Crock Pot Vegetable Curry

13. No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

14. Tropical Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

15. Ziti Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms

16. Coconut Oil Banana Nut Muffins

17. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

18. Roasted Italian Potatoes and Onions

19. Hearts of Palm “Crab” Pasta Salad

20. Vegan Quesadillas

21. Lemon Dijon Beet Salad

22. Vegan Cauliflower “Cream” Sauce

23. Homemade Gyoza

24. Vegan green dressing and crudites

25. Zucchini Pizza Boats

26. Cherry Coconut Breakfast Bars

27.  Carrot Fries

28. Raw Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches

29. Eggplant Rollups

30. Fruit Salad with Baked Cinnamon Chips

31. Avocado Salad with Bell Peppers and Tomatoes

32. Peanut Noodles with Vegetables

33. Carrot Cake Protein Bars

34. Acorn Squash and Caramelized Onion Pizza

35. Zucchini, Lemon and Dill Soup with Orzo

36. Grapefruit and Avocado Crudo

37. Vegan Sloppy Joes

38. Easy Peanut Soba Spring Rolls

39. Wild Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Sandwiches

40. Brussels Sprouts, Tempeh and Soba Noodle Skillet

Do you have any tips that help with cooking vegan meals?  Please leave them in the comments section below!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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