35+ Nourishing Veganuary Recipes for 2023
Doing the Veganuary thing this year? You’ve come to the right place.
As a plant-based dietitian who has also written a couple of plant-based cookbooks, I know a thing or two about making healthy plant-based recipes that are also really yummy and fun to eat. And with all of the awful fad diets out there at this time of year, it makes me so excited to see folks choose a positive and non-restrictive start to a new year. I’ve got everything you need to get started on your Veganuary journey here in this blog post…so let’s do it!
Eating a vegan or plant-based diet is filled with flavour and possibility and it helps make a positive impact on the environment as well as animals. Anything you like to eat can be made from plants...and I’ve got the yummy vegan recipes to prove it!
It’s SO easy to go vegan in 2023, especially with all of the incredible new plant-based alternatives out there. I’ve got everything you need to get started on your Veganuary journey here in this blog post…so let’s do it!
- What is Veganuary?
- Vegan vs Plant-based
- Health Benefits of Going Vegan or Plant-based
- Veganuary Tips + Tricks
- 32 Veganuary Recipes
- Veganuary Breakfasts
- Vegan Soups, Curries, Stews
- Easy Vegan Lunches
- Filling Salads
- Protein-rich Vegan Dinners
- Whole Food Plant-based Snacks
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary is a month-long vegan challenge each January, created by a non-profit organization to help encourage folks to give vegan living a try. It’s a great way to dip a toe into the world of plant-based eating in a fun and supported way even if you’re not ready to go vegan long term. And it’s growing: in 2022, over 600,000 people from 220 countries gave it a go! I can’t wait to see how many of us make it happen in 2023, and these Veganuary recipe ideas will help you love what you’re eating.
Vegan vs Plant-based
I get a lot of questions about what a vegan diet is versus a plant-based diet and I have to admit that the words get used so interchangeably that it is kind of confusing. People also define them differently (ARGH!) which makes things worse. So here’s my two cents!
- Vegan: A vegan diet is 100% free of animal products, sometimes including honey. Some folks choose to just eat a vegan diet but more often, folks adhere to a fully vegan lifestyle, eliminating wool, leather and other animal derived ingredients from their home and personal care products.
- Plant-based: In my opinion, there are two main ways to look at a plant-based diet. The first is someone who eats mostly plants – perhaps 80% or more – but also still includes some animal products such as the occasional fish or egg. The other popular definition is derived from the whole food plant based movement, which means that while the diet is 100% free of animal products, there is a focus on eating actual whole plant foods for health.
As an example, oreos are vegan…but they aren’t really made from whole plants. Unfortunately, because of the stigma attached to the word vegan for non-vegan consumers, a lot of vegan products are now simply referred to as plant-based even though they aren’t whole foods.
I’m not much of a fan of labels, because we each get to define the best way for us to eat. Myself? I like the plant-based label for a couple of reasons: the first, was that it took me a long time to transition from vegetarian to vegan so plant-based felt inclusive to me. And I like inclusive. Secondly, while I don’t adhere rigidly to whole food plant based (and I’m not sure that most people should) I do focus on eating mostly actual whole plant foods.
Health Benefits of Going Vegan or Plant-based
There are so many reasons why someone might want to go vegan or plant-based…and not all of them have to do with nutrition! You might want to do your part for climate change or help animals. Of course, regardless of your why, there real health benefits to taking the plant-based path.
- Improved gut health Plant foods are high in not just fiber, but indigestible carbohydrates such as FODMAPs and resistant starch that help feed the gut microbiome and improve digestive health.
- Improved energy levels When you are eating nutrient-dense whole foods, your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to help it thrive, while also getting supportive phytonutrients that help squelch oxidative damage and fight inflammation.
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease Plant-based diets contain fewer saturated fats and added sugars, more fibre and more naturally occurring phytochemicals and appear to help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease in the research. A healthy plant-based diet may also decrease your risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.
- May improve blood sugars and diabetes Whole food-focused plant-based diets have been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, as well as potentially improving blood sugar control with diabetes.
- Decreased risk of certain cancers Plant-based diets are associated with decreased risk of some cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer
Veganuary Tips + Tricks
I know you’re stoked on getting started, but a month is a long time…so let’s set ourselves up for success, shall we? In addition to saving all your fave veganuary recipes, you’re going to need a little advice on how to make these changes stick. Read on for some veganuary tips from an actual registered dietitian who knows her lentils from her chickpeas..
- Stock your pantry before the month starts If it’s not in your cupboard or fridge, how are you going to eat it? Check out this list of plant-based proteins, because it’s probably going to be the biggest change to how you eat (assuming you already eat fruits and veg of course!). Ensure that you always have 3-4 different protein sources on hand for easy meals. Choose a few whole grains to have on hand. And, stock your pantry with some easy quick meals like whole wheat pasta with a marinara sauce or baked beans in tomato sauce.
- Do some batch prep Don’t have much time to cook? Not to worry! Set aside a bit of time on the weekend to cook 1-2 whole grains, 1-2 proteins and chop up some fruit and veg to make weeknight cooking easier. Cooked legumes and whole grains can be frozen, so cook in large batches so you’ll have weeks of supplies. If you prefer, you could batch prep whole meals instead – I have some vegan meal prep recipes below.
- Look for plant-based versions of your everyday favourites You don’t have to remake how you eat this month! Instead, find plant-based recipes for the foods you already love, such as burgers, curries or pizza. You’ll also want to find non-dairy milks, cheese and meat alternatives that suit your taste buds and your budget.
- Create a balanced plant-based plate to cover your nutritional bases A healthy vegan meal has the same components as an omnivore meal…we just get our nutrients from plants! As a simple formula, think of covering half of your plate in fruits and vegetables; a quarter of your plate in whole grains and the last quarter of your plate in protein foods like lentils. Protein foods and dairy alternatives will offer important minerals like iron, zinc and calcium.
- When you go vegan, you’ll also need a B12 supplement and we all need to take our vitamin D.
- Sign up for a supportive community this month Be sure to sign up at Veganuary for support…and I also have a free online community called Nutrition with Desiree
35 Nourishing Veganuary Recipes for 2023
Now the best part: what to eat!!! This blog is filled with tons of healthy vegan recipes that are super tasty, but I wanted to create this little collection of veganuary recipe ideas so you could easily bookmark it to use all month long.
Veganuary Breakfast Ideas
When you eat a balanced breakfast, it helps you stay full and energized throughout your morning! These yummy breakfast ideas for Veganuary will get your morning started right.
- Healthy Vegan Black Bean Breakfast Burrito these burritos are SO delicious, perfect for meal prep and freezing and as good for lunch as they are for breakfast.
- Healthy Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Nut Butter Toast and nut butter can be an awesome, nutrient-dense breakfast! Treat yourself to this incredibly delicious – and low sugar – nut butter inspired by cinnamon toast cereal.
- Easy Vegan French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Walnuts Love french toast? Try this high fibre and higher protein version that will help you feel full and satisfied.
- Blushing Beet Smoothie Bowl Beets? In a smoothie? This sweet-tart treat is bursting with juicy flavour.
- Cucumber Smoothie with Kiwi + Mint need something refreshing? This cucumber smoothie is a nice change of pace.
Vegan Soups, Curries and Stews
- Spicy Vegan Pozole Verde with Jackfruit This hearty vegan stew, inspired by the flavours of pozole verde, has a meaty texture thanks to jackfruit.
- Sunchoke Soup with Cilantro Pesto Sunchokes are incredibly high in prebiotic fructans to boost your gut microbiota.
- Roasted Tomato Soup with Sunflower Fennel Gremolata This creamy soup gets a little lift from crunchy and citrusy sunflower seed gremolata. Seems fancy, really easy to make!
- Eggplant and Chickpea Curry from Amelia Freer this crowd pleasing curry is simple and super flavourful.
Easy Vegan Lunch Recipes for Veganuary
I have to admit, that my usual lunch is leftovers…but if that’s not your thing, I’ve got a few yummy (and easy!) vegan lunch ideas to get you through Veganuary.
- Easy Vegan Pasta Salad I LOVE a pasta salad, because it’s filling, nourishing and so adaptable: it helps use use whatever is in your fridge at the moment.
- Pumpkin Hummus Toasts with Za’atar If you love avocado toast, try a hummus toast. It’s super easy to make your own hummus (5 min!) at the start of the week, then you can enjoy these hummus toasts with some sliced veggies and chips as an easy lunch.
- Edamame Sesame Dip with Miso Need a change from hummus? Try this protein-packed edamame dip with sliced veggies, crackers and some vegan cheese for an easy snack style lunch
Filling Vegan Salads
The secret to a meal-sized salad? Don’t forget the protein and maybe some whole grains! Make any salad more of a meal by adding roasted chickpeas or sliced smoked tofu, or leftover cooked grains such as brown rice, pasta or quinoa.
- Roasted Delicata Orzo Salad with Arugula: this is a salad that eats like a meal!
- Roasted Sweet Potato Spinach Salad + Tahini Dressing: warm, harissa-roasted sweet potatoes are creamy and cozy
- Italian Farro Salad with Arugula: nutty, chewy farro is a wonderful protein- and fibre-rich whole grain.
Protein-rich Vegan Dinners
- Homemade Vegan Pot Pie Recipe This pot pie gets a double dose of protein from a savoury chickpea flour crust.
- 10 Minute Mexican Tostadas with Black Beans and Squash Short on time? These easy black bean tostadas are a light yet satisfying meal.
- Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili one of the most popular recipes on my website, this family favourite is always a hit.
- Not Your Mama’s Casserole: Swiss Chard and White Bean Gratin (Vegan) This one pot wonder is creamy, sweet, savoury and back with protein-rich white beans
- Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Beyond Meat these vegan stuffed peppers are great for meal prep and will satisfy even fussy meat eaters!
Whole Food Plant based Snacks
Some folks are snackers, others less so. Because you’re new to vegan eating, having some nutrient-dense snacks on hand will help you be the Veganuary hungries. Choose legumes, nuts and seeds often for their plant-based protein and healthy fats.
- Za’atar Spiced Roasted Almonds with Dates One of my fave snacks ever
- Easy Vegan Hot Corn Dip (no mayo!) this hot corn dip will have everyone SHOCKED by the fact that it’s vegan.
- Fast vegan spinach dip (nut free!) I love a classic spinach dip…it’s a sneaky way to get more veg in! And this one takes less than 10 minutes to make.
35+ Veganuary Recipes: Winter Panzanella Salad
- 4 cups torn or cubed bread, I like sprouted grain, or gluten free if needed
- 1 pound delicata or acorn squash, sliced into 1 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 bunch tuscan (lacinato) kale, tough stem removed, finely sliced
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
- 1 batch Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit (200° Celsius). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place squash on one half of sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of oil, a pinch of salt and some pepper.
- Roast for 10 minutes, remove from heat and flip squash. In a medium bowl, toss bread with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of oil, salt and pepper and place on baking sheet with squash. Roast for 10-12 minutes more until squash is tender, and bread is toasted and crisp at the edges. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place kale in a salad bowl. Drizzle over a third of the creamy balsamic dressing and massage kale until it softens and wilts a bit.
- Top with toasted bread, squash, onion, pomegranate and cranberries. Drizzle with a bit more dressing, and serve with remaining dressing.
- Will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days.