This Ultimate Vegan Beginner’s Guide Makes Balanced Meals So Easy

Going vegan is far easier than people think. But our Vegan Beginner’s Guide is here to make plant-based cooking even more of a breeze for Veganuary and beyond.

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • December 13, 2022

If you want to implement more vegan meals into your week, are going to try #veganuary, or need to spice up your plant-based diet with new dishes, we are here to help you out. Our free Vegan Beginner’s Guide will simplify the process of cooking vegan meals so that eating animal-free is painless, satisfying, and d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

In fact, this guide can even be helpful for those who have been eating vegan for years! Sometimes you just need to shake up your food routine with a few new meal formulas that you don’t need to search the internet for. 

Whether you are new to veganism or have been planting it up for a while, we are excited to equip you with everything you need to succeed with vegan cooking.

What should I eat for dinner as a vegan?

Since a vegan diet avoids all animal products (animal proteins, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.), people can often feel overwhelmed at the thought of making meals that are so different from their norm. Yet cooking vegan is actually much easier — and definitely more delicious — than society makes it out to be.

In the past several years, more and more vegan substitutions have hit grocery stores and restaurants, and we can only expect that to increase as the world starts taking climate change more seriously. That means that almost any meal you can think of can be made vegan.

What our guide is here to do is give you everything a beginner vegan needs to make mealtimes a cinch. We don’t only go through ingredients like nuts, grains, and legumes, but we also give you tips and tricks on how to put them to delicious use. Our guide outlines over 20 easy formulas for meals and sauces to create endless variety in your diet — which is not only important for your taste buds, but also for your nutrition.

And let’s not forget that the PDF also takes a look at meat, egg, and dairy substitutes that can easily convert any non-vegan recipe into an only-plants-allowed dish.


Vegan Beginner’s Guide and Meal Ideas

This guide will introduce you to versatile, high-protein ingredients and how to use them in a wide array of easy and balanced meals.

Make sure to have a balanced vegan diet

Say goodbye to pasta with marinara and hello to pasta with veggies, sauce, and beans. Using our Vegan Beginner’s Guide can help you use a wider variety of ingredients in one meal without increasing your time in the kitchen. This is important because we get different nutrients from different plant sources.

We should always keep in mind that the amount of protein we need depends on factors like age, weight, and physical activity. It is a good idea to check with a dietitian or the USDA DRI Calculator to make sure you are taking in enough protein each day. Since plant-based proteins don’t always contain the 9 essential amino acids we need from food, consider asking a dietitian about supplements or increasing your protein estimate / consumption of specific plants that contain complete proteins (like quinoa!).

You can also learn more about vegan nutrition with dietitian Virginia Messina here and get Dr. Michael Greger’s daily food checklist to help keep your meals balanced.

Extra resources to make veganism even easier

Last but not least, we have more free resources to help you become a vegan beginner with ease! Bookmark these to expand your vegan cooking knowledge:

We also have a handy Vegan Pantry Essentials List to make grocery shopping quick and painless.

Plus, if you try out a vegan diet and want to keep going but meal planning is tripping you up, we are here to help. Our meal plan service includes streamlined weekly menus that have a vegetarian recipe version of every single meal. These are easy to make vegan (and sometimes already are), and we even put up suggested vegan swaps each week on our Stories at @cooksmarts on Instagram.

Here is a little taste of some of the vegan meals that are a part of our plan. …

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Dubious that cashews and white beans can stand in for classic creamy alfredo sauce? We were too … until we tried this one … that is ready in only 40 minutes.

Kung Pao Chickpeas with Rice and Sesame Green Beans

This vegan spin on the takeout favorite is ready in just 30 minutes and is so delicious that you’ll want it in your permanent dinner rotation. It is kid-approved (just adjust the spice accordingly), makes great lunch leftovers, and even freezes well.

Buddha Bowl with Chickpeas and Walnuts + Green Goddess Dressing

Full of color and fresh flavor, this Buddha bowl features roasted chickpeas and walnuts for savory, high-protein crispness. Then our avocado-based Green Goddess dressing pours in for a rich and creamy finish.

We hope that you now feel more equipped to dive into a plant-based diet and love every minute of it.

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite vegan dinner is and if you are planning to do the Veganuary challenge. If you’ve done it before, we would love to hear your insights!

If these vegan resources are useful to you, stay tuned for more infographics and how-to articles by signing up for our weekly email below. Or sign up for a free 14-day trial of our meal plan service for a variety of other delicious and fresh vegan dinners!

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