Whether you're an all-the-time vegan or just looking to switch up your usual healthy eats, you can put together these simple dishes in a flash.
How does the term "vegan diet" sound to you? Awesome, scary, or like something you would never do because you love cheese too much (guilty!)?
No matter your answer, there's good reason to start incorporating vegan meals into your diet (even every now and then). For starters, you'll eliminate most saturated fats from your diet. These fats, primarily found in animal products, raise levels of LDL cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Vegan foods also fill your body with more unsaturated fats (from nuts, seeds, oils, and of course avocado) keeping you full between meals. Fiber from all of these delicious fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains also keeps your gut bacteria healthy—important for overall well-being. (Try some of these other foods to improve your gut health.)
Need a place to start? These simple vegan recipes are quick, feature uncomplicated ingredients, and are sure to impress. The best part: It's likely you have everything you need in your fridge and pantry right now to whip 'em up.
Watermelon and Tomato Carpaccio
2 small tomatoes + 3 slices of watermelon + 1 tablespoon chopped basil + 1 tablespoon torn mint + balsamic vinegar
Put it together: Thinly slice tomatoes and watermelon and alternate them on your serving plate. Toss basil and mint on top, drizzle on balsamic, and season with salt and pepper.
Recipe tip: Mix it up by using a spicy salt blend.
Black Bean, Corn, and Red Pepper Salad
1 16-oz. can black beans + 1/2 cup corn + 1/2 red bell pepper + 1/4 cup chopped cilantro + 2 tablespoons olive oil
Put it together: Rinse and drain beans and mix all ingredients in your serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe tip: Bring on the heat by adding finely chopped jalapeño. (Add even more protein with this quinoa black bean salad)
Peach and Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding
3 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon + chopped white peaches + blueberries
Put it together: Mix first three ingredients in a covered mason jar, stir after five minutes, and refrigerate overnight. Take the amount you want and top with peaches and blueberries.
Recipe tip: Replace cinnamon with cardamom or leave out spice and drizzle honey over fruit. (Want more ideas? Check out these 17 chia seed recipes that are better than dessert.)
Heirloom Tomato Sandwich
1 slice sourdough toast + 1 heirloom tomato + basil + olive oil + balsamic vinegar
Put it together: Toast bread and brush with olive oil while still hot. Top with sliced tomato, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic. Season with salt and pepper.
Recipe tip: Try it with garlic or rosemary infused olive oil.
Thai Lettuce Wraps with Tofu
1/4 block tofu + 1 piece lettuce + 1/2 large carrot + 1 tablespoon salted peanuts + sweet chili paste
Put it together: Slice tofu into 1/8-inch-thick pieces, press out water multiple times on paper towels, and sear in a very hot pan with canola oil, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. When done, drain on paper towels to remove excess oil and season with salt. Let cool slightly and place on top of lettuce with sliced carrots and peanuts, then top with chili paste.
Recipe tip: Dice the tofu and carrots to help blend the flavors. (Try these Thai peanut cabbage wraps to incorporate even more veggies.)