Veganuary is a time when people pledge to eat vegan for the month of January. If this is something you’re trying this year, I’m here to help you get accustomed to the variety of healthy, easy, and delicious Veganuary recipes you can make. There are 31 recipes, one for each day of the month in January!
I have been a vegetarian for the majority of my life, and a plant-based vegan for quite some time. I first became interested in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle after reading and learning more and more about how a vegan lifestyle not only benefits your health, but also the environment, and helps to promote animal welfare.
Unfortunately, when I made the transition to a vegan lifestyle the rest of my family was not fully on board.
I’m happy to say that after several years, and numerous vegan meals, my omnivore husband, and picky kids, have not only embraced vegan meals but actually come to love them.
If they can develop a love for vegan food, then I know anybody can!
My husband and kids are not completely vegan, but they have adapted to vegan meals. As a result, they are eating nutritious, well-balanced, flavorful meals regularly.
The New Year is the perfect time to try out some easy and simple vegan recipes to test the waters when it comes to a vegan lifestyle.
Even if you do not plan to continue eating exclusively vegan after January, I’m certain that these recipes will become some of your favorite meatless meals that you’ll introduce into your weekly meal plans going forward.
If you’re just starting out, check out this guide to a WFPB Diet (whole-food plant-based). It goes into detail on how to start this lifestyle, as well as the health benefits, and foods to include.
I also recommend checking out my article Plant-Based vs. Vegan for a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the two diets.
What does veganuary mean?
Veganuary is a term that was developed in reference to going vegan for the month of January. It is also the name of a UK nonprofit that began in 2014 with the purpose of encouraging people to try veganism for the month of January.
It is meant to introduce people to what it is like to live a vegan lifestyle for a short period of time.
At the end of the month, each person has a choice as to whether they want to continue to follow a fully vegan lifestyle, include more vegan meals, or go back to their previous lifestyle.
It’s meant to be a light-hearted opportunity to try something new! With a wide selection of Veganuary recipes, if you take the pledge, this will surely become a delicious month!
What is a vegan diet?
Rather than begin by listing all of the foods a vegan diet doesn’t include, let’s start with the ones it does.
What to eat on a vegan diet:
- Fruits: Enjoy all types of fruits. I recommend sticking to low glycemic fruits such as berries, grapefruit, cherries, lemons, and stone fruit.
- Vegetables: Include any and all vegetables. Be sure to include plenty of leafy greens like kale and spinach.
- Tubers: These are root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and parsnips.
- Whole Grains: Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, barley, oats, farro, quinoa, whole grain cereals, and flours for baked goods.
- Legumes: Beans and lentils fall into this category. They are good sources of plant protein.
- Nuts and Seeds: Include a small number of nuts and seeds. These have healthy fats and protein.
- Tofu/Tempeh: Another high protein plant source, these can be included in stir-fries, buddha bowls, salads, and sandwiches.
- Plant-Based Milks: Add to your morning coffee or tea, cereal, oats, and more. Use the unsweetened kind.
What not to eat on a vegan diet:
- Red Meat: This includes all forms of animal protein.
- Poultry: This includes chicken, turkey, and other poultry.
- Pork: All meats derived from pigs including ham, bacon, sausage, etc.
- Fish: All types of fish are excluded.
- Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream, and all other dairy foods, or foods with dairy ingredients.
- Eggs: No form of eggs are included as well as recipes or baked goods that include eggs as an ingredient.
Foods to limit or avoid:
While the following foods are not excluded from a vegan diet, they should be avoided or limited due to their low nutritional value.
- Oils: Oils are processed and contain a high amount of fat per serving. They do not provide any nutritional value. While you can use oil, try to limit it to small amounts, or avoid it altogether.
- Sugar: Avoid the consumption of sugary foods such as vegan versions of sweet treats. While these are still vegan, they hold little to no nutritional value and are high in calories.
- Refined Flours: These are flours such as white flour, all-purpose flour, cake flour, etc. They are found in baked goods such as white bread, cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. They hold no nutritional value and turn into sugars when consumed.
Why go vegan in January?
Improve your overall health: Following a well-balanced vegan diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant protein can reduce your risk of many chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some types of cancers.
Lose Weight: If you follow a balanced vegan diet, that does not include vegan “junk” food you can lose weight. Be sure to exclude processed sugar, and refined carbohydrates. Fill up on vegetables, whole grains, and plant protein.
Promote Animal Welfare: By following a vegan diet you are helping to promote animal rights and animal welfare.
Help Improve the Environment: By going vegan you help conserve water resources, save energy, reduce pollution, and reduce deforestation.
Reduce Your Grocery Bill: Animal meats are much more expensive than their plant protein counterparts. Beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are much less expensive per serving than meat, poultry, and fish.
Introduce Yourself to New Veganuary Recipes: This is a great opportunity to try new meatless recipes that you might not have experimented with before. You will likely find some delicious new dairy-free and meatless favorites you’ll want to introduce into your regular meal rotation.
Where do you get your protein on a vegan diet?
When putting together your own Veganuary recipes, consider including these plant protein sources.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, and soybeans fall into the category of legumes. A legume is categorized as a plant with a pod that has a seed inside. The seed inside the pod such as the bean, lentil, or pea has a high concentration of plant protein.
Nuts and Seeds: Other nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc are rich in protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain about 8 grams of protein. A quarter cup of raw almonds has about 6 grams of protein.
Tofu/Tempeh: Tofu and tempeh are made from soybeans. They have a high concentration of protein per serving. A half-cup of cubed tofu has 10 grams of protein.
Quinoa: While quinoa is considered a grain it is actually a seed. It contains all of the essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of fiber. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein.
Vegetables: Believe it or not, vegetables also have protein. One head of cauliflower has 10 grams of protein. Other vegetables with a higher concentration of protein include broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, collard greens, mustard greens, asparagus, alfalfa sprouts, and watercress.
Grains: Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, they also include protein. A large slice of multigrain bread has about 5 grams of protein. Other high protein grains include millet, wild rice, oatmeal, couscous, buckwheat, cornmeal, and whole wheat pasta.
31 Family Friendly Veganuary Recipes
These 31 family-friendly Veganuary recipes are healthy, nutrient-rich, and absolutely delicious. They are favorites in my mixed diet family, so I hope they become favorites of yours as well.
These Veganuary recipes are excellent for any time of year, not just January! When you’re looking to introduce more meatless meals into your diet, later in the year, come back to this list for inspiration.
Vegan Cauliflower Curry with Chickpeas
Simmered in a rich and healthy coconut milk sauce, this vegan cauliflower curry with chickpeas is a simple weeknight meal, loaded with nutrients! It’s flavorful, easy to make, and family-friendly!
Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato with Black Beans
Vegan Loaded Sweet Potatoes are baked and then loaded with Mexican spiced black beans and topped with fresh scallions and guacamole!
Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice
A simple weeknight dinner, and vegan pineapple fried rice is easier than take-out! Brown rice, peas, carrots, and pineapple are sautéd in a spicy sauce, and topped with fresh scallions! It’s a complete meal in one pan!
Vegan Stuffed Shells
Vegan Stuffed Shells are your next go-to family meal! Jumbo shells are stuffed with a simple homemade cashew spinach filling, nestled in marinara sauce, and baked until warm and bubbly!
Vegan Cauliflower Roast Dinner
This vegan roast dinner has all the trimmings! A succulent whole roasted cauliflower is covered in a tahini maple glaze and surrounded by roasted carrots, yellow potatoes, and caramelized onions, then topped with fresh herbs.
Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
This butternut squash and chickpea curry has a rich and flavorful coconut milk base. It’s warm and comforting, but not too spicy. Top with cilantro and chopped cashews for a vibrant herbal flavor and crunch!
Vegan Paella with Cashews and Olives
This vegan paella is fragrant and healthy. Made with arborio rice diced peppers, black olives, and cashews for crunch this is a special occasion meal that is simple enough to make on a weeknight!
Vegan Stuffed Zucchini
This Vegan Stuffed Zucchini with quinoa and walnut stuffing is spiced with rosemary, sage, and thyme! It’s a healthy and hearty meal full of nutrients, and plant protein!
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
A creamy vegan pumpkin pasta sauce made with coconut milk, loads of pumpkin purée, sage, rosemary, and thyme. It’s the perfect hearty and healthy autumn dinner!
Vegan Kebab Skewers
These vegan kebab skewers with marinated tofu and an assortment of vegetables have the perfect char and seasoning. They’re easy to make and you can use a grill pan to make them!
Roasted Cauliflower Tacos
Vegan Burrito Bowls
Hearty and healthy vegan burrito bowls are loaded with veggies, and black beans with southwestern spices over a bed of brown rice topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, and a dollop of guacamole.
Vegan Bao Buns
These vegan bao buns with portobello mushrooms are so simple to make! Sliced portobello mushrooms are cooked in a spicy soy sauce marinade, and paired with quick pickled onions, simple greens, and sliced tomatoes, in between a fluffy whole wheat tortilla.
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto is a warm and comforting autumn meal. With a rich and creamy texture, it’s a savory traditional Italian dish.
Lavash Wrap with Roasted Veggies
Assorted roasted vegetables with hummus, lettuce, and tomato are wrapped in a thin bread to create this irresistible Lavash Wrap Sandwich.
Creamy Vegan Mushroom Pasta with Spinach
This spectacular Veganuary recipe is one of my family’s favorites! Mushroom pasta with spinach in a creamy cashew sauce is a comforting, easy family meal! It’s healthy satisfying comfort food at its best.
Vegan Goulash American Style
American Style Vegan Goulash made with lentils, whole wheat macaroni, peppers, and onions in a smoky tomato sauce is a comforting and healthy one-pot meal.
A comforting hearty Lentil Ragu over whole wheat spaghetti that is done in 30 minutes! It’s got all the traditional flavors with heart-healthy lentils making this a low-calorie healthy pasta dish for the whole family!
Vegan Tuna Salad with Chickpeas
The flavors and texture of this Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich are spot on! With crunchy celery and onion, and a creamy dairy-free dressing, chickpeas are sandwiched between whole grain bread for a healthy whole food plant-based take on the classic!
Vegan Sloppy Joes with Lentils
These Vegan Sloppy Joes are made with lentils, onions, red pepper, and a perfect balance of seasonings. Using pantry ingredients and taking less than 30 minutes to prepare, they’re flavorful, easy, and perfect for a weeknight meal!
Mexican Style Vegan Stuffed Peppers
These vegan stuffed peppers with brown rice, black beans, corn, and Mexican spices are topped with avocado cream. Not too spicy and totally satisfying for an easy weeknight meal packed with plant-based nutrients.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This creamy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese is a healthy family meal made with whole food plant-based ingredients that is done in 30 minutes. A complete one-dish meal the butternut squash is packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa and Black Beans
These vegan stuffed butternut squash boats are filled with black beans, quinoa, and fire-roasted tomatoes. With southwestern spices and topped with cilantro and avocado, you’ll have a healthy, delicious, and filling whole food plant-based meal.
These chickpea meatballs are completely meatless yet moist and satisfying. Chickpeas and zucchini are combined with Italian spices and simmered in an oil-free marinara. Serve them on top of your favorite pasta, or put them between a bun for a meatless meatball sub.
Thai Red Curry
This authentic Vegan Thai Red Curry is simple to make, and WAY healthier than take-out! Made with a combination of vegetables with spicy red curry in a creamy coconut milk sauce, it’s served alongside Jasmine rice and topped with fresh herbs! Ready in 30 minutes, it’s a quick and healthy weeknight meal!
Southwest Lentil Tacos
Lentil tacos are packed with fiber, plant protein, and a big on flavor. In 30 minutes or less, you have a family favorite meal on the table. Add your favorite toppings like guacamole, salsa, cilantro, and green onion, and you’ve got a meal everyone in the family will enjoy!
Easy “Cheesy” Vegan Pasta Bake
Easy “cheesy” vegan pasta bake loaded with zucchini, and summer squash, and made with chickpea pasta for added protein. A simple whole food plant-based weeknight meal without oil, and gluten-free.
Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
Black bean quinoa burgers made with southwest spices are loaded with plant protein and veggies. In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you how to make black bean burgers that are moist, delicious, and satisfying.
Vegan Butternut Squash Chili
This hearty Vegan Butternut Squash Chili is made with beans and veggies simmered in a savory and spicy tomato base. Serve topped with cilantro, and avocado for a creamy finish.
Vegan Lentil Soup
This vegan lentil soup is chock full of vegetables, leafy greens, protein-rich lentils, and full of Italian flavors. It’s a warm and comforting heart-healthy bowl of goodness that’s not only food for your body but good for the soul.
Vegan Pesto Pasta
Fresh and peppery, this pesto pasta made with arugula and basil packs a flavorful punch. It’s a delicious alternative to the typical white pasta recipes with the substitution of lentil pasta for added protein.
Check out these other vegan lifestyle tips!
If you’ve tried any of these veganuary recipes, please let me know how they turned out. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!