22 Totally Delicious and Truly Satisfying Vegan Main Dish Recipes

tofu tomatillo stew
Photo: Con Poulos

This modern collection of satisfying vegan main dishes puts our favorite superfoods, including sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and legumes, to work in salads, curries, tacos, and other tasty options.

01 of 22
brothy beans and greens on toast served with lemon wedges
Con Poulos

There's a common misconception out there that preparing a vegan meal will require a lot of time in the kitchen and an expensive, exhaustive list of ingredients. In actuality, a plant-based diet can be quick, affordable, and even cheerful if you find the right recipe. Consider our Brothy Beans and Greens on Toast, pictured here. If you have a hunk of bread and a can of beans in your pantry, then you're already halfway to a delicious and downright fancy-feeling meal in minutes.

In a vegan diet where meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy are left out of the equation, there can sometimes be a feeling of panic that the meal is not "complete" enough. But when developed with care like our recipes featured here, you'll never have to worry about being hungry an hour later. That's because so much consideration has been given to the different forms of plant-based proteins, which are essential to a healthy vegan diet. In our Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Curry, for example, nutritious vegetables like cauliflower, baby spinach, and zucchini, will practically melt in your mouth after simmering in a rich coconut milk broth, but it's the handful of frozen shelled edamame tossed in that will provide a boost of that all-important protein to keep you feeling full.

So, whether you're already a seasoned vegan or you're dipping your toe in the pond of plant-based cuisine for the first time, the recipes ahead aim to inspire you to fill your cart with whole, nutritious foods like fresh vegetables, hearty grains, and exciting new spices.

02 of 22

Vibrant-Green Broccoli Curry

vibrant-green broccoli curry with tofu
Frank Frances

In this nutritious grain bowl, both the tofu and the broccoli will bring loads of calcium to your plant-based dinner table.

03 of 22

Fresh Shelling Bean Minestrone

shelling-bean minestrone topped with fresh parsley and red-pepper flakes
Marcus Nilsson

If you've never cooked fresh shelling beans before, then you're missing out on a flavor and texture paradise. This hearty soup that follows closely to a classic minestrone demonstrates the filling power of legumes like cannellini and butter beans.

04 of 22

Eggplant Roti Pachchadi

Eggplant Roti Pachchadi
Gentl + Hyers

Eggplant becomes velvety and tomatoes are saucy in this dish that starts with a curry paste made with coriander, cumin, and fenugreek seeds.

05 of 22

Rice-and-Bean Salad Bowl with Tahini Sauce

rice and bean salad bowl
Johnny Miller

A natural candidate for when you need a make-ahead meal, this recipe calls for cooked brown rice, canned beans, and a handful of vegetables that will hold up just fine when chopped a day or so before. The real star of the show, however, is the easy tahini sauce that is drizzled over top.

06 of 22

Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Curry

cauliflower-sweet potato curry served with cilantro and lime
Con Poulos

When cooked, sweet potato will become creamy in texture but contains enough natural pectin hold its shape, which makes it perfect for a dish like this comforting coconut curry.

07 of 22

Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with Soy-Lime Glaze

eggplant banh mi topped with cilantro
Con Poulos

In this vegan tribute to the Vietnamese pork sandwich that is a banh mi, slices of eggplant are roasted until deeply caramelized, then layered into a baguette with pickled carrots, radishes, cucumber, sliced chiles, and cilantro.

08 of 22

Tofu-Tomatillo Stew

tofu tomatillo stew
Con Poulos

Broiling the tofu is a great way to get a crispy texture in a mess-free, hands-free way. In this Mexican-inspired tomatillo stew, the tofu is served on top at the end so it stays crisp.

09 of 22

Green Coconut Zoodle Soup

West African Peanut Stew recipe
Lennart Weibull

Absolutely no one will be able to call plant-based recipes boring or uninspired after being served a bowl of this vibrant and dynamic main course soup.

10 of 22

Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes

Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes
Chris Simpson

Roast a batch of these beautiful spuds on Sunday and you won't need to do much more than open a can of beans to have a healthy meatless main for lunches all week long. For a truly vegan meal, swap the crème fraîche in the recipe for this easy Whipped Coconut Cream (and omit the sugar!).

11 of 22

Crispy Brussels Sprout Rosti

Crispy Brussels-Sprout Rösti
Lennart Weibull

With just four ingredients, it couldn't be simpler to whip up this savory vegetable-packed pancake. Perfect for showing off fresh Brussels sprouts, you can make even quicker work out of this recipe by using the shredder attachment on your food processor.

12 of 22

Mushroom Tacos with Charred-Corn

mushroom tacos with charred corn salsa
Chris Simpson

It seems as if portobello mushrooms have been the vegetarian stand-in for beef patties for as long as we can remember, but that doesn't mean that burgers should get to have all the fun. Merge your theme nights and eat these delicious vegan tacos on meatless Monday.

13 of 22

All-Purpose Baked Tofu

all-purpose baked tofu cubed on baking sheet
Con Poulos

Commit this five-ingredient recipe to memory, and the sky will be the limit for all the quick vegan meals you can make. This is a particularly great thing to make at the beginning of the week, so if a meal ever feels a little light on the protein, you can just toss a few cubes into your salad or sandwich.

14 of 22

Soba and Sweet Potatoes in Miso-Lime Broth

noodle dish with cut limes
Marcus Nilsson

Bolster your immune system before cold and flu season hits with this restorative broth. With nutrient-dense foods like shiitake mushrooms and sweet potatoes and a Japanese-inspired flavor profile with white miso paste and ginger, this flavorful soup will help keep you healthy and well-fed all winter long.

15 of 22

Vegetarian Chow Mein

vegetarian chow mein on white plate with fork
Justin Walker

There's so much going on in this vegan main that no one will miss the meat. Crispy noodles and easy-prep vegetables like broccoli florets, carrots, and baby corn are tossed in a punchy fermented black bean sauce to create a quick and easy stir-fry.

16 of 22

Vegan Lentil Soup

vegan lentil soup in bowl on blue table
Justin Walker

In this satisfying vegan soup, the naturally bitter bite of broccoli rabe is tempered by the creamy lentils, sweet carrot, and crushed tomatoes.

17 of 22

Taco Salad with Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato taco salad served in pink bowl
Lennart Weibull

A good main course salad must involve a lot of different textures and flavors to keep things interesting to the very last bite. This salad demonstrates just that with tender roasted sweet potatoes, creamy black beans, spicy pickled jalapeños, and crunchy crushed tortilla chips.

18 of 22

Vegetarian Gumbo

vegetarian gumbo
Sidney Bensimon

This vegan version of gumbo combines okra, yellow squash, canned black-eyed peas, and more to create a simple, satisfying bowl that will fill you up and delight your taste buds.

19 of 22

Soba-Noodle Bowls with Tofu

soba noodle bowl with tofu recipe plate
Sidney Bensimon

They take just 30 minutes and require minimal cooking, which is why we say that these ginger-spiced noodle bowls are just what you need to make for a vegan dinner on an extra-hot day.

20 of 22

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili

vegan sweet potato chili
Bryan Gardner

Toasted ancho chiles provide a smoky layer of flavor in this fabulous, protein-packed sweet potato chili.

21 of 22

Brown-Rice Bowl with Kabocha Squash and Shiitakes

brown rice bowl with squash and shiitakes
Alpha Smoot

To make this recipe vegan, a smoky tea called lapsang souchong was used to flavor the broth to recreate a traditional dashi, which contains katsuobushi or bonito flakes which are made from tuna.

22 of 22

Spaghetti with Collard Greens and Lemon

Johnny Miller

All you need to do to make this super simple pasta a strictly vegan affair is omit the Pecorino cheese. If you're serving this for a diverse group of diners, have the cheese on the side along with a bowl of cheese-like nutritional yeast.

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