These Quick, Five 5-Ingredient Vegan Dinners Make Weeknights So Easy

November 4, 2021

Whenever someone tells me that vegan food is complicated, I hesitate before reassuring them that it’s really quite simple. The truth is, it’s easy to understand why someone would have this misconception. There are so many blogs, cookbooks, and plant-based celebrities that promote a sophisticated kind of cooking that involves obscure and exotic ingredients. While these people mean well, I always worry that this ingredient overload might serve to deter people interested in veganism.

Even before I went vegan, I had no patience for long ingredient lists and did not want to spend several hours chopping and sauteing. So when I stopped eating meat seven years ago, I continued to look for simple, easy recipes that could be made in just a few minutes. Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to this way of eating; whenever I see a recipe with 10 or more ingredients, I get a little anxious. What I love about vegan food (and vegan cooking) is that it naturally lends itself to simple preparation methods with minimal ingredients. When you’re already dealing with natural plant foods, there’s not much you need to do to showcase their flavors and textures. So don’t let anyone fool you: vegan cooking is easy and fun!

5 5-Ingredient Dinners In 30 Minutes Or Less!

Easy, 5-Ingredient Vegan Dinners

Vegan Mac N’ Cheese
Serves 4

1 cup cashews, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
14 oz dry pasta of choice

vegan mac and cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is boiling, blend together remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender. Drain cooked pasta and return to pot. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and heat sauce over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve.

Loaded Miso Soup
Serves 2

3 cups water
1 heaping cup frozen mixed vegetables (I like carrots and broccoli)
4 oz tofu, chopped into bite-size pieces (I like pre-seasoned, but you can use plain if that’s your thing)
1 tablespoon mellow white miso
2-3 scallions, chopped

15 Best Healing Foods

Fill a large pot with the water, vegetables, and tofu. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes. While soup is heating, whisk miso with a few tablespoons of water in a small bowl until dissolved. After 3 minutes, take pot off heat and allow it to cool for a minute or so. Pour miso mixture into soup and stir to combine. Serve, topped with scallions.

Vegan Fajitas
Serves 4

8 corn or flour tortillas
2 cups red bell peppers and onions, sliced
2 tablespoons fajita seasoning, store-bought or homemade (I make my own by mixing together chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, and salt)
2 cans pinto beans
1 avocado
Lime juice (optional)

In a large skillet, heat olive oil (or water, if you’re avoiding oil) for 30 seconds. Add bell peppers and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add fajita seasoning and beans and saué for another 5 minutes, until peppers and onions are soft. In a separate skillet over low heat, heat tortilla on each side for 10 seconds or so. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with sliced avocado and lime wedges, if desired.

Beans and Grains Salad
Serves 1

3 cups greens of choice (I like a mix of arugula and spinach)
1 cup cooked beans (I like chickpeas or navy beans in this salad)
1 cup cooked grains (I like rice, farro, or quinoa in this salad)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Black Bean Salad Bowl - Tasty!

In a large mixing bowl, toss together greens, beans, and grains. Drizzle on olive oil and lemon juice and toss.

Couscous, Green Bean, and Cranberry Bowl
Serves 4


1 cup dry couscous
1 cup fresh green beans
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Cook couscous according to package instructions. Once couscous is cooked, add it to a mixing bowl, along with remaining ingredients. Toss a few times to ensure the oil has distributed evenly.

What are your favorite vegan recipes?

Also by Molly: Chickpea Hash Brown Scramble

Related: Best Vegan Cooking Tips From Pro Chefs

Vegan Cooking Tips for the Reluctant Vegan Chef

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Photo: Jeff Sheldon via Unsplash, Ayinde Howell

Contributing Editor Molly Lansdowne lives in Boston, Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and traveling around New England. Follow Molly on Pinterest @bostonvegan and Instagram @molly_lansdowne.


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