Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe: A Hands-Off Feast!

So you’re making a dinner and you want to create a delicious feast for your guests but you’re not sure what to cook? This easy vegan dinner recipe is here to help you construct the perfect menu to suit your vegan, or non-vegan guests , while serving 100% vegan food.

It’s a hands off recipe, so you can spend time doing what you want instead of slaving in the kitchen.

Blue plate with roasted vegetables, red rice & chickpea bake
Vegan roasted veggies, red rice. chickpea, tofu & pepper bake, all before the addition of sauce

First Some General Vegan Dinner Ideas and How to Tweak Them to Your Needs

There are countless vegan dinner recipes to choose from.

One way to construct a vegan dinner menu, is to choose a grain like rice, or equivalent, such as quinoa or buckwheat; next create a high protein dish like this vegan burger, chickpea & pepper salad with tofu, coconut & chickpea curry or easy baked tofu; and then add a side dish or vegetable like this carrot and sweet potato mash or a lovely selection of roasted veggies.

The reason these are easy recipe suggestions is that you can prepare the individual dishes in advance, so they only need finishing off or heating up when your friends and family are ready to eat.

On top of your combination plate, sprinkle some chia seeds, ground flax seeds, sesame seeds and/or hemp seeds. They add a lovely bite and flavour, and they’re great for your health.

As well as adding the seeds, choose a vegan sauce to pour over the top of your roasted veggies. Cheesy onion sauce is a great choice because it’s as low hassle as could possibly be (see recipe below).

About This Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe

This recommended vegan dinner recipe is best for when you know that your guests like (and will eat) vegetables. This is a feast for anyone who loves eating real foods.

If you’re inviting guests who are completely unfamiliar with eating real food, then you might do better to base your dinner around more familiar concepts, like a vegan cauliflower cheese or a chilli-sin-carne with rice, or a yummy vegan burger with oven roasted potatoes.

Another great meal for a dinner if your guests aren’t fond of vegetables, and which can be completely prepared in advance, is a delicious nasi goreng served with spicy peanut sauce, or if you’re more of a noodle fan, a bami goreng, also served with spicy peanut sauce. You can replace the peanut sauce with cashew sauce if you’re not a fan of spice.

How to Make This Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe

Vegan Appetizer

If you want to serve an appetiser, you can’t go wrong with a delicious homemade hummus with a few thin slices of raw vegetables (carrots, cucumber, pepper . . .) for dipping as a starter to your meal. Otherwise known as crudités.

Bowl of hummus with crudités
Bowl of homemade hummus with crudités

Another great starter in summer would be a chilled gazpacho. So simple to make in advance and serve whenever you’re ready.

For the Main Vegan Dinner

All of these are interchangeable with alternatives given further on below, but these are the specifics which are offered here as a suggestion.

  • Red or Black Rice
  • Roasted Pepper, Chickpea & Tofu Bake
  • Roasted Zucchini & Eggplant
  • Topped with Cheesy Onion Sauce
  • And Sprinkled with Lashings of Chia & Hemp seed
Close up of roast zucchini, eggplant, chickpea & pepper bake, red rice and vegan cheesy onion sauce

Make the Rice or Quinoa

For the main plate, everything can be prepared in advance and ready to serve when needed. Cook some quinoa or rice or buckwheat in a rice cooker. That way it can be ready in advance without spoiling as the rice cooker will keep it warm.

My favourite rice is black rice. It’s also the most nutrient-dense rice out there and the highest in protein of all rice varieties.

Second to black rice comes red rice. I love red rice too, but it can’t be compared to black, which has a softer, nuttier flavour. Red rice is drier and scrawnier. But sometimes red rice goes better with the overall meal, either because of its looks, its texture or its price (black rice is more expensive).

I always use the rice cooker these days. It cooks the rice to perfection and it doesn’t matter what time it’s ready because the rice cooker keeps it warm and it doesn’t spoil. So no hassle, no stress and no labour. Just easy rice.

For black or red rice, after washing the rice I put it into the rice cooker with the correct amount of boiling water and I leave it to soak for an hour or more before turning on the rice cooker – because these rice types take a lot more cooking than plain white rice.

If you don’t already have a rice cooker, I highly recommend you get one. You won’t believe how much it brings you in terms of freedom.

You just put in the rice and forget about it. I got mine when it was on special offer in Lidle and it’s just a basic one, but it does the job just fine for me. They aren’t expensive either; to see them on Amazon, click here.

Green & Red Pepper, Chickpea & Tofu Bake

For a high protein dish, this is a great option because you can just put it in the oven along with all the roast veggies, making this a very hands-off dinner menu.

Slice up lots of red and green peppers into thick wedges to fill a small baking tray. Slice an onion, also into fat slices and add to the pan.

Peel 5 cloves garlic and add them. Sprinkle with a little more salt than you would expect (green pepper needs a lot of salt), drizzle on a touch of olive oil and mix the whole lot together. After about 15 minutes, when the peppers are beginning to look cooked, rinse 1 jar of chickpeas and pat dry, then add to the pan.

Take 1 packed of firm tofu and squeeze out all the excess liquid that you can. If you like a dry texture to your tofu, freeze it first and then defrost it. The resulting tofu can be squeezed much drier than normal tofu but it isn’t of much importance for this recipe.

Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until cooked through. It can be served hot or cold so you can make it completely in advance, or make it a bit in advance and leave it in the oven until ready to eat, along with the other roasted vegetables.

If you like more spicy flavours you can make this easy chickpea bake instead.

Bowl of quick chickpea recipe with broccoli & zucchini served with tahini sauce
Easy chickpea bake is an alternative to the green pepper, chickpea & tofu bake

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are such a great food for dinner parties because you can leave them alone while they cook. All the preparation is done in advance and all you have to do is pop them in the oven half an hour before you want to eat while you carry on socialising with your guests.

Roasting is easy. You just take the veggies, prepare them as necessary and then sprinkle with a little salt and brush with olive oil. The oven does the rest.

Roasted Eggplant

I adore roasted eggplant. It’s one of my favourite vegetables for roasting (or maybe even my top choice). There are two ways which I like to roast an eggplant. The first method is to remove the stem and cut the eggplant in half all the way.

Slice into the flesh and sprinkle on a little salt and brush with olive oil. Roast the half eggplants face up in the oven on 190-200 ºc until cooked through. The time will depend on the size of the eggplant but as an average guide, 30 minutes.

The other way, which I like even better, is to leave the eggplant whole and just slice it in half up to the stem, leaving the stem on the eggplant, holding the eggplant together. Sprinkle a little salt into the middle and brush with a little olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Roasted Zucchini

Another favourite of mine, fighting for first or second place with eggplant, is roasted zucchini. It’s important to have delicious, fresh, solid zucchini. Older zucchini can become watery in the oven, or stringy or bitter.

Choose a large, hard zucchini but still young enough not to be called a marrow and slice it lengthwise down the middle. Score the flesh with a knife, sprinkle on a little salt, brush with olive oil and hey presto you have a feast!

Cook alongside the eggplant for approx 30 minutes – depending on the size of the vegetables.

Roasted zucchini on a plate with red rice, roasted eggplant and chickpea bake
Zucchini and eggplant are my two favourite vegetables for roasting

Other Vegetable Options for Roasting

Roasted Carrots

Roasted carrots are an all time classic which don’t need much introducing. They offer a sweet twist to the overall plate and can be an delicious addition. For me, roasted carrots are great on the side, whereas roasted eggplant or zucchini are main attractions to the event!

Simply wash the carrots, and if they aren’t organic peel them too, then place into a baking tray with a tiny brushing of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Roasted Garlic

If you have garlic fans at the table (I am one!), you can throw whole cloves of garlic into the roasting pan alongside the vegetables for a lovely burst of flavour on the plate.

Alternatively, you can add the whole cloves without peeling them. This way they become chewy tasty garlic treats in their skins. You pop out the garlic into your mouth and discard the skin.

Roasted Onion

You can roast onion to go along with the rest of the roasted veggies. I don’t know why, but I tend to roast onion in the winter but not in the summer!

If you have little shallots, they can be roasted whole. Otherwise, slice the onion from tip to toe into large fat chunks and roast in the oven with the rest of the vegetables.

Roasted Broccoli

Lots of people love roasted broccoli. I have to admit that although it’s delicious (because how could broccoli NOT be delicious lol!), I don’t see the point in roasting broccoli when it’s so tasty steamed.

Unless of course it’s in a combination dish like this roasted chickpea snack recipe with eggplant, where you could substitute the eggplant for broccoli. Then I get it!

But if roasted broccoli attracts you, go for it! Just bear in mind that the broccoli will probably roast faster than the other vegetables listed here.

Roasted Sweet Potato

You can always opt to add some sweet potato to your roasted vegetable selection. Just cut the sweet potato into large cube shaped pieces or into potato wedge shapes and treat the same as the other veggies.

Whether or not you peel the sweet potato is a matter of choice. I prefer to leave the skin on, but I often peel it because of the preferences of the people I’m feeding.

Instant Cheesy Sauce

I chose to make this dinner party with an instant cheesy sauce – so easy to make and I happen to love it. Actually you can make this sauce with just plant milk, turmeric and tapioca flour – but it doesn’t have a lot of flavour that way.

So instead, I decided to make a flavoursome onion & garlic cheese sauce. Finely chop a clove of garlic and one onion and fry slowly until really well cooked, in a little olive oil and salt.

Next, pour on the plant milk, quantity according to how much sauce you want, but here I used 1/2 litre of soy milk to 1 onion and 2 tbs tapioca flour.

Cheesy onion sauce on a plate of roasted veggies
Vegan feast with cheesy onion sauce

Once your onions are cooked and you’ve added the plant milk, taste the liquid to check the salt level and add more as required. You can also add a dash of ketjap manis or soy sauce (I do). Pour in a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast and stir.

From this moment on, the sauce will only take about 3-4 minutes to cook, so you can set the pan aside until the roasted veggies are almost ready, and then finish cooking the sauce just before serving the meal.

Final Steps for Making the Sauce

Add 2 heaped tbs of tapioca flour to the pan and stir into the plant milk, squashing any lumps that appear with the back of the wooden spoon.

Heat the whole mixture and keep stirring. Suddenly it will begin to thicken! Keep stirring until it won’t thicken any more. If you’ve added too much flour and the sauce is too thick, you can dilute it with a little more plant milk and if it isn’t thick enough, just add a little more tapioca.

Otherwise you’re good to go!

To Finish: Delicious Dessert!

Ok, so I’ll be honest, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I rarely eat a dessert, and if I do, it’s most likely to be a slice of watermelon or something like that.

But there are two vegan desserts that I absolutely love! One is a sweet seed ball to finish off with and the other, by far the most appealing desert I’ve ever eaten, is a chia seed pudding with mango.

And with that, your dinner is done!

I hope you enjoyed this meal suggestion! Let me know in the comments below.

Roasted vegetables with red rice for a vegan dinner recipe

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