Spring is upon us, ushering fragrant herbs, peppery arugula, and starchy potatoes into produce aisles everywhere. Luckily, and contrary to popular belief, you don't need to spend hours in the kitchen washing leafy greens and chopping vegetables in order to prepare a healthy plant-based meal that makes the most of the season's bounty. In search of easy recipes that come together in 45 minutes or less, naturally, we turned to some of our favorite foodies.
Spanning sweet potato tacos topped with creamy avocado cilantro sauce and stuffed eggplants complete with a crave-worth romesco sauce, these are the holy-grail vegan recipes we make on repeat because they're both blissfully healthy and mercifully quick to prepare. But the best part? They aren't just salads. Keep scrolling for five quick vegan recipes that prove prepping a plant-based meal doesn't have to take forever.
Golden Sun-Dried Tomato Red Lentil Pasta
Time Needed: This recipe comes together in 40 minutes, with only 10 minutes needed for prep and 30 minutes for cooking, notes recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest.
The Hero Ingredient: The red lentil pasta. Made from, you guessed it, red lentils, it's 100% vegan. It's also crazy-delicious when paired with Half Baked Harvest's nutrient-packed marinara sauce.
The Pro Tip: "Since I wanted this sauce to be flavor packed, but not take all day to cook, I added sun-dried tomatoes into the mix," reveals Tieghan. "Trust me, these are a must as they give you that slow-cooked-all-day flavor."
Sweet Potato Tacos With Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce
Time Needed: All in all, this recipe takes about 45 minutes to make, but if you're in a hurry, you can skip making your own barbecue sauce and opt for store-bought instead (no judgment) to save some time.
The Hero Ingredient: The shredded sweet potato. The filling is so good even staunch carnivores will be helping themselves to seconds (and thirds) of these vegan tacos.
The Pro Tip: "I like to get the sweet potato shreds as long as possible," says recipe creator Laura of The First Mess, "so I grate it with the long side of the vegetable striking the large holes of the box grater."
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash With Chickpeas and Garlicky Arugula "Cream"
Time Needed: If you skip the oven and microwave the spaghetti squash instead, you'll cut the cooking time for this tasty vegan recipe down to 30 minutes.
The Hero Ingredient: The garlicky arugula "cream." Made with cashew butter, garlic, lemon juice, tamari, and handfuls of arugula, it's decadently creamy in consistency without containing a drop of dairy.
The Pro Tip: "To serve, place warm squash halves on plates and gently pull out some strands of 'spaghetti' to make a pocket of sorts" to make room for the chickpeas and cream sauce, advises recipe creator Laura of The First Mess.
Stuffed Eggplant With Sunflower Romesco
Time Needed: Even with the roasting time, this recipe only requires about 30 minutes to make from start to finish, making it a midweek hero meal by our standards.
The Hero Ingredient: The romesco sauce. This recipe calls for sunflower seeds in lieu of traditional almonds for a sauce that's delightfully nut-free for anyone with nut allergies.
The Pro Tip: "If you're starting from scratch with this recipe and finishing it to the end, no need to wash the food processor out after you make the romesco," advises recipe creator Laura of The First Mess. "You'll need it for the eggplant!"
Quinoa & Vegetable Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Time Needed: Set aside 30 minutes to pull together this recipe. Recipe creator Dana of Minimalist Baker notes that you need just five minutes of prep time and 25 minutes for actual cooking.
The Hero Ingredient: The balsamic-lime marinade. A flavorful combination of balsamic vinegar, lime juice, and spices like cumin and chili powder lend smokiness to the dish (even if you're not firing up the grill to make them).
The Pro Tip: "While your mushrooms finish in the oven or on the grill, you can prepare a sauce of choice," says Dana. "I personally prefer the chimichurri for its vibrant color and big flavor. It complements the dish perfectly."
Up next, vegan soup recipes so good even staunch carnivores will lick their bowls clean.