Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes for a Healthy Mind&Body

Jessica Lewis
January 25, 2016

Vegetarianism and Veganism – an Overview

Vegetarianism and veganism are two diets that are gaining more and more followers by the day. People have more information in regards to what a balanced lifestyle means. Likewise, they are not limited anymore by the belief that proteins, one of the three macronutrients the human body needs to function, are found in animal-based products only. Up until a century ago, meat was the primary ingredient in kitchens from all over the globe and for a good reason. Meat is nutritious, can be found at the local grocery store all year long and is rather cheap unless the customer has particular preferences. Shortly after the World War Two the planet went through some major shifts. Economy, politics, religion, all these domains headed towards new directions. Food choices were no different. It was after the 1950s when globalization became more famous and brought with it all sorts of changes that included food also. Slowly, recipes from India or China have reached the European and American continents and were integrated as usual part of their menus.

Vegetarianism and veganism are hugely appreciated by easterners, Indians in particular. Various surveys have shown that more than 30% of Indians are vegetarians. Moreover, they make up for about 70% of the world’s vegetarians. Nowadays, westerners are more familiar with these two diets also. Tofu, lentils soup or falafel patties are no longer unknown to many of them. While the majority of people believe that vegetarianism and veganism are one and the same, it is important to know that while they may be similar there are some differences between them. Vegetarians consume fruits, vegetables and some animal-based products such as cheese, milk and eggs. Meat is absent from their diets. Even so, some people consider themselves as vegetarians but consume fish. They are more commonly known as pescetarians.

Vegans on the other hand abstain themselves from all animal products. Their diet is comprised of fruits and vegetables only. Some vegans even avoid using clothes or objects which may contain an animal part like the fur or skin.

Specialists regard vegetarianism as one of the healthiest diets but advise people to consume fish also as to have some meat-based protein as well. Veganism is la little more controversial. Most plants, except for soy and quinoa, do not contain the nine essential amino acids the human body cannot produce and must obtain from food. Even so, various studies have shown that, if correctly combined, plant-based foods can provide the body its missing elements as well as enough proteins to make up for lack of meat.[1]

In terms of taste and visual delight, vegetarian and vegan recipes are truly wondrous for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Diversity, pleasing taste buds and a plethora of colors, the following recipes have them all. Most of their ingredients are affordable for the regular customer. The more exotic ones may be a bit more expensive. Still, many of them can be replaced with similar ingredients or, if the cook has a rich imagination, he or she can reinvent the recipe, giving it a more personal touch.

Best Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes

Lentil Soup



  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1(28 ounces) can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup dry lentils(green or brown), rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup spinach, rinsed and chopped


  1. In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add the chopped onion and carrot; often stir until the onion had softened and became translucent
  3. Add the garlic, cumin curry powder and oregano. Cook for about 40 seconds while continuously stirring.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and let the flavors mix for 30 seconds. Stir in lentils, and add the vegetable broth and water. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Afterward, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Season with red pepper flakes to make the soup spicier.

Note: it is important to use green or brown lentils as they can hold their shape while boiled. Red lentils are more sensitive to high temperatures and tend to become puree if cooked for long.




  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini(sesame paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper to taste


  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas then pour then into a blender together with the garlic. Add lemon juice, tahini and salt.
  2. Place the mixture in a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper or chili pepper flakes. Pour extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Serving tip: serve with home-made pita or vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers or green celery. Also, canned chickpeas may come in handy and the hummus will be just as delicious if one does not have enough time to prepare dry chickpeas.




  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them with enough water as they will double in size after soaking during the night. Drain and rinse them.
  2. Pour the chickpeas into a food processor. Add the chopped onion, parsley, garlic, carrot, flour, salt, ground pepper, paprika, ground cumin and tahini.
  3. Blend until the mixture is consistent enough to hold together. Do not process the ingredients for too much time as they can lose consistency and additional ingredients may be needed.
  4. Heat some vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Form the mixture into round balls or patties. Place them into the pan and fry them 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the patties from the oil and let them drain on paper towels to absorb all excess oil.

Serving tip: serve the falafel patties with hummus or Lebanese tabouleh or stuff them in a home-made pita together with vegan mayonnaise, lettuce and some pickles. Also, they are a great replacement for meatballs in terms of taste and nutritional value.

Tomato Salsa



  • 5 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • 2 green chili peppers(seeds removed)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of one large lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Finely chop the tomatoes, onion, chili pepper and coriander. Peel and grate the garlic.
  2. Place the ingredients into a large bowl and mix.
  3. Add the juice from one lime. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  4. Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.

Tomato salsa is best when combined with tortillas, tacos, burritos or quesadillas. Prepare some coconut Margarita and you can have a Mexican feast in your own kitchen.

Israeli Couscous



  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions


  1. Bring a medium-size saucepan of water to a boil over medium heat. Pour the couscous and cook for 8 minutes or until it softens. Drain the couscous and allow it to cool.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the juice from one lemon and olive oil. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
  3. In a large serving bowl, place the couscous, add the finely chopped parsley and cilantro, tomatoes and spring onions.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the top. Let the salad sit for an hour so that the flavors can combine.

Note: Israeli couscous is larger than traditional couscous so it takes longer to boil. It is good to pay attention to couscous recipes and what type is needed as to obtain a well-prepared and tasty dish.

Lentil Tabbouleh



  • 1 cup Puy lentils( green and brown lentils can be used as well)
  • 3 spring onions
  • 200 grams fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the lentils into a saucepan and cook them in boiled salty water until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Finely chop the parsley, tomatoes, spring onions and fresh mint. Mix them with the lentils.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice to taste.

Tip: add feta cheese or halloumi cheese to enhance the dish’s flavors.




  • 2 large aubergines
  • 3 large courgettes
  • 2 bell peppers, one yellow and one red
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Cut the aubergines into 1.5 cm chunks then place them on a baking tray and brush with olive oil. Grill the aubergines for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic, then deseed and slice the bell peppers. Cut the courgettes into 1.5 cm slices.
  4. Pour the remaining oil into a large frying pan and warm over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes until golden. Add the garlic, peppers and courgettes and cook for 8 minutes or until the courgettes soften.
  5. Score a cross into the base of each tomato, then place them into a heatproof bowl. Cover them with boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes and peel the skin away. Cut them in half and eliminate the seeds. Chop the tomatoes then place them into a pan along with the aubergines. Lower the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with basil.

Tip: it works great as a side dish for meat lovers or as a main dish for vegetarians.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie


Ingredients for the mashed potato layer:

  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the bottom layer:

  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Mix the mashed potatoes with the olive oil, soy milk, vegan mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray the baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Warm the vegetable oil over medium heat. Place the chopped onion, carrots, tomato and celery and let cook for 10 minutes until soften. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the flour and stir until the vegetables are Pour the vegetable broth and allow it to come up to a simmer.
  5. Add the cooked lentils and stir for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the vegetable mixture into the preheated baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the vegetables. Additionally, sprinkle the potatoes with shredded soy cheese(or regular cheese in the case of non-vegans).
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until the casserole dish is hot.

Warm vegan shepherd’s pie works great during the cold season together with a cup of wine. Enjoy it with family and friends.

Black Bean Vegetable Soup



  • 2(15 ounces) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 can dice tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and let cook until soften. Turn down the heat and add the minced garlic, diced carrots, pepper and celery stalks. Let cook for 10 minutes while occasionally stirring.
  2. Add cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vegetable stock and 1 can of black beans. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Place the other can in a food processor and blend. Add it to the pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender.

Tip: the soup works great on a cold fall day. Add some croutons in it or use cheesy toast for dipping.




  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 fresh red chili peppers
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 5 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Destine the avocados, scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash them. Add the juice from one lime, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt to taste.
  2. Mix in the finely chopped onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Deseed the chili peppers, chop them and add them to the mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour so the flavors can combine.

Interesting fact: Guacamole was first created by Aztecs. The original recipe was made with avocado, tomatoes and salt only.

Vegan Dan Dan Noodles



  • 8oz thin spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 9oz white mushrooms
  • 1 green onion cut into thin rings
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili oil( or 3 dried chili peppers, deseeded)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Warm a bowl of water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8 minutes until al dente. Remove them from the water, rinse and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the vegetable oil in a pan over high heat along with the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes while occasionally stirring.
  3. Put the garlic cloves, ginger, hot chili oil, soy sauce, tahini and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the obtained sauce over the spaghetti and toss until the noodles are coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mushrooms and baby spinach leaves and mix. Serve immediately.

The explosion of flavors and textures is sure to make you want to try the recipe again. Browse the internet for other versions that are equally delicious.

Cauliflower-Cheese Macaroni



  • 300 grams macaroni
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 50 grams butter
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 50 grams flour
  • 140 grams cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50 grams breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Add the paste in a bowl of boiling salty water and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower cut into florets they let them boil for 8 minutes.
  2. Remove the pasta and cauliflower from the water, rinse and drain then let them cool.
  3. Warm a frying pan, melt the butter, then stir in flour. Slowly pour the milk and continuously stir until the mixture thickens.
  4. Remove from heat. Add cheese, salt and pepper and 100 milliliters of the remaining water from the pasta.
  5. Mix together the pasta, cauliflower and cheese sauce. Combine breadcrumbs with crushed garlic and scatters over the top.
  6. Grill for 3 minutes or until the casserole is hot.

Use some chopped fresh spinach to make it more colorful or serve it along with a veggie salad.

Spinach Lasagna



  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2(10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1(8 ounces) package mozzarella, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese,grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the spinach, onion, garlic, a pinch of dried oregano and another one of basil. Stir the ingredients then pour water and tomato sauce over them. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, 1 egg, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spread a little sauce into a lasagna pan and place uncooked noodles on top of it. Top with more sauce and half of the cheese mixture, then continue until all is layered, finishing with sauce.
  4. Cover with a foil and bake at 350 degrees F for I hour. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. If reheating, bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Add some ricotta for extra vitamins. The lasagna can be kept in the freezer for a couple of months. Make sure you wrap the dish tightly with plastic. Bring it to room temperature before baking.

Blueberry Mini Muffins



  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. place the paper cups into a mini cupcake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, pour the vegetable oil, soy milk, maple syrup and agave nectar. Mix the ingredients.
  3. Add the whole wheat flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and at the end the blueberries. Mix the composition. Using 2 small spoons pour the batter into the paper cups until they are almost filled to the top.
  4. Place the cupcake tin in the oven. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes or until they become golden.

Want some diversity? Throw in some chocolate chips or walnuts for an extra crunch.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread



  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the water and ground flaxseeds then put the mixture aside for 15 minutes to thicken.
  2. In a large bowl, add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl mash the ripe bananas to a puree. Add in coconut oil, non-dairy milk, vanilla extract, sugar and the flaxseed mixture. Stir until combined. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until combined without becoming a paste. Add the chocolate chips.
  4. Grease a 8 x 4-inch bread pan with a small amount of coconut oil. Transfer the composition to the bread pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the center to see if it is well baked. The toothpick should come out dry. Allow the banana bread to cool out of the pan before serving.

Chocolate chip banana bread seems to be a favorite among children so make sure you invite them in the kitchen to help you prepare the dessert. It will be funnier this way.

Pineapple Orange Sorbet



  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1(20 ounces) can crush pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest


  1. Mix water and sugar in a saucepan. Warm the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Place the pineapple into a food processor. Blend until pureed.
  3. In a large bowl, add the pineapple puree, sugar syrup, lemon juice, orange juice and orange zest. Freeze until slightly firm but not frozen.
  4. Put the mixture into a food processor and process until smooth. Place it in the freezer for 2 hours until firm.

This sorbet version can work wonders during hot summer days. The combination of pineapple and orange juice will make you feel refreshed and ready to face the high temperatures.

Avocado Chocolate Pudding



  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract(optional)
  • Caramel syrup for topping(optional)


  1. Peel and deseed the avocado. Peel the banana. Cut them into chunks and place them in a food processor. Add non-dairy milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into 2 serving glasses and place them in the fridge. Let them chill overnight. Top with caramel syrup or any kind of topping before serving.

Want a creamy and delicious dessert full of healthy fats and with little to no simple carbohydrates? Give this amazing, creamy avocado chocolate pudding a try!