Vegan Test Kitchen is a place where you can find foodie-approved, beginner-friendly vegan recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I get it. Life gets busy! Here you’ll find vegan recipes that taste awesome and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. I’m taking the guesswork out of cooking vegan for you – all recipes posted here get the Vegan Test Kitchen stamp of approval.
How Vegan Test Kitchen came to be.
One year ago I was experiencing quite a crisis. I had recently been exposed to what goes on behind closed doors in the meat industry. Shocked and disturbed I vowed to only eat meat and dairy from farms that provided enough evidence that they weren’t tormenting and abusing their cattle and chickens. I went “reducetarian“.
While I was able to find ONE farm that met my egg standards, I was unable to be certain that the meat (and other dairy I was purchasing) came from farms I could trust were not abusing their livestock. I also was having a very hard time finding quick and easy vegetarian meals to cook, and found myself literally rotating between veggie burgers, veggie quesadillas, veggie pizza and veggie pasta.
Back then my cooking skills were terrible! So I finally made my way to the cookbook aisle of the bookstore for some expert help. Ironically I was super disappointed to find only ONE shelf of Vegetarian cookbooks! I did, however, note that there were FIVE shelves dedicated to cookbooks full of Vegan recipes. At the time I had not even considered eating vegan so I chose the one vegetarian cookbook that looked easy and beginner-friendly and headed home to read it.
What I found was that most of the recipes were calling for ingredients I was totally unfamiliar with. Plus they were lacking in protein AND they took forever to cook. #worstpurchaseever
As a young professional working M-F from 9-5 I needed recipes that were fast and, since I was new to vegetarian cooking, easy.
So I never looked at the cookbook again and for the next 6 months kept preparing my weekly rotation of veggie burgers, veggie quesadillas, veggie pizza and veggie pasta with beans. B-O-R-I-N-G … At least my lunchtime salad game was on point, thank goodness.
As a former meat eating “foodie” I soon realized that I was getting pretty exasperated with my meal choices, but what could I do? Finally I turned to a co-worker, who was vegan, and asked
“What do you eat for dinner?”
she replied, “I grill tofu and veggies for dinner every night.”
“Okay…what do you eat for lunch?” I asked
“Oh, I just eat fruit cups for lunch.” she said.
GULP. That sounded pretty non-nutritious. Not to mention I had read that tofu is actually bad for the environment … so, what’s a girl to do?? Switching to vegan sounded like a worse option than my (then current) weekly rotation of vegetarian meals. Sure, the thought of eating vegan had always appealed to me, however I knew deep down that if I was going to give it a shot I would need to be absolutely certain the meals were nutritious.
If I was gonna go vegan I needed to know for sure what I was doing.
I have been iron-defient most of my life so I certainly didn’t want to be protein or healthy fat or (insert any vitamin or mineral here) deficient next! The thought of cooking a nutritious vegan meal made me nervous. I didn’t have a clue how to cook something that would meet the average person’s daily protein requirements!
Fast forward 2 months. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I came across a VEGAN MEAL PLAN. It said, “Sign Up Here and we’ll give you 28 days of vegan recipes and grocery lists – created by Nutritionists!” Are you SERIOUS?! OK. Without a second thought I purchased the plan and BOOM. Overnight Vegan.
Sounds like an awesome kick-start to vegan eating, right?
WRONG. I was beyond disappointed.
- The grocery lists were vague and confusing
- The recipes had countless typos and grammatical errors
- The recipe instructions were unorganized and very poorly written
- The emails I sent the company for clarification all went unanswered
Here’s the deal-breaker. Most of the meals tasted TERRIBLE.
Here I was, going vegan for the animals, yet horrified by the vegan meals I was preparing each day. “I guess what everyone says about vegan food is right” I thought, “It tastes awful”. My friends and family would all ask, “How’s the vegan meal plan going?” “No comment!” I’d answer. They seemed to figure out pretty quickly that I wasn’t thrilled.
But, my misery couldn’t come close to what the animals were enduring, so complain I didn’t. I simply bit my tongue, so to speak, and got though all 28 days of the darn plan. My mother sure heard about it, though!
My Vegan Recipes
Along the way I somehow managed to turn this experience into something positive. I started collecting vegan recipes and kitchen essentials so that the day I ran out of the meal plan recipes I would be prepared. I also started this blog! My thoughts?
Never do I ever want anyone else to be introduced to vegan eating the way I was!
My background is in Psychology. I know deep down that the switch from a lifetime of eating dairy and animals to NO dairy or animals is simply not easy. Mentally or emotionally. These are ingrained habits, ways of life, that must be unlearned and replaced by other habits. It’s a process for most people, and can take time. That’s OK!
In my opinion, this process should be as easy and enjoyable as possible!
I kept finding myself thinking, if I was going to present a month-long meal plan – or recipes – to a person with good-intentions, someone making a positive, life-changing decision I sure as heck would put all my effort into making that meal plan’s recipes 100% amazing so that they would LOVE every meal. I would want to present them with food they would enjoy and beginner-friendly recipes they could stick to! This is not rocket science, am I right?
So, I created this blog. I found some excellent vegan recipes and cookbooks and started experimenting on my own. After whipping up a month of successful recipes (with Mister as my expert taste-tester) I decided to start sharing the best ones to this blog as a way to help others on the same “going vegan” journey as me.
I also just like to prove all my foodie friends wrong – vegan food can actually taste delicious!!
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I think I have pretty high standards when it comes to food so I’m only posting dishes that pass my taste-test, as well as 5 of my foodie friends. If I cook it and it’s amazing, I’ll post it here! Just like I don’t like wasting time in the kitchen cooking meals that taste – uhhh, terrible – I’m sure you don’t either!
I’m only posting recipes that are beginner-vegan friendly.
No unusual ingredients that you can’t find in your average grocery store and nothing that takes longer than 30 minutes prepare. I’m a busy person – just like you. I don’t have time to waste in the kitchen on weekdays (or nights)! Those recipes can be saved for the weekend and you can find them in the “Weekend Entrées” category.
With that said, some people simply cook faster than others. I kinda know my way around a kitchen, so something that may take me 20 minutes to prep may take a beginner 30. Speed will come with practice, I promise!
What truly matters in the long run is that you’re making the time to cook meals that are healthier, friendlier to our environment and cruelty-free.
You’re heart is in the right place, so keep it up!
Going vegan is an awesome step in the right direction. It’s not easy, but it seems to get easier each day – especially when the food you eat is amazing! Creating a community of like-minded people has always been very important to me. I sincerely hope we can support and encourage one-another along the way! I want this to always be a place that promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle, where people can learn and grow. I’m so glad you’ve found it (and have read this far)!
Whether you’re a foodie like me or just want to mix things up and try some new vegan recipes make sure to grab a copy of the FREE Protein-Packed Power Breakfast ebook I wrote before you go! It’s my gift to you!