Veganuary Recipe Hacks From Actual Vegans

So you’ve decided to take the Veganuary challenge, or perhaps you want to stay vegan after January!

Veganuary recipes aren’t just for the first month of the year. In this article, you’ll learn vegan hacks, along with tried and true recipes that actual vegans eat!

Disclaimer: This article is only providing education and is not personalized health or dietary advice. Consult your doctor if you have any health, dietary, or supplement questions. See our Disclaimers for more details.

Picture of Deborah Murphy with a box beside that has a Picture of Christine and says: The Plant Powered You Podcast with Dietitian Christine MIlmine. Title Reads: Veganuary (and beyond) Vegan Recipe Hacks with Deborah Murphy, MS, RDN

This post is based on an awesome chat I had with Debbie Murphy – recipe developer, photographer, fellow vegan, and popular food blogger at Dietitian Debbie!

You can read the main hacks below, or listen to our conversation on:


Top 7 Veganuary Recipe Hacks

Alright, so here’s a summary of our top 7 Veganuary Recipe Hacks – make sure you save this for latter!

They are going to be super helpful for you this veganuary or anytime you’re ready to start the vegan journey!

  1. Mae Nutritionally Smart Swaps By Learning about Vegan Nutrition
  2. Keep (at least some) Things Simple
  3. Having A Rough Time Adjusting? Start wtih Adding Vegan Items to ‘Less Noticeable’ dishes
  4. Make Sure You Have a Good Sauce!
  5. Have Lots of Snacks On Hand
  6. Give Your Journey Permission to Go Beyond Veganuary
  7. As Your Vegan Friends About the Recipes They Love

Hack #1: Make Nutritionally Smart Swaps By Learning About Vegan Nutrition

This hack is the first one for a purpose!

Without it, your chance of being an ex-vegan goes way up!

Take the time to learn about vegan nutrition so that you understand how to substitute animal based foods with vegan foods that have similar nutrients.

For example, it’s easy to swap your dairy milk for plant based milk, right?

But hold on a second!

Did you check if your plant based milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, etc?

You’d be surprised at how many plant based milks are not fortified (btw, you can learn more about choosing plant based milks in this article)!

Case in point. Don’t just swap your animal products for vegan products.

You’ll want to understand what nutrients you might need to be a bit more diligent about getting without animal products.

It’s not complicated, but for some, it is a learning curve, but that’s ok!

Every one is a beginner at some point. Luckily, I got a super helpful guide for you.

Of course, if you need personalized dietary guidance, talk with your licensed doctor and Registered Dietitian.

Hack #2: Keep (at least, some things) Things Simple

We say ‘some’ because – no problem if you prefer to make more ‘complicated recipes!’

Did you know that many components of your meal might already be vegan?

Yep! For example, if you take a meat, veggie, and potato meal – a baked potato with nothing else added is already vegan, and steamed or roasted veggies are often as well (or they’re super simple to veganize).

Doesn’t it feel satisfying to know you are probably already doing meals ‘half vegan’- (if I can say that).

Keep that positive attitude as a hack! When you feel like you’ve conquered half the battle alright, the journey seems much easier.

Going back to the example of the vegan veggies, potato, and non vegan meat.

You might just have to figure out how to cook the protein rich portion which brings me to hack #3…

HACK #3: Having a Rough Time Adjusting? Start With Adding Vegan Items to ‘Less Noticeable’ Dishes

We’ve got to talk about this.

Going vegan is an adjustment, and that’s an understatement!

Most of us are use to eating animals – it’s a habit that we’ve grown up with!

Flavor preferences take a while to change, and for some, it will feel harder.

If that’s something you struggle with, in our podcast episodeDeborah Murphy, MS, RDN pointed out that you may have an easier time veganizing meals where the omission of meat is not as noticeable.

For example, there are plenty of chili dishes that don’t even include meat and are super delicious with just beans as the protein plentiful source.

Or, if you miss that meaty flavor from ground beef you can add vegan ground beef (like Beyond Beef Crumbles) to chili, or other dishes that might have included them (such as casseroles).

Plant Based mock meat, cheese, milks, etc have come a long way! So consider checking them out as you are going through Veganuary or on your vegan journey!

Hack #4: Make Sure You Have A Good Sauce!

As Deborah Murphy, MS, RDN pointed out on the Plant Powered You Podcast, sometimes the most challenging part of veganizing food comes with swapping animal based with plant based protein rich foods.

She suggests making your protein powered beans, tofu, seitan etc more ‘elevated’ in flavor by having a good sauce handy.

A good sauce for other dishes – such as salads, is great to have on hand as well –especially if you are still learning to love your veggies!

With a special sauce, you’ll probably enjoy your food more, which is kinda important if you want to actually stay vegan.

Here’s a few ‘awesome sauce’ recipes to check out on Dietitian Debbie’s plant based food blog:

Hack # 5: Have Lots of Snacks On Hand

Perhaps a situation more common than being asked what you’d do on a deserted island is:

being at a place with no vegan food options. 😓

After too many of these instances, I’ve learned my lesson!

Hack #5 is making sure you’ve got vegan snacks on hand.

And not just any snacks! Having a mere apple is unlikely to squash a case of the ‘hangries.’

Make sure you keep the three essential macronutrients in mind when planning satisfying snacks (snacks with plant based protein, fat, and carbohydrates).

Need some ideas? Check out the post below!

HACK # 6: Give Your Journey Permission to Go Beyond Veganuary

I know.

‘Veganuary’ rhymes with ‘January,’ and I’d venture to guess that January is the time when most people take the challenge.

That being said, if you are taking the challenge in January, I hope you know that going vegan can take way longer than that.

In fact, many vegans I’ve talked to have extended their journey for months, or even years!

Do what is best and healthy for you.

Don’t be discouraged if you are still learning how to cook in this new way -again, we all were beginners once.

It’s hard to to change lifestyle habits in a short period time. Compassion is the name of the journey!

Hack # 7: Ask Your Vegan Friends About the Recipes They Love

Ok, so they might have different taste preferences than you, but don’t feel shy to ask your vegan friends for their favorite recipes (and make sure you mention if you can handle spicy 😅 ).

They are bound to have some favorites on hand that they go back to time and time again.

Chances are, they’ll be happy to share them with you!

Call it a blessing because Debbie and I (two vegan dietitians) decided to share some of our favorite vegan recipes with you next!

Recipes That Vegans Actually Use

The Best Kidney Bean Chili Recipe
Even though my household isn't entirely vegan, everyone enjoys this recipe several times throughout the year! It's hearty, chockful of veggies, and super tasty.
Give Me the Recipe!
Birdseye view of the vegan kidney bean chili recipe in a pretty white bowl on a wood table.
Easy Vegan Skillet Lasagna
Lasagna's are often known for their long baking time right? Well, as vegan mom, Debbie is all about cutting down on time, and this recipe is much faster because it's actually made in a skillet!
I Want This Quick Recipe!
Photo credit: Deborah Murphy, MS, RDN
vegan skillet lasagna in a bowl with salad on the side.
Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry
Curry is such a hit for Debbie's family, that she's considering a weekly 'curry theme night!' Check out this dish that uses chickpeas and butternut squash as the base.
I Need This Recipe!
Photo credit: Deborah Murphy, MS, RDN
The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Date Cake Recipe
In my opinion, it's the best because my non vegan friends and family also enjoy it (and yours will probably be shocked to find out it's vegan too)!
Take me to the Recipe!
Picture of vegan chocolate chip date cake with raspberries on top. Text title in a box reads: The best vegan chocolate chip date cake recipe

Were these Veganuary Recipe hacks helpful? Let me know if you have any others I should add below!
If you loved this article, you should check out these posts about being vegan!
How to Transition to Veganism
The Types of Vegans (why there are only 3)
Vegan Quotes
Grocery Shopping for Vegans (the 101)
And if you decided to make the switch, you should definitely check out the replay of my talk: 3 Common Mistakes New Vegans Make!’

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