Vegan cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, and I’ve got 16 vegan recipes with 3 or fewer ingredients to prove it!
My friends and I like to do soup swaps each fall. It’s a fun way to stock your freezer with homemade soups that you can grab and reheat on busy evenings. We all cook up big batches of delicious soup, package them in mason jars, and exchange, so everyone comes away with a variety. Not all of my friends are vegan, and at the last swap someone turned to me apologetically and said, “I would have made a vegan recipe, but I didn’t have time.”
Related Reading: Plan a Fall Soup Swap
I knew that not everyone making soup would choose vegan recipes, so I was ready to come away with fewer soups than I showed up with. That was not a big deal at all. What did stick with me, though, was that comment.
I think it says so much about the perceptions that people have about vegan cooking. Sure, vegan recipes can have dozens of ingredients and be very complex. So can non-vegan recipes. That’s just food. There are also easy vegan recipes that use as few ingredients as anything with meat or dairy.
From smoothies and snacks to main dishes and desserts, vegan recipes can be just as easy and simple as anything with animal products in it.
main photo by Becky Striepe
Vegan Recipes with 3 Ingredients or Less
Caveat: I am not counting salt, pepper, water, or soy sauce/shoyu as ingredients, because these are things every cook uses in almost any savory dish.
photo by Becky Striepe
Cabbage is such a hearty vegetable, that you can really eat these tender, roasted wedges as a main course. The cabbage leaves turn soft and a little bit sweet on the inside with slightly charred outer leaves. It’s really a party in your mouth, and so, so easy!
This sauce is great on a bowl of grains and veggies or as a dessert. It’s got a delicate ginger-vanilla taste to it that’s so special, no one will guess how easy it was to make.
Unlike processed soy products, whole soybeans are packed with healthy protein and nutrients. Edamame makes a great snack or side dish! I know that soy has gotten a bad rap lately, any my friend Tanya does a great job of looking at the research into this humble bean.
4. Kale Chips
Another simple, healthy snack, kale chips can be as easy or complicated as you want! The recipe linked above uses just three ingredients, and it is delicious!
It’s a little bit late in the year for squash blossoms, but keep an eye out at summer farmers markets for these beauties, or harvest them from your own vines, if you’re growing squash at home. They make a tasty, unique side with few ingredients and very little work.
I know, dessert is the thing that you really want! This vegan soft serve is totally dairy free, and deliciously decadent with no refined sugars in sight. You won’t be sorry!
This vegan ice cream has a tropical twist and, like the chocolate banana soft serve, doesn’t require an ice cream maker.
Commercial chocolate often contains dairy ingredients, but even vegan chocolate bars usually have more than three ingredients. This homemade chocolate has only three whole food ingredients and is just as delicious as anything you’d find in a wrapper.
9. Peanut Milk
Non-dairy milks often contain a long list of ingredients, but making nut-based milks at home is incredibly easy. What I love about this peanut milk recipe is that it’s as inexpensive as it is easy.
Related Reading: How to Make Cashew Milk
OK, so this is cheating a little bit, but if you don’t count the sweetener, it’s only got three ingredients, and it was too delicious to skip! If you don’t keep stevia in the house, you can sweeten to taste with whatever sweetener you like: sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, etc.
11. Strawberry Milk
I never had strawberry milk as a kid, but for a lot of folks this is a nostalgic drink. What’s not so warm and fuzzy about conventional strawberry milk, though, is all of those artificial flavors and colors. This recipe uses all whole food ingredients instead of refined sugars and artificial flavorings.
Add some cashews to this dish, and you have got a one bowl lunch. This salad is fresh and easy, and it stars my favorite food: avocados!
This dish has become a staple in my kitchen. It works well with pretty much any winter squash. I use acorn squash to make it, since that’s what our CSA tends to send. If you don’t like things as sweet, you can do like I do and skip the maple syrup. That makes this a two ingredient meal! Not too shabby, right? You can also use olive oil instead of coconut oil, if you don’t usually keep coconut oil in the house. It’s delicious either way.
How about a little superfood for dessert? Chia pudding is a little bit similar in texture to tapioca, but it has lots of healthy omega 3s, protein, and fiber!
Related Reading: Superfood: 10 Delicious Chia Recipe Ideas
Start your day off with a three-ingredient smoothie packed with grapefruit, banana, and frozen pineapple. Party. In. Your. Mouth.
Coconut water is refreshing, but I will be honest with you: I am not a fan. It’s kind of boring on its own, but add some watermelon and a mint twist, and you are in for a treat.
Do you have any favorite vegan recipes that only use a few ingredients? Share them in the comments!
Image Credit: Peanut Milk photo via An Unrefined Vegan