11 Accidentally Vegan Meals

Going vegan can seem hard, but chances are, you already have some accidentally vegan meals in your recipe arsenal. Check out the list below to get ideas for recipes that are vegan already or can be made vegan without using vegan meat or cheese substitutes.

Don’t get me wrong—I am a fan of vegan meat and cheese alternatives, but those foods can be pricey and are sometimes on the processed side. And if you’re feeding someone who isn’t vegan, these don’t tend to be the best way to win hearts and minds. People tend to like food that’s familiar, and the accidentally vegan recipes below are a perfect starting point for new vegans or for feeding a plant-based meal to an omnivore crowd.

Accidentally Vegan Meals

Vegan Four Bean Chili

1. Four Bean Chili

Deeply-seasoned bean chili is an affordable, quick, protein-packed meal that’s accidentally vegan. My favorite part about chili is piling on the toppings, and you don’t need dairy substitutes here, either. Instead of cheese and sour cream on the side, offer chopped green or red onions, sliced black olives, fresh tomatoes and sliced avocado.

Easy Peanut Noodles

2. Peanut Noodles

Thai-style peanut noodles are a naturally vegan meal that’s comforting and filling. If peanuts aren’t your thing, you can substitute any nut or seed butter for the peanut butter in this recipe. Try it with cashew butter or tahini—you won’t regret it!

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal Apples

3. Cinnamon-Apple Steel-Cut Oatmeal

You don’t need dairy to have a delicious, filling, vegan breakfast, either! Steel-cut oats cook up quickly in the Instant Pot, and they’re packed with fiber that fills you up and keeps you feeling full until lunchtime.

Instant pot quinoa is the base for this quick-and-easy summer quinoa salad recipe!

4.  Instant Pot Quinoa Salad

This is a flexible recipe, and you don’t technically need an Instant Pot to make it—just make the quinoa on the stove, if you don’t have a pressure cooker. You can use the recipe as-is, or alter it to suit your tastes. Just toss cooked quinoa with your favorite veggies, fruits and nuts.

Add some extra veggies to your vegan tacos!

Add some extra veggies to your vegan tacos!

5. Vegan Tacos

Sure, you can use vegan meat and non-dairy cheese in a vegan taco, but they’re not required! The article linked above walks you through how to build your best vegan taco. When we do tacos at home, I like to put all of the ingredients out, so everyone can build their own best taco. It’s less work for me and more fun for my family!

Instant Pot Quinoa Buddha Bowl

6. Buddha Bowls

Buddha bowls—aka comfort bowls or grain bowls—are my go-to easy vegan meal. Pile on the whole grains, beans, veggies and sauce for a delicious, accidentally vegan meal. Click the link above to learn the basics for building the Buddha bowl of your dreams.

baked lettuce wraps

7. Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are another incredibly flexible recipe. Really, it’s all about the sauce, so just cook up your favorite mix of veggies, and enjoy! The recipe above uses tofu, but you can replace it with more veggies. If you leave out the tofu, just toss some nuts or seeds into the mix at the very end. The nuts will add protein and fat to make your lettuce wraps as filling as they are tasty.

Vegan Ramen

8. Ramen

Instant ramen noodles are not super healthy, but there are healthier ramen noodle options out there. My favorite are the ramen noodles from Lotus Foods. They come in a few different varieties and are made with clean ingredients. I also like that you can find this brand at most grocery stores now. I’ve even seen them at Target!

Vegan Pizza from One Green Planet

9. Pizza

You don’t need vegan cheese for a tasty vegan pie! Many store-bought crusts and crust recipes are vegan. A basic pizza crust is just water, flour, yeast and salt. Once you have your crust sorted, pile on the rich, flavorful toppings like roasted vegetables, sautéed mushrooms, sliced tomatoes and vegan pesto, and you’ll have a hearty, plant-based pizza, no cheese needed.

Vegan Falafel Salad

10. Falafel

My pops calls falafel “the original veggie burger.” While some falafel recipes do use egg as the binder, you don’t need eggs or cheese to make delicious falafel! Chickpeas do the heavy lifting as the binder in this falafel recipe, and that creamy topping you see isn’t yogurt sauce—it’s tahini dressing!

11. Pasta with Vegan Pesto

Traditional pesto recipes use cheese, but you can leave the cheese out and still have a rich, flavorful pesto! If pesto isn’t your thing, regular old red sauce is a great sauce option for pasta dishes. If you’re using store-bought sauce, just check for butter and cheese—manufacturers love sneaking those into jarred pasta sauces.

Related at Care2

Going vegan can seem hard, but chances are, you already have some accidentally vegan meals in your recipe arsenal.

Ramen image via Thinkstock. All other images via Care2.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks for sharing

Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks for sharing

bob P
bob P7 months ago

Thanks for the info.

Dorota Mleczek
Dorota Mleczek7 months ago


Carl R
Carl R7 months ago


Leo Custer
Leo C7 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Janis K
Janis K7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Margie F
Margie FOURIE7 months ago

Thank you