Ask the Dietician: Vegans Who Can’t Cook

Q: I want to be vegan, but I don’t know how to cook! And I’m not really interested in learning how. So what can I eat?

Ginny Messina, R.D.:

Healthy and delicious vegan meals are much easier than most people think. It definitely helps if you know how to make a few basics like pasta, brown rice, steamed vegetables, and baked potatoes, but none of these requires much in the way of cooking skills. And, you don’t even need to do that much if you prefer not to. Just look for products like pre-cooked brown rice in shelf-stable packets, frozen veggies that get microwaved right in the bag, premade hummus, and canned or dehydrated beans. These foods make it incredibly simple to pull together satisfying vegan meals. Here are a few options for vegans who don’t cook:

  • Pasta topped with sauce from a jar (just check for any dairy products in the ingredients) and a sprinkle of grated soy parmesan.
  • Progresso Good Natured soups. Available in cartons in the canned soup section of the grocery store, these are vegan. Serve with a prewashed, bagged salad tossed with a simple oil and vinegar dressing or one of the creamy dressings from Daiya or Follow Your Heart.
  • Frozen veggie burgers on whole wheat rolls with a side of frozen spinach cooked in the microwave.
  • Fantastic Foods brand refried black beans (just add boiling water) wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with shredded soy cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa.
  • Taco salad with lettuce, chopped tomato, chopped onion, rinsed canned pinto beans, canned corn, and some cubes of avocado. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice, and top with a handful of crushed tortilla chips.
  • Tabbouleh salad mix with chickpeas and chopped tomatoes.
  • For breakfast, choose peanut butter on toast, instant oatmeal, or ready-to-eat cereal with your favorite non-dairy milk.

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