Going Plant-Based? 10 Spring-Inspired Vegan Recipes

Spring is here, kale yeah!

It’s time to give your kitchen (and health) a spring clean and try these deliciously fresh plant-based recipes.

But wait, you’re feeding a family?

Don’t draw a line between vegan food and family favourites.

Here are 10 easy, family-friendly and oh-so tasty vegan recipes the whole family (and environment) will love.

Dig in.

Spring roll bowls

Serves 4

Nothing says spring like a colourful plate of raw spring roll… bowls. That’s right, inspired by the traditional Vietnamese cuisine, we’ve unravelled the classic spring roll recipe into a vegan bowl of goodness.

INGREDIENTS:
400 grams tofu
Coconut oil to cook
4 carrots, peeled and grated
2 large red capsicum, seeded and thinly sliced
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded purple cabbage

For the sauce:
2 cups peanuts
¼ cup raw sugar
1 bunch coriander
1 tbsp lemon juice

METHOD:
1.    Drain the tofu by dabbing paper towels on the block of tofu. (Please note, a water-logged block of tofu won’t get crispy in a pan or absorb marinade).
2.    Cut the tofu into 2cm thick squares and marinate in a bowl of soy sauce and garlic. Let sit for 1-3 hours, depending on your time schedule.
3.    Mix the peanuts, sugar and coriander in a food processor for approximately 15 seconds. Don’t blend too long, leave some chunky peanuts. Add the lemon juice and mix with a spoon.
4.    Add a layer of coconut oil to a pan on high. Cook the tofu for approximately 5 minutes or until crispy.
5.    Cut the vegetables and place an even amount in four bowls. Add the tofu to the bowls.
6.    Drizzle the sauce evenly on top of each bowl.


Strawberry and elderflower pancakes

Serves 6

What’s better than warm, fluffy pancakes on a lazy Sunday morning? Warm, fluffy and healthy pancakes with flowers on top. Drawing inspiration from the likes of vegan blogger Loving it Vegan and sweet baker Call Me Cupcake, here’s how to vegan-ify the classic Sunday morning special.  

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup water
2 tbsp applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 – 3 cups strawberries, chopped in quarters
3 – 5 elderflower heads

METHOD:
1.    Whisk together flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add water, applesauce and vanilla extract. Stir.
2.    Pour ¼ cup of mixture into non stick pan on low heat. Sprinkle a handful of strawberries and elderflower on top of mixture and let cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook other side for another 2 minutes. Repeat till all the mixture is used.
3.    Serve with fresh strawberries on top.

Cucumber and lime cordial

Makes 1 litre

Looking for an easy way to sneak more greens into the little one’s diet? Start with this healthier green cordial inspired by Cooked. Little kids will love the refreshing sweet taste while big kids will love knowing there’s zero preservatives or other nasties. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup caster sugar
2 ¼ cups water
2 large cucumbers
3 limes, juiced

METHOD:
1.    Place sugar and water into a pot on medium heat and bring to boil. Stir occasionally to help dissolve the sugar into a syrup. Once boiled, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit.
2.    Blend cucumbers in a food processor until smooth. Extract the juice by pouring through a simmer. Use hands to push as much juice as possible from the pulp.
3.    Mix the cucumber juice, sugar and lime juice in a 1 litre jar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool.
4.    Add crushed ice and fill up the rest of the jar with cold water. Stir well, then serve.

Creamy peanut butter chai pudding

Serves 4

Breakfast dilemmas 101: what do you do when it’s too hot for oatmeal, you’re too time poor for a vegan tofu scramble and a fruit salad just won’t get you through till lunchtime?

Don’t sink into bad habits and reach for a sugary bowl of cereal or worse, nothing. Make these creamy chai puddings for the whole family the night before. They’ll make your mornings so much easier, tastier and healthier. And who doesn’t love waking up to pudding?

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 ½ cups coconut milk
1 ½ cups chai seeds
1 banana, thinly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon

For the toppings:
1 banana, chopped
Honey to serve

METHOD:
1.    Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir till combined.
2.    Transfer into 4 separate mason jars and let sit in fridge overnight.
3.    In the morning, top with fresh banana and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!

Banana chickpea muffins

Makes 12 – 15 muffins

We love them in hummus, falafel and curries… but can the humble chickpea fix a sweet tooth? We’ve tried and tested this banana and chickpea muffin recipe and can confirm a big delicious yes.

These protein-filled muffins make a great breakfast for busy mornings, a sweet yet healthy pick-me-up or after dinner treat.

What can’t the chickpea do?

INGREDIENTS:
1 400g tin of chickpeas
3 bananas
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups oats

METHOD:
1.    Soak chickpeas in boiling water for 20 – 30 minutes. Drain and mash with a fork or potato masher.
2.    Mix the chickpeas with honey, oats, cinnamon and mashed bananas. The mixture should be moist. If not, add more banana and honey.
3.    Line a muffin tray with paper holders. Add 3 spoonfuls of the mixture into each muffin hole.
4.    Cook in a moderate oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Please note: muffins last 2 – 3 days and are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If you wish to bake bulk, freeze some and heat up when ready to eat.

Cashew ‘mozzarella’

Makes 2 blocks  

Considered going vegan for a while now but struggling with the concept of no cheese? Turns out vegan cheese is a thing, and it tastes as good as healthy feels.

Thanks to the masters behind Elephantastic Vegan, here’s a simple mozzarella recipe used in more cheesy vegan meals to follow.

Red wine, anyone?

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup raw and unsalted cashews
4 tsp tapioca starch (makes it stretchy)
2 small garlic cloves
4 tbsp nutritional yeast (makes it cheesy)
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
½ cup water

METHOD:
1.    Soak the cashews in water for 6 – 9 hours. Once soaked, rinse and drain the cashews.
2.    Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
3.    Transfer half of the mixture into a pan and bring to medium heat. Keep stirring until it gets stretchy and comes together in a ball. Repeat for the other half.
4.    Transfer the cheese balls into a container. Let them cool off before closing the lid and placing in the fridge. Let them chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

Please note: you can keep the mozzarella in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.

Spring vegetable pizza

Serves 4

If you think eating vegan means giving up your favourite foods, think again. Here’s a plant-based twist on the trusty Friday-night staple, and it even includes vegan ‘cheese’. (See recipe above).


Decorating your own pizzas is also a great way to get the kids involved and excited about their food. Bon appetite!

INGREDIENTS:
For the base:
1 ½ cups warm water
3 tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups plain flour

For the pizza:
1 – 1 ½ cups of sweet chilli sauce
1 – 2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 – 2 cups sliced capsicum
1 – 2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 block vegan mozzarella, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced

METHOD:
1.    Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Split into four even balls and spread out on large pizza pans.
2.    Scatter vegetables on top. Cut cheese into strips and place evenly on top.
3.    Cook in moderate oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
4.    Choose movie on Netflix and serve hot.

Vegan burritos

Makes 10

Mexican often gets a bad rap for being unhealthy (thank you western influences), but cooking from a vegan kitchen will transform a meat loaded, cheese dripping meal into a fresh and spicy taste bud fiesta.

Please note: this recipe involves a little DIY from the eaters behalf. We told you it was going to be a fiesta.

INGREDIENTS:
10 tortilla wraps
1 400g tin of kidney beans
1 400g tin of black beans
2 capsicums, deseeded and sliced
1 400g tin of diced tomato
1 red onion, sliced
1 ½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves
2 cups iceberg lettuce, thinly chopped
1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 large avocados, smashed
1 block vegan cheese (see cashew mozzarella recipe)

METHOD:
1.    Drain the tins of beans and set aside. In a medium heat non stick pan, fry the garlic, 1 sliced capsicum and half the onion until golden. Add the beans and tin of tomatoes.
2.    Add the cumin seeds, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix well.
3.    While the mixture is cooking, cut the lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, remaining onion and capsicum and put in separate bowls. Lay out on the table, along with the avocado smash, tortilla wraps and vegan cheese.
4.    Once the bean mixture is bubbling and hot, transfer to a heatproof container and place on the table.
5.    Make your own burrito from the ingredients on the table.

Spring smoothie bowl

Serves 2

What would spring foodie inspiration be without a colourful smoothie bowl? Here’s a fruity yet filling blend with crunchy toppings on top to satisfy every appetite.

INGREDIENTS:
For the smoothie:
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup fresh coconut flesh
1 cup pineapple, sliced
1 banana, sliced
2 passionfruit
1 lemon, juiced

For the toppings:
1 tbsp chai seeds
2 tbsp buckwheat
1 banana, chopped
½ cup strawberries, chopped

METHOD:
1.    Mix the smoothie ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2.    Transfer mixture into two bowls.
3.    Decorate with toppings.
4.    Take photo for Instagram, then eat.

Raw donuts with coconut glaze

Makes 6 – 8

Springtime or not, it’s always a good time for donuts. Thanks to our vegan friends at Shine With Nature, this raw donut recipe makes whole-foods wholesome.

INGREDIENTS:
For the donuts:
2 1/5 cups dates
1/3 cup coconut flakes
2 tbsp carob flour
1 tsp vanilla powder

For the coconut glaze:
½ cup fresh coconut meat
1 dcl fresh coconut water
4/5 cups dates
1 tsp vanilla powder

METHOD:
1.    Mix dates using a food processor. Add coconut flakes, carob flour and vanilla powder. Mix until the ingredients stick together.
2.    Line a medium sized tray with baking paper. Roll 6-8 balls in hands and place on tray pressing down slightly to make each ball mixture flatten.
3.    Make a hole in the middle of each ball to create a donut shape.
4.    To make the glaze, mix fresh coconut meat, coconut water, dates and vanilla powder in a blender until smooth. Spoon onto the donuts and spread evenly. Place tray in the freezer for approximately 1 hour or until the glaze and donuts firm up and set.

Whether you’re a passionate vegan, vegetarian with vegan tendencies or simply enjoy eating with the seasons, spring is the perfect time to add more plant-based recipes to the menu.

And with so many colourful vegan recipes to inspire every fruity, creamy, spicy, savoury or sweet tooth, we can’t think of a reason not to eat well this spring. Your body, mind and the environment will thank you.

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