20 Plant-Based Main Dishes That Take 5 Ingredients or Less

Jess Richardson | May 20, 2019 Food & Party
20 Plant-Based Main Dishes That Take 5 Ingredients or Less
Image: iStock

sweet potato quesadillas
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For anyone looking for incredibly easy weeknight meals, try recipes that require little cleanup to keep the kitchen tidy while still nourishing a family. Or try a one-skillet dish for minimal cleanup. We're also big fans of Instant Pot dinners, which basically let the equipment do the work for us. 

And for anyone looking to incorporate some more vegetarian, vegan, and more plant-based options into their cooking routines -- it's always a good idea to eat more veggies, after all! -- we definitely recommend taking a look at some family-friendly vegetarian recipes for inspiration. While we know tons of families aren't going to be ready to part with meat full-time, that doesn't mean some vegetarian dishes can't be included!

Trying to incorporate more plant-based dishes into daily life? It's an absolutely admirable goal, and one that's good for both the planet and our bodies. For families that eat meat every day, we're not trying to shame anyone! But we do want to acknowledge the health benefits of just adding more vegan and vegetarian meals into our lives. If the family isn't familiar with this way of cooking, try some recipes aimed at meat-eaters that are vegetarian, to expand the family's palates (and live life just a tiny bit healthier, too). We're not saying that eating more plant-based meals is going to completely fix any environmental disasters or make us way healthier, but we do think it's a great first step.

Here, we've rounded up some simple, wholesome plant-based meals aimed at families. The best part? They have five or fewer ingredients.

  • Easy Coconut Tofu

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    Easy Coconut Tofu
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    This one is as easy as can be: Just two ingredients. This easy coconut tofu is delicious, low in fat, and packs a whopping 10 grams of protein per serving! Serve it up with some rice and a side salad for a complete meal.

  • Easy 5-Ingredient Black Bean Veggie Burgers

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    Easy 5-Ingredient Black Bean Veggie Burgers
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    There are good veggie burgers, there are great veggie burgers, and then there's the easy 5-ingredient black bean veggie burgers -- it's so easy, it doesn't fall apart while it cooks, and it gets deliciously crispy. Yum.

  • Baked BBQ Tofu With Caramelized Onions

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    Baked BBQ Tofu with Caramelized Onions
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    Top this baked BBQ tofu with caramelized onions with a bunch of diced avocado for a creamy, rich deliciousness that only brings the smoky flavors of the tofu to the fore. We love this as the centerpiece of a plant-based meal.

  • Five Ingredient Vegan Stuffed Peppers

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    Five Ingredient Vegan Stuffed Peppers
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    Not only is this recipe for five ingredient vegan stuffed peppers a five-ingredient gem, it's also a one-dish meal, so the cleanup is fast as all get-out. Stuffing a veggie is a great idea -- the peppers can also be swapped for cooked sweet potatoes!

  • 5 Ingredient Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

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    5 Ingredient Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
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    Cauliflower is amazing -- it's packed with vitamins C, K, and B6. And that's great, because this 5 ingredient cheesy cauliflower bake is indulgent -- we love all the cheese in it! A great entry point for people who don't think they love plant-based meals.

  • 5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

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    5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Zucchini Noodles
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    We love these 5-ingredient spinach Parmesan zucchini noodles, which pack tons of veggies into a great meal. Throw in some of that Quorn mushroom-protein "chicken" for an extra protein boost, or enjoy as is!

  • 5-Ingredient Vegan Tacos

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    5-Ingredient Vegan Tacos
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    These 5-ingredient vegan tacos rely on TVP, or textured vegetable protein, which has a similar texture to ground beef, but is high in protein and low in fat. It's a healthy beef alternative and soaks up flavors super well!

  • Thai Green Curry 'Meatballs'

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    Thai Green Curry
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    This Thai green curry "meatballs" recipe is so amazingly full of flavor for a recipe so easy! It also comes with an incredibly simple curry sauce. Such a good option for someone just starting to cook who doesn't think they're great at it yet!

  • 5 Ingredient Baked Ziti With Spinach and Chickpeas

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    5 Ingredient Baked Ziti with Spinach and Chickpeas
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    So simple and easy, this recipe for 5 ingredient baked ziti with spinach and chickpeas is an amazing vegetarian weeknight dinner. Yes, there's lots of indulgent cheese, but all that spinach and chickpea goodness is sure to make up for it, right? 

  • 5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup

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    5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup
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    This 5-ingredient black bean soup is so incredibly easy -- not to mention extremely budget-friendly. Go for a super-spicy salsa if the family is into it, or choose a mild salsa for families who don't love the chilies. We love the salsas in the refrigerated section at Trader Joe's especially. 

  • 5-Ingredient Chickpea Pesto Pasta

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    5-Ingredient Chickpea Pesto Pasta
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    This 5-ingredient chickpea pesto pasta is fantastic on its own, but it's also a sneaky place to toss in whatever leftover roasted veggies are in the fridge (or quick stir-fry whatever looks like it's about to go off)! 

  • Polenta Parmesan With Spinach & White Beans

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    Polenta Parmesan with Spinach and White Beans
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    We adore this polenta Parmesan with spinach and white beans because it's such an elegant and easy meal, and it seems like it takes a lot more effort and energy than it really does. We'd totally serve this to guests. 

  • Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

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    Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
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    How is this sweet potato black bean chili so incredibly nutritious while being so easy and delicious?! We adore the flavors here, and we adore even more how nutritious it is. Serve on its own or with some cilantro quinoa. 

  • Gnocchi, Broccoli & White Bean Bake

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    Gnocchi, Broccoli and White Bean Bake
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    There has never been a gnocchi we didn't fall in love with, and this gnocchi, broccoli and white bean bake takes it to the next level with a bunch of protein and good vitamins from the veggies. This is a great winter dish, but it's really a winner year-round. 

  • 5-Ingredient Mexican Quinoa

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    5-ingredient Mexican Quinoa
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    It only uses five ingredients and only takes 15 minutes. Yep, that's a weeknight winner if we've ever heard one. This 5-ingredient Mexican quinoa is flavorful and protein-packed -- it's also a great way to use up leftover veggies that are taking up space in the fridge.

  • 5 Ingredient Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats

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    5 Ingredient Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats
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    We love this 5 ingredient Italian spaghetti squash boats because it's a perfect all-inclusive meal, given that the lentils add tons of protein and healthy, whole grains. This is packed with three veggies for a vitamin boost!

  • Sweet Potato Quesadillas

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    Sweet Potato Quesadillas
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    These sweet potato quesadillas work for lunch or dinner -- they're crispy, creamy, smoky, and perfect. We love them served with some quick homemade refried beans, Cotija cheese, or veggies seared fajita-style in a skillet. 

  • Easy Lentil Lasagna

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    Easy Lentil Lasagne
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    Who would have thought a five-ingredient lasagna was a thing? It is! This easy lentil lasagna is so simple and uses good-quality premade ingredients like a good canned soup to make this an absolute snap on even the busiest weeknight. 

  • 5 Ingredient Vegetarian Sushi Bowls

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    5 Ingredient Vegetarian Sushi Bowls
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    These 5 ingredient vegetarian sushi bowls make a healthy, light dinner -- and are even better with a little sprinkle of furikake on top (which is easy to get at any Asian market). Throw on some extra pickled veggies for even more of a boost!

  • Sheet Pan Garlic Broccoli & Italian 'Sausage' With Pasta

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    Sheet Pan Garlic Broccoli and Italian
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    There are weeknight recipes, and then there are the go-to weeknight recipes that end up getting made basically weekly. This sheet pan garlic broccoli and Italian "sausage" with pasta is definitely one of the latter -- satisfying, simple, and easy as all get-out. 

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