Do you have World Vegan Day on your calendar? I didn’t. Imagine my horror when I remembered, just two days ago, that vegans throughout the world celebrate their veganocity today, November 1st. With so little time to plan, what was I to do?

I channeled my Inner Vegan Martha Stewart. Here’s what she said: Go to your backyard, and harvest the soybean crop you’ve been lovingly tending throughout the year. Today’s the day! It’s time to make tempeh. You’ll need to soak, de-hull, and mash your beans — but why settle for a decent product that’s readily available for less than $5, when you can spend days making your own? Nothing says, Happy World Vegan Day! like a gift platter of Vegan Martha tempeh. And don’t forget to download stencils of festive vegan themes, to decorate …

That’s when I asked Vegan Martha (politely), please stop!

I’m celebrating World Vegan Day by sharing a sampling of my favorite plant-based weekday suppers with you — simple pasta, tofu, Indian dal, enchiladas, and no-fuss burgers.

If you read these recipes and think, “nope, not ready to tackle any of this quite yet,” that’s okay. Reading is the first step. Happy Cow will happily guide you to a nearby plant-based restaurant.

5 Simple Suppers

  1. Broccoli and Peanut Soba. I keep most of the ingredients in this dish in my pantry, and almost always have some sort of broccoli in my crisper. The recipe calls for broccoli rabe, which I find a bit too bitter, so I substitute broccolini. Florets from good ‘ole regular broccoli will do, too.
  2. Honey, Soy, and Ginger Braised Tofu. “I don’t have a restaurant, but if I did, this would be on my ‘specials’ board because it’s delicious and I’d want you to try it.” That’s how Meera Sodha introduces this recipe in her cookbook. It is the only tofu I’ve ever served to “civilians” (i.e., people who are neither vegetarian nor vegan), and every one of them has asked for the recipe. Tip: I throw all of the sauce ingredients into a food processor and give it a quick whirl (instead of chopping and grating). You’ll need to buy gochuang paste, which is now available just about everywhere.
  3. Broccoli Dal: I love Indian curries, and I love broccoli, but I rarely love them in the same dish, because the broccoli gets too mushy. This brilliant, tasty dal (even better the second day) solves that problem. If you’re new to Indian cooking, this is a great starter recipe. It involves all the regular suspects — cumin, garam masala, turmeric — and you even learn how to pop mustard seeds without getting hit in the eye.
  4. Pumpkin Black Bean Enchiladas: Did you grab a can of pumpkin from an end-of-aisle display, then have no idea what to do with it? Make a 5-minute enchilada sauce! Enchiladas are one of those “special occasion” dinners that often take too long to make. This one’s speedy, autumnal, and yummy.
  5. Veggie Burgers: As usual, Mark Bittman has us covered. He starts with a base, then suggests variations, so you can create your own damn burger.

Happy cooking,