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Getting dinner on the table day in and day out can sometimes be a challenge, whether you have a family or not. In our busy lives, the prospect of having to plan meals, shop for ingredients, and actually prepare the food can seem so labor intensive that we start avoiding the kitchen altogether. Considering how easy it is to resort to take-out — yes, even as a vegan! — sitting down to a nutritious homemade meal gets further and further down on our list of priorities. That’s a shame because, as you know, eating in is better for our wallet and waistband. In fact, simply going to the restaurant twice a week is enough to have a negative effect on our health. Taking into account that almost 50 percent of Americans admit to doing no cooking at all on any given day, the true impact of consuming processed foods is definitely concerning.

If you fear that you might become part of this sad statistic due to your self-admitted cooking phobia or severe lack of time, don’t fret. Here are five tips that will help you save time in the kitchen along with some delicious recipes from the Food Monster App.

1. Invest a Little TimeQuick Pumpkin and Carrot Curry [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

A nutritious and delicious meal. When do we want it? Now! Do you ever come home after a long day of work and just wish it would miraculously appear on the table?

We’ve all been there but sorry to break it to you; everything worthwhile in life needs a little time (and love). While spending an hour or more every day on cooking is on no one’s agenda (unless you’re a chef, in which case this article is not for you — sorry!), we’ve got to figure out a way to make it happen.

Finding a minute or two to schedule a batch cooking session will save you a lot of headaches later on. Having a designated time to grocery shop, cut your veggies for the week, and prepare a couple of your favorite meals is a good way to avoid going to the store on multiple occasions and spending more time than you have in the kitchen.

If you can’t find a moment to do that or meal prep just isn’t your thing, take advantage of any five minutes you do have and look for quick and easy recipes to make. We suggest giving this Quick Pumpkin and Carrot Curry, pictured above, this 10-Minute Seitan ‘Beef’ and Broccoli, this 15-Minute Zucchini, Pea, and Watercress Minestrone, and this Sweet and Sour Sesame Broccoli and Tofu a try. These 10 Clean, Plant-Based Recipes to Save You Time in the Kitchen are also a good option for lazy cooks that lead a busy life. Here’s the bonus — these recipes are all nutritious and delicious!

2. Take out Your Appliances Out of StoragePressure Cooker Mexican Lentil Stew

Crock pots, pressure cookers, instant pots, rice cookers, food processors, blenders…the world of kitchen appliances is (almost) infinite and has much to offer to lazy cooks. Taking out your long forgotten appliances (remember aunt Karen’s gift from two Christmas’ ago?) or investing a little money into some new ones can save you a lot of time in the kitchen. Why? Well, they do all the work for you!

While it may not be exactly as easy as throwing ingredients in a pot and forgetting about it until it’s ready, it almost is! Especially with recipes like this Pressure Cooker Mexican Lentil Stew, pictured above, this Pressure Cooker Vegetable Dal, this Crockpot Coconut Curry Lentil Soup, this Slow Cooker Ginger and Cauliflower Curry, and this Seitan Pot Roast.

You can also check out these 15 Quick and Easy Vegan Meals To Make In Your Pressure Cooker or Take It Easy All Month With These 20 Slow Cooker Recipes and these 15 Comforting Slow Cooker Recipes.

3. Stock Up Your PantryCrispy Crockpot Chickpeas [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

There’s nothing more frustrating than starting to cook and realizing you’re short one ingredient. Having a well-stocked pantry is a sure way to prevent that from happening. Also, not only will it save you multiple time-consuming trips to the store but it will help you make more nutritious meals. Beans, lentils, legumes, grains, and canned goods such as tomatoes and tomato sauce are all good pantry staples to have, especially if you’re in a pinch. If you have these basic ingredients on hand, you can make a multitude of quick and easy recipes.

Don’t believe us? Check out these 21 Protein-Packed Vegan Recipes for Lentil Lovers, these Crispy Crockpot Chickpeas, pictured above, these 10 Frugal Vegan Meals You Can Make Out of Pantry Goods, and these 5 Pantry Staples You Can Turn Into 10 Different Dishes.

If you’re unsure what you should always have in stock on a plant-based diet, take An Inside Look Into a Healthy Vegan Pantry and get these 12 Must-Have Items for Your Vegan Pantry. We also suggest checking out these 12 Common Superfoods to Keep in Your Fridge or Pantry and these tips and tricks on How to Stock Your Condiment Drawer: 10 Essentials for the Vegan Pantry.

4. Team Up with a Friend and Make Freezer MealsFreezer-Friendly Veggie Burgers

Let’s face it — cooking can sometimes feel like a chore. Grocery shopping, cutting veggies, trying to follow instructions while the pan is burning your food, not to mention the cleanup afterward. Teaming up to face the challenges involved in preparing nutritious and tasty food only makes sense. Two (or more) reluctant lazy cooks can split up the tasks and Support each other in the kitchen. Doesn’t that sound good?

Find yourself a friend or organize a cooking party with your squad and make your favorite recipes in batches. You can each take home a mix and match of meals to enjoy throughout the week or freeze for later. We recommend making these Freezer-Friendly Veggie Burgers, pictured above, next time you get with your besties. You can also challenge them to Whip Up Amazing Meals With What’s Left in Your Fridge and Pantry.

If you’re not sure what goes in the freezer or how to go about batch cooking, check out Our Guide to Freezer-Friendly Meals to Make Life Easier and look at these 10 Foods You Should Prep and Refrigerate So You Can Eat Healthy All Week. Last but not least, you should definitely try out any of these 15 Cozy Vegan Meals That Make Batch Cooking a Breeze.

5. Plan Ahead and Discover New Recipes

How many times have you avoided the kitchen simply because you didn’t know what to make? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Planning ahead goes hand in hand with investing a little time in the kitchen for actually saving time later. Knowing what recipes you want to make, the ingredients you require, and when you will buy them are all important steps that if planned in advance will shorten your stay in the kitchen. Having a repertoire of quick and easy recipes on hand is also a good way to wean yourself off from your take-out habit.

Not sure where to start? We recommend trying this delicious Maultauschen: German Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli, pictured above. If you love pasta, you should check out Around the World With 15 Vegan Pasta Recipes.

If you’re looking for creative recipes, try out these 15 Tasty Vegan Seafood-Inspired Recipes and These 25 Exciting Recipes That Will Change Your Mind. You can also Experience the Diverse Flavors of India With 15 Delicious Curry Recipes or try out these 15 Fall-Inspired Taco Recipes. Either way, there’s no shortage of fast, easy, and tasty recipes you can make.

If you want to find even more quick and easy recipes that will hit the spot and become part of your weekly meal rotation, check out these 5 Easy Vegan Meal Ideas for Lazy Cooks and these 10 Easy Vegan Recipes Everyone Should Know…Yes, EVERYONE! Also, take a look at these 10 Frugal Vegan Meals You Can Make Out of Pantry Goods and these 10 Foolproof Vegan Recipes for Kitchen Klutzes.

Speaking of which, if you’re worried about your skills as a cook, we recommend checking out these 11 Awesome Apps Every Beginner Plant-Based Cook Should Download and these 5 Secret Kitchen Tricks That Will Make Vegan Eating Seem Like a Breeze.

Also, check out How to Make the Most Out of a Tiny Kitchen Space and Maximize Your Cooking Potential and these 5 Ways to Set Your Kitchen Up to Eat at Home. There’s no reason to rely on takeout when plant-based cooking is this easy and tasty!

If you’re looking for more delicious plant-based recipes that will save you time in the kitchen, as well as cooking tips, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster Appwhich is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Root Vegetables Roasted in Coconut Milk With Salted, Toasted Macadamia Nuts

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