This One-Pot Vegan Hamburger Helper is 100 times tastier (and healthier) than the classic boxed dinner. Made with lentils for plenty of fiber and protein.
Did anyone else grow up on that boxed hamburger helper? I don't remember eating it a lot, but it definitely was around in my childhood.
Today we are elevating a boxed dinner to something that is healthy, vegan and made in one pot (hello, easy weeknight dinner).
So, let's talk about how to make this One-Pot Vegan Hamburger Helper
This recipe really is super simple. Sauté some onions and garlic with a few staple spices. Add in the lentils and tomato paste. Then bring the pasta and broth (you can find my favorite vegan beef broth here) to a boil.
Once the liquid has been absorbed by the pasta, add a little vegan cream cheese to the mix - for that extra creamy texture. Serve it up with green onions, hot sauce and plenty of crusty bread.
And that's it. Dinner is ready in 30 minutes with minimal dishes and plenty of happy tummies.
One-Pot Vegan Hamburger Helper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
- 12 oz cooked lentils
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 8 oz macaroni dry
- 3 cups vegan beef broth*
- 2-4 tablespoon vegan cream cheese I used chive flavored
- green onion for topping
- hot sauce optional
- Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to coat evenly and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are tender.
- Add cooked lentils and tomato paste to the pot and stir to combine. Add broth and macaroni to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the macaroni is cooked (approx. 10-12 minutes). Stir frequently so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom.
- Before serving, add vegan cream cheese to the pot and stir to combine.
- Serve while hot, topped with green onion and hot sauce.
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Great recipe! I love how easy it is and that's it 1pot - fantastic for a weekday meal. I didn't have cream cheese on hand so used vegan shreds instead. I also added chopped spinach and some frozen corn for extra oomph! will be making again! Thanks!
So glad you liked this Sarah - and love the idea of adding extra veggies!
This was awesome! So quick and easy. I didn't have cream cheese, so I used 3 Tbsp of plain vegan yogurt (Kite Hill) instead and it was fab.
Oh yum! I love the idea of using vegan yogurt!
This is so easy and so tasty. It has become a family favorite.
Can I substitute cans lentils and if so how many cans?
Thanking you kindly, Natalie
Made it tonight and we LOVED it! Will be a new one in our rotation! Love one-pot meals!!
You can never go wrong with a one pot meal! So glad you liked it!
Another fantastic recipe!!! Made it twice so far and I love it. Had an extra bell pepper laying around so I threw it in when I put in the onion & spices. I've tried this recipe with chickpea pasta as well, and it worked just great. Delicious👍
This looks amazing! Adding this to my recipe list for next weeks dinner!
Do you think I could sub vegetable broth for the 'beef' broth or would that really take away from the flavor?
You can definitely swap it. You might want to add a splash of soy sauce to give it a little umami flavor 👍
I loved this! Added a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast to cheeze it up a bit more and a can of hatch chiles for a bit of spice but otherwise stayed to true to it as written. My very carnivorous husband and brother loved it as well even though they were skeptical of lentils as a meat replacement, so I'm glad they gave it a chance and gladder they approved! Will definitely be making (and probably doubling) this regularly as I barely have enough left over for lunch. So so good, way better and healthier than the boxed version I grew up on!
So glad you (and the rest of your family) liked it 🤗
Made this and it was A-mazing! Used regular beef broth though.
So glad you liked it!
My family loves this meal. I always double it
So that we have enough for my family of five.
Has anyone tried freezing this? I am not usually one to make a freeze meals but with baby #4 due in a few weeks I thought this may be a good options. Although, I am not sure how the pasta would freeze. Anyone have any insight?
I haven't tried freezing this, but if I were going to I would make the lentil/veggie/spice portion ahead of time and freeze that. When you are ready to eat add the frozen mixture to a pot to thaw, then add the broth, dry macaroni and cream cheese. Hope that helps and congrats on baby #4!!!
I am so incredibly pleased to have discovered This Savory Vegan and all Rene's amazing recipes! I made this vegan hamburger helper last night and couldn't stop shoving it in my face! So yummy and easy to make. I plan to share it with all my non-vegan friends to encourage some meatless weeknight meals as this is dish is universally pleasing.
Thanks for such great vegan meal options!
Love a Meatless Monday for non-vegans - because everyday is Meatless Monday for vegans 😂 But so glad you liked it!
Wow, I was a little kid in the 70s and my mom did not cook. So, we ate a lot of Hamburger Helper, which I enjoyed at the time. Now, as an adult and a 25-year vegan, I can say—even with a ton of nostalgia—that this totally tastes like Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper, like spot on.
I don't eat salt anymore, so I left it out, used whole wheat rotini (it's what I had) and Treeline cream cheese (no coconut oil or any oil at all for that matter), and a bunch of minced chives and man, this is good stuff. The real deal. Make it.
This is a delicious! I didn’t make mine vegan - I used regular whipped cream cheese. I enjoyed this meal so much and my boyfriend, who is always skeptical about the recipes I make since I stopped eating meat, loved it too! Thank you for this recipe!
So glad you both liked it!!!
Very good and hearty! Easily put together too. Used one can of lentils and made my own cream cheese (thanks to the commenter above for the suggestion!). Reminded me of something my mom would’ve made me as a child. Thanks for the great recipe!
Yay! So glad you liked it. And I am all about comfort food these days, so I'm glad you got the same vibe 🙂
I made this for dinner last night and it was so delicious and easy! I subbed some leftover crumbled field roast sausages For the lentils and added 1/8 tsp of chipotle chili pepper to the spice mix. Thank you for an awesome recipe!
Do you know a good sub for cream cheese? Do you think blending some silken tofu would work, or using vegan yogurt? Trying to use what I have on hand.
You could just add a splash of non-dairy milk or omit it altogether. It will taste good either way.
@Keisa: You can make your own healthier, less processed cream cheese substitute in a high-speed blender with a package of firm tofu (drained), 1/3 c. to 1/2 c. of raw cashews, a tablespoon of yellow miso, a tablespoon of Bragg's aminos/soy sauce/tamari, a tablespoon of apple cider or red wine vinegar, and one more tablespoon of plum vinegar if you have it (extra umami -- if you don't, just use red wine vinegar instead or more AC), and half a peeled lemon (don't bother juicing it--the blender will pulverize it for you, and you might as well get the benefit of all the fiber and phyonutrients from the fruit). Blend until totally smooth (30-60 seconds, depending on your blender). No miso? Use more soy sauce! Use this for any recipe calling for cream cheese (or even thin with a little water for sour cream). I spread it on toast with Everything But the Bagel seasoning on top. (NOTE: there's not a nut-free version of this because the cashews are essential to the texture.) A version of this originally came from Mary McDougall in an ancient newsletter from Dr. McDougall, but it was pretty bland as written -- the extra vinegars and miso makes it tangier and more cream-cheese like. It's amazing in mashed potatoes too.
Thank you for this, Maggie!!🥰
This looks fantastic & simple. Thanks! Please tell me, what type of pot are you cooking in, & where can I purchase one?
It is from amazon! One of my faves - https://amzn.to/2Qt3nRi
I’m so glad someone asked this, I love this pot too! The link seems to be broken though...
Made this last night and wow! So good and so easy! Plus, since it’s just me, I have tons leftover. 😀 Woo! So glad I found your recipes Rene! You actually use ingredients I -have- and have access to in your recipes and it makes it so much easier.
This looks amazing! How much dry lentils did you cook to get 12oz cooked?
It would be a little more than 1/2 a cup. You can always make a little extra and use the leftover for something else 🙂