I find using Vue.js to be easier (more concise / less boilerplate) and more intuitive than writing React. However, there are a lot more readily available React components that I can just plug into my projects. I'm debating whether to use Vue.js or React for an upcoming project that I'm going to use to help teach a friend how to build an interactive frontend. Which would you recommend I use?
Having developed in both Vue.js and React, I agree with your assessment of Vue. It does feel light and easier to understand and therefore learn. Seeing that Vue has some genetic roots with React, I would say start your friend out on Vue. If they need to learn React later, that should give them a good foundation. If you have a Pluralsight subscription, look for my course on Vue.js and feel free to use the demo project as a starting point.
I've used both Vue.js and React and I would stick with React. I know that Vue.js seems easier to write and its much faster to pick up however as you mentioned above React has way more ready made components you can just plugin, and the community for React is very big.
It might be a bit more of a steep learning curve for your friend to learn React over Vue.js but I think in the long run its the better option.