Monday, April 5, 2010
Tips for Quick and Healthy Vegan Meals
Since I have been eating a healthy vegan diet for a while I thought I would share some of the tricks I have learned. Here are some of things I rely on to make fast meals, like my lunch salad:
1) Cook a one pound bag of beans twice a week. Those refrigerated beans can be used in salad, soup or grain dishes to increase the protein content of any meal. They also add fiber and folate. If you work outside of the home or are short on time beans are great in the Crockpot. Here is a recipe for Egyptian beans in the crockpot.
2) Keep long life leafy greens in the refrigerator. I always have multiple bags of organic baby spinach on hand for salad, stir fry, or grain dishes. In addition to lasting a week or more in the refrigerator spinach also has more nutrition than most lettuce. I find that greens last long if you add a paper towel or two to the container to absorb any excess moisture.
3) Nut cheeses make a great addition to salad, on “toasts”, on raw bread with sun dried marinara to make raw pizza. These add a nice healthy fat to your meal that ensures you body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins. But they can be a little too tasty and are easy to overeat.
4) Raw bread is a great condiment delivery system that also provides omega 3 fatty acids and is fairly calorie dense if you are having trouble keeping weight on. I also now make a tray of the panelle and polenta hybrid each week since it is lower in calorie so we have an option based what we need that day.
5) Pesto is something that I make every few days. We use it in salad dressing or as dressing by itself, with nut cheese on raw bread. It is also good added to soup or on top of cooked grains. I make many different versions from sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, kalamata olive, arugula, dandelion green, basil as well as many others. Pesto is very easy to make without oil by substituting a little veg stock, water, lemon juice or wine vinegar into the recipe. Some of the recipes I linked to contain oil but they can all be modified. Eventually I will get all those recipes remade and posted without the oill.
6) Salsa also makes a wonderful fat free salad dressing. I use this quite often as you probably remember. The organic Kirkland brand and Costco is quite nice.
7) Tofu tahini sauce seems to be something I make every week. I use it as a dip for falafel, on top of soup, as a dressing for cooked veggies beans like I did last night. I tend to use this in place of sour cream.
8) Seitan cutlets and sausage are something I like to keep in the freezer. When I make these I always make more than we need so they are waiting in the freezer when I need a quick meal.
9) Frozen berries are wonderful to have on hand. I use these to make smoothies, top our oatmeal or to make a quick “soft serve ice cream” in the Vitamix.
10) Make a big batch of soup that you can eat for a few days or freeze it for later. Both Dan and I love soup and I make it often. It packs well for lunch and makes a filling meal with a big salad. Miso soup is our favorite.
This sounds like much more work than it actually is since I only cook things like this once or twice a week and then use them for days after. The salad I made today is a perfect example of how this works. I used baby spinach as a base and topped it with a combination of marinated artichokes, marinated mushrooms, garbanzos, cucumber and red pepper pesto. I had this with a few “panelle and polenta triangles” that I topped with nut cheese and sliced tomato. I sent the same thing for Dan’s lunch. To ensure it travels well I pack the spinach separately with the veggies and pesto also in its own container. The raw bread and nut cheese are also packed separately. It makes a fast 5 minute lunch to toss together before he leaves for work.
I hope this gives you all some ideas for how to make quick healthy vegan meals. These are things I rely on every day and I find that I can always whip something together in less than 20 minutes when I am not in the mood for an elaborate meal.
I need to run for now. I have tons of things to get done today. Dinner tonight is still up in the air. But I will let you know what it becomes.