a week of meals in march

Zero waste farmers market haul

A lot of the times I enjoy cooking off the top of my head, without restrictions and limitations of what I’d “planned” to eat that day.  Some weeks I feel like having a plan in place helps me to cruise through the week earlier and avoid that “what’s for dinner?” slump.  This week is definitely one of those weeks.  I underestimated what we would eat last week at the market, which didn’t help- I had to top off midway through the week at the grocery store (see evidence below) which entailed a few twist ties/plastic produce tags and stickers.  Also, having less prepared and ready to go in the fridge meant that I forgot my lunch one day and had to buy it out- which I don’t mind doing every once in a while, but it was pricey, and honestly I prefer my own home cooking?  I guess my palate has just gotten a lot simpler over the years and heavy oil use, salt, and seasoning just doesn’t taste as good to me anymore.

zero waste grocery haul

Reflecting on this week led me to creating a loose meal plan for this upcoming week. I’ll be making a few items on the weekend too as pantry supplements.  We are still working toward our goal of cutting down on recycling, especially spurred on by reading that in an adjacent county, 290 tons of recycling were dumped into a landfill, and that problem is nationwide as China is refusing our recycling.  Therefore, vegan mayo, mustard, and jam are on my list of things I’ve been DIY-ing, they don’t take long at all and the ingredients are better than store bought.

pantry:

strawberry chia jam:  we buy 3 baskets of strawberries at the market, half (any bruised, less ripe, otherwise undesirable fruit) go to jam and half go to fresh eating (I store in a mason jar in the fridge, unwashed and uncut).  This recipe is low sugar and has the added benefit of chia seeds.  The kids like it on their porridge or nut butter sammies.

almond milk:  my mom gave me a bunch of local almonds this week that were gifted to her by a farmer (grower? hmm).  So I’m making a double batch of almond milk- half for milk and half for yogurt. (1 cup almonds soaked overnight, drained and blended with 4 cups fresh water, a medjool date and a pinch of salt).

almond milk yogurt:  I haven’t tried this before but I’m excited to try as an alternative to my coconut yogurt.  It uses agar agar (seaweed) powder to thicken and I’ve found it in bulk.  I’ll let you know how it turns out and post the recipe

cashew ricotta:  good for spreading on sammies, a dollop on bowls, or on pizza/pasta.  Similar to this recipe but I sub a tablespoon of the water for EVOO for improved flavor, and I leave out the onion powder.

sunday:  tofu bánh mì + roasted or steamed broccoli.  We get great local tofu in bulk here.  You can find my recipe here.  I work Sunday afternoons/nights and don’t get home till late so my husband and the kids usually indulge their gluten appetites this night haha.

tofu Banh mi sandwich

monday:  these glory bowls.  I may replace the tofu (and all its cooking steps) with simple cooked beans.

happy healthy kitchen

image via happy healthy kitchen (linked above)

tuesday:  gf pasta + salad.  We have baby artichokes at our market, so I’m trying out this recipe (subbing the cashew ricotta for the mascarpone) and I’ll be simplifying the steps a lot.  If I enjoy it, I will post the simplified/veganized recipe.  I’ll pick up some bitter greens like arugula and toss them with a touch of lemon juice, olive oil and vegan parm.  Another easy favorite is tomato sauce simmered with lentils, roasted red onions and quartered mushrooms.  Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles are great GF options, too.

wednesday:  burgers + fries.  toppings:  homemade mayo, pickled onions, avocado, arugula.

burger

thursday:  Joel and I both work late, so we just scrounge leftovers this night.  I’ll probably make extra burgers the night before and have them on a salad.

friday:  This is the day before the market, so it’s usually slim pickings- I find making a clean-out-the-fridge stir fry, soup, or salad is the best bet here and makes sure that I have a nice empty fridge to put new food into tomorrow.  In my experience, when I still have old food in the fridge and then put new food in with it, that’s where food waste can happen for us.  Also, I take everything out of the fridge and wipe it and the shelves down this night in preparation for new food, keeps things nice and fresh in the fridge and allows me to have a mental picture of what I need to buy at the store the next day.  More often than not, I do soup- either a red lentil soup or a seasonal minestrone, maybe bolstered with canned tomatoes and freezer stock.

chickpea minestra

saturday:  more often than not, we have neighbor kids over at our house saturday and what works well is PIZZA.  You can make the dough up to a week in advance, let it sit in the fridge and it just gets better.  Then all you have to do is pile on the toppings et voila, pizza.  I like sautéed mushrooms + when it comes out of the oven, dollops of cashew ricotta or this blender mozzarella sauce and a shower of arugula.  I make a socca (chickpea flour) base for myself and a gluten base for the kids.

pizza

staples we buy every week: organic rolled oats, chia, hemp, flax, walnuts, rice, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion/garlic, bread for kids, avocados, enough local fruit to snack on through the week, lemons, a hand of bananas, a bulk dried bean, a bulk dried grain, local olive oil (I usually buy once a month), parsley/cilantro, plenty of local greens and lots of fresh veg (whatever’s good at the market).  Almonds and/or coconut for milk and yogurt.  A salty snack for lunches like olives or pistachios.  A sweet snack like dried mango, chocolate covered almonds, dates, or dark chocolate.  Always on hand: miso, nutritional yeast, home canned tomatoes, mustard, tahini, tamari, vinegar, chili flakes, hot sauce, kraut and kimchi, sesame oil, kombu seaweed (for cooking beans and grains), sesame seeds, and nut butter.

also, as promised, here’s a few things I cooked this week:

amy Chaplin lentil soup

lemony red lentil soup (linked above) with curly kale.  I had it with a scoop of local brown rice, the kids and Joel had local baguette.

bowls beet avocado quinoa

quinoa bowls with massaged kale (used leftover dressing from this post), steamed beets, avocado, garlic quinoa, and tofu cooked with coconut aminos and garlic.

Peanut noodles

this is a terrible photo, sorry but sometimes it’s hard to get a good pic when it’s getting dark.  Anyways, this was gf noodles with peanut sauce and sautéed cabbage, carrots and bok choy + cilantro, green onion, toasted cashews.

pasta nooch broccoli

this was gf Banza chickpea flour pasta (has a plastic window on the box unfortunately, my grandma bought this by accident and didn’t like it lol), cooked and drained and then stirred vigorously right in the pot with a little of the cooking water, nutritional yeast, crushed garlic, white miso, lemon juice + zest and a bit of olive oil.  Alongside, broccoli tossed with a bit of olive oil, roasted with salt, pepper, and chili flakes.  The kids obsess over it this way cause the leaves get crispy like a chip.

I also made brownies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, mayo, a simple fennel/celery/tangerine salad, and a big pot of minestrone which I didn’t photograph.

Enjoy your weekend xx

 

 

a week of meals at the end of winter

Kale avocado orange

Hello!  This week, I thought it would be fun to share what I bought and how I’m preparing it to get me (mostly) through the week- I usually top off on greens and/or fruit at our Wednesday market.  This past week I let my fridge get really empty, partly out of a desire to use everything up and partly out of sheer laziness because I couldn’t face going to the store when it was so nice outside.

We played hooky from the farmers market last Saturday because we took an impromptu day trip to the coast and I reallllly felt it.  Yesterday we did a big shop to replenish, so I’m sharing what I got at the store/what I’m going to do with it all.  Keep in mind I switch this up week to week depending on what’s in season, what’s on sale, and what’s local.

VegAn zero waste fridge

veggies: fennel + red cabbage for slaw, brussels sprouts + butternut squash for curry and soup, carrots for soup and snacking, mushrooms + cauliflower for stir fry.

herbs/spices: cilantro, green onion, onions, garlic, cinnamon, whole cumin seeds (i always buy whole and toast/grind my own for super deep flavor- and its cheaper)

greens: kale, mixed greens + romaine for salads/slaw

legumes: lentils for lunches, black beans for a bowl, canned chickpeas for hummus and curry (usually I’ll cook these but they were out in bulk this day), split peas for soup, tofu for school lunches, sandwiches, stir fries.

fruits:  mango, pink lady and honey crisp apples for lunches, oranges and bananas for snacks and smoothies, lemons/limes for EVERYTHING

Fruit

starches: quinoa, sweet potato, gf jovial brown rice pasta, brown rice, plantain, local whole wheat walnut bread (for the kids + joel)

fats/nuts/seeds: avocado for sandwiches/bowls, hemp seeds + pumpkin seeds for bowls/ the kids daily porridge, cashews for dressings/sauces/milk, almond butter for dressing/sandwiches/instant almond milk, coconut milk for curries, pistachios for the chocolate cake and to snack on

nuts Seeds chocolate

treats: cocoa powder+buckwheat flour for a gf choc cake and raw brownies, Theo chocolate bars (we love the ginger and cherry almond ones), decaf earl grey tea for morning lattes, raspberry jam (the crofter’s brand has a grape juice sweetened option that comes in glass with a metal lid)- my kids are obsessing over PBJ right now?!

condiments: balsamic vinegar for salads, coconut aminos and tamari for flavoring stir fries, dressings and sauces

I’ve been cutting up some of my veggies before storing in the fridge and it makes it so much easier to craft homemade meals during the week.  I cut up my kale into 1/2 inch pieces (I leave the stem in).  I trimmed and halved the brussels.  I peeled, deseeded and cut up the butternut squash.  I cut up the cauliflower into bite size pieces.  I store all these in mason jars, pyrex glass bowls with lids, or glass snaplock containers.

Butternut squash

I started a new batch of coconut yogurt (super easy) for school/after school snacks, kombucha, and a super quick hummus.

What I’m planning on cooking during the week:

split pea soup– easy recipe from Live Planted (Alyssa is an awesome vegan podcaster too)  photo from liveplanted.com

live planted vegan split pea soup

gf, date sweetened, orange and pistachio garnished chocolate cake from Golubka Kitchen’s beautiful new plant based cookbook, Simply Vibrant.  photo via The First Mess

the first mess Golubka kitchen chocolate orange cake vegan gluten free

brussels, squash, chickpea coconut milk curry with rice from the same cookbook!  similar recipe here

kale and fennel creamy cabbage slaw (a favorite recipe for me) photo via Red Online

Kale slaw fennel cabbage cashew mustard Amy chaplin

butternut squash and bean winter minestrone

winter vegan butternut squash pasta fagioli

plantain + black bean bowl:  super simple, fast, seriously satisfying.  sauté or roast slices of ripe plantain until golden/caramelized and sprinkle with a little salt.  Heat up some black beans with cumin and orange zest.  Serve with cabbage tossed with jalapeños, lime, cilantro and onion.  Add in rice, quinoa or roasted potatoes if desired for more heft.  Toasted pumpkin seeds or pickled onions are amazing on top too.

plantain bowl vegan gluten free

general tso tofu bowl with extra sautéed/roasted veggies on the side: carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli on a bed of greens and or noodles.

Vegan gluten free tofu tso

caesar salad: we like to do 1/2 romaine, 1/2 kale, this 5 minute hummus based caesar dressing, + top with green onions, avocado and cabbage or crispy roasted chickpeas and vegan parmven fries on the side- we just slice them up, toss with a little oil and roast at 400 till crispy.  Once out I love to toss in garlic and chili flakes and parsley if I have it!

Kale caesar

 

 

quick + healthy meals

Hey everyone!  SO many of you reached out to me asking for really quick meals for when you’ve had a long day, a tough day, you have kids screaming at your feet, you just don’t want to cook, and/or you’re just not feeling it.

So here goes.  I’ve compiled a little list of easy + fast meals for just that!  I haven’t added a shopping list this week because some of the meals are very flexible- ie use what you have, what’s accessible, and what’s in season/local/on sale as far as veggies.

Also, there’s no shame in canned food- Eden Foods and Amy’s both make outstanding canned vegan chili with great healthy ingredients.  I always keep a can or two on hand for emergency days- then just heat up and top with cilantro, maybe some avocado if you have it, lime and hot sauce and you’re good to go.

If you keep a freezer stash it can help a lot too- I usually double recipes for soups, chili, beans and freeze the other half in mason jars for quick meals.

Vegan zero waste groceries california

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta: this baby comes together in about 15-20, mostly the time waiting for the water to boil for pasta water.  Super easy + it makes extra hummus so you’ll have some for lunches the next day!  Inspired by Madeleine Olivia- she has great easy recipes- I’ve embedded her video on cheap vegan dinners below.

Hummus pasta fast vegan easy friendly free

magical marinarathis is an absolute STANDBY in our house thanks to my friend Juli from Pure Kitchen.  She’s an amazing vegan mama of three and has been developing plant based recipes for over 15 years (she used to make Kookie Karma if you guys remember those!).  This sauce is NO COOK, just blend it smooth and pour over freshly cooked pasta (I like to use Jovial GF).  Add on a little side salad or throw some veggies in in the last minute or two of cooking time with the pasta.

Magical marinara vegan blender sauce

quinoa and tahini bowl:  one of my favorite meals to make, get a pot of quinoa going (1 cup quinoa, 1.5 cups water, add a clove of minced garlic or two if you’re feeling it, bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and let cook for 12 minutes).

Meanwhile, sauté up a bunch of veggies- any kind or combo you have is good.  Sometimes I like to add in a scoop (or can) of cooked chickpeas too.  While veg and quinoa cooks, mix up the sauce.  You can add any sauce or dressing you like, but my two faves are 1) citrus tahini sauce and 2) nut butter, soy, and lime.

For the tahini sauce I whisk together a few tablespoons of tahini, juice and zest of lemon and or orange, clove of garlic, salt, and enough water to thin out as desired.  For the nut butter sauce I thin out a scoop of nut butter (almond, cashew, and peanut are all nice) with lime juice and zest, tamari or aminos, splash maple syrup (optional) and a touch of water as needed.  Maybe some chili flakes or garlic too.  This “dragon bowl” sauce is delicious on it too.

Tahini bowl quinoa gluten free

kale soup with giant beans

Saute onion and sliced shiitakes together on high heat with some oil until they’re caramelized- in the meantime chop up some celery and carrot.  If you have any herbs like rosemary or thyme add some of those too or a few cloves sliced garlic.  Add that to the pot along with some hot water ~5 cups (I use my kettle) and some veggie bouillon to taste (or sub broth).  Bring that to a boil and wilt in 1 bunch of chopped kale, a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast and serve with chili flakes + lemon wedges or add avocado too.

Vegan soup kale

tofu and kimchi stew

this is one that I’ve come back to again and again when I have very little time.  I use the Mother in Law brand gochujang which has clean ingredients and my own homemade kimchi.  I like to add in shiitake mushrooms and some rice or rice noodles in this too.

vegan kimchi stew

pan fried giant beans with kale on toast

this is a great meal of beans and greens that is really tasty and easy.  If you don’t eat bread or can’t find GF bread, you can use sweet potato “toast” instead and it tastes delicious that way.  Or eat it in a tortilla!

Toast beans kale

peanut noodles

these noodles are super easy and taste great- tangy, creamy, and vibrant.  They taste amazing as leftovers too!  I imagine you could do almond or cashew instead of peanut with good results.

Peanut noodles vegan gluten free

february meal plan

flowers vegan kid

Happy February!  We’re one step closer to spring!  One of my greatest pleasures through the year is seeing all the seasonal changes through the lens of what produce is available at the farmer’s market.  Right now I’m enjoying earthy blood oranges, bright orange-red tangelos, sweet and juicy navel oranges, crispy fennel, blue-black dino kale, creamy white cauliflower, and vibrant tangy kiwis.  Also, the California avocado stand is BACK at the market, which makes me so happy.  Their avocados come from southern California and are big, super green, creamy and dense.  AND they’re sticker free.  What seasonal veggies have you been enjoying?

plant Based zero waste farmers market california winter

This week, I’ve been craving chiles, cilantro and limey flavors to brighten up wintery foods. We’ll be eating a caldo tlapeño (mexican chickpea and avocado soup with chipotle), a hearty winter bowl with roasted kabocha squash drizzled with a bright green herby mojo verde (green sauce with cilantro, lime, garlic and cumin), hearty enchiladas vegetarianas, and burgers.  Jackfruit tacos to round out the week using up leftovers.  The recipes are slightly more involved this week (mostly just the enchiladas) but so worth it for flavor.  I’m all for quick easy cooking, but I also LOVE to take more time and enjoy the process by creating gorgeous and delicious meals.  It’s all a balance and I find cooking extremely therapeutic- like meditation in action.

Vegan kid winter california

Some of you messaged me asking for super fast dinners with minimal ingredients, so next week I’ll be doing meal plan featuring all very quick “recipes” for healthy dinners in no time at all.  In the meantime, check out this post: a week of meals: time crunch edition.  I’ve included notes for if you’re low on time for what you can prep the night before to make it a little more manageable.  What I try to do is make extras (double the recipe) of things like soups, chilis, veggie burgers, curries, curry paste, breads etc and then freeze the extra portion.  That way I always have something to pull from- I can grab a jar out of the freezer and pop in the fridge that morning, then by dinner its ready to be heated.  Two nights a week I work late, so I rely on 15 minute or less staples those nights.  Excited to share with you.

Enjoy your weekend and be sure to stock up on fruits and veggies no matter what you’re making this week!

weekend prep (optional- if you like to/have time to cook as you go thats great too!)

-soak and cook chickpeas, if using dried

-soak and cook black beans, if using dried: I soak overnight and then drain the next am, place in a pot covered with an inch or two of fresh water, 1 chopped onion, 3 whole cloves garlic, smashed a bit + a big fresh sprig epazote or oregano + a decent amount of salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 1-2 hours.

-optional: toast 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in a hot dry skillet until popping, store in a jar after they’ve cooled.

-optional:  make pickled onions

– cook the rice on Sunday night for monday’s soup: 1.5 cups of rice brought to a boil with 2.75 cups of water and salt, reduce to simmer and cook 15-20 mins until ice is tender.

weeknight meals

caldo tlapeño

Caldo tlalpeño vegan food soup Mexican

Caldo Tlalpeño is a Mexican soup traditionally made with chicken broth and shredded chicken- I just left this out and it was great.  However, definitely use a great tasting broth since this soup is very brothy.  I used better than bouillon “no chicken” broth (don’t use this much but I ran out of homemade and didn’t have time to make more).

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion. finely diced

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 sprig epazote (If you can’t find, just omit)

1 large sprig oregano

1 pound of yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks

8 cups good vegetable broth

4 small carrots or 2 large, cut into thick rounds

1/2 a head of green cabbage, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 large roma tomato, diced

2 cups cooked chickpeas

for serving:

1 very large avocado, cut into chunks

1 jalapeño, diced

2 limes, halved (1 half per person)

canned chipotles en adobo (amount will vary depending on how spicy you like it, I used 1 whole chile per bowl but for kids this will be too spicy)

2 cups cooked rice

Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add in the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds or so until fragrant.  Add in the herb sprigs, potatoes, and broth and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in the carrots and cook another 5 minutes, then test the potatoes for done-ness (should be almost fork tender).  Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer another 10 minutes or so until the veggies are tender.

To serve, ladle into bowls, add a scoop of rice in each bowl, and 1 chipotle chile (I like to add mine whole and break it up with my spoon while eating but you can chop it up too).  Add any remaining toppings like avocado chunks, cilantro, chopped jalapeños and lime- I squeeze the lime in my bowl and then throw the whole thing into the soup too for extra flavor.

“pobrecito” kabocha, rice, black bean bowl with herby mojo verde + coconut slaw

This is a recreation of the pobrecito bowl from Media Noche in San Francisco.  You can cut up the kabocha on the weekend or the night before to trim some time here.

Vegan bowl mojo verde Cuban kabocha squash

Preheat the oven to 400 and cut up a very large kabocha squash into largish chunks (about 1 inch or a little less).  Toss with a little coco oil and salt and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes.  You’ll use the leftover squash (~1 cup) for the enchiladas on another night.

Meanwhile, start the rice.  Chop 1 small onion up finely.  Saute it with a little oil in a wide saute pan with a lid (or dutch oven) until softened.  Add in 2 chopped garlic cloves and 2 cups rice.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes, then pour in 3 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer/low, and let cook 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting on the rice, make the mojo verde.  I used this recipe except I added in a tablespoon of fresh oregano, and did 3 whole bunches of cilantro (including stems).

Make the coconut slaw:  this is the recipe I used, which is delicious , but DEFINITELY serves like 8 people (recipe states it serves 4).  Cut it in half for sure.  OR, feel free to simply toss shredded cabbage with a little lime juice and salt and use that instead of making the coco slaw.

Warm up 2 cans or about 3 cups of black beans.

Save about 1 cup of the roasted squash in the fridge.  Toss the rest with plenty of spoonfulls of mojo to coat it.  If you have leftover mojo, we will use it another night as a burger spread.

To serve: pile everything in a bowl and enjoy!

black bean burgers + fries

Preheat oven to 500.  Follow this recipe for the fries and while you’re waiting for them to steam, start this veggie burger.

If you have leftover mojo verde, mix it with a little vegan mayo to spread on the burgers.

Wash and dry some lettuce leaves to wrap the burgers in (or use buns if that’s your thing).  If you have leftover slaw add that too!

black bean burger

To assemble: spread a burger with the mayo, place in lettuce cup or bun, sprinkle over toasted pumpkin seeds, add an avocado wedge or two, and pickled onions (or raw red onions).  Pile some fries on the side and enjoy!

enchiladas vegetarianas

Recipe here.  These were SO good and totally worth the effort.  You can make the sauce on the weekend to make this quicker, sometimes I even do a double batch and freeze the second half for next time.  You can also steam the squash the night before- then its really just rolling and baking.

vegan enchiladas vegetarianas

jackfruit tinga

Jackfruit has a texture eerily similar to shredded meat and when cooked in a rich sauce it takes on all those flavors.  This is a take of chicken tinga, where chicken is cooked in a tomato chipotle sauce with onions.  I used canned from Trader Joe’s and followed this recipe for jackfruit Tinga- except I served in warm tortillas instead of the tostada part.  I haven’t tried myself, BUT i bet you could put this in the crockpot in the am on low to save time????

vegan tinga de pollo

I topped with leftover crema + radishes, cilantro, lime and avocado, and a few pieces of raw onion (use pickled if you made those).

shopping list

dried chickpeas x 1.5 cups OR 2 cans prepared chickpeas

dried black beans x 3 cups or 4 cans prepared black beans

jackfruit x (2)- 20 ounce cans

long grain rice x 3.5 cups

chipotle en adobo x 2 small cans

limes x 8

cilantro x 5 bunches

fresh epazote (optional)

fresh oregano

jalapeño x 1 large

carrot x 3 large

red bell pepper x 1 (only if you’re making the coco slaw)

green bell pepper x 1 (only if you’re making the coco slaw)

radishes x 1 bunch

coconut flakes (unsweetened) x 1 cup

coconut milk x 1 can (only if you’re making the coco slaw)

roma tomato x 5 large

coconut yogurt OR 1 cup cashews (whichever you decide to use for the crema)

kabocha squash x 1 large

yukon gold potatoes x 1 pound

russet potatoes x 2 pounds

green cabbage x 1 head

swiss chard x 1/2 pound or about 1 bunch

cremini mushrooms x 1/2 pound

red cabbage x 1/2 a head or 1 very small (only if you’re making the coco slaw)

onion x 6 yellow and 1 red

garlic x 3 heads

avocado x 4 large

tomato paste x 1 can

raw pumpkin seeds x 1/2 cup (optional)

4 guajillo chiles + 4 ancho chiles OR good quality chili powder

canned tomatoes x 28 ounces

vegetable broth x 10 cups (I used better than bouillon “no chicken” concentrate)

brown sugar

olive oil

ground cumin

sherry vinegar

chickpea flour x 1/4 cup

ground flaxseeds

1 head of butter lettuce OR burger buns (depending on what you will use for burgers)

corn tortillas x 24

vegan mayo or ketchup (optional, for burgers)

meal plan- soups, rice, pad thai

greens plastic free

I can’t believe it’s Friday again already- this week has flown by.  It was extremely foggy all week here- “is it day or is it night?” kind of weather- so we’ve been reading, cozying up and watching old movies, playing board games.  I had to wake up really early to go to the farmers market on Saturday, I was groggy + grumpy + rushed, went without a list, and subsequently bought way less than I normally do.  So I basically relied on pantry staples like chickpeas, noodles, and rice, 2 week old carrots and kimchi (will share the kimchi recipe soon) until I got to the store mid week.  It was delicious though!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that they bring you some joy this week.  Don’t be like me- utilize the list I’ve left at the bottom of the post.  Also, you’ll probably have leftover red cabbage- this slaw makes a perfect lunch.  There’s a leftover 1/2 fennel bulb and and orange, too- thinly slice the fennel, peel and thinly slice the orange, add in thinly sliced celery, some parsley leaves, and a drizzle of good olive oil + flaky sea salt for a delish snack salad.

Sending you so much love xx

weekend prep: (if you WANT to, feel free to cook as needed during the week too)

-make this carrot soup: easy and tastes so good for only having a handful of ingredients.  I usually double it and freeze the other half in mason jars in the freezer (not too full and don’t put them in the freezer until they’re room or fridge temp to avoid cracking)

-soak and cook your chickpeas if you’re using dried instead of canned

-cook your farro for the chickpea soup

-toast your pepitas:  1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hot dry skillet, until they start to pop and brown in spots.  Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

the weeknight meals:

monday:  chickpea minestra

I constantly am making a variation of this type of soup in the winter.  I made some last week and a bunch of you asked for the recipe so here it is (although its not much of a recipe).  It’s fast, easy and comforting + makes use of all the winter veggies, mineral rich, and a complete meal.  You can do potatoes or butternut squash or turnips instead of the farro, cannellini beans or giant beans or lentils instead of the chickpeas, stir through quinoa, change up the spices (its really good with moroccan spices), whatever you’re into, use whatever greens you have.  I always love topping it with my vegan parm and a BIG squeeze of lemon + lots of chopped fresh parsley or a few fennel fronds (pictured).  Feel free to make this on the weekend except for the greens to have it all ready to go for monday night.

chickpea minestra

2 tablespoons good olive oil, optional

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 onion, chopped

1 leek, cleaned thoroughly and thinly sliced into half moons

1/2 a fennel bulb, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

big pinch chili flakes

6 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped

4 cups veggie stock

1 28 oz can tomatoes, pureed

2 cups or 1 can of chickpeas or any other bean

about 2ish cups of cooked farro, or potatoes, or any other grain or pasta (just be careful with quinoa because it expands ginormously if you leave in the soup overnight)

1 large bunch of greens like kale, chard, spinach, collards, chopped

chopped parsley for garnish

chili flakes for garnish

lemon, quartered, for serving

Heat up a large soup pot with or without oil, then add the fennel seeds and toast until slightly fragrant, a minute or so.  Add in the onion, leek and fennel and saute until they’re pretty softened, about 5 minutes.  Add in the carrots and celery and dried herbs, chili flakes, and garlic and continue cooking 5 more minutes.  Add in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer for 15 minutes, then add in the chickpeas and farro and season to taste with salt.  Add in the greens and let simmer another 5 minutes or so until they’re nice and tender.  Serve with extra chili flakes, parsley + lemon and a little vegan parm.

tuesday:  curry spiced rice with chickpeas and golden raisins

This rice dish is so delicious and has all the warming flavors.  If you can’t find/dont want to buy all the spices, you can add 2 tablespoons of a good curry powder in its place.

turmeric curry chickpea cauliflower rice

1 onion, chopped

1.5 cups rice

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

3 inch strip of orange zest

1/3 cup golden raisins

2 cups broth + 1 c water or all water

1.5 cup cooked chickpeas

2 cups small chopped cauliflower

1/3 cup chopped roasted pistachios

cilantro leaves

1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Saute the onions with a little oil until softened.  Add the rice and stir, cooking a few more minutes.  Add in the garlic and all the spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute.  Add in the water/broth, raisins, and the strip of zest, and salt to taste (amount will depend on how salty your broth is) bring to a boil, cover, and let cook 15 minutes.  Uncover, add on top the cauliflower and chickpeas in a layer without stirring the rice.  Recover and turn up heat to medium high, and let cook, undisturbed, for 10 more minutes to let rice develop a crust on the bottom.  Uncover, and using a spatula, loosely stir up the rice, scraping up the crusty bits.  Garnish with the pistachios, cilantro, lime and chili flakes.  If your pistachios aren’t salted, you may need some extra salt.

wednesday:  loaded carrot soup

This is an oldie but a goodie (see this post) which is why this pic of it has zucchini.

loaded carrot soup vegan quinoa

But it’s especially great for winter when theres an abundance of carrots.  Pull out your carrot soup and start it heating up in a pot.  Start a pot of quinoa (1c quinoa, 1.5 cups water or broth, bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cover, cook for 15)  Meanwhile, slice up a bunches of kale and the rest of your head of cauliflower.  Heat up a pan until really hot, add the kale and leftover chopped caulflower, and let cook without stirring for 2 minutes.  Add in the garlic and a drizzle of oil and toss to coat.  Add a splash of water and cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes.  Uncover and add a splash of tamari and toss again, then let cook until kale is wilted and tender.  Add the soup in the bowls first, a scoop of quinoa, scoop of kale, and sprinkle some toasted pepitas on top.

thursday:  pad thai-ish but not really

This is sort of reminiscent of pad thai but with a ton of veggies and a fish-less sauce.  It’s just a healthy-ish version of similar flavor profiles.  That being said, it’s delicious.  I used Minimalist Baker’s recipe for noodle free pad thai as a jumping off point, except then I realized I also wanted noodles.  So while I was cooking the rest of it, I boiled some brown rice fettucini.  I also did broccoli and celery instead of the bell pepper since those aren’t in season here.  I also doubled the sauce for obvious reasons, and I added in a heaping tablespoon of tamarind paste and the zest of the lime.  I topped it with toasted sesame seeds but it would be better with toasted crushed almonds or peanuts.  Whew.  I’m sure it would be great as written, though- I just can’t help myself.  While you’re cooking this, cook yourself a pot of rice to use for tomorrows fried rice (1.5 cups rice, 2.75 cups water, salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes).

Pad Thai vegan tofu

friday: kimchi fried rice

After a long week, treat yourself to a super flavorful 5 minute meal with your leftover rice.  When I made this on IG stories, some of you were worried about the kimchi losing its probiotic goodness when cooking it.  Very true but in this instance I’m not using it as a probiotic, just for the delicious goodness.  If you’re reallllllyyyy worried about it you can definitely just stir through the kimchi at the end.

vegan kimchi fried rice

1/2 an onion, small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 inch chunk of ginger, minced

1 bunch green onions, white/light green part cut into 1 inch pieces, dark green part sliced

cold leftover rice (freshly cooked will not work very well here)

1-2 cups kimchi, depending on how kimchi-ish/spicy you want it

1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled

4 small baby bok choi, chopped

1 tablespoon tamari

toasted sesame seeds x 1/4 cup

cilantro leaves +tender stems for garnish

lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

Heat up a large skillet with a little sesame oil.  Add in the diced onion and the white/light green sections of the green onion.  Stir fry for 5 minutes, add the garlic and ginger and stir fry another minute or two.  Add in the kimchi and stir to combine, then add in the crumbled tofu and the bok choi.  Cook for a minute or two until the greens wilt, then add in the rice and push it around to break up chunks.  Let fry, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes or so.  Pour in the tamari and mix it up.  Divide between bowls and sprinkle over the sesame seeds, cilantro, and remaining green onion.  Pass lime wedges to serve.

Zero waste vegan shopping

shopping list:

veggie broth x 12 cups

carrots x  15 large

red cabbage x 1 small head

celery x 1 bunch

onion x 3

leek x 1

fennel x 1

garlic x 2 head

ginger x 3 inch

fresh thyme

cilantro x 1 bunch

parsley x 1 bunch

green onions x 2 bunches

kale x 3 bunch

collards x 1 bunch

bok choi x 1 large head or 3-4 baby heads (lol)

broccoli x 1 head

cauliflower x 1 small head

lime x 5

orange x 1

chickpeas x 2 cups dried or 2 cans

farro x 1.5 cups

quinoa x 1 cup

rice x 3 cups

rice noodles x 1 package or 4 bulk servings

raw pumpkin seeds x 1 cup

pistachios x 1/3 cup shelled

toasted sesame seeds x 1/4 cup

almond butter (or PB) x heaping 1/4 cup

toasted almonds or peanuts x 1/3 cup (garnish for pad thai)

golden raisins x 1/3 cup

kimchi

tofu x 2 block

tamari

sesame oil

maple syrup or other sweetener of choice