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

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta

Hummus pasta fast vegan easy friendly free

Here’s a quick and easy meal you can whip up after a long or hard day.  Hummus seems weird to put in pasta, I know, but its really creamy and packed with protein, minerals, and flavor.  You could use jarred roasted red bell peppers if you wanted…also few red onion chunks would be good thrown in with the red bell to broil.  I used parsley but I think this would have been even better with arugula (my bulk arugula looked terrible this day so I didn’t buy).  It would also be great with some olives thrown on top.

Red bell pepper broiled pasta

You could use store hummus instead but you have to wait for the pasta to boil anyway and it tastes so good + you’ll have some hummus leftover for lunch or snack tomorrow, so win-win.

Hummus vegan easy fast zero waste

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta with broiled red pepper, chili flake, and parsley

4 servings dry pasta (I used bulk GF brown rice pasta but use whatever you want)

1 large red bell pepper

1 can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved (equivalent of ~1.5 cups freshly cooked)

1/3 cup creamy tahini

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 or more cloves garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil (or sub chickpea liquid)

big handful parsley, leaves removed and stems saved for stock or composted (i think this would be even more relish with arugula but I didn’t have any)

to serve: chili flakes, flaky sea salt, lemon wedges, and optional nooch or vegan parm (I didn’t use but would be good)

method:

Start a pot of water boiling.  If you have an electric kettle, I’ve been using that to boil the water first and it cuts the time so much.

While you’re waiting, slice the bell pepper into 1/4 inch thickish strips and toss with a touch of olive oil.  Put it on a baking sheet and put under the broiler, let it run about 5-10 minutes, depending on how close the sheet is to the broiler, be careful not to let it char too far.

Your water should be boiling, dump in the pasta, stir and set a timer for how long it states on the box or bin.

Next, start on the hummus: dump in the can of chickpeas, lemon zest + juice (approx 3 tablespoons), garlic, salt, tahini.  Let the processor run to get it mostly smooth, then add in the olive oil or chickpea liquid with the machine running.  I found I needed to add in an extra tablespoon of water/liquid, but this will depend on your beans.  Eyeball it and don’t worry.

Check on the red peppers, toss if necessary, and drain the pasta.  Toss the pasta with enough hummus to coat it (use more or less as you see fit) and then top with the bell peppers, chili flakes, parsley, chili flakes, and lemon wedges.

Serve and eat!  Store any leftover hummus for about 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge (like a jar or snaplock) although I doubt it will last that long.

pasta vegan gluten free hummus

rainbow pickles to jazz up your fridge

quick easy healthy vegan Buddha bowl gluten free

It’s really no surprise that I love to make quick healthy meals, and the secret to keeping it fresh and not getting bored is CONDIMENTS.

That’s right, but I’m not taking about the crusty jar of mustard sitting in the back of your fridge.  I’m talking about fresh, tangy, rainbow colored pickled veggies to add some sass and flavor into your grain bowls and salads.  I love making and adding red cabbage sauerkraut to our foods, but I also like to keep some quick pickled veggies in the fridge, too.  ESPECIALLY  in winter a pop of color is so nice when you just need cheery food to counteract all the grays.

You can (and should) quick pickle just about any veggie.  Here I’m doing yellow beets and red onions, but carrots, cauliflower, radishes, cucumber, chard stems, zucchini, really anything goes.

pickled beets onion rainbow grain bowlturmeric + lemongrass pickled beets

2 large yellow beets, steamed whole, then sliced thinly

2 inch piece of lemongrass, smashed with a rolling pin to release the aromatic oils

1 inch chunk of ginger, smashed with a rolling pin

1 inch chunk fresh OR 1 teaspoon dried turmeric

3/4 cup vinegar (white or cider)

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar (I used agave, you can use honey or granulated sugar too)

1 star anise (optional)

method

place the sliced beets in a glass jar or container that can be stored in the fridge.  In a small saucepan, add in all the other ingredients.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook 2-3 minutes, then pour the hot vinegar mix over the beets.  Put the top on and let cool before you refrigerate.  Stores 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

pickled red onions coriander vegan zero waste

pickled pink onions

1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)

1 tablespoon sugar- any kind, I used agave but you can use honey, granulated, whatever

2 teaspoons coriander seeds 

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 small dried chile (like arbol)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

method

place the onions in a glass jar or storage container.  place all other ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer 2 minutes, then pour over the onions. Cover and let cool before refrigerating.  Keeps 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

buddha bowl vegan kraut rainbow veggies gluten free

I hope you give these guys a try, they’re delicious and make even the most basic food pretty and fun.  Try them on avocado toast, in a Buddha bowl, in a sandwich, on top of salads, tacos, or just out of the jar.

*In the bowl pictured at the top, I have quinoa, white beans, sautéed kale, kraut, lemon, cilantro, radish, carrot, pickled beets, everything bagel spice, aleppo chili flakes and toasted pumpkin seeds.  This bowl took me about 5 minutes to chuck together since I had all the components ready to go in my fridge- I just sautéed the kale and piled everything else in.

xx Amanda

use your noodle.

IMG_1856.JPGPeanut noodles are a crowd pleasing, easy meal to have up your sleeve.  Plus, they look so pretty and impressive.  You can really make this with any noodles you fancy: udon, soba, julienned/spiralized carrot, cucumber or zucchini, even spaghetti.  I made this with bucatini I found in bulk at Rainbow Grocery and it was great!  Feel free to adjust as needed- sub almond butter, add tofu to make it more substantial, add crushed peanuts, lime, thinly sliced jalapeños, cabbage etc.  Make it your own!

peanut noodz (loosely based on this recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup creamy PB

1/4 cup tamari

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 inch or bigger chunk of ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup sesame oil (can sub water or use 2T mirin +2T water for oil free)

 

8 oz noodles, I used bucatini

5 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal

2 teaspoons korean chili flakes (or sliced fresh chiles, sriracha, other spicy thing)

METHOD:

Start a pot of water boiling for your noodles.

Meanwhile, add the PB, tamari, vinegar, agave, garlic, and ginger to a food processor.  Blend till smooth, then with machine running, drizzle in the oil to emulsify it.

Boil your noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water.  Toss sauce with noodles and then add in all your other ingredients.

Done!  This recipe holds up well in the fridge for a lunch the next day too, or make a double batch of sauce and keep the extra in the fridge for a quick dressing, dip, or drizzle.

 

 

 

lentil bolognese

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This lentil bolognese turned out so flavorful!  I had some lentils lounging in the fridge that needed to be used, so as usual, I planned my meal around them.  I always like to cook a legume on the weekend to have in the fridge to build meals easily- lentils go so well in grain salads, green salads, soups and more.  They are perfect little gems: gorgeous, easy to digest and packed with protein and iron.  Plus they have a nice hearty texture and can hold their own in this sauce.  Crimini mushrooms and tamari add a little umami, and plenty of aromatics make everything pop.  YUMMM let’s get to it.

IMG_1734

lentil bolognese (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil for sautéing

1/4 cup minced shallot or onion

1/4 cup minced carrot

1/4 cup minced celery

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

4 cloves chopped garlic

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

3 cups tomatoes- you can use chopped fresh or canned

1 tablespoon tamari

1.5 cups cooked lentils- I used French green; you can use any EXCEPT red lentils which will turn to mush

1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley + more for garnishing

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven.  Add in the shallot, celery, carrot, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened- about 7 minutes.  Add in the garlic, dried herbs, and chili flakes and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Add in tomatoes and tamari, stir, and simmer 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened.  At this point I pureed half of it before returning it to the pot; my kids prefer a smoother sauce.  You can do that too or leave as is; up to you!  Add in the lentils and basil and let cook minute or two to heat through.  Toss with pasta or zoodles or spaghetti squash, plate, and sprinkle with more chopped herbs and a generous sprinkle of my crumbly vegan parm .  Yum!  Keeps well in the fridge too.  Hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did!  If you make it, I’d love to see!  Tag me on instagram @mamaeatsplants .  Have a lovely weekend friends! xx A.

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kale fried rice

kale fried rice

I love kale.  Its probably my favorite winter green.  Something about it is very comforting, very grounding.  I have a hard time digesting it raw, so I usually cook it lightly and it tastes so delicious.  My kids, on the other hand, will only really eat greens in smoothie form and mild spinach is their favorite.  Im not complaining- my kids are very adventurous eaters- but I would like to get a little variety in them now and then.  Its so beneficial to rotate your greens to avoid a buildup of anti-nutrients and to get a wide variety of nutrients.  Kale is something I grow every fall/winter and it is forgiving of a black thumb!  You can even grow it in a pot.  Also, kale is an amazing, inexpensive nutritional powerhouse that has a pretty mild taste when cooked- unlike, ahem- swiss chard, my most hated green.

This very simple, loose “recipe” is so delicious and will easily adapt to whatever you have around.  This is the only way I can get the kids and husband to eat kale.  Try it at your house and see how it goes over!

kale fried rice.

1 large head of kale, stems removed (I prefer smooth dinosaur kale but use whatever type you like)

leftover brown rice (crucial- freshly cooked rice will NOT be the same)

2 cloves garlic, minced (mince and let sit for 10 minutes to increase allicin, a protective compound in garlic)

1/4c minced onion or shallot

3T coconut oil

2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Tamari or soy sauce or coconut aminos– adjust amount to your liking.  I probably used about 1/8c.

Sesame oil, a tablespoon or two

Sesame seeds, for sprinkling on top

Optional add ins: minced carrot, edamame, frozen peas, chopped green beans, minced broccoli, beans sprouts, cilantro- whatever veggies you/your kids love!  Just make sure any veggies are chopped small so that they will cook in time.

First, chiffonade your kale- the thinner the better.  The best way to do this is to stack all the leaves on top of one another, loosely roll them up, and slice very thinly across.

Heat up the coconut oil over medium heat, add the onions or shallots, saute for a few minutes until they are translucent, and then add the garlic.  Stir and saute for about 30 seconds or so until garlic is fragrant- take care not to burn/brown it or it will be bitter.

Add in the cold brown rice and stir it all up.  Turn up the heat to medium high and let cook without stirring for about 3 minutes.  You want the rice to crisp up a bit but not burn.  Stir the rice, then pile the kale (and any optional veggies youre adding) on top and let cook for another 3 minutes without stirring.  Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions and stir well.  Let cook, stirring every minute until the kale/veggies are softened to your liking (I did about 2 minutes but feel free to cook more)  Let cool slightly, spoon into bowls, and top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Note: This keeps and reheats very well so feel free to make a large batch for the week!

Much Love,

A.

kale