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

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)


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


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