January 14, 2012

Vegan Meal Plan ~ Start with Basics

A woman I've come to know through our local Vegan/Vegetarian potluck asked me to help her get started in her efforts to change her eating habits.  She wants to eat more plant based meals, but doesn't know how to get started and encourage her husband, who is not so willing to try new foods, to try the vegan meals she's cooking up.

My first thought when answering her question, "Where do I start?", was make a pot of beans.  That's how I start out each weekend.  I start with the basics, protein (beans), grains, and greens. This is what I did this morning.  I do this kind of preparation every weekend.

I put on a pot of black beans that I soaked overnight, 2 cups beans to 6 cups water. Very simple, sauteed an onion and some garlic, threw in a few spices: ground pepper, cinnamon, a little curry, and a dash of oregano. 45 minutes to 1 hour cooking.

I put on a pot of quinoa and black rice, 1 cup each. 20 - 30 minutes cooking time

With those things cooked I can make a variety of meals. I combined the rice and quinoa and added a simple citrus-pumpkin vinaigrette. I can eat it by itself or mix with veggies during the weekend.

I also put the ingredients to soak for trail mix cookies, raw almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds,  pumpkin seeds, and some dried plums. (Plums from my friends tree that I dried myself.)

I usually add a very large salad to the menu, with at least ten vegetables in it. For a dressing I cut up avocado very small, (that makes the oil), and the juice of one whole lemon or orange.  If I want to change it up, I'll add some balsamic vinegar or sometimes nuts and seeds or dried fruit.

Since we are doing mostly green smoothies this week, that's about all I'll cook for this weekend.   But with those things made, I have a good base for any simple meal.  Greens, grains, and protein, that's the basics for a vegan meal. The cookies make a great satisfying snack with no added sugar.  There is food already made so when that urge to eat hits, the healthy stuff is handy.

Black Rice and Red Quinoa with Citrus Pumpkin Dressing

Trail Mix Cookies - Ready Tomorrow

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