8 Steps To Delish & Creative Vegan Meal Planning
The vegan diet lends itself naturally to creativity and experimentation. The beauty of this style of eating is its adaptability to varying schedules, tastes, and levels of cooking ability. Following are a few ideas to help you explore some of the endless possibilities a vegan diet affords.
Salad meals may consist of lettuce and/or other raw or cooked vegetables. For abmore substantial meal, combine them with potatoes, grains, pasta, beans, tempeh, or tofu. Salad entrees may be served warm or chilled, plain, tossed with an optional dressing, or served with a dressing on the side.
A hearty bean-, grain-, or vegetable-based soup makes a satisfying main course, especially when complemented with a whole-grain bread and perhaps a leafy green salad. Cold soups or thin soups make excellent summer fare, whereas thicker soups, stews, and chowders are ideal for colder weather.
Baked or steamed potatoes smothered with steamed or sauteed vegetables, a vegan gravy, tomato sauce, tofu-based sour cream, or whatever topping strikes your fancy are an easy, fun, and filling entree any time of the year.
Grain or Pasta Meals
Cook any grain (rice, bulgur, couscous, quinoa, millet, polenta, etc.) or pasta you prefer and top or toss it with a vegan cream sauce, nut-based sauce, tomato sauce, vegetable-based sauce, or just a little olive oil. If desired, add steamed, sauteed, or grilled vegetables, grated raw vegetables, fresh herbs, cooked beans, tofu, or tempeh.
Prepare three to six vegetables using your favorite method (steam, saute or stirfry, bake, broil, or grill). For a more substantial meal, include a potato, grain, winter squash, cooked beans, and/or whole-grain bread. Vegetable meals are delicious and interesting, with an abundance of visual appeal. Select organically grown seasonal vegetables whenever possible.
Almost anything that can be put on a bun, a bagel, or an English muffin; layered between two slices of bread; stuffed in a pita pocket; piled on a corn tortilla; or rolled in a flour tortilla or chapati can be called a meal. Grilled vegetables, seasoned tofu, marinated artichoke hearts, sauteed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, grated vegetables, bean pates, grain pates, salad greens, steamed greens, avocado, tomato, nut and seed butters, veggie burgers, meat analogs—if you can imagine it, it can happen! Sandwich meals are creative, quick, and fun, and the possibilities are endless!
Top frozen pizza shells, crusty Italian or French bread (sliced in half lengthwise and widthwise), split English muffins, or pita rounds with homemade or jarred pizza or tomato sauce (cheese-free) and finely chopped vegetables of your choice. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes or vegan Parmesan-cheese substitute and bake in a hot oven until golden brown and crisp.
Nearly all ethnic cuisines feature a variety of vegan specialties you can make from scratch at home, buy at natural food stores (fresh in the deli case or frozen), or order at restaurants. From Middle Eastern falafel and dips, to Indian and Thai curries, to Mexican burritos and beans, to exotic Ethiopian delights, to Italian pasta specialties, to Chinese stir-frys, and on and on you‘re bound to find endless options to make “ethnic night” the most anticipated meal of the week.
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