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Quick Meal Ideas

Eating a plant-based diet does not mean that you have to sacrifice convenience. Fortunately there is a large and growing variety of ready prepared and easy to prepare tasty and nutritious plant-based meals available on the market today.  Additionally, a little planning can go a long way toward facilitating easy, nutritious and tasty meals.

Whenever possible, cook one or two dishes on weekends to eat during the week.  Additionally, always have a batch of cooked brown rice, quinoa or other cooked grain in the refrigerator.  Having cooked whole grains readily available in the refrigerator and/or freezer simplifies meal preparation when you’re short on time.  The same is true for beans – make a pot on the weekend to use for meals during the week.

If you want low calorie and healthy convenience food, check out rightfoods.com  and fantasticfoods.com.   For recipe ideas using these products, go to their websites.

Additionally, spend some time in the frozen foods aisle of several health/grocery stores. Notice the wide variety of ready to eat frozen plant-based meals.  Try several brands and varieties to see which you prefer, then always keep a few frozen vegan entrées in your freezer for those times when you need something quick.

A Few Ideas…

Veggie Burgers. Put all your favorite toppings on the plant-based burger of your choice and enjoy on a grilled bun or toasted whole wheat bread.  For topping ideas, click here.

Hummus Wrap.   Buy prepared hummus ( or make your own) and spoon it on a warm spelt tortilla.  Top with slices of tomato, cucumber and shredded carrots or sprouts, then wrap and eat like a burrito.  Alternatively use hummus and prepared falafel ( homemade or commercial) to make a pita sandwich.

Avocado Toast.  Mash ½ of a ripe avocado and add a sprinkle of lemon juice and pinch of salt.  Spread the mash over your favorite toasted whole grain bread and top with sriracha sauce.

Bean Tostados.  Heat drained canned pinto or black beans.  Mash them a bit with a fork, then spoon the beans over warm tostado shells.  Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sliced avocado or the veggies of your choice and salsa.

Fried Polenta.  Buy prepared polenta (like Food Merchants brand Organic Polenta) and crumble it into a frying pan.  Cook the crumbled polenta in a little oil until brown then serve with pure maple syrup and fresh berries.  Alternatively, cut the polenta into ½ inch slices, fry or grill, then top with your favorite marinara sauce, pesto, or canned black beans and salsa.

Grilled PB & Fruit Sandwich.  Spread peanut, almond or hazelnut butter on a slice of whole grain bread.  Top with thin apple, pear or banana slices and another slice of bread.  Grill on each side in a little vegan butter until brown.

Black Beans & Rice.  Open a can of black beans and put them in a small pan with their liquid.  Add 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon  garlic powder and salt to taste.  Heat the beans until they are bubbling then add 1 or 2 tablespoons  vegan butter and cook a minute or two longer.  Spoon over cooked brown rice (We use short grain brown).  Serve the Rice & Beans  topped with cashew cream if desired (hopefully you read the first part of this section and have cooked brown rice in your refrigerator or freezer).

Veggie Baked Beans & Dogs.  Heat a can of vegetarian baked beans in a small pan with slices of Field Roast frankfurters or other vegan hotdogs.  Heat through and serve.

Stir Fry.  Make a stir fry using frozen stir fry veggies and smoked tofu, vegan meat strips or nuts like peanuts or cashews.   Start cooking the frozen stir fry vegetables first as they take a little longer. Then add the smoked tofu, nuts or vegan meat and sauce.   Serve over cooked brown rice or quinoa.

BLT Sandwich.  Try vegan bacon strips ( homemade or store bought) on slices of toasted whole grain bread with lettuce, tomato and Just Mayo or  other vegan mayo.  Alternatively, use smoked tofu or avocado in place of the bacon.

Salads.  Make your salad the main attraction by adding chopped nuts and/or seeds or canned beans (that have been drained and rinsed) to salad greens.  For an easy dressing, thin a little yellow or sweet white miso with fresh lemon juice to desired consistency.   Alternatively, add drained and rinsed black beans to salad greens along with sliced avocado and chopped fresh vegetables then top with your favorite salsa.

Veg Deli Sandwiches.  Make your favorite sandwich using vegan deli sandwich slices.  Alternatively, make a sandwich using fresh sliced vegetables.  We like baby spinach, sliced cucumber, red onion and green pepper with avocado on sprouted seed bread.  Also try spreading smashed beans on the bread (any variety).

Tasty Bite. Convenient and delicious heat and eat meals available in several varieties.  Our favorites are Punjab Eggplant, Spinach Dal and any lentil variety.

Ready To Eat Noodles.  Annie Chun’s Noodle Bowls are great for home and office and are available in several flavors including our favorite Peanut Sesame.  Also try Tasty Bites brand Asian Noodles.

Frozen Entrées.  Amy’s brand makes several good frozen entrees that can be heated in the oven or microwave.  Try the Vegan Shepherd Pie, Dairy-Free Vegetable Pot Pie and Vegan Lasagna.   Not all Amy Frozen Entrees are vegan so check the package or go to  http://www.amys.com/products/product-categories/vegan. If you want to keep a few plant-based frozen pizzas on hand, try Daiya, Tofurky, and Amy’s brands.

Soup and Chili.  Amy’s and Imagine brands both make a variety of ready to eat plant-based soups.  Amy’s canned chili is also good and if you don’t mind mixing a few ingredients together, Fantastic brand chili mix is quite tasty and comes together quickly.

Do you have a plant-based quick and tasty meal idea? If so, please share it with VegansEatWhat?