5 Ingredient Vegan Meals

Let’s face it, sometimes you don’t have the time or the ingredients to put together a top chef meal. For the days when you just want something quick and easy, I put together some tasty and dead easy recipes. And remember just because the recipe is simple, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to taste spectacular! I have broken these down by meal time, but there is nothing wrong with having breakfast for dinner or vice versa.

BREAKFAST

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Smoothies are a great well balanced nutrient filled easy meal for anytime of the day. Just throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t like or can’t eat bananas, replace them with a small avocado. Also, to up the protein you can add hemp hearts or chia seeds, and if you like your smoothie cold, use frozen fruits rather than fresh.

- Tropical Treat : 1 banana (fresh or frozen), 1 C of coconut milk (or nut milk), 1 C frozen pineapple, 2 Tbsp of Hemp Hearts, 1 tsp vanilla.
- Berry Oat Breakfast: 1 banana (fresh or frozen), 1 C of nut milk, 1 C blueberries (fresh or frozen), 1/4 C oatmeal, 1 Tbsp of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds).
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: 1 banana (fresh or frozen, 1 C of nut milk, 1/2 C raspberries (fresh or frozen), 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 2 pitted dates.
- Minty Green Goddess: 1 small ripe avocado (peeled), 1 C nut milk, 1/2 C of fresh mint, 1 C pineapple (frozen), 2-3 Kale leaves.

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Overnight oats are another easy and delicious breakfast idea that are also great for an afternoon snack. They are no cook and the main ingredients are rolled or old fashion oats, nut milk and fruit. Feel free to switch up the ingredients to what you like and have on hand. I put them in 250 ml (8 oz) mason jars which makes them very transportable and I make up about five at a time. If you don’t have old fashion oats, you can use the instant version and if you like a sweeter taste, add a touch of maple syrup. Just place the oats and milk in your container and top with the other ingredients.

- Apple Cinnamon: 1/2 C oats, 1/2 C nut milk, 1/2 C chopped apple, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp chia seeds.
- Vanilla Nut: 1/2 C oats, 1/2 C nut milk, 1 Tbsp flax or chia seeds, 2 Tbsp walnuts or almond pieces, 1 tsp pure vanilla.
- Peanut Butter: 1/2 C oats, 1/2 C nut milk, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp flax or chia seeds, 1/2 C sliced ripe banana.
- Tropical: 1/2 C oats, 1/2 C nut milk, 1/2 C sliced ripe banana, 1/2 C pineapple (fresh or frozen), 1 Tbsp flax or chia seeds.

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We all love sandwiches and the sky really is the limit when it comes to fillings, but for me, I prefer the delicious sandwich’s sister - the wrap. They are easy to prepare, you can eat them for any meal and the ingredients you can use are limitless. Just remember, if you are making them up ahead of time, not to put too much wet sauces on them or you will end up with a soggy mess. The recipes below are for one large or two medium sized wraps and I didn’t include the wrap in the 5 ingredient list. As well, a sprinkle of salt & pepper brings out the flavors!

- Mexican: 1 small can black beans (drained), 1 small avocado (mashed), 1/2 C corn (frozen or canned), 1/4 C jarred salsa, 1 tsp ground cumin.
- Hummus Veggie: 1/2 C of hummus, 1/2 C sliced red or green peppers, 1/2 C diced kale or greens of your choice, 1/2 C shredded carrots, 1/2 small avocado sliced.
- Chickpea: 1 small can chickpeas (drained and mashed with 1 tsp lemon juice), 1/2 C sliced red onion, 1 C chopped spinach, 1/2 C sliced grape tomatoes, 2 Tbsp vegan sour cream or tzatziki sauce.
- Strawberry and Almond: 1/2 C almond butter (or any type of nut butter), 1/2 C sliced fresh strawberries, 1/2 C shredded carrots, 2 Tbsp granola.

LUNCH OR DINNER TIME

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Lately I have been obsessed with salads. They make me feel healthy, they are super easy and taste amazing. I know the idea can sound a little boring and you might think, that won’t fill me up but I think these recipes will prove this untrue! These recipes are for one large salad or two smaller ones. I cheated a little by adding one extra ingredient - the dressing. Just make sure if you are using a bottled dressing that it is vegan. As with all the recipes here, adding a sprinkle of salt & pepper will really bring out all of the flavors.

- Spinach/Bean: 1 small can of pinto beans (drained), 2 C of baby spinach leaves (washed), 1/2 C walnuts, 1/2 thinly sliced red onion, 1/2 C sliced fresh mushrooms. Suggested dressing: Maple/mustard, poppy seed or balsamic.
- Couscous/Veggie: 1 C cooked whole wheat couscous (or quinoa), 1/2 C sliced grape tomatoes, 1/2 C diced cucumber, 1/2 C diced onion, 1/2 chopped cashews. Suggested dressing: Italian or Greek.
- Black Bean: 1 small can black beans (drained), 1 C corn (frozen or canned), 1 small avocado (diced), 1/2 C red pepper (diced), 1/2 C salsa. Suggested dressing: Olive oil and lime juice.
- Pasta: 2 C cooked wholewheat or lentil pasta (any shape), 1/2 C jarred artichokes (diced), 1/2 C pitted olives (roughly chopped), 1/2 C tomatoes (diced), 1/2 C red onions (thinly sliced). Suggested dressing: balsamic or Mediterranean.

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Is there anything better than a stir fried rice and veggie meal, especially when they are quick, easy and delicious. I usually like to make this when I have left over rice from the night before and I often use frozen or canned veggies to speed things up. As with all my recipes, use them as a starting place and change them up to include your favs. Don’t forget to add salt & pepper to bring out the flavors, just be careful with the salt if you are using soy or another jarred sauce. These recipes make about two servings. The directions are the same for them all: add a touch of oil to a pan over medium high heat, add your veggies and/or tofu and cook for a few minutes, then add your rice cooking and stirring for about two minutes and finally add your sauce. I did again, add an extra ingredient with the suggested sauces and gave you a few ideas for extra toppings.

- Tofu Fried Rice: 2 C cooked brown rice, 1 C cubed firm tofu, 1 C broccoli (fresh or frozen), 1 C thinly sliced carrots, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic. Suggested sauce: Hoisin, Sweet and Sour or Stir Fry Sauce. Suggested toppings: Sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds.
- Thai Fried Rice: 2 C cooked brown rice, 1 C sliced mushrooms, 1 C diced red and green pepper, 1 C fresh or frozen kale, 1 Tbsp each: diced garlic and ginger. Suggested sauce: Thai Peanut Stir Fry Sauce, Pad Thai Sauce. Suggested toppings: Chopped peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro, sriracha.
- Curry Fried Rice: 2 C cooked brown rice, 1 C shelled edamame, 1 C thinly sliced carrots, 1 C green beans, 1 C cauliflower (fresh or frozen). Suggested sauce: Korma sauce, Mild Curry sauce, or 1 can coconut sauce plus 1 tbsp of curry paste and 1/4 C of lime juice. Suggested toppings: Chopped cashews, chopped fresh cilantro.
- Mushroom Fried Rice: 2 C cooked brown rice, 2 C sliced mushrooms, 1/2 C diced onion, 2 C chopped spinach or kale, 1 C peas (fresh or frozen). Suggested sauce: Garlic/Ginger Sauce, Jerk Sauce, Mango sauce. Suggested toppings: Chopped basil, chopped parsley.

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Just because you don’t eat cheese or pepperoni doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this ultimate comfort food. It simply means, it will taste better, be healthier for both you and the planet, and no animals will be harmed! All of these recipes can be made with packaged or home made pizza dough, a pre-made pizza crust or even a toasted large tortilla wrap. There are also many gluten free options at the supermarket. Just follow the directions on the packages to prepare the crust. If you are using a tortilla wrap, place the wrap on a pizza or baking tray and heat in the oven at 375 for 5 minutes. Once your crust is prepared, add your sauce and toppings, place the pizza on a pizza tray or baking sheet and cook in an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7-10 minutes. Just keep an eye on it so you don’t burn anything. I am not including the pizza crust as one of the five ingredients, because what is pizza without the crust lol.

- Caprese Pizza: 1 C pizza sauce, 1 thinly sliced Roma tomato (you can use any type of tomato you have on hand), 1 C thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, 1 C shredded vegan mozzarella. Suggested toppings: crushed pepper flakes, balsamic reduction, sea salt.
- Veggie/hummus Pizza: 1 C hummus, 1/2 C thinly sliced onion, 1/2 C thinly sliced tomato, 1 C chopped spinach, 1/2 C sliced black olives. Suggested toppings: fresh chopped oregano, crushed pepper flakes.
- Pesto Pizza: 3/4 C of prepared pesto sauce, 2 C of sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms or zucchini are good choices), 1 C vegan mozzarella shredded cheese. Suggested toppings: sea salt, crushed pepper flakes, fresh chopped oregano.
- No Sauce Pizza: 1/4 C olive oil (that’s your sauce), 1 thinly sliced Roma tomato, 2 C sauteed veggies (asparagus, onions, mushrooms are good choices), 1 Tbsp grated garlic (put this on and then top with veggies to prevent burning), 1 C vegan mozzarella shredded cheese. Suggested toppings: Chopped fresh parsley, sea salt, crushed pepper flakes, fresh chopped oregano.

Easy Peasy Vegan Soups

Whether it is cold outside, you are under the weather or you just feel like a comforting bowl of soup, these recipes are almost as easy as opening a can, but taste so much better! Having a supply of pre-made up stocks like veggie or mushroom and some frozen, fresh or canned vegetables make these recipes quick, easy and delicious.

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Tomato Soup (makes 4 servings)
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 C of your fav nut milk (unsweetened)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, diced small
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- a few leaves of fresh basil (optional)
- salt and pepper

Directions:
- Heat the olive oil up in a medium saucepan and add onion. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients and cook until heated through.
- Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth, or add to a blender and blend until smooth (be careful as the soup will be hot)
- Top with torn basil leaves if using and season with additional salt & pepper if needed.

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Mushroom Soup (makes about 4 servings)

- 4 C of sliced mushrooms (whatever type you like)
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, diced small
- 1 container (3 cups) of mushroom stock (or veggie)
- 1 C of nut milk
- 2 Tbsp of flour
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp each: thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper

Directions:
- Heat up oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, and add onion and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper and flour and stir until flour is incorporated-about 1-2 minutes.
- Add stock, bring to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes, then add milk and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until it is the consistency you prefer. You can also use a blender but be very careful as the soup will be hot!

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Cauliflower/Broccoli Soup (makes about 4 servings)

- 3 C cauliflower, chopped stems and florets
- 2 C broccoli, chopped stems and florets
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 container (about 3 C) of vegetable broth
- 1 C nut milk
- 1/3 C nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp each: thyme, salt and pepper

Directions:
- Heat up oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and add onion. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add cauliflower, broccoli and carrot. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add flour, thyme, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and stir until flour is incorporated. Then add broth and milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Use an immersion blender to blend half the soup, leaving some chunky for texture. You can also blend half in a blender, being careful as the soup will be very hot!

NOTE:
- You can replace fresh veggies with frozen. Just reduce your cooking time by at least half.

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Leek Soup (makes about 4 servings)

- 3-4 big leeks, clean and slice (use only white and pale green parts)
- 1 each: large onion, large carrot, celery stalk, large potato, all chopped
- 2 Tbsp of Olive oil (or vegan butter)
- 4 C of veggie broth
- 1 C of white wine or water
- 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp each: thyme, salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

- Heat oil or butter over medium heat and add leeks, onion, carrots, celery and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring.
- Add broth and wine or water, bay leaf, thyme, salt & pepper and cook over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until it is the consistency you prefer. You can also use a blender but be very careful as the soup will be hot!

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Cold Gazpacho Soup (makes about 4 servings)

- 1 large can canned tomatoes with juice
- 1 each: cucumber, red pepper and onion, chopped
- 1 C of tomato juice
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp of herbs (fresh or dried) thyme, parsley, chives and/or tarragon
- ¼ C red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper – or a small chopped fresh hot pepper
- ¼ cup each: olive oil and lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
- Put 3/4 of everything  into a blender and blend smooth, then add the rest and blend just a little to keep some chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put in fridge and cool for at least an hour.

NOTE:
- Top with chopped chives and vegan sour cream if you like.
- Switch up veggies - celery, zucchini, green pepper, radish, etc.

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Tortellini Soup (makes about 4 servings)

- 1 Tbsp oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 C chopped spinach
- 1 C spinach prepared fresh tortellini
- 4 C of vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each: rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
- Vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
- Add oil to a large pot on medium high heat. Add all ingredients except vinegar and spinach. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and simmer 8-10 minutes.
- Take off heat and add spinach and vinegar and top with Parmesan cheese if using.

NOTE:
- Add whatever veggies you like (broccoli, cauliflower, kale-chop small)

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Black Bean Soup (makes about 4 servings)

- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 each: small onion, celery stock, large carrot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 Tbsp each: of Chili Powder and Cumin
- 4 C veggie broth
- 2 large cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 1 C frozen or canned corn
- 1 tsp salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

- Heat up oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add onion, celery and carrots, cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, spices and salt and pepper, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add broth, 1 can of beans and tomatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes. Then blend with an immersion blender or food processor. If it is too thick add a bit more broth.
- Add last can of beans and corn and heat for 3-4 minutes.

OPTIONS:
- Top with fresh cilantro or diced avocado.

Vegan Meals for Kids

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Let’s face it, getting kids to eat anything can often be a challenge, so putting a plate full of veggies and legumes in front of them might seem downright impossible.

There are a tons of ways to make this process of meal time with kids easier, but one of the best ways to lessen the stress is to make a single meal for everyone. In other words don’t prepare a Plan B dinner for the picky eaters. What you make is what they get! The only exception to this might be when the adults are craving a lot of spice in their meal because that just isn’t fair to their young and sensitive pallets. I know this one size fits all when it comes to dinner, is easier said than done, but insisting they at least taste the meal, together with watching their parents enjoy the meal, will work out in the end. And besides, who has the time to prepare separate meals for their family?!

Another helpful tip is to have kids be part of the process. Have each child choose one meal a week; if they are old enough, have them help prepare at least one part of the meal; let them pick one or two of their lunch time snacks from your approved choices; include them while you are shopping (just kidding); and most importantly have conversations about why you are including them in a plant based lifestyle. Kids are very empathetic, so if you explain to them, you are doing this for the animals and the planet, they will be more likely to want to participate.

When introducing a new food, a great way to get them to try it is to offer them a very, very tiny sample. I mean like one pea or a single grain of rice. When they do taste this new item, offer them a reward of something they love to eat.

If you just can’t deal with your children going to bed hungry, you can put together a back-up plan for the days when they absolutely refuse to eat the meal you prepared. My suggestion is to offer only a single option like a smoothie or toast with nut butter, that way you know they are still getting something. This last straw option, shouldn’t change. If you decide the alternative is toast, then it is always toast.

Of course, this isn’t always an easy path with many kids but taking the opportunity to teach them about living a plant based life will help them to develop an identity around healthy foods, gain skills in the kitchen, and understand how food choices affect their health, animals and the planet.

With special planning a vegan diet can be healthy for all ages including toddlers. I have put together some recipes to get you started but with everything, check out your own resources or speak with a nutritionist to see what works best for you.

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Since most parents don’t have a lot of time to prepare breakfast, especially on a school morning, here are some great breakfast options that are quick, nutritious and delicious:

- Bagel or whole wheat toast with the following toppings:
- Nut butter with thinly sliced apple or banana
- Vegan cream cheese with sprouts
- Mashed avocado and a thinly sliced tomato
- Oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries
- Vegan waffles topped with fresh fruit and maple syrup
- Breakfast Burritos with the following fillings (many of these can be made up ahead of time and frozen:
- Scrambled tofu with vegan cheese and as much of their fav veggies as you can stuff
- Mashed black beans with mild salsa and vegan cheese
- Healthy cereal with sliced fruit and nut milk
- Smoothies are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get nutritional food into your kid’s mouth
- 1 C of nut milk, 1 small banana, 1/2 C of frozen fruit, 1/2 C frozen veggies, 1 tsp hemp or flax seeds and 1 tsp nut butter. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until really smooth. If it is too thick add more nut milk. This make about 2 servings.
- Here are some other flavor combinations: Milk, banana, blueberry, spinach, hemp seeds and cocoa powder; Coconut milk, avocado, mango, pineapple, flax seeds and sweet potato; Milk, avocado, strawberries, beets and maple syrup

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As far as lunch goes, if your kids are at school, you will probably have to make their lunches school safe, meaning no nuts. The good thing is there are loads of choices for them and if you use leftovers from the night before it can make this task a little easier.

- Quesadillas, sandwiches or wraps with the following ingredients:
- Hummus, chopped tomato and vegan cheese
- Mashed pinto beans, mild salsa, grated carrots, finely chopped spinach
- Mashed black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, ground cumin, vegan cheese
- Cooked sliced mushrooms, chopped spinach, mashed avocado, garlic salt, vegan cheese
- Tofu scramble, finely chopped kale, any type of chopped veggies, barbecue sauce
- Sun butter with sliced bananas and hemp seeds, add jam if you like
- Pasta, quinoa or barley salad with chopped fresh veggies and vegan dressing, top with pumpkin seeds
- Pita or bagel pizzas with pizza sauce, thinly sliced veggies and vegan cheese
- Chopped fruit or veggies with dips like hummus or dairy-free yogurt
- Pretzels, dried fruit, granola, dry cereal
- Nut milk or coconut water

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As I mentioned, dinners are made much easier if you make just one meal for everyone! This works as long as there are no food allergies or the adults want to add a lot of spice to their meal - even then you can remove the kid’s portions before adding the spice. Here are a few ideas that are a little more kid friendly:

- Pasta with tomato sauce and you can blend in spinach, kale or any other cooked veggies, top with nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste
- Pasta with avocado - here is my fav recipe
- Carrot or mushroom soup with a vegan grilled cheese - here is a really easy recipe
- Stuffed mushrooms - here is the recipe which uses potatoes as the stuffing but you can switch it up and use sweet potatoes or squash
- Fish tacos - here is the recipe
- Veggie Pizza, the sky is the limit with toppings - here is one easy recipe
- Noodle bowls can be adapted using any type of veggie your kids like. Here is a quick and easy recipe
- Roasted cauliflower bites - you can make these as spicy or mild as your kids like. Here is the recipe
- Gardein has some great crispy chicken and fish fingers that you can serve with mashed potatoes and a fruit or veggie salad


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Snacks are something that kids are always asking for and as parents we do our best to give them the healthiest versions. Here are some easy and healthy choices.

- Organic air-popped popcorn – you can top with spices to bump up the flavor
-   Hummus with baby carrots for dipping
-   Organic tortilla chips with 1/4 cup of salsa
-   Kale Chips - Add about 1 C of kale (remove stems) sprinkle with a teaspoon of olive oil and lightly salted, baked at 400 degrees until crisp
-   Mini pretzels with 1/2 teaspoon of mustard for dipping
-   Organic grapes, blueberries, raspberries, sliced kiwi, watermelon
-   Chocolate almond or soy milk
-   Vegan yogurt with sliced fruit
-   Celery sticks with almond butter
-   Dates stuffed with almond butter – add a slice of banana




Vegan Shopping Guide - What to Stock Up On

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Whether you are new to a plant-based diet or you are just beginning to consider a vegan life, getting started can sometimes seem daunting. Being prepared makes the transition and the meal prep so much easier, because like they say before anything else, preparation is the key to success. And you don’t have to worry about not having enough choices because there are literally thousands of different types of fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

I put together some basic grocery items that will make eating and snacking easy and delicious. I always stock up on pantry and frozen items that go on sale, whether or not I need them right away as it helps with the budget in the long run. And frozen fruit and veggies are a great way to keep them around without having to worry about spoilage. You can add frozen fruit to your morning smoothie or oatmeal and frozen veggies to your fav broth for a quick soup. Remember that everything you may have been eating in the past can easily be replaced with a plant-based option, just make sure to read the labels to be certain it is a vegan product.

To make things easier, I separated the shopping items by suggested meals and snacks, but these are just recommendations so add whatever you like best! Check out the rest of our Food Section to find a bunch a easy recipes.

Breakfast:
- Oatmeal, Cereal, Bread (bagels, muffins)
- Fruits - fresh - bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries, mango, and frozen fruit
- Veggies - avocado, sprouts, kale and spinach
- Nut butter* - peanut, almond, cashew
- Maple Syrup, agave nectar
- Non Dairy - nut milk (almond, cashew, nut, hemp), dairy free yogurt, vegan butter
- Chia, hemp hearts and flax seeds (you can add these to your oatmeal, cereal or smoothies)
- Nuts - almonds, cashews, walnuts
- Tempeh and tofu
*Check to make sure they don’t contain unsustainable palm oil.

Lunch:
- Wraps, bread
- Grains - couscous, quinoa, rice
- Canned beans - chickpeas, black, kidney, pinto and lentils
- Veggies - fresh - lettuce, celery, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, and frozen veggies
- Tofu
- Vegan luncheon meats and cheese
- Canned soups and broths
- Spreads - mayo, mustard, ketchup, hummus, salad dressing

Dinner:
- Barley, quinoa, pasta, rice, lentils
- tortilla wraps, naan bread, pita’s,
- Veggies - spinach, kale, onions, garlic, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, squash, corn and zucchini
- Tofu and tempeh
- Non-Dairy - plant based cheese, vegan sour cream
- Canned - broth, soups, tomatoes, coconut milk, beans
- Sauces - stir fry, soy sauce (make sure it is vegan), curry sauces/pastes

Snacks:
- Olives, pickles, kimchi,
- Fruit - grapes, cherries, dates, bananas, apples, berries and dried fruit
- Veggies - carrot, celery, cherry tomatoes, radish, cucumber, avocado, edamame and broccoli
- Nuts and seeds
- Crackers* and dips
- Popcorn*
- Vegan ice cream
- Rice cakes
* Check to make sure they don’t contain unsustainable Palm Oil.

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Other:
- Spices (fresh or dried) - Basil, Cayenne, Chili powder, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry powder, Garlic, Ginger, Onion powder, Oregano, Pepper flakes, Rosemary, Thyme, nutritional yeast
- Oils - olive, sesame, avocado, and coconut
- Dried Fruit - raisins, cranberries, dates and figs
- Seeds - sesame, pumpkin and sunflower, flax and chia
- Canned/Jar - tomatoes, tomato paste, veggies, jackfruit, soups, broth, coconut milk, pineapple, hot sauce, sriracha, vinegar, and salad dressing

Super Easy and Quick Plant Based Lunch Recipes

Whether you are working from home or taking a bagged lunch to the office with you, fast and easy is the key to avoiding take out meals or skipping lunch altogether. Using ingredients like canned beans and broths or frozen veggies are great little cheats that help you get great tasting fast meals into your mouth. I put together a few of my favorite recipes that you can easily make ahead and take with you or throw together in minutes and enjoy right away.

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Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches (makes 3-4 servings)

- 1 small can of chickpeas (13 oz/400 ml), drained and rinsed
- 1 small ripe avocado
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 Tbsp of vegan mayo
- juice of half a lime
- salt & pepper to taste
- a few drops of hot sauce (optional)
- bread of your choice
- toppings: sliced tomato, lettuce, sliced cucumbers

Directions:

- Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Spread on bread and top with your fav toppings.

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This delicious soup is made quick and easy by using Vegan Pho broth and either fresh or frozen veggies. If you can’t find Pho broth you can sub with Veggie broth and add a couple of pieces of garlic and ginger, a couple of whole star anise and cloves, a stick of cinnamon and a few drops of soy sauce. Heat up over medium high heat for about 10 minutes and remove all of the spices before add the veggies to your soup.

Easy Vegan Pho (makes about 3-4 servings)

- 1 container of Pho broth (30 oz/900 ml)
- 2 C of frozen, canned or fresh veggies (some good choices are shelled Edamame, julienned carrots, sliced mushrooms, peas, bean sprouts)
- 1 small package of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 oz of rice noodles
- toppings: sliced jalapeno, chopped green onions, fresh cilantro or basil, lime wedges

Directions:

- Pour the broth into a large pot and heat over medium high heat.
- While the broth heats up, cook rice noodles according to package.
- Next, add all veggies to your broth and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- While veggies are cooking, add a small amount of oil to a fry pan and add cubed tofu. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove and place on paper towel.
- Divide noodles and tofu into bowls and top with broth. Serve with the toppings you like.

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The great thing about salads is you can thrown almost anything you like into them. This recipe takes advantage of canned beans and frozen veggies.

Black Bean and Corn Salad (make 4 servings)

- 1 small can of black beans (13 oz/400 ml), drained and rinsed
- 1 C of frozen corn (can sub with 1 small can of canned corn)
- 1 small ripe avocado, diced
- 1/2 C each: diced onion, diced red pepper, halved cherry tomatoes and diced celery
- juice of 1 lime plus 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp each: ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp of diced jalapeno (optional)
- 1 Tbsp of chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions:

- Toss all of the ingredients together and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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This super quick vegan chili tastes amazing and can be easily frozen. Feel free to switch up the veggies to whatever you like.

Vegan Chili (make 4 servings)

- 1 large can of chopped tomatoes (28 oz/ 830 ml) with juices
- 1 small can (13 oz/400 ml) drained and rinsed each: black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans
- 1 C frozen or canned corn
- 2 C of diced fresh or frozen veggies (good choices: onion, zucchini, mushrooms, celery, carrots, sweet peppers)
- 1 C of tomato juice, veggie stock or water
- 1 tsp each: ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper
- Toppings: diced avocado, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro.

Directions:

- Throw all ingredients into a large pot over medium high heat and cook for about 20-30 minutes or longer if you have the time.
- Top with diced avocado, green onions and/or cilantro.

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Wraps are one of those versatile foods that you can add almost anything to. If you are making these up ahead, make sure to keep the sauces to a minimum so you don’t end up with a soggy wrap. You can even pack the sauce separately and dip your wrap when lunch time comes. This recipe calls for prepared satay sauce and bagged coleslaw or spinach, making your prep easy and fast.

Baked Tofu Wrap with Satay Sauce (makes 1 large wrap)

- 1 large wholewheat wrap
- 1/2 C of prepared coleslaw or fresh spinach
- 1/2 C of baked tofu strips
- 1/2 C of sliced red pepper
- 2 Tbsp of prepared Satay sauce
- chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts (optional)

Directions:

- For each wrap, spread some satay sauce almost to the edges. Arrange some of the slaw, peppers, and tofu more or less down the center - add optional toppings.
- Then fold two edges part way over the ingredients and roll up.

Yes, Your Fur Babies Can Eat Vegan Too!

What my dogs eat is probably one of the top 5 questions I get asked on social media. The answer is my dogs eat only vegan food and they love it. I have been feeding them a plant-based diet for years and they are all doing extremely well! And even though many dog owners believe that their dogs must eat animal products, research shows this is simply not true. Dogs are the same as humans, they are omnivores, meaning they do not have to eat meat! You should also know that apart from fleas, the leading cause of skin allergic reactions in dogs is food allergies. These allergies frequently come from meat like beef, chicken, or lamb. A vegetarian or vegan diet that eliminates animal food sources will help to handle the allergic reaction and other health issues of your furry friends like liver disease and kidney stones.

My routine usually includes a home made breakfast for all my pups and vegan kibble for the remainder of the day. I do this because after a ton of research I know that the vegan brand dog food that I feed them has absolutely everything they need for a balanced diet but I also like to switch it up for breakfast so they don’t get bored with their food. My fav brand and my doggies fav brand of plant-based dog food is V-Dog (click here to see their products).

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Before you decide to make your own home made recipes for your dog family, remember you should always do your homework! There is a ton of reliable research available on the net so take some time and learn. You will also need to watch your pet closely in the beginning. Anytime you change their diet, you should watch and make sure they aren’t having any type of allergic reaction to their new food. If your dog has specific health issues, you can speak with your vet, but from my experience most know very little about plant-based diets. Also, there are a number of common foods you should never use in dog recipes. Some of these are: alcohol, apple seeds and the pits of most fruits, avocados, candy and chocolate (particularly anything containing Xylitol - a sweetener), coffee and tea, garlic, grapes, gum, onions and onion powder, raisins, rhubarb leaves, salt, walnuts, Xylitol (very toxic to dogs), and yeast dough. This is not a complete list and you should always check before preparing any dog food at home.

So, back to feeding our fur babies - I usually take a Sunday afternoon and make up a large batch of the home made stuff, then freeze it for the week. My dogs are all quite small so freezing the food in ice cube trays and then transferring to reusable plastic bags works for me but for larger dogs you can freeze larger portions.

These two recipes below include all of the essential amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pet. You can use your slow cooker or a large pot on the stove. You can also cook the ingredients separately or put them together at once into a pot, just leave out the seeds, yeast, kale, peas and spinach until the end to avoid cooking the nutrients out of them. In these recipes, I use cooked ingredients and mix them up at the end.

Lentil Chickpea Dog Food (makes about 4 cups of food)

- 1 C of cooked red or green lentils
- 1/2 C of cooked chick peas, unsalted and rinsed well
- 1/2 C each of: cooked sweet potato and cooked peas
- 1/2 C each of fresh chopped kale and apple
- 1 Tbsp each: Chia seeds, flax meal, ground or whole unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: turmeric, thyme, and rosemary**
- Taurine (buy on amazon and add according to the dosage on the package)
- CBD Oil (Optional-dosage per the brand)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional-1 tsp per 20 lbs of dog weight)
- Water if mixture is too thick.

Directions:
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add small amounts of water if the mixture is too thick.
- If you are cooking for smaller dogs, you can mash it up with a potato masher.
- Freeze in proper sealed portions.
- A the time of serving, let the portions thaw and mix in taurine, CBD oil and olive oil (if using).

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Quinoa Carrot Dog Food (makes about 4 cups)

- 1 C of cooked Quinoa
- 1/2 C of cooked black beans, unsalted and rinsed well
- 1/2 C each of cooked: diced carrot, green beans
- 1/2 C of chopped fresh spinach and apple
- 1 Tbsp each: hemp seeds, flax meal, ground or whole unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: turmeric, thyme, and rosemary**
- Taurine (buy on amazon and add according to the dosage on the package)
- CBD Oil (Optional-dosage per the brand)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional-1 tsp per 20 lbs of dog weight)
- Water if mixture is too thick

Directions:
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add small amounts of water if the mixture is too thick.
- If you are cooking for smaller dogs, you can mash it up with a potato masher.
- Freeze in proper sealed portions.
- A the time of serving, let the portions thaw and mix in taurine, CBD oil and olive oil (if using).

A couple of notes: Even though Taurine is not an essential amino acid, it is added to most pre-made dog foods and I include it in my recipes but I add it at the time of feeding so each dog gets the correct dosage. I also do this with CBD oil - adding it at the time of feeding so each dog receives the proper dosage. If your dog has winter dandruff or dry skin issues you can add olive oil at the time of feeding as well. Also, if your fur baby doesn’t like a particular fruit or veggie, switch it up to something else or hide it in the food. My dogs don’t really like kale or spinach so I pulverize it in a food processor first and then add it at the end to my recipe. Lastly, cut the ingredients up to suit the size of your dog - if you are feeding a German Shepherd there is no need to cut your carrots up too small.

**there is a lot of conflicting information regarding rosemary as an ingredient in dog food. If you are at all worried make a small batch to see how your dog reacts, or if you prefer, leave the ingredient out.

Fast and Easy Ways to Get Delicious Food Into Your Mouth!

Whether you are new to a plant-based life or you have been eating animal free for years, there are days you don’t want to have to think too much about your next meal nor do you want to find some of those tricky ingredients. I have put together some easy and fast tricks that you can use to make your meal prep a breeze.

Something I always do when I am grocery shopping, is to stock up on plant-based items that are on sale. So even if I don’t really need another tin of chickpeas or a bag of frozen kale, if it is on sale, I grab another one. Stocking up on just a few ingredients will make your meal planning much easier. In my pantry I always try and have several tins of beans – black, pinto, chickpeas and kidney; cans of cooked tomatoes and even cans of veggies (some people frown on canned veggies, but for the most part they are pretty good); bags of red and green lentils, rice, couscous; instant oatmeal; mushroom and veggie stock; canned coconut milk; nut butter; seeds and nuts (including flax and hemp seeds); breads and bagels; oils and vinegars; and loads of dried spices and nutritional yeast. I make sure my freezer is filled with frozen veggies and fruits (these are delicious and quite often much less expensive than fresh and obviously last longer); some convenience food like vegan pizza, veggie pot stickers or a mac and cheese. Lastly, I keep pre-made sauces; tofu; pickles; olives; nut milk; vegan butter; and fresh veggies in my fridge.

With a basic stocked pantry/freezer/fridge you can easily put together fast and delicious meals. Let’s start with some quick breakfast ideas.

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1)     Nut butter toast with sliced bananas and Chia seeds – Most bread and bagels are vegan but just check before you buy. Slather on your fav nut butter on two pieces of whole grain toast, add a sliced banana and sprinkle with Chia or Hemp seeds.

2)     Instant Oatmeal with apples and spices – Make your instant oatmeal and top with diced apple and your fav spices. I use cinnamon, maple syrup and cardamom. Then sprinkle it with hemp or chia seeds and top with a little nut milk if you like. You can add any type of fruit and even use frozen.

3)     Breakfast smoothie – there is no limit really to what you can add to this fast breaky meal. I always use whatever frozen fruit I have, some frozen kale or spinach, hemp and or chia seeds, cinnamon and nut milk. Sometimes I change it up by adding nut butter or instant espresso powder.

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4)     Avocado bagel/toast – Another simple and delicious meal! I mash my avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper and often top it with sliced tomato, bean sprouts or even pickled jalapeno, but you can get creative with whatever you have in your fridge. A trick to keeping your avo’s at the ripeness we like is to put the unripe fruit in the fridge and take one at a time out and set on your counter – after a day or two it will be at the prefect ripeness. Also, if you are looking for a lower carb option, skip the bread and add diced tomatoes, jarred peppers (sweet or hot), some nutritional yeast and chopped cilantro.

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5)     Overnight oats – These couldn’t be simpler because you make them the night before and they take only minutes to prepare. The choices here are endless but basically you add about 1/3 cup of instant oats along with the same amount of nut milk, then top with frozen berries, hemp, flax or chia seeds, and any spices you like to any type of container – I use mason jars because they hold the perfect amount and are transportable. Place the container in the fridge overnight and in the morning, they will be ready when you are.

6)     Smoothie bowl – This is completely customizable and is a great way to use up fruits in your fridge or freezer. Basically, this is a smoothie but just thicker and you eat it with a spoon. So just prepare your fav smoothie and don’t add as much liquid. Put it into a bowl, top with more fruit if you like and sprinkle with nuts or seeds.

7)     Breakfast Burrito – these will take a bit more prep time than a smoothie or toast, but the good thing is you can make a bunch up on the weekend and freeze them. Take one out the night before and put in your fridge. The sky is the limit with the fillings and a quick google search will give you hundreds of recipes but essentially, they are filled with either scrambled tofu or egg replacements, some beans, cooked or fresh veggies, some spices and plant-based cheese if you like. In mine, I include scrambled tofu which I add salt, pepper and ground cumin to while cooking; drained black beans, chopped avo and tomato, some salsa and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to a whole wheat tortilla.

8)     Bacon and eggs – That is tempeh bacon and scrambled tofu. Most grocery stores stock tempeh bacon and it cooks very fast. Putting together a tofu scramble (firm tofu crumbled with your fingers, frozen kale, nutritional yeast, some chili powder, salt and pepper) takes only a couple of minutes, then fry up some tempeh bacon, add sliced tomato and your breakfast is done.

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9)     English muffin breaky sandwich – Once again, the sky is the limit! One that I love includes mashed chickpeas with ground cumin, sliced tomato and avo, vegan cheese and salsa. I put the ingredients on a toasted English muffin and put it in the microwave for a few seconds or under the broiler in the oven. So good and so easy!

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10)  Really lazy options – There are tons of prepared plant-based food options in your grocers’ freezers and shelves. Try vegan waffles topped with frozen fruit (heated up on the stove with a touch of water), maple syrup and hemp seeds. A bowl of cereal with sliced banana and chia seeds takes zero effort. Or a big plate of sliced fruit is another simple choice!

Whatever options you choose, eating a plant-based breakfast is much easier than it may seem. It is simple, delicious and animal free - good for you, the planet and the animals!

 

Easy Ways to Veganize Your Christmas Dinner

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What if Christmas doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. - Dr Seuss

Holidays are not about the presents, decorations or the food. They are about spending time with those you love, and your family and friends will love you no matter what you serve for a holiday meal! So why not start a new tradition? A vegan Christmas Dinner. It is delicious, healthy, easy and not a single animal will be killed in the process!!

I am going to show you easy changes for each part of a traditional meal.

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Appetizers and starters are so easy when it comes to vegan based options. Here are some great ideas for home made recipes, but serving simple treats like fresh veggies with hummus or tortillas and salsa will be loved by all your guests.

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Turkey or Roast Beef:

  • There are so many ready-made options in the stores today. Gardein is one I use and it is so easy and delicious. For real convenience, you can even buy it with the stuffing and gravy included. Other brands include: Beyond Meat, Tofurky, Yves, Trader Joe’s, and many others.

  • If you would like to serve home-made options, try my Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms or my Stuffed Pepper recipes here. There are also thousands of other recipe ideas all over the internet.

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Side Dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes are easy to prepare without animal products. Use either vegan butter or olive oil in place of butter. Adding roasted garlic or fresh herbs like Rosemary or Thyme is another great flavor booster.

  • All of your veggie dishes can easy be made using vegan butters, oils and fresh herbs. Your friends and family won’t taste any difference! Here are some easy recipes that include all of the traditional fav’s along with some new ones to try.

  • Stuffing is another dish that tastes even better when you take out all the animal products. Replacing meat broths with veggie or mushroom broth is easy and add loads of veggies, herbs and vegan butter or oil. Here is my favorite recipe, but the great thing about stuffing is you can add just about anything you like.

  • Gravy may seem like a difficult thing to make without using animal products but it is so easy and tastes even better than the traditional gravies. You can either make it yourself or many stores offer Vegan Gravy options. If you prefer a home made version here is a great recipe that I make myself.

    - 2 C of chopped fine mushrooms – any type you like
    -  2 cloves of garlic, diced small 
    -  ½ onion diced small
    -  2 C of mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
    -  ¼ C of AP flour
    -  2 Tbsp of oil (or vegan butter)
    -  1 tsp each: salt, pepper and thyme (dried-if using fresh use triple the amount)

    DIRECTIONS:
    -  Heat up the oil or butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
    -  Add mushrooms, onion and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes (or until soft).
    -  Add flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
    -  Slowly whisk in stock and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until it thickens).

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Vegan desserts have come a long way! You can now buy just about any type of dessert made without animal products. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes and pre-made products that will put the delicious finishing touch on your meal.

After putting together your first Vegan Christmas dinner, you will see how simple and delicious it is. Your health, the planet and especially the animals will thank you!

Remember if your store doesn’t carry vegan items, always ask them for it. Our food dollars control what is offered.

Blessed Protein Thanksgiving Snacks - Oatmeal, Chocolate and Coconut

Whether you serve these as part of your Thanksgiving desserts, or just snack on them while preparing your dinner, these easy plant based cookies taste amazing with the addition of Blessed Protein Choc Coconut Protein Powder.

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Blessed Protein Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (makes about 30 cookies)

- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup Blessed Protein Choc Coconut Powder
- 1/2 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder and salt
- 1 C each: sugar and unsweetened nut milk
- 2 Tbsp each: coconut flakes and ground flaxseeds
- 2/3 cup canola oil (or substitute with applesauce)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

Directions:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium bowl mix oats, flour, Blessed Protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, coconut and salt. Set aside.
- Place sugar, nut milk and flax seeds in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer or use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until smooth. Add the applesauce or oil and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and stir until chips are evenly distributed.
- Using a tablespoon scoop and place dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2” apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, then cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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Some quick and Easy Plant-Based Dinners

I have the luxury of working from home and I live on a farm where I grow all of my own food, but I know that a lot of people don’t live like this. So for anyone who is in a hurry to put dinner on the table for their family or for themselves I have put together some quick and easy recipes.

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Easy Pesto Pasta (Makes 4 servings)

- 1 C of basil leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 C of nuts (I use walnuts)
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil
- a pinch of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tsp of nutritional yeast (optional)

- 4 servings of whatever type of pasta you like

Directions:
- Put all of your ingredients (except pasta lol) in a blender or food processor and blend. If it seems to thick, you can add small amounts of water or more olive oil.
- Cook your pasta according to the instructions. Keep 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain and add the pesto and reserved water to your pasta.

Options:
- Add chopped fresh veggies like cherry tomatoes, spinach or roasted peppers.
- Add zucchini “meat” balls (recipe below).

Zucchini “Meat” Balls (Makes 4 servings)

- 1 C of shredded zucchini (squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can)
- 1/2 C of thawed frozen corn
- 1/4 C of finely chopped onion (whatever you have on hand)
- 1/4 C each of flour and corn meal
- 1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast (optional) AND 1 Tbsp of nut milk
- 1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, ground nutmeg and garlic powder
- about 3 Tbsp olive oil for frying

Directions:

- Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. If the mixture seems to dry add a small amount of nut milk. If it seems to wet add a small amount of corn meal or flour.
- Form the mixture into balls (you can refrigerate at this point to cook later).
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Cook and turn the balls until they are golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel.

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Easy Vegetable Pho (Makes about 4 servings)

- 2 large containers (about 6 cups) of Vegan Pho broth**
- 3 cups of any type of frozen vegetables
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 4 servings of thin rice noodles (about 1/2 package)
- 1/3 cup of each: fresh torn basil, chopped cilantro and fresh mint
- 1 lime cut into quarters
- peanuts, sliced hot peppers and hot sauce (optional)

Directions:
- Heat up your broth in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add your rice noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add your frozen vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Take off the heat and add your sprouts, basil, cilantro and mint.
- Serve and top with lime juice, additional soy sauce, hot sauce, sliced hot peppers and peanuts.

** If you can’t find Pho broth you can use vegetable or mushroom broth. Heat the broth up and add 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, a couple of slices of ginger, 2-3 pieces of crushed garlic, a piece of star anise, 2-3 whole cloves and a piece or a pinch of cinnamon. Heat up and simmer for about 20 minutes, then strain and use in place of the broth above.