Plant-Based Dinners

Posted on: January 21st, 2015 by
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It’s a beautiful snowy Colorado morning. It’s 6:00 am and still dark as night outside, and I’m sitting at my computer with the gas fireplace crackling behind me as it warms up after being turned on with a switch. (Would the smell of burning logs be nice right now? Do I wish I had a real (REAL) fireplace? …No! Are you crazy? I’d never write blog posts if I had to do that kind of work to stay warm!) I woke up with my alarm at 5:50 only to check my phone and see that school is on a 2-hour delay. I almost curled up and went back to sleep, but then, thanks to the extra clarity of mind brought on by school delayedness, I had a marvelous idea for a post and had to get to the computer to start on it.

This particular post will be ever-changing, so check back often. I am going to post a single picture (every day that I can) of what I made for dinner the night prior. There is a lot of genius in this idea: It will give the new veggie eaters a sense of the variety that’s out there for family dinners. It will allow me to notate how I adapted various recipes. And maybe my favorite reason; it will give me a sense of accountability at a time when I have been straying from the part of the lifestyle that says to stay away from sugars and simple carbs. (I have seriously gained almost ten pounds in a little over a month due to my bread-heavy and sugar-heavy snacking- Ugh.)

Over the weekend I made up my usual menu, which is thirty days-worth. We had my husband’s brother’s family living with us for six weeks and for the last month of that time, after my prior menu ran out, I had been winging it day-to-day. That was helpful when collaborating with a meat-eating family on how we could all eat happy, and we did (they were so cool to try so many of my recipes!) but it also nudged me further into the pasta and bread side of veggie eating since those are more palatable for people who are being ransacked into a diet they didn’t ask for. So last weekend I finally pulled together a menu tailored for my family and our whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. It’s a great menu; hardly any repeats over the 30 days and many new recipes to try! Wheat pasta only makes an appearance four times in the month and breads and tortillas are limited as well. I’m very excited to get back on track and bring you along with me! I so hope you enjoy this journey. (remember to bookmark this page or follow on Facebook for the daily photos!)

First: My four most-used cookbooks. I have others, and I have recipes of my own, but for well-worn cookbooks- these are my go-to references.
cookbooks3cookbooks4

cookbooks1cookbooks2

01_20_15nuttynoodles

Bonus picture to start us off: This meal was from two nights ago. One of our absolute favorites: Nutty Noodles with Vegetables, from The China Study Cookbook by Leanne Campbell, PhD. Substitutions and tips: This recipe is fantastic as-is, except the noodles are a bit dry unless the sauce component is doubled. My husband refuses to eat whole wheat pasta until we can find a decent brand that doesn’t break apart and taste grainy, so I am cooking with regular pasta again. Once the sauce is doubled, the only other change I sometimes make is omitting the sesame seeds, green onions, and crushed peanuts. The only reason I omit those things is plainly because I forget- I think of them too last minute since they are garnishes and I end up just leaving them out most of the time. I am cooking for a family during homework time with a baby in my arms, after all! As long as we eat at a decent time, I’m not going to beat myself up over the details. This recipe has been in circulation at our house since the very first month we switched over to this diet over two years ago.

01_21_15chipotlemushroom

Last night we had a recipe from the cookbook Speed Vegan by Alan Roettinger. The recipe is simple: Chipotle Mushrooms. It’s got an AWESOME flavor- holy cow. I served them the first time on hot, plain pinto beans and flatbread. Very good, but we are trying to avoid the bread. Last night I served them over hot, plain pinto beans stirred into steamy brown rice. Garlicky wilted spinach was our side dish. This recipe is essentially quartered mushrooms, shallots and green onions (my substitute for scallions) in a deeply flavorful sauce. The chipotle adobo paste that is added to the sauce is a must. I use three-fourths of what it calls for so it’s not very spicy, but you could go the whole way if you like the spice. The flavor from the adobo sauce is something new to me and I love it! I am spreading it (THINLY) on bean burritos and always keeping it in the fridge for possible addition to Mexican fare. Important substitution: This chef loves adding flax oil, presumably for the omega 3,6,9 benefits. We get plenty of those nutrients in our varied diet and are avoiding added fats, no matter how “healthy,” as a principle of the findings of how to live this lifestyle to the most-healthy. So the oil is omitted. I also tend to dry-saute my onions and mushrooms (all veggies) in my stainless steel pan rather than cooking down in broth as suggested. I find that the broth limits caramelization. My whole family, save for my picky-eater daughter, loved this meal. My favorite thing was that my boys both went back for seconds of just the unseasoned rice and beans!

01_22_15curry

Last Night’s Dinner: Sweet Potato Curry over basmati rice. I have been working on this recipe for over two years now and finally have it honed in just right on a flavorful, but not too spicy, mixture of spices. It’s a very easy recipe to make; besides boiling the sweet potatoes until tender, everything happens in one pot and is thrown together quite quickly. (see below for a recipe link)

New recipe posted: Sweet Potato Curry!

01_23_15BBQportobello

Last Night’s Dinner: Barbecue Portobello Sandwich with roasted cinnamon sweet potato and collard greens. The BBQ sandwich is as close to southern cooking as I’ve ever had while eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet. With the cinnamon-sprinkled sweet potato and vinegary collard greens, I felt like I was back in Texas again! The sandwich recipe came from The China Study All-Stars cookbook (this recipe by John and Mary Mcdougall) and I made only one variation; using chipotle-adobo sauce instead of minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Essentially the same thing, the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are just dumped into a blender, can scraped clean, to blend into the chipotle-adobo sauce. I had just made the sauce for the chipotle mushrooms a couple nights ago, so it was on hand and at about a tablespoon, a perfect substitute. Bonus: All three of my kids finished their sandwiches, even my mushroom-hater! And one had seconds! My hubby had thirds (a half at a time) and my daughter had seconds of the collard greens. When people ask for more, you know you’ve cooked right!

Expect a short break as my family and I will be away from home for a couple of days. I will post dinners when I return!

While on our trip we had simple and crowd-pleasing spaghetti and chili for meals.  But now that I am back, I tried a new recipe for breakfast: Brown Rice Cereal.  This recipe is from the cookbook Speed Vegan, by Alan Roettinger.  Basically, you toast brown rice until fragrant, then throw in your blender until unevenly chopped and ground, and then cook with water until creamy.  Add maple syrup and some toppings of your choice, and you have a beautiful and hearty start to your day.  Bonus: The ground rice smells intoxicating!

While on our trip we had simple and crowd-pleasing spaghetti and chili for meals. But now that I am back, I tried a new recipe for breakfast: Brown Rice Cereal. This recipe is from the cookbook Speed Vegan, by Alan Roettinger. Basically, you toast brown rice until fragrant, then throw in your blender until unevenly chopped and ground, and then cook with water until creamy. Add maple syrup and some toppings of your choice, and you have a beautiful and hearty start to your day. Bonus: The ground rice smells intoxicating!

Last Night's Dinner: Veggie stir-fry over thin rice noodles with homemade teriyaki sauce. This is one of those recipes that all of our guests always rave about!  It's also easy to make; the chopping of the vegetables is the hardest part!  To further alleviate dinner-time tension, I keep a jar of pre-made teriyaki sauce in the fridge.  The veggies I usually include  are onions, carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper.  Common additions in our house are Napa cabbage, zucchini, snap peas, mung bean sprouts, canned bamboo shoots, and canned water chestnuts.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Veggie stir-fry over thin rice noodles with homemade teriyaki sauce.
This is a dinner that all of our guests always rave about! It’s also easy to make; the chopping of the vegetables is the hardest part. To further alleviate dinner-time tension, I keep a jar of pre-made teriyaki sauce in the fridge to re-warm when needed. The veggies I usually include are: onions, carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper. Common additions in our house are: Napa cabbage, zucchini, snap peas or snow peas, mung bean sprouts, canned bamboo shoots, and canned water chestnuts.

01_28_15goldpotatosoup1

Last Night’s Dinner’s Garnish: Roasted herbed chickpeas. Recipe here.

Last Night's Dinner:  Creamy Sweet 'n' Gold Potato Soup. This recipe came from www.thevegan8.com and, despite omitting the 2 T. of tomato paste because I forgot to buy some, it was very good.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Creamy Sweet ‘n’ Gold Potato Soup.
This recipe came from www.thevegan8.com and, despite omitting the 2 T. of tomato paste because I forgot to buy some, it turned out great.  This soup is roughly half sweet potatoes and half yukon gold potatoes, so it is well-balanced and not too sweet at all.  Flavored with cumin and left mostly to speak for itself, this soup impressed all of us in its simplicity.  The recipe author uses roasted gold potato cubes as a garnish, which I bet tastes fantastic, but I chose to make some roasted chickpeas instead.  The chickpeas are delicious on their own as a healthy snack, as I found out this morning when I was hungry before lunch!  I have posted the recipe link under the chickpea picture above.

 

Last Night's Dinner: Leftovers!  Who says I have to cook every night?  Especially when I have been cooking more than normal in order to keep this blog interesting.  So last night when I was supposed to make some crazy new recipe that I couldn't find an ingredient for, I looked in the fridge, saw all the leftovers, and knew I could rest easy.  Curry II was just as delicious as Curry I.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Leftovers! Who says I have to cook every night? Especially when I have been cooking more than normal in order to keep this blog interesting. So last night when I was supposed to make some crazy new recipe that I couldn’t find an ingredient for, I looked in the fridge, saw all the leftovers, and knew I could rest easy. Curry II was just as delicious as Curry I.

Last Night's Dinner: Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran over basmati rice. This dish may look unkempt and monotone, but I assure you it is super flavorful and addictive!  The secret spice blend, panch phoran, can be found at any Indian grocer (there are at least three places in Colorado Springs where I can buy it) and is not substitutable!  Early in the process of making this dish, the panch phoran (which is whole seeds; not ground) is toasted with a slight spray of cooking oil.  The aroma from this simple act rendered my kitchen blissfully fragrant for the remainder of the evening.  I can't even begin to explain how wonderful this spice blend smells.  A new favorite recipe for me, though the kids were under-appreciative.  They ate it, but only because they are super polite and also considered their options few.  My husband preferred more red pepper flakes in his than I did in mine, and I found it necessary to add more salt than called for, but overall the recipe was perfect! Recipe courtesy of Susan Voisin at the fatfreevegan.com.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran over basmati rice.
This dish may look unkempt and monotone, but I assure you it is super flavorful and addictive! The secret spice blend, panch phoran, can be found at any Indian grocer (there are at least three places in Colorado Springs where I can buy it) and is not substitutable! Early in the process of making this dish, the panch phoran (which is whole seeds; not ground) is toasted with a slight spray of cooking oil. The aroma from this simple act rendered my kitchen blissfully fragrant for the remainder of the evening. I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful this spice blend smells. A new favorite recipe for me, though the kids were under-appreciative. They ate it, but only because they are super polite and also considered their options few. My husband preferred more red pepper flakes in his than I did in mine, and I found it necessary to add more salt than called for, but overall the recipe was perfect!
Recipe courtesy of Susan Voisin at the fatfreevegan.com.

A typical plate of pho toppings to be shared by the table.

A typical centerpiece of pho toppings to be shared by the table.

01_31_15pho2

Last Night’s Dinner: Vegetarian Pho with Vegetables by Ani Phyo; found in The China Study All-Star Collection cookbook. This recipe was very good and it was fun to make pho at home for the first time! Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup and there is likely to be a pho restaurant or cafe near your home as they are popping up all over the U.S. in droves. Pho is basically a delicious broth over noodles and veggies, with a variety of optional toppings (see photo above), such as basil, mung bean sprouts, lime wedges, jalapeño slices, hoisin sauce, and sriracha sauce. Filling and delightfully healthy, it’s a great addition to any dinner repertoire!

 

Last Night's Dinner: A bed of lettuce with red beans & rice and Blackened Tofu. Blackened Tofu is a recipe from Betty Goes Vegan, a cookbook by Annie & Dan Shannon.  (Overall this cookbook fits the definition of "vegan" perfectly but rarely fits "whole-food.")

Last Night’s Dinner:
A bed of lettuce with red beans & rice and Blackened Tofu.
Blackened Tofu is a recipe from Betty Goes Vegan, a cookbook by Annie & Dan Shannon. (Overall this cookbook fits the definition of “vegan” perfectly but rarely fits “whole-food.”) Blackened Tofu, however, is one of our family favorites. All of the kids always ask for seconds! Pairing it with some red beans & rice just WORKS, and the lettuce used to be a side salad, but I like it under the warm rice mix so much better. Easy and full of nutrients; especially when you use brown rice and lots of greens.

02_03_15nachos

Last Night’s Dinner: Nachos! This is not a “dinner” we have very often, but I made sauces and chopped fixin’s so that we could have nachos during the Big Game on Sunday and we had plenty of leftovers. Pair that with the fact that yesterday was one of the more chaotic and headache-inducing days I’ve had in a while and leftover nachos started to sound pretty good! The left half of these nachos are covered in a sauce made from heated refried beans and water (pretty straightforward!) and the left side has the sauce from my mac & “cheese” recipe poured on. Ground vegan crumbles seasoned with a dry taco seasoning made these nachos very authentic. These are always a hit at our house, and it’s nice to have some vegan junk food once in a while!

 

Last Night's Dinner: Savory Mushroom Stronganoff, a recipe from The China Study All-Stars Collection provided by Laura Theodore.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Savory Mushroom Stronganoff, a recipe from The China Study All-Stars Collection provided by Laura Theodore. I served it with brussels sprouts in a garlic sauce made with garlic, veggie broth and a little corn starch. The meal was fantastic. I really liked the flavor of the mushroom sauce, though my husband and I agreed that “stroganoff” wasn’t the right name for this meal since stroganoff is typically creamier, utilizing the application of sour cream or mayonnaise. Of course this recipe was probably quite a bit healthier (read: lower fat) than the vegan mayo-based stroganoff that I usually make. The main ingredients in this yummy noodle topping are basically mushrooms, veggie broth, basil and onion. Irresistibly simple and mouthwateringly yummy.

Last Night's Dinner: Okay let's get real.  Some dinners are utter failures.  Last night's was certainly close to "utter," even if it was really more like "semi."  I mean, this dinner was only a semi failure because people actually ate it, though begrudgingly. So let's review what went wrong.  I wanted to make this carrot soup recipe I found.  The carrot soup in and of itself was pretty "eh," not to mention the fact that the recipe itself did not work the way the author wrote it.  I crossed that recipe off of my menu list and won't make it again in the future.  Since I knew in advance that making carrot soup for my family was a risk, I chose to make it as a side dish to some throw-together stir-fry.  I usually make great stir fry, but last night I wanted it to just be green beans and onions with lots of garlic over rice noodles.  Sounded good.  Of course I only had frozen green beans.  I was out of rice noodles so I used bean threads.  I didn't have any onions in my entire house (HERESY!) so I had to omit those.  I found mushrooms that were for something else but I stole them for the stir fry so the frozen green beans wouldn't be lonely.  I made up a sauce on the spot and made some terrible choices on what ingredients to include.  Is that all?  Oh, no, wait- I also overcooked the stir fry, rendering it more of a cafe side dish than a fresh and crispy main course.  So, yeah.  Not doing that again.  But this happens to me all the time.  And I considering it a valuable learning experience each time!  And, hey, my family didn't starve last night.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Okay let’s get real. Some dinners are utter failures. Last night’s was certainly close to “utter,” even if it was really more like “semi.” I mean; this dinner was only a semi failure because people actually ate it, though begrudgingly.
So let’s review what went wrong. I wanted to make this carrot soup recipe I found. The carrot soup in and of itself was pretty “eh,” not to mention the fact that the recipe did not work the way the author wrote it. I crossed that recipe off of my menu list and won’t make it again in the future. Since I knew in advance that making carrot soup for my family was a risk, I chose to make it as a side dish to some throw-together stir-fry. I usually make great stir fry, but last night I wanted it to just be green beans and onions with lots of garlic over rice noodles. Sounded good. Of course I only had frozen green beans. And I was out of rice noodles so I used bean threads. I didn’t have any onions in my entire house (HERESY!) so I also had to omit those. I found mushrooms that were for something else but I stole them for the stir fry so the frozen green beans wouldn’t be lonely. I made up a sauce on the spot and made some terrible choices on what ingredients to include. Is that all? Oh, no, wait- I also overcooked the stir fry, rendering it more of a cafe side dish than a fresh and crispy main course. So, yeah. Not doing that again. But this happens to me all the time, and I considering it a valuable learning experience. And, hey, my family didn’t starve last night.

Last Night's Dinner: Pomegranate Vinaigrette on roasted veggies over sautéed kale and clover sprouts, garnished with toasted seeds. This dinner may not look like much, but the vinaigrette mixed onto the kale and roasted veggie is absolutely fabulous! My whole family liked this meal, and my husband wanted thirds.  Plus, the nutritional value on the plate was really high, with no bread or pasta to fill us up, we all filled up on pure green goodness and we felt so satisfied.  The vinaigrette recipe is from The China Study All-Stars Collection and was contributed by Heather Crosby.  Throw the following into a blender and blend until smooth: 1/4 cup plus 2 T pomegranate juice, 3 T red wine vinegar, 2 T water, 5-7 pre-soaked and drained cashews, 1 T maple syrup, 2 t lime juice, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Last Night’s Dinner:Pomegranate Vinaigrette on roasted veggies over sautéed kale and clover sprouts, garnished with toasted seeds.This dinner may not look like much, but the vinaigrette mixed onto the kale and roasted veggie is absolutely fabulous! My whole family liked this meal, and my husband wanted thirds.  Plus, the nutritional value on the plate was really high, with no bread or pasta to fill us up, we all filled up on pure green goodness and we felt so satisfied.  The vinaigrette recipe is from The China Study All-Stars Collection and was contributed by Heather Crosby.  Throw the following into a blender and blend until smooth: 1/4 cup plus 2 T pomegranate juice, 3 T red wine vinegar, 2 T water, 5-7 pre-soaked and drained cashews, 1 T maple syrup, 2 t lime juice, and a dash of salt and pepper.

02_09_15pungent_sobanoodles

Last Night’s Dinner: Tofu and Soba Noodles with Hot-Sweet-Sour-Pungent Sauce. This recipe is from Alan Roettinger in his cookbook Speed Vegan. The soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are a great whole-grain pasta noodle for a whole-foods diet. Full buckwheat soba noodles can get pricey, so I usually buy the ones made with part whole wheat. The only thing I can say to sum up this dinner is that, although the taste is exactly as described by the title, it is a real crowd pleaser. Our family has had this once a month for quite some time because all five of us like it. So although it sounds crazy- it’s well worth trying!

Last Night's Dinner: Spaghetti and broccoli! A huge hit with kids all over the world, spaghetti gets the dinnertime spotlight at least once a month at our house.  The sauce is usually just chunk tomato-y goodness with plenty of herbs thrown in, but sometimes we like to add imitation ground beef crumbles to the mix for a special treat.  Chunks of mushrooms are my favorite.  Anything to fancy it up and add some varying nutrients.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Spaghetti and broccoli!
A huge hit with kids all over the world, spaghetti gets the dinnertime spotlight at least once a month at our house. The sauce is usually just chunky tomato-y goodness with plenty of herbs thrown in, but sometimes we like to add imitation ground beef crumbles to the mix for a special treat. Chunks of mushrooms are my favorite. Anything to fancy it up and add some varying nutrients.  Remember that it’s always better to use whole wheat pasta (if your spouse allows it! (eh-hem.)) and cook your pasta al-dente to slow the sugar absorption into your blood if you are diabetic.

02_11_15blackbeansoup

Last Night’s Dinner: Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, a recipe by Dreena Burton included in The China Study All-Stars Collection cookbook. Last night was the first time I had ever made this recipe. I knew our weather would be chilly enough that a good hearty soup was in order, but I didn’t know how good it would taste! This is a thick and flavorful soup, but not spicy. The avocado and cilantro garnishes add a lot to the soup, so don’t leave those out. I put a dollop of Tofutti sour cream on my serving and really liked the contrast it added. Two of my kids were all “eh” about this dinner, but the rest of us gobbled it up. And since it was also easy to make, using canned black beans and just needing enough simmering time to cook the potatoes, it was a win!

02_12_15chili

Last Night’s Dinner: Chili! I have been tinkering with my chili recipe for a long time and have finally found a way to encompass all of the flavor it deserves; chipotle adobo sauce and beer. Man, those two ingredients punched it up to AWESOME. We’ve all been dying for a chili dog, so I made a large batch of chili last night and we will use the leftovers to have chili dogs (on vegan hot dogs, of course) over the weekend. Until then, some Tofutti sour cream and green onions are all the add-ons we need.

02_13_15veggiestew

Last Night’s Dinner: Vegetable Dumpling Stew… …sans dumplings. This recipe is from The China Study cookbook and is well-loved by our family. Well loved except for the dumpling part of the recipe, which is really overly dense, so I have always substituted my own recipe for vegan biscuits to use as dumplings instead. Last night the dumplings were an even newer variation: invisible! I was running so far behind with dinner that I decided we didn’t have the extra 20 minutes that it takes to steam cook the dumplings. I instead added some flour and water and heated to thicken the soup into stew. Still veggie stew. Still yummy. But no whole wheat dumplings. (pouty face)

02_16_15chilidog

Last Night’s Dinner: Our favorite thing to do with leftover chili: Chili Dogs! I made some macaroni salad to accompany the chili dogs, which worked out well because our weather was sunshiney and warm and it felt like a spring-time picnic at our house. The macaroni salad has a sauce that is made primarily of blended cashews and some lemon juice to flavor. It’s very good as-is, but I chose to add some chopped celery and black olives to the mix. I found the recipe, called Creamy Broccoli and Red Pepper Macaroni, in The China Study All-Stars cookbook. The chili dog is our favorite vegan hot dog on a whole wheat bun (with ketchup and mustard squirted on) with leftover chili and some chopped onions. Simple. Happy. A reminder of simpler times.

 

Last Night's Dinner: Green Thai Curry.  AKA Tuscon Kale and Coconut Soup with Tofu, by Alan Roettinger and found in his cookbook, Speed Vegan.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Green Thai Curry.
AKA: Tuscon Kale and Coconut Soup with Tofu, by Alan Roettinger and found in his cookbook, Speed Vegan.   This meal is so amazingly good! The recipe is supposed to be a soup, but last night for the first time we tried serving it over basmati rice for a change of pace, and to make it more like the Thai food we love. It was splendid. This recipe contains Thai green curry paste which gives a subtle kick but nothing that makes my eyes water. The broccoli stems and kale provide the green, along with some cilantro thrown in at the end. Broccoli stems are abundant in the organic section of you grocery store, where usually the broccoli is sold with the long stems. The recipe called for tuscan kale, but I just used whatever type was on sale.
This meal is so full of flavor and texture. Adding the rice was a smart move; it soaked up the creamy and sweet coconut-based broth and really worked against the crunch of the veggies to give a competing texture. Really amazing. Just finished up the leftovers and I’m still dreamily yearning for more.

02_18_15falafel

Last Night’s Dinner:
Baked falafel balls on flatbread with tzatziki sauce, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. I developed this recipe a while ago and it has a consistent presence at our kitchen table. Falafel balls are a really healthy main course; based on chickpeas and cracked (bulgur) wheat, these ones pack in the nutrients without being deep-fat fried. The tzatziki sauce adds the perfect tangy kick and the chopped cucumber and cherry tomatoes give it the Mediterranean flair that it’s known for. For a healthier sandwich, use whole wheat pita pockets instead.
Full tutorial here: http://www.veggiebasedcooking.com/blog-posts/baked-falafel/

02_19_15beeflesstips

Last Night’s Dinner:
Beetles Tips in Bordelaise, browned red potatoes with rosemary and garlic, and roasted veggies over kale and sprouts with pomegranate vinaigrette.
The bordelaise recipe comes from Betty Goes Vegan (by Annie and Dan Shannon) and is one of those recipes that you can really impress the meat-eaters with. It’s not low-fat so substitutions can be made, such as making the sauce by stirring the flour into the liquids and then bringing to a boil, rather than making the flour and oil roux first.

 

Last Night's Dinner: Vegetable Enchiladas with Bean Sauce by Del Sroufe.  I was leery of this recipe when we first tried it a couple years ago.  The filling is basically zucchini, red bell pepper, corn, and some spices.  I wasn't sure how enchilada-y it would taste, but I was impressed with my first bite and have been hooked ever since!

Last Night’s Dinner:
Vegetable Enchiladas with Bean Sauce by Del Sroufe.
I was leery of this recipe when we first tried it a couple years ago. The filling is basically zucchini, red bell pepper, corn, and some spices. I wasn’t sure how enchilada-y it would taste, but I was impressed with my first bite and have been hooked ever since! The bean sauce over the top is really good and I have used it with other recipes just because I like it so much. I do spice it up sometimes by substituting chipotle chili powder for 1/2 teaspoon of the chili powder. We get our whole wheat tortillas from the refrigerated section of our natural foods store (the recipe actually calls for corn tortillas) and they have no preservatives or unnecessary ingredients. This meal is high in fiber and veggies, has absolutely no added fat and only as much salt as you want to flavor the bean sauce. Plus it’s kid-approved and works great as a meal to serve for guests who think they don’t like veg-fare.

Last Night's Dinner: Broccoli & "Cheese" Soup in a bread bowl.

Last Night’s Dinner:
Broccoli & “Cheese” Soup in a bread bowl.
I won’t lie. This meal should not be considered a serving size for one individual, and yet I had seconds. But through my shame I realize that I have a winning broccoli “cheese” soup recipe that I absolutely must share with you! I’ve tinkered with it for a long time and I think it’s ready. Putting it in a bowl of crusty sourdough just brought it to a whole new level of Can’t-Stop-Eating-This. So my disclaimer would be, for those of you pursuing a whole-foods based diet, don’t eat a meal made of processed white bread, no matter how delicious, very often. At all. Save it for company when you want to impress someone that’s coming to your house not sure what to expect, and scared of what the word “vegan” might look like on their plate. Otherwise you might find some food-love guilt on your pillow the next morning when you wake up. Delicious, shame-filled, food-love guilt.
 For the picture tutorial and blog-post, click here.

Last Night's Dinner: Artichoke and Spinach Pasta. This is a dish I created one night with the ingredients I had on-hand and I really liked it.  (Recipe to come soon.)  It's got a creamy broth-based sauce and includes garlic, minced sun-dried tomatoes, quartered artichoke hearts, and spinach.  Top with some vegan parmesan sprinkles and it's finished!

Last Night’s Dinner:
Artichoke and Spinach Pasta.
This is a dish I created one night with the ingredients I had on-hand and I really liked it. (Recipe to come soon.) It’s got a creamy broth-based sauce and includes garlic, minced sun-dried tomatoes, quartered artichoke hearts, and spinach. Top with some vegan parmesan sprinkles and it’s finished!

 I have now posted Last Night’s Dinners for an entire month. I hope that you have found some inspiration to use when working with veggie-based ingredients. It’s not boring; we aren’t limited. Veggies and whole grains represent a cornucopia of possibilities! Enjoy your veggie journey!


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2 Responses to Plant-Based Dinners

  1. Diana Myers had this to say about that:

    Since beginning this fresh new way of living and looking at food, we have lost a combination of 18 pounds. Not bad for a month of living WAY more healthfully. I am taking your advice and going through The China Study to underline, bookmark pages, and take notes so I can have more scientific information ready for anyone else who wants encouragement to redefine their attitude toward the accepted habits ingrained in us about how we eat.

    • BlogMaster Sarah had this to say about that:

      And after only 30 days! I am excited to see where you are at after 60, and then 90 days!
      I do find that the education part is what keeps me eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet rather than a nutrient-deficient minimalist vegan diet. Keep up the good work!

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