To be honest, I feel underqualified to write this. Not because I’m new to a plant-based diet (it’s been 16 years), but because how I eat is quite different from the average American.
When I was growing up, my (amazing) mom made me fancier vegan dishes you’d find in a cookbook. But once I left the house, I became a “weird“ and “lazy” vegan.
First, I strived to be a raw foodist. I ate mostly plain fruits and vegetables, like an ape. I did it because I felt so vibrant eating all that fruit and salad. The joke version, of course, is that I was too lazy to turn on a stove!
Later, I embraced cooked food again. I learned to cook (boil, mostly). Yet I didn’t use salt, oil, or anything “additive” besides mild spices.
I even lived in a car for a few years. That limited my options, although I did become a connoisseur of low-sodium canned food!
Despite my eccentricity, I know plenty of folks like eating simply. I’m experienced enough with typical Western meals too. So just for you, I have made an “autobiographical” meal plan & shopping list. It will include an Option A (how I currently eat) + an Option B (vegan versions of how I was raised). 6 days, and 34 meal ideas in total!
As Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has said in her “Food for Thoughts” podcast, many of us know why vegan. It’s the how vegan we could use more help with. I hope this article gives you possibilities for your joyful, compassionate love affair with food. ❤
Oh, and hope you don’t mind the goofy names for everything! 😁
Day 1. Meatless Monday
A. This Cereal is Bananas: Pulse ripe spotty bananas with water to get “banana milk.” Pour it in a bowl with berries, grapes, dates, sliced bananas or other fruits, and some ground flaxseeds. Spoon like cereal.
B. Regular Cereal, Only Vegan: I used to love Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s because it was like a healthier version of Froot Loops. The plant milks are in full bloom these days — from hazelnut milk to oat milk, I couldn’t even decide which was my favorite!
A. I Dream of Nectarines: Yep, just nectarines for lunch. Or whatever portable juicy fruit is in season, really!
B. AB&J+: Almond butter and jelly sandwich, with an apple, Forager Cashewmilk yogurt, and a handful of mixed nuts.
Dinner: LENTIL SOUP
A. A Lentil of Everything: Homemade red and green lentil soup with every random vegetable I can think of, including cruciferous ones and leafy greens.
B. Amy Knows Best: Amy’s canned Lentil Soup. Maybe a baguette with Earth Balance on the side, and chop some Tofurky into the soup to make it meatier!
Day 2. Totally Tasty Tuesday
Breakfast: Being weird with BANANAS again
A. Bananas With Berry Green Applesauce: I blend mostly apples with frozen berries, lettuce, cinnamon, and a little water to a thick consistency. Enjoy the applesauce while also peeling and eating some bananas to dip in it.
B. Banana Coconut Butter Burrito: Yes, you read that right! This is one of the weirdest things I ever had for breakfast. Yep, in just a regular wheat flour tortilla heated up with the melted coconut butter.
A. Pineapple. Period.: Chopped and ready to bring to work. For ripening pineapples, I take the top off, turn it upside down, and wait till it’s more orange or yellow.
B. Naan the Wiser: Naan flatbread with a storebought veggie patty, lettuce and tomato, ketchup and mustard.
A. Zuke What I Made: Spiralized raw zucchini with wild rice and mango pineapple salsa. I actually do not have a spiralizer anymore (which turns vegetables into noodles), so in my case I would just chop the zukes.
B. Rainbow Rotini for the Ravenous: Rainbow rotini pasta cooked with rainbow chard, topped with vegan meatballs sizzled in crushed tomatoes with Italian seasoning.
Day 3. We ❤ Wasabi Wednesday
A. Carrot Cake Nice Cream: With minimal water, blend frozen bananas and/or plantains. (Plantains are ripe when black.) Add in chopped carrots and pumpkin pie spice! Set in the freezer briefly for your own private pint of carroty nice cream!
B. Santa Goes Vegan: Complete Cookies by Lenny & Larry’s, dipped in Ripple — one of the best, thicker plant-based milks I have tasted that is based on pea protein. Alternatively, go grab some vegan donuts!
A. The Mango-Celery Burglary: Celery sticks with date sauce as an appetizer. Followed by hearty sliced mangoes with lime and chili powder.
What did the celery say when the mango stole her purse? “Don’t let the man go!”
B. Leftover Pasta: From last night.
A. The Unbeetable Bowl: Quinoa cooked with beets (so it’s pink!), saucy mixed veggies cooked with turmeric (so they’re neon!), served with yellow, orange, and purple sweet potatoes on a bed of raw spring mix.
B. Polenta Extravaganza: Corn polenta cakes topped with tomato sauce, sliced avocado, and sauteed eggplant and purple cauliflower. Side salad with heirloom tomatoes and every color of bell peppers.
Day 4. Thoroughly Delicious Thursday
A. The Greenest Smoothie: Just for fun, make a super green smoothie with green ingredients only. Last time I used green grapes, Granny Smith apples, and lots of lettuces. I forgot to buy kiwis!
B. The Greediest Smoothie: If your taste buds want more, here’s a recipe that goes for max flavor!
- vanilla soy milk and coconut water
- frozen mixed berries and bananas
- flax or hemp seeds, and plenty of peanut butter
- dates or date sugar to sweeten
- however much greens you can stand, if desired
A. A Perfect Pear: Pears with raspberries. Or pair pears with oranges (would be cheaper).
B. Peanut Butter Chickpea Pita Bread Pizza! Say that 3x fast. I made this one up when I was living in my car. I’d layer the circular pita bread with PB, crushed tomatoes from a can, and garbanzo beans from a can.
BREAKFAST FOR DINNER
A. Perfectly Purple Oatmeal: Boil oats for a few minutes with lots of mixed frozen berries (blueberry, blackberry, raspberry), along with a couple of apple and walnuts. Eat with avocado!
B. Beans With Toast: My goofy way would be to keep adding more toppings to each subsequent slice of toast.
- Toast with pinto beans.
- Toast with pinto beans, nut butter, and a dash of paprika!
- Toast with black beans! And jalapeño, cayenne pepper, more nut butter, and avocado too! Washed down with a cup of cardamom tea. Baaa… how relaxing.
Day 5. Climate-Friendly Friday
A. Green Julius: Peel the best oranges you can find. (Or Evolution brand tangerine juice will do). Blend with frozen bananas, vanilla, and any green-leafy vegetables you have on hand.
Pro tip: As I also found out from living in my car, oranges that have been exposed to freezing temperatures become sweeter!
B. Cream, Cream, and More Cream: Bagel with vegan cream cheese and berries. Coffee with vegan creamer? Be naughty again and have ice cream? With whipped cream? Yeah, I guess that all fits the cream theme, lol.
A. Fruit Soup: Orange juice broth. Add pineapple, grapes, berries, mangoes, cinnamon. Let it marinate in the tupperware container. :)
B. Pardon a Turkey Sandwich: Vegan turkey slices with hummus on bread.
A. Millet & Garbanzo Bean Stew: I made this recently; the taste and texture reminded me of an egg scramble! For veggies in the stew, how about broccoli and kale?
B. Give in to Tempehtation: Cook tempeh in barbecue sauce and serve on hamburger buns with favorite toppings.
Day 6. Sapid, Savory, Succulent, Sensationally Satisfying, Strictly Steakless Saturday (sorry)
A and B. Melon and Mint Fruit Salad: Cube cantaloupe and honeydew. Mix in fresh mint, grated lemon zest, and sweetener if desired.
(This recipe is stolen from the book Thug Kitchen Party Grub. It’s an awesome and fun recipe book.)
FYI: If you wonder about the sugar in fruit, I mention a few resources in this article I wrote about giving up added sugar.
Lunch at home, on the couch… it’s Saturday; hallelujah!
A. Pumpkin Pie Imposter: For the filling, I blend orange sweet potatoes with pumpkin pie spice. For the crust, I moisten and crush mixed nuts and press them into the pie pan. No baking. Does it hold together or impress anyone?No. Does it look like I care when my face is smothered in pretend pumpkiny goodness? 🤤
B. Microwave Burritos with Tortilla Chip Cereal: Amy’s and Sweet Earth are great burrito brands. For the weird part of this meal, as a teen I used to break apart tortilla chips in a bowl of salsa and eat it like cereal!
A and B. Ginormous Everything Salad: Throw your remaining lettuces and spring mix into a giant bowl. Plop on all your leftover dishes and ingredients for a Ginormous Everything Salad.
Okay, okay… so I only picked Ginormous Everything Salad as the final recipe because I’m tired and lazy and want to go to sleep. Forgive me? 😇
Real quick, here’s my list to cover all of the above.
Red and green lentils, wild rice, oats, millet, garbanzo beans, mixed nuts (walnuts a fave); seeds (flax, hemp, chia).
Baguettes, tortillas, naan flatbread, pita bread, hamburger buns, Dave’s Killer Bread or other sliced bread suitable for toast and sandwiches.
Favorite cereal; nut butters (peanut, coconut, almond); jelly; canned lentil soup; condiments (ketchup and mustard, barbecue sauce, salsa); rainbow rotini pasta; canned crushed tomatoes; canned beans (garbanzo, pinto, black) spices (pumpkin pie, turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika, cardamom, vanilla); Complete Cookies; tortilla chips; coconut water, tea, coffee.
Apples (Granny Smith and other), bananas, berries, dates, grapes, lemon, nectarines (or other stone fruit), mangoes, melons (melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew), oranges, pears, pineapple, plantains, raspberries.
Lettuces, tomatoes ( heirloom?), zucchini, rainbow chard, carrots, celery, beets, various colors of sweet potatoes, spring mix, eggplant, avocado, purple cauliflower, bell peppers, jalapeños, kale, fresh mint, broccoli.
Milk (Ripple + vanilla soy); Forager or other yogurt; Earth Balance or other butter; plant-based cream cheese; Evolution cold-pressed tangerine juice (or cheaper pasteurized orange juice); dairy-free coffee creamer; hummus; Miyoko’s or other cheese; tempeh; Tofurky; vegan turkey slices.
Veggie patties, meatballs, burritos; corn polenta cakes; mixed berries; vegan ice cream. Can do some of the vegetables in frozen form to save prep time.
Thank you so much to Kat Whitemore for suggesting this topic. Though far from comprehensive, I hope my wacky meal ideas assist with your vegan journey. Bon appetite, and much love!
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