It's week 2 of Veganuary! How's it going so far? Have you mastered vegan breakfast? Did you try the savoury oats? I'd love to hear how it's going for you!
This week let's talk about lunch...
Lunch can be a challenge for people when they are transitioning, especially if you're used to whipping up a sandwich for lunch. So, it's time to think a bit outside the box!
In this week's episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen (Episode 25!) I dish (get it? haha) about...
- 🥦the place of "transition foods" i.e. vegan lunch meats/cheeses/animal food replacements in a healthy diet (pros and cons)
- 🥦lunch ideas and inspiration
- 🥦tips for making healthy lunches easy
- 🥦I walk you through making a template meal "grain salad" (I make a Mediterranean version, but share tips and ideas on how you can switch things up to use what you've got in your fridge and/or what you like). This is a great, versatile meal idea to keep in your pocket for dinner, and then use the leftovers for lunch!
Even though we talk about lunch ideas in more details in the video I wanted to share a few of my faves with you here:
- 🥦Leftovers - chilis, curries, soups/stews, loaves -- anything that can be portioned up into lunch containers and reheats well!
- 🥦Wraps -- stuff with greens, hummus, and veggies -- or leftovers!
- 🥦Keep it simple – hummus and veggies – if you cut the veggies up ahead of time and keep them in water (this works well with harder veggies like carrots and celery, not as well with peppers) this can be a great grab and go lunch!
- 🥦No “tuna” salad – this is my favourite oil-free version - great to use in sandwiches and wraps
And the grain bowl we made in the video is another favourite! Here is today's version:
And here is the recipe/template:
(as I cover in the video, this is completely versatile - you can use different grains/beans, and vegetables (cooked and/or raw), even dressings - the idea is just to use the grain as the base and make sure you get a good diversity of foods in there -- see the video for more details.)
EXAMPLE - MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA BOWL/SALAD
Combine (amounts are simply guidelines -- I'd keep the grain and beans about the same, but use more/less of other things, depending on what you have/like):
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa or another grain of your choice (makes about 3 cups cooked) *
- 1 1/2 cups or 1 can chickpeas, roasted with italian seasoning mix (roasting is optional)
- ½ head cauliflower, roasted with Italian seasoning mix
- 1 small-med zucchini, roasted with Italain seasoning mix
- 1 orange pepper, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced (white part) and julienned (green part)
- 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped (or sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes. halved
* I like to cook my quinoa with a ratio of 1 cup dry quinoa: 1 ¾ cups water (with the juice of 1 lemon/lime incorporated into the water)
Dress with a combination of:
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp aquafaba or olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste (I usually use about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper)
Once everything is mixed up garnish with additional tomatoes, chopped cashews and/or some vegan feta
A few key tips for lunch success:
1) Plan ahead - I can't stress this enough! Taking a few minutes on the weekend or in the evenings to think about the types of lunches you might want to have makes a BIG difference. Even thinking about it the night before and packaging up some leftovers in a wrap or container that you can grab on your way out the door in the morning really helps.
2) Batch cook so you have leftovers - get in the habit of making a few more servings than you need, and portion them out for lunch. This makes lunch SO EASY. WRAPS are one of my favourite ways to make leftovers/batched cooked food feel like something different and new for lunch. :-)
3) Get yourself a good thermos that will keep things warm for you, if you're not in a place you can heat your lunch up.
Do you have a great lunch tip/recipe to share? Leave it in the comments below!