To help us kick off our Vegan Week, VeggieGirl has several quick meal ideas …
As a busy college student, I am always on a mission to find a dish that fits the following criteria: 1) It must be nutritious, filling, and satisfying; 2) It must be a dish that incorporates easy-to-find ingredients, but presents them in a new, innovative, and appetizing manner; 3) It has to be able to be prepared, cooked, and served in a flash (i.e. under an hour); 4) It must be vegan or at least easy to veganize. While it may seem impossible to find dishes that fit this strict list of criteria, I have been able to create quite a few meals recently, that fit the bill, and can be prepared in no time:
Cheeze & Basil Portobellos with Garlic Marinara Pasta and Broccoli
Meal #1 (which is presented on my beloved VEGAN dinnerware, purchased here), features three broiled portabello mushroom caps, topped with melted Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella “cheese” and basil, along with a side of kamut pasta noodles, topped with steamed broccoli florets, and smothered in a roasted-garlic marinara sauce. This dish was created literally at the last minute – I had all of the ingredients on-hand (since they’re all pretty common), so I figured, why not throw them together into one dish. After just 30 minutes (which includes the time to chop and steam the broccoli, boil the pasta water, etcetera), I had a delicious, Italian-inspired meal that may look elaborate, but really didn’t take much time at all to prepare.
Sun-dried Tomato Veggie Burger with Greens
Meal #2 takes even less time to prepare than the first meal, but is just as satisfying and nutritious. This rendition of a sandwich features two toasted slices of Ezekiel-brand sprouted-grain bread, piled generously with steamed kale, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and an Amy’s California veggie burger (which is a nut & grain based burger – it is soy-free, for those of you who may suffer from soy allergies and are looking for a veggie-burger-alternative. I don’t have soy allergies, but I purchase these “burgers” because of their excellent flavor and texture!!). This sandwich alone packs in at least two or three servings of vegetables – since kale reduces in size quite a bit when steamed (and it’s steamed on my sandwich), you can imagine how much kale I really used (steamers, in my opinion, are a great way to sneak in extra servings of produce!!).
Veggie Burrito with a Rich Avocado-Bean Spread
Similar to sandwiches (and just as simple to prepare and eat) are wraps: hand-held, portable, and incredibly versatile. Meal #3 is a mixture of kale, red onions and an avocado-white bean-spread, securely wrapped up in a whole-grain tortilla. To make the avocado-white-bean spread, I simply mashed 1/2 of a ripe avocado with about 1/2-cup of white beans, added a splash of lemon juice, and voila! An instant, tasty sandwich (or wrap) spread – no food-processor required, which cuts down on prep- and clean-up time; and also enables you to enjoy your meal quicker.
Seitan Vegetable Stir-Fry
Stir-fry dishes are another one of those meals that can please even the most discerning palates, since they can be adapted with different ingredients to suit everyone’s taste preferences. Meal #4 is a Seitan-Vegetable stir-fry, which includes barbecue-marinated seitan and a medley of asparagus, red & yellow bell peppers (I despise green bell peppers), and red onion shallots. While this is a filling entrèe on its own, you could always serve it over a grain (i.e. pasta, rice, barley, quinoa, etcetera), to make it a “heartier” meal. In any event, it is a great, quick, and savory “bowl-meal.”
Chickpea Vegetable Blend for Pasta, Quinoa, or Brown Rice
Lastly, we have Meal #5, which really accounts for Meals #6 and 7 as well, since this recipe (from the Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook) makes multiple servings. Pictured above is a simmered mixture of chickpeas, garlic, red onions (yes, I love my red onions, haha), spinach, broccoli, and fire-roasted tomatoes. Although I have blogged about this recipe several times before, I never get bored with it – especially since it is so alterable! I have served this chickpea-vegetable mixture with everything from barley, pasta noodles, and brown rice, to quinoa, seitan, baked tofu, and spaghetti squash; and more! While this meal definitely takes the longest to cook, out of the five meals that I have mentioned in this post, you get three or four servings out of one recipe (which means less preparation time for the remaining servings! sounds like a deal to me!).
Since we live in a time-crunched, fast-pace world, and do not have the time to prepare elaborate meals every single day of the week, it is important (and a major relief) to find meals that are nutritious, filling, easy-to-prepare, include fuss-free ingredients, and fit your lifestyle (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, etcetera). With these five meals, my list of “go-to” dishes has certainly expanded; and as I keep flipping through my favorite cookbooks, and reading others’ blogs for inspiration, I can guarantee that I will have more simple, savory delights (prepared in a flash!) to share with you,
Unfortunately, VeggieGirl no longer blogs, but she shared many great ideas and recipes with us like these over the years!