I just ran with it....
It can be quite challenging making a lifestyle change, especially when it’s from meat eater to a vegan/vegetarian and although testing, it is possible. Once you begin to understand the new diet, searching labels becomes the norm and meal planning becomes less strenuous.
In the beginning, I found creating meals especially lunches quite difficult, as I looked up countless recipes and found myself coming short of one or two ingredients, not being able to complete recipes because of their complexity, questioning is this vegan? It can become frustrating.
I’ve found research is key and ensuring you give enough time for preparation in regards to meal planning. While you are familiarizing yourself with the new diet, forget about the fancy recipes momentarily and focus on finding simple recipes that you enjoy eating. Vegan meal prep is quite easy when you find 3 or 4 key ingredients that can mixed together to make various meals.
Don’t lose hope if you are finding the beginning overwhelming, that lessens after you acquaint yourself your new dietary requirements and I now look forward to prepping my lunches every evening. It’ll get easier with practice, like all things!
You’ll learn as you move along your own journey, there will be certain foods you love and there will also be recipes that turn out disastrous, I’m still trying to master restaurant quality crispy sweet potato fries, so be patient with yourself!
In the meantime, here are 5 quick and easy lunch box fillers which have been my saving grace! They are easy to make and you're guaranteed to have the ingredients lying about your kitchen!
Real Quick Risotto
- 1 Large courgette
- 350g of Cherry tomatoes (for sweet tooth)
- 2 bell peppers (any colour as desired)
- 1 tbsp. of olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the risotto
- 1 Large red onion chopped
- 1½ tsp. Garlic granules
- 250g Biona organic white risotto rice
- 1 tbsp. of Biona organic balsamic vinegar
- 250ml Biona organic passata
- 250ml Kallo organic vegetable stock
- Approximately 8 sun-dried tomatoes chopped into chunks
- Fresh parsley (handful)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Roast your veggies! Preheat the oven to 180c/350f
- Drizzle olive oil onto your roasting tray
- Chop the veggies into small bite sized chunks and spread them out on your tray, sprinkle salt and pepper as desired, give everything a good shake to ensure all are coated.
- Roast for 30 minutes.
In the meantime:
- For the risotto: Add olive oil to a wok or frying pan on a low to medium heat. (I prefer the wok you get the density without the mess of rice flying everywhere)
- Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes before adding garlic granules and allowing to cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.
- Add your rice to a bowl and apply your balsamic vinegar, stir in the rice to your pan to allow it to coat in oil.
- Pour in the passata and 250ml of vegetable stock, half a cup at a time ensure you alternate between the two as this helps to create the desired consistency.
- Allow to cook for 10 minutes and add in your roasted vegetables and sundried tomatoes, cook for a further 5 minutes until everything is thoroughly cooked and the rice is done.
- Remove from the heat and add in parsley salt & pepper and Vegan cheese if desired.
- Pop into your lunch boxes and this should do you for 2 -3 lunches depending on servings.
For Mediterranean quinoa rice
- 1 tbsp. of olive oil
- 1 tsp of garlic granules
- ½ cup of red onion
- ½ cup of green onion
- 3 cups of evergreen quinoa
- 2 cups of bell pepper
- 2 cups of courgette
- 2 cups of black beans (162g)
- 10 cherry tomatoes chopped
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp salt & pepper
- 250 ml of kallo vegetable stock
For the Bowl
- Half Head Lettuce Chopped into Bite sized pieces
- Green Olives
- 250g Chickpeas
- Half Cucumber sliced
- Beetroot slices
- Heat Olive oil in a large wok over medium heat.
- Add garlic & red onion & cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add Quinoa, bell pepper, courgette, black beans, and tomatoes chilli powder, cumin salt and vegetable stock and stir together.
- Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and let simmer until liquid is completely absorbed into the quinoa about 20-25 minutes
- Start prepping your salad ingredients into bite sized pieces and spread evenly among 2 -3 lunch boxes.
- Turn off the heat and keep the wok covered, allow to sit for 5 minutes
- Sprinkle quinoa with green onion, salt & pepper as desired.
- Place the Mediterranean quinoa rice into lunch boxes alongside your salad should do 2 -3 lunches depending on servings.
- Top with a dollop of hummus and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Chickpea Lentil Curry
- ½ cup of lentils
- 400g of Evergreen organic chickpeas
- 400ml Amaizin Organic Coconut Milk
- 3 teaspoons of garlic granules
- 1 white onion
- 3 tbsp. of Thai gold yellow curry paste
- 2 tbsp. of Meridian cashew butter
- 1 Chopped bell pepper (optional)
- Cashew nuts
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Heat a wok on medium to low heat and add coconut oil to let simmer, add in onion and garlic and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in coconut milk, curry paste, lentils and bell pepper and cook for 15 mins with lid, mix sporadically throughout time stated.
- Add in chickpeas and cook for a further 5 minutes. (Do not cook for longer than 20 minutes as ingredients will become mushy)
- Mix in meridian cashew butter and garnish with cashew nuts and a squeeze of lemon.
Yummy Veggie Soup
- Olive oil
- 200g Evergreen organic chickpeas
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1½ spoons of garlic granules/3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsps. of finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. of paprika
- 1 tsp. of cumin (ground)
- ½ tsp. of coriander (ground)
- 400g locavore chopped tomatoes (canned)
- 2 large sweet potatoes cut into bite size cubes
- 2 litres of kallo vegetable stock
- 200g Evergreen organic red lentils rinsed and drained
- Lemon to juice and garnish
- Pinch of red chilli flakes salt & pepper to taste
- Mixed seeds to garnish
- Heat oil in pot on medium to high temperature.
- Add onion, garlic, ginger and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas tomatoes salt and vegetable stock and stir occasionally.
- Let to sit for 20-25 minutes with pot covered with lid on medium to low temperature.
- Stir in tsp. of lemon juice.
- Transfer 2-3 ladels of the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth.
- Stir this back into the soup.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed, Serve the soup with a handful of seeds.
Vegan Lentil Burger
- 2 tsp. Vegetable oil
- 2 Red onions
- 2 tsp. Garlic granules
- 2 tsp. Ground ginger
- 2 tbsp. Curry powder (depending on preference mild, hot etc)
- 2 x 400g Evergreen organic red lentils, drained & rinsed.
- 4 tbsp. Plain flour
- 1 tbsp. White wine vinegar
- 4 Seeded burger buns
- 4 tsp. Mango chutney
- 8 Tomatoes sliced
- Beetroot cut into bite sized chunks
- Hummus of your choice
- Heat the Frying Pan on high to medium heat and add chopped red onions, let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder with 10 ml of water into the pan. Tip out into a bowl after 2-3 minutes of cooking.
- Add Lentils to a food processor and pulse until roughly blended but not smooth.
- Add Lentils in bowl with mixture made from pan, add the flour and combine by stirring. Using slightly wet hands combine the mix into four burger size veggie patties.
- Allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, Put the remaining sliced red onion into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover, leave for 5 minutes then drain well and add vinegar and seasoning.
- Heat oil in the pan and cook the lentil burgers for 4 minutes on each side. Place into buns and apply salad and chutney as desired.
I hope these easy prep meals help with your journey for more information call in-store to talk Veganuary with our highly trained staff!