It’s happened to everyone: you arrive home late after a long day. Traffic, appointments gone long, poor planning…whatever the reason, you need to get dinner on the table ASAP! Gone are the days are driving through on the way home or dialing for delivery. What to do in a pinch? Quick, tasty and healthy are all non-negotiable.
It has taken me 3 months to slip into a more comfortable place with dinner planning. I won’t lie, at the beginning of this vegan journey, I felt panicky and overwhelmed. I even found myself feeling resentful. “This way of eating is hard enough, why can’t they all just figure out their own food!” I now know that was just the toxic hunger making me one nasty lady for a while. Sorry, family, LOVE YOU!
I keep a few staples stocked in my kitchen at all times, ready at a moment’s notice for those nights when people INSIST on being fed even though I have had a busy day. Haha.
Chili. This is a super simple version. Just throw the following ingredients into a sauce pan and heat for 15 minutes. Done and delicious.
- 3 cans of assorted beans, drained and rinsed. (My favorites are black beans, garbanzo beans and lima beans)
- one can of tomato sauce
- one can of tomato paste
- 1/2 bag of frozen corn
- a sprinkle each of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and Zydeco Chop Chop
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce to taste
Pasta and steamed broccoli with Marinara. This comfort food is a weekly favorite at our house.
I use red lentil and chickpea noodles, instead of traditional pasta, since I am gluten free and the bean based pastas are FILLED with protein. They are actually quite tasty and extremely filling. My son gives them a “thumbs mostly up ” and that is amazing, considering he loves traditional pasta.
For the sauce, I recommend Victoria White Linen Marinara sauce. You can find it at Costco here in California. Simple ingredients, no sugar, and quite simply, the most delicious Marinara I have ever had.
For the broccoli, don’t just throw it in the microwave, steam it! Here is a recipe for perfect steamed broccoli. It’s so simple! Be sure to remove from the steaming basket while it is still tender crisp and bright green. It retains more of the nutrients and flavor that way.
Also, try adding the Marinara over the broccoli, too. It is amazing. If you have time, water sauté a few mushrooms or zucchinis with garlic and add them to the fun. The more colorful, the better.
Taco Salad. This one is always a crowd pleaser, especially on a hot evening. I chop up romaine lettuce and spinach (or any other dark leafy greens) for the base, then put out anything and everything I have that even remotely sounds like it might be good on a salad and let everyone build their own. My favorite salad fixings:
- Black olives
- Chopped green or red onion
- Black or pinto beans
- Quinoa taco “meat”
- Guacamole or chopped avocado
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Chopped bell peppers
- Chopped raw zucchini
- Lightly sautéed mushrooms
- Vegan ranch
- Tortilla chips (none for me, though)
Chopped veggies and hummus. This is my Sunday night, go-to dinner. I almost always have baby bell peppers, celery sticks and baby carrots in my veggie drawer, ready to eat. It is fast, easy and satisfying. No excuses for not eating healthy with this stuff on hand.
What are your favorite quick and easy meals? I would love to know.