Tag Archives: meal prep

Pasta Primavera with Vegan Parmesan

This is one of my favorite summer recipes that my parents made when I was growing up. It’s incredibly simple, light, and is perfect for using up leftover veggies! It also is a fantastic meal prep because it makes a huge batch and reheats well throughout the week. My parents used to make it with shrimp and chicken, but if you add a decent variety of veggies and a can of cannellini beans (or navy beans or great northern beans), you don’t miss the chicken one little bit!

Primavera means “Spring” in Italian. This dish is all about celebrating the growing season and welcoming back fresh garden vegetables to the dinner table.

The absolute best part of a primavera, though, was always drowning it in parmesan cheese. When I went vegetarian, I made this all the time, but when I ditched the dairy, I missed the way that parmesan complimented the dish so much that I actually abandoned it! Since then, I have found a few halfway decent vegan store-bought parmesans, but today I finally tried making my own and it did not disappoint!! (Recipe from the Minimalist Baker)

Today I used chickpea pasta (rotini) for extra protein (Banza brand), but feel free to use whatever style you like! Today’s veggies included red onion, garlic, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, tomato, great northern beans, and spinach. I also love using mushrooms and carrots but didn’t choose them today. If you are making this at home, I encourage you to definitely use at least three kinds of vegetables in addition to your onion and garlic and make sure you have a protein source like beans, chickpeas, edamame, or green peas.

Pasta Primavera with Vegan Parmesan

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A simple Italian pasta classic. that does not disappoint


The vegetables I used here are just a suggestion, feel free to use any kind you like. I do recommend at least three types of vegetables plus a plant based protein source like cannellini beans

Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil (4-6 tbsp)
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 crown of broccoli
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste (but at least 1/2 tsp salt)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Optional: 1 fresh lemon
  • For the parmesan (Recipe from the Minimalist Baker, see link in post):

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Because it can take a while for a large pot of salted water to come to a boil, start by heating up the pasta water while you chop the veggies into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a second large pot or dutch oven, warm up 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onion first and sauté until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Next, add garlic, broccoli, and a dash of salt and pepper (at least 1/4 tsp salt). Stir to combine and allow to sauté with the lid off for approx 5 min until broccoli begins to soften.
  4. Add the red peppers and zucchini, stir to combine, and sauté until slightly softened (approx 2 minutes), then add the beans and tomatoes, plus another round of salt and pepper to taste (at least another 1/4 tsp salt).
  5. The water is likely boiling at this point, go ahead and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  6. Turn down the heat on the veggies to low. Leave the lid off of the veggies to ensure it doesn’t get too watery. If you are making your own parmesan, now is a good time to whip it up while you wait for the pasta to cook. (The only instruction is to combine all parmesean ingredients in a food processor and mix/pulse until combined into a fine meal)
  7. After the pasta is drained, combine with the vegetables and fold in the spinach. Check out the consistency of the combined dish. Th pasta should have a slick consistency. If not slick, go ahead and add another 1-2 tbsp of olive oil (or as much as needed so it is all lightly coated in olive oil). If adding fresh basil, fold it in now as well.
  8. Enjoy! Feel free to fold in a hefty amount of parmesan, plus save extra for sprinkling on top. If you like an extra bright flavor, slice up a lemon and sprinkle some lemon juice on top as well.

What are your favorite pasta primavera variations? Drop a comment below!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tostadas With Avocado Sauce

Above all else, my absolute favorite kind of food is Mexican. Not Tex-Mex. Not Taco Bell. Actual Mexican food from Mexico. It is simple, delicious, and typically uses just a few ingredients. Because Mexican food features so few ingredients, it’s incredibly easy to veganize.

You might be thinking “but what about the sour cream! And cheese!” For those of you who are not familiar with authentic Mexican cuisine, you might be surprised to hear dairy is actually an extremely small part of Mexican cooking. Perhaps a sprinkling of cheese here and there, maybe a drizzle of crema at a restaurant (a more runny version of American sour cream), but that’s about it. It isn’t central to any dish, and can easily be replaced by a squeeze of lime or some avocado without compromising the integrity of the dish.

And yes, I understand that sweet potatoes aren’t Mexican, but I do LOVE how they taste with black beans and they are just so good for you. How can I NOT Mexicanize them?

Tostadas are one of my favorite Mexican dishes to eat. A tostada is essentially a tortilla that has been baked until it becomes a giant round tortilla chip. They are a creative way to reduce food waste (they’re made from tortillas that are just starting to go stale). The revamp is both useful and delicious. I love tostadas because the open faced style allows you to enjoy the flavors of what’s on top in a different way than if it were wrapped up inside of soft shell tortilla. In a taco, you would taste the shell first and get the flavors of the filling on the back end. In a tostada, you get all the flavors at the same time, plus a nice crunch and a little extra flavor from the baked shell.

**Tip for the Avocado Dressing: make ahead the day before or a few hours before serving if you can. Although it tastes great fresh, letting the flavors marinade together makes them REALLY blend as one. The best part about the avocado dressing? Even if you make ahead, it stays green!

PS: this is a great recipe for meal prepping. Instead of tostadas, put the potatoes and beans on a bed of lettuce, rice, or wrap it up in some tortillas for tacos or burritos. The sky is the limit!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tostadas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful, fun Mexican-inspired recipe perfect for Taco Tuesdays


Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-4 tbsp salsa
  • tostadas (or small tortilla shells if making your own)
  • oil of choice
  • optional for topping: shredded lettuce, diced tomato, fresh lime, fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Peel and dice the sweet potato and red onion into small pieces. If making your own tostada shells, begin pre-heating the oven to 350.
  2. Put 2 tbsp oil in a sauce pan and turn to medium heat. Add onion first and sauté until fragrant, then add sweet potato. Stir and cover with lid.
  3. While sweet potato and onions are cooking, drain and rinse the black beans and begin measuring your spices.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes begin to soften, add the spices, salsa, and black beans. (The salsa will help add moisture to the dish. If you don’t have any on hand, add a few tbsp water instead).
  5. If making your own tostadas, take out a baking sheet and either lightly brush or spray both sides of tortillas with oil of choice. Sprinkle a dash of salt on one side of tortillas. Bake for approx 10 minutes. Tostadas are ready when the edges begin to curl up and the tortillas are slightly brown.
  6. My favorite way to top these is the traditional way. First, a bed of finely shredded lettuce, then the protein, then some finely diced tomato, cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Today I made an avocado dressing that combined all of my favorite usual toppings…I have to say I HIGHLY recommend it! I will definitely be using this on many more Mexican dishes to come.

Avocado Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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This dressing is incredibly easy. If you like cilantro, lime, avocado, and all things Mexican NEARLY as much as I do you will seriously love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup vegan sour cream (or plain unsweetened yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (I actually just used half a bunch)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender, blend until liquified.
  2. Add more liquid if you want a runny salad dressing, use less if you want a dip or thicker topping more like the consistency of sour cream.
  3. Enjoy!

What do you think? Leave a comment below if you’ve tried it or have a suggestion for something I should try!

Edamame Buddha Bowl

I was inspired to make this “Buddha Bowl” after coming back from my trip to Austin! It was INSANELY challenging to eat healthy and I came back craving vegetables in a way I never thought possible! After my trip I went straight into working a long shift so I needed a decent meal prep to get me through the next few work days. Out came this! My favorite part is that you can easily enjoy it hot or cold- I love being able to have it either way on these hot summer days!

This bowl was super easy to make. It’s easily customizable and doesn’t require a fancy dressing recipe (although I do make an awesome home made Thai peanut dressing from scratch, this time I just got one pre made from Sprouts). It took me about 35 minutes including final assembly.

Edamame Buddha Bowl

  • Difficulty: easy
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A fresh, light, Asian inspired recipe for an easy weekday dinner or meal prep



For this bowl, I used a Thai peanut dressing I bought from the store, feel free to just sprinkle on some soy or teriyaki sauce, or just go for a squeeze of lime!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 cups of shelled edamame
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup of chopped or shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • cilantro, lime, dressing of choice for garnishing and flavoring

Directions

  1. Begin by cooking the brown rice. In a medium saucepan, bring at least 6 cups of water to a boil and add the rice. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, then drain the water, cover, and let sit in its steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  2. While the rice is boiling, cook the edamame. Try to buy edamame already shelled to save time. Then you just have to boil for 5 minutes! Pop another sauce pan full of water on the stove and boil the edamame for 5 minutes. Drain the water when finished and set aside.
  3. While the rice and edamame are cooking, chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces. Then, steam the broccoli in the stove top or microwave to desired tenderness (I like to keep mine barely cooked and on the crunchy side for this specific recipe). I just took a third pan and put about a cup of water on the bottom, threw the florets on top, covered with a lid and simmered for five minutes.
  4. While the rice and broccoli are cooking, chop up the rest of the veggies. I chopped up my cucumber and used a veggie peeler for the carrots, but cut them up any way you prefer. For the red cabbage I do recommend using a food processor for shredding, but I actually just cut up about 1/4 of the head of the cabbage and plan to use the rest to make a coleslaw this weekend.
  5. Assemble the ingredients and garnish with chopped cilantro, a wedge of lime, and your favorite asian dressing (all of which are optional of course)!

I hope you enjoy! Drop a comment and let me know what you link. What are some of your favorite bowl ideas?

Paprika Roasted Chickpea Meal Prep

I’m a little late on posting this…but I promised a second meal prep recipe! This was made in about 45 minutes, mainly due to how long it takes to cook brown rice. Short on time? Pick another grain that cooks quicker! Or skip the grain and add more roasted veggies!

My meal preps have to be simple, easy, healthy, and quick. This one is based on seasoned, roasted chickpeas paired with roasted broccoli and brown rice. I paired this with a home made lemon tahini dressing that I keep in the freezer, but feel free to use just a squeeze of fresh lemon instead or pour some of your favorite pre made dressing on the side.

An easy, flavorful, quick meal prep for a weekday lunch or dinner.

I used chickpeas, broccoli, and brown rice. Feel free to swap out the broccoli for another veggie or add more veggies. Brown rice can take a while to make, so if you’re short on time consider something quicker like couscous.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 crown of broccoli
  • 1 cup of dry brown rice
  • 2 tsp paprike
  • 1 cup of dry brown rice
  • 1 cup of dry brown rice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees while you begin the brown rice.
  2. To cook brown rice, add the rice to a large pot of water (about 6 cups of water), bring to a boil and allow to boil uncovered for about 30 minutes. Drain the rice, then return to pot and cover with lid. Allow to rest off heat for another 5-10 minutes.
  3. While the rice is coming to a boil, rinse and chop the broccoli to the size you prefer. Put the broccoli in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with about 1 tbsp of olive oil (or other preferred cooking oil). Toss to lightly and evenly coat the broccoli. Transfer to an uncreased baking sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper over broccoli. Cook in oven for 10 minutes, then flip and cook another 10 minutes for crispy broccoli.
  4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In the same bowl you used for the broccoli, go ahead and toss the chickpeas in. Add another tablespoon of oil, then the paprika, onion, garlic, plus salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a separate baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, then stir and flip chickpeas and bake for another 5 minutes. If you overcook the chickpeas, they will turn out extremely crunchy, almost like a crouton. These can be great for snacking. For this meal, however, I like them just a little crisp. Bake longer or shorter to your desired level of crunch!
  5. When everything is done cooking, combine! Drizzle on your favorite dressing, a squeeze of lemon, or both!

Do you have any favorite meal preps or plant based dressing recipes you’d like to share? Drop a comment below, I’d love to try them!

Mexican Quinoa Meal Prep

Hey everyone! This is a super busy week for me, I am working two 13 hour shifts and one 14 hour shift (which is pretty typical), but my day off between shifts is going to be taken up my errands, packing, and cleaning and on Friday I’m off to Austin, TX!

I’m still working on convincing my husband that vegan food can be something he enjoys eating all the time, daily. He really loves simple, plain food and I love food with bold, rich flavors. Don’t get me wrong, he’s open minded, super supportive of my plant based lifestyle, and happily eats whatever I put in front of him…but along the course of my adventurous experiments, I think I accidentally convinced him that vegan food is spicy, rich, and heavy. If he could eat lunchables for the rest of his life, he would, so some of these experiments have scared him a little. This week I needed to make a big enough meal prep that would supply lunches for both of us since I’m working on brainwashing him.

The key to ANY good meal prep is simplicity. My favorite way to do it is to pick two-three veggies that go together and a grain. I often roast the veggies and cover with the same seasoning while the grain is cooking stove top. Combine and throw a wedge of lemon, lime, or pour a little vegan dressing on the side to make it interesting. The combinations are endless and the sky is the limit.

Here is one of my favorites! The base recipe is a super simple Mexican Quinoa Bowl. Sometimes during the week we turn it into a burrito or make it a super fancy bowl and add lots of ingredients. When it comes to weekday survival though, simplicity is the name of the game. This recipe is super simple. It’s designed to please the pickiest eaters, the vegan doubters, and the busiest people.

Yes, food CAN be healthy, quick, easy, compassionate, AND delicious.

Mexican Quinoa Meal Prep

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Incredibly easy, two pan dish, no chopping required (unless you want to, of course!)

This is the base recipe for a quick, easy meal prep. If you want to add more veggies like fresh diced tomatoes, red onions, and avocado, you won’t be disappointed with the extra time spent!

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: salsa, tofutti (“sour cream”), vegan cheddar, fresh lime wedge, cilantro

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. Place in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water or veggie broth for extra flavor, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed (approx 15-20 min). Turn the heat off, leave the cover on and let it sit in its steam 5 min before taking the lid off to fluff quinoa.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, coat the bottom of a pan with 1-2 tbsp oil and put the stove top on medium heat. If you are cooking with onion, add it when the oil is hot and cook until onion is fragrant and translucent (2min). If you didn’t feel like chopping an onion, go straight to the next step.
  3. Add the corn, black beans, and spices. Sauté until veggies until the spices are fragrant and the veggies are warmed (approx 10 min)
  4. That’s it! I almost always top with salsa, cilantro, tofutti, and lime. Sometimes we get wild and wrap it in a tortilla or add avocado. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think! There are a million ways to do this recipe. Drop a comment below and let me know your favorite version!