August 21, 2017 Plant-Based Meal Plan

Whether you are new to a plant-based diet or long time plant-based eater, having a plant-based meal plan is a great way to make sure you stay on track with healthy eating. The simpler the meal plan, the easier it is to follow.

This week’s meal plan offers a lot of plant-based recipes. I like to show a full menu, but to keep it simple, I’ll only cook a few of them but double the portions so we can have leftovers. This week’s meal plan uses a lot of pantry staples and basic fresh ingredients that we always have on hand. You can follow along on Instagram to see what we end up eating.

Another thing we do to keep things easy is a grocery pick up. Depending on where you live, some stores allow you to shop for your groceries online or through an app, set a pickup time, then drive to the store. Then an employee brings the groceries out to your vehicle. This is so helpful if you have small children you don’t want to take in the store or have a really busy schedule.

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Plant-Based Meal Plan

Don’t worry about following the whole plant-based meal plan. Let this week’s meal plan inspire you to try new recipes!

Monday

Instant Pot Oatmeal with diced apples or blueberries

Baked Potatoes

Plant-Based Nachos! You have to try these!

Tuesday

Toast with fruit

Veggie Sandwich

Mexican Casserole

Wednesday

Overnight Oats

Burritos using leftovers

Chickpea and Rice Soup in the Instant Pot

Thursday

Instant Pot Oatmeal

Soup and Salad

Busy Night Pasta

Friday

Toast or bagels with peanut butter and fresh fruit

Leftovers

Tofu Kabobs (made in my Air Fryer) and a side dish


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Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs

These Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs are the perfect introduction to tofu!

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

When we first went plant-based I was a little afraid of tofu. I had never tried it and didn’t know what to expect. Years later, I’m happy to say that we love tofu. We don’t have it often but when we do it’s a crowd pleaser.

Cooking Tofu

There are a few different ways I like to eat tofu; we eat it crumbled in a tofu scramble, diced and cooked in a skillet, or cooked in my Air Fryer.

When I bought my GoWiseUSA Air Fryer I had two things I wanted to make, crispy fries and Tofu Kabobs.

Grilling isn’t an option for us. Our grill is pretty old and since we stopped cooking meat, we stopped using it and it fell into disrepair. Broiling and roasting in the summer is out because we live in Arizona and it’s too hot. In the summer, I don’t use my oven because it heats up the house.

You can definitely make these on the grill or in the oven if you don’t have an Air Fryer. I’ve even cooked them in a skillet but they don’t cook as evenly since the individual veggies and tofu pieces don’t all touch the surface of the pan at the same time.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

When I came up with this recipe, I really wanted to mimic the kabobs we used to make on our grill. Those had meat but the tofu was a great replacement. I also wanted to add my favorite veggies! Grilled bell peppers and onions are my favorite veggies to grill! Turns out, they are also great in the Air Fryer.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

If you are new to making tofu there are a few things to know.

First, tofu will take on the flavors of the other things you are cooking, so season your food well.

Second, tofu is packed in water and absorbs it like a sponge. You’ll want to squeeze it out. I used to put it between two plates and put heavy books on top. I recently bought an EZ Tofu Press and it’s much easier to use.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs

Get your wooden skewers ready for these easy and delicious kabobs.

Ingredients for Tofu Kabobs

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 pineapple, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1-2 bell peppers, chopped into large chunks

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Optional sriracha

Do

  1. Press tofu to remove excess water. This will take about 10 minutes. While the tofu is pressing, soak wooden skewers in water. I broke mine in half so they would fit in my Air Fryer.
  2. Mix up the marinade in a shallow bowl or baking dish.
  3. Cube the tofu, then place the tofu in the marinade to soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Chop veggies and pineapple and set aside.
  5. Build the kabobs by alternating veggies, tofu, and pineapple on the skewers.
  6. If cooking in Air Fryer, at 320° for 15 minutes, shaking after 10 minutes. If cooking in a skillet, stir or turn tofu, pineapple, and veggies until lightly browned on all sides.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

Use these spices and ingredients as a starting point, add your favorites like mushrooms, grape tomatoes, zucchini, and more!

You should know that the veggies cook way faster than the tofu. If you use small chunks of veggies and big chunks of tofu the veggies will dry out if you cook them longer than 15 minutes.

One last tip! Use the leftover marinade to cook your quinoa, rice or noodles! If you are sauteing the veggies in a pan instead of making kabobs, use the leftover marinade in the skillet. The photo below is pineapple, tofu, and veggies that were sauteed in a skillet. No oil was used, just the marinade or a little water to keep it from sticking.These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

What are your favorite (plant-based) kabob ingredients?

Plant-Based Nachos

Can Plant-Based Nachos solve every problem in the world today? No, but it might be exactly what you need to help your family start making healthy food choices.

When we first transitioned to a plant-based diet, we made healthier versions of our old favorites. One of those favorites was nachos!

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

We put a healthier twist on nachos by making non-dairy cheese sauce and oil-free beans. We include our favorite toppings like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and more. I like to douse mine in salsa but I leave it on the side when the kids will be sharing. Don’t forget the jalapenos and guacamole!

One of the reasons we love making Plant-Based Nachos is because everyone loves them. I get a lot of emails from people asking how to get their families to eat plant-based. Nachos is the answer!

Of course, you can’t live on nachos but a standing Nacho night isn’t out of the question.

If your whole family will be sharing, make a Nacho Bar so everyone can build their own! You can let them choose between black beans or pinto beans (both are oil-free).

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

Make Your Own Chips

The least healthy thing about the nachos are the chips. Granted, chips aren’t healthy. You can choose healthier versions or make them yourself.

To make your own oil-free chips, buy soft corn tortillas, check the ingredients to make sure they only contain corn, water, and maybe lime juice.

Cut them into triangles or strips and bake them until crispy! It’s easy!

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

Nacho Victory

Some of you aren’t as concerned about the chips, just getting your family to eat beans is a win! I firmly believe that healthy nachos could be the step to healthy eating for some.

Once you get your family enjoying Plant-Based Nachos, you can get them to try Tostadas, Burritos, Casseroles and more.

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

Plant-Based Nachos

This recipe is more art than science. We have our favorite way to make them, but I’ll mix and match different ingredients based on what we have.

If you set up a Nacho Bar, you can have all of the ingredients in bowls for your family.  Each person can make their own nacho masterpiece. If you are creating a group platter, you’ll want to layer chips, beans and cheese sauce in a pan and broil them for a couple of minutes, then add all the toppings.

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Unfried Beans (That is what I call my oil-free refried beans)
  • 1 batch dairy-free cheese sauce
  • Other toppings of your choice like tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, salsa, avocado, etc.
  • Chips or baked corn tortillas

Do

  1. Start cooking the cheese sauce because it takes the longest to make (unless you are cooking the beans from scratch).
  2. Prepare the beans, you can use beans you cook yourself or canned beans.
  3. Chop or prepare the other ingredients
  4. If making a Nacho Bar, place all the ingredients in bowls for your family to build their own serving. If you are making it family style, layer chips, beans, and cheese sauce in a pan. Broil it for a few minutes to get it all warm, then top with your favorite ingredients. I recommend you keep any ingredients that won’t be well received, on the side.

This is one of those recipes that is easy to make on a busy night or to use up leftovers! The dairy-free cheese sauce takes the longest unless you are cooking the beans from scratch, but it reheats well.

I like to plan nachos after I’ve batch cooked beans!

You have to admit, these look good even if you aren’t plant-based. Go ahead and show the video to a family member and see what they think!

I have to thank my friend Melodee from Melodee Lynn Photography for these amazing pictures. She is an artist with the camera!

My Amazon Favorites

Recently a reader asked if I had a list of products I always get from Amazon. I regularly mention and link to Amazon products but I haven’t updated an official list in a long time. I decided that now was a great time to make that list!

Plant-Based Diet Favorites at Amazon

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I have an Amazon Prime account so I get free two-day shipping on most of the things I buy. Don’t worry, you can Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial right now!

Just yesterday we got a giant box of toilet paper delivered to our door. I feel like it’s usually easier to buy stuff on Amazon than go to the store, but that is probably my introvert heart talking.

I try not to buy too many processed foods so that really limits what I buy. Plus, we have a Costco membership so most of our bulk shopping is done there. It’s hard to beat Costco for organics but sometimes I can’t find the products I want there.

Amazon Favorites

Oatmeal

I buy several kinds of oatmeal from Amazon. I usually get Bob’s Red Mill brand because I’ve never had a complaint. We buy steel cut oats, rolled oats and quick oats. I use different oats for different recipes.

Brown Rice Noodles

You know that my Veggie Pad Thai is a staple on my meal plans. I can have it ready in about 20 minutes. The key is having these quick cooking brown rice noodles in my pantry. I used to get them on Subscribe and Save, that means they were shipped every 6 weeks. You can choose how often subscribe and save items are shipped to you but every 6 weeks worked well for us.

Dried Chickpeas

This one is a newer find. I discovered Palouse brand non-GMO chickpeas last fall and loved them. I don’t always choose organic, depending on my budget but these were worth it. They taste noticeably better than any dried chickpea (or canned) that I had had before.

Peanut Butter Alternatives

When my son had peanut allergies (I know that sounds weird but he had a peanut allergy until he was 5 years old), we always bought our peanut butter alternatives on Amazon. SunButter is great for nut and soy allergies. If you use it a lot, go for the big one and get two 5 pound tubs. If you can’t tolerate sunflower seeds, give WOW Butter a try. You can get it in bulk too!

Other Amazon Products

We also buy small kitchen appliances (like my Instant Pot) and electronics at Amazon.

If you have products that you buy regularly, check to see if you can get an Amazon Dash button. It’s easy to Shop with Amazon Dash Buttons! You get a button that can be pressed for an instant order. This is good for things like toilet paper, trash bags, laundry soap or other products you order regularly. I like that the button can be placed in the same room as the product so I don’t forget to order it.


If you’ve been wondering if an Amazon Prime account is right for you Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial! It’s a win-win!

What are your favorite things to order from Amazon! I know I’m forgetting something! 

August 7, 2017 Plant-Based Meal Plan

We started back to school last week. I was happy our meal plan was easy because it was a busy week. This week is the first full week of school so I’ll have more easy meals on my mind and on my plant-based meal plan.

So far, we have a great breakfast routine on school days. My boys have been requesting oatmeal every day and I’m happy to make it for them. It’s super easy and super healthy! This week, I’m expecting to serve oatmeal with diced apples and raisins every morning.

We normally stick to leftovers for lunch. Some days I can hardly wait for lunch time! I’ve even been known to eat leftover soup for breakfast!

This Plant-Based Meal Plan is perfect for back to school or any busy season of life.

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This meal plan will focus on our evening dinners. Personally, I prefer to cook 3-4 big dinners a week then eat leftovers. I used to write my meal plans that way but people would be confused so I started writing out daily meal plans. I rarely make all 5 days worth of planned meals. I double recipes or add extra sides so I can get by with less cooking.

Sometimes I cook a meal that I know my kids won’t like. Either it’s spicy or uses veggies or textures that I know they aren’t interested in. I’ll take each kids’ preferences into account. Some days I tell them they don’t have a choice, they have to eat it. Other days I’ll give them the option of leftovers, oatmeal (yes, even for dinner), a sandwich or beans.

Plant-Based Meal Plan

I’ve already cooked a big batch of chickpeas that I’ll use this week in the soup, stir fry and BBQ chickpeas.

I discovered Palouse Brand Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) on Amazon last fall and fell in love. If you think you don’t like chickpeas try this brand. They taste so much better than canned or other brands. They are non-GMO and you get a code to track your chickpeas to the field they were grown in. It’s pretty cool if you are a food geek like me!

Monday

Instant Pot Chickpea and Rice Soup (link includes stove top directions)

Tuesday

Tostadas with Mexican Rice

Wednesday

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

Thursday

BBQ Chickpea Salad

Friday

Pizza Pasta, side salad, and veggies.


If we have enough leftovers, I may not make it all the way to my Pizza Pasta. Since I’ve already cooked a bunch of chickpeas, I’ll prioritize using them up first.

Do you have kids going back to school soon?

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