Once a Week Cooking

Once a Week Cooking for vegan, plant-based, gluten-free foodies

Sometimes it’s nice to go a whole week without cooking. Sure, some people do that all the time, they just eat take out or fast food. I’m talking about a whole week eating homemade, plant-based food without having to cook it everyday. It’s possible if you do Once a Week Cooking.

I’ve shared this before, in fact it’s regularly one of my top pins.

Once a Week Cooking

If you want to try Once a Week Cooking I recommend that you plan meals that will reheat well, serve you for more than one meal and give yourself several hours to get the cooking done.

I’ve selected several recipes that meet this criteria, they are on this week’s meal plan.

You can adapt this to suit your time and dietary constraints.

What to Cook

Plan to start with the items that will take the longest too cook or that you need for other meals. If you are cooking beans you will probably want to start with those. If you are using canned or already have beans cooked you can move on. I already had beans and rice cooked when I started, we usually have beans and rice cooked at all times.

I also use multiple cooking options, for instance I cook beans in my Instant Pot, the casserole in my Crock Pot, most other things on my stove and the lasagna in my oven. The sweet potatoes can be made in the Instant Pot, Crock Pot or the oven.

Steps to Getting it All Done

1. Cook beans and rice. Either ahead or start here.

2. Get the Crock Pot going with the casserole.

3. Start cooking the lentils, quinoa and Mexican Rice on the stove.

4. Start preparing ingredients for the Lasagna. (The lasagna takes a long time so you can save time by eliminating this).

5. Wash and bake sweet potatoes.

6. Chop veggies and make the soup. (Beans and rice must be cooked in order to make the soup.)

7. Prepare additional veggies for salad.


You can simplify this with a few modifications. This was more than enough food for us this week.

1. Cook fewer foods.

Instead cooking black beans and lentils just cook one and use it in place of both. Instead of cooking plain brown rice, Mexican Rice and quinoa choose one, but make sure you cook enough for all of your meals.

2. Have Foods Prepped.

You may be wondering, isn’t’ the purpose of once a week cooking to only cook once? Yes, however some foods like beans and grains take a while to cook. If you do this ahead of time you can knock an hour or more off of your cooking time.

3. Skip Difficult Recipes.

The lasagna recipe I made isn’t really difficult but it is a multi-step recipe that takes a lot of time. Replace it with a pasta dish instead and you’ll save a lot of time.

Do you batch cook or do once a week cooking? I’m considering creating a short batch cooking eCourse if there is enough interest.

Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Oil-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing is vegan and gluten-freePrepare to be amazed!

That is a line from the movie Meet the Robinson’s that I whip out on occasion. This seems fitting to me.

Why? Because my boys ate several cups of a mixed green salad that was tossed in this dressing. There was some salad left that I stored in the fridge. Yes, wet salad that was doused in this dressing and they finished it off the next day because they love the dressing so much.

I call that a win and even amazing.

As you can always expect from me, this salad dressing is oil-free!

Oil-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing


  • 1 heaping cup of fresh raspberries, if you need to use frozen allow them to thaw first
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • up to a 1/2 tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • a dash of salt and pepper


  1. Pour your raspberries, half of the water, half of the vinegar and maple syrup into a blender. I used my Blendtec. Add your salt and pepper.
  2. Press the pulse button and allow to process until everything liquefies. Pour in slightly more water if needed.
  3. Give your dressing a taste test. Add more vinegar and maple syrup if needed. Some berries are sweeter while others are sour so this isn’t an exact science. I made it as written above and it was perfect for us.
  4. If you adjusted your ingredients pulse again until your salad dressing reaches the right consistency and flavor.

Your salad dressing will be a beautiful raspberry color and taste slightly sweet with just enough kick.

This will make about 1 1/2 cups depending on how much water you use. Store this dressing in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.

I’ve got a lot of incredible oil-free salad dressings. You can see all of them on my Sauces, Dips and Salad Dressing Page. Don’t forget to pin them too!

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Meal Plan Monday: June 15, 2015 and a 15 Minute Recharge

This weekend we spent time in the pool, had a family move night (at home), attended church and spent some time resting.

We work really hard during the week and need time to recharge on the weekend.

I know that we have to be careful about spending too much time in the sun and use sun screen, I even wrote about it last year, but I feel great after 15 minutes in the sun. I don’t get burned but I get nice and hot and start to sweat. Even when I have a headache, if I can go outside and relax for 15 minutes I feel so much better. Do you have a 15 minute recharge?

We did a little bit of cooking as well. Sweet Potatoes and small red potatoes, brown rice and black beans were all cooked in my Instant Pot. I shouldn’t say “we” because my husband cooked them. He does most of the cooking these days. Isn’t that awesome?

A Plant-Based Meal Plan that is also gluten-free and low fat. Perfect for anyone trying to eat healthier. These delicious meals packed with fiber and nutrients will keep you full.

Meal Plan

Our boys start swim lessons this week so we wanted to be prepared for the week since our schedule will be different. I know all of that swimming will have the boys extra hungry.


No matter what we have for breakfast we are loading up on delicious summer fruit to go with it. Peaches, nectarines, berries and melon!


I pack my lunch when I go to the office. In addition to bringing lunch I pack lots of veggies for snacking and always eat a piece of fruit on the way home. Jim takes the boys on a “field trip” once a week and packs them lunch. This week they go to the Science Center.

  • Veggie Sandwich
  • Leftover Soup
  • Bean and Grain Bowl
  • Big Black Bean Salad
  • Baked Potatoes


We still have Mexican Casserole leftover along with all of the foods Jim cooked for us. On a side note our 4 year old calls the Mexican Casserole Mess-Kit Casserole. It’s too funny.

We may not need to cook all of those dinners since we have other things already made. We have a plan to fall back on though.

What are you eating this week? I’ll try to post lots of pictures on Instagram.

 This page contains affiliate links.

Black Bean Mango Salad

It’s summer time and that means salads.

When you adopt a plant-based diet the BIG salad is kind of a rite of passage. We aren’t talking the dinky side salads you typically found in your Standard American Diet (SAD) days. We aren’t even talking about the giant meat, cheese and oil salads you may have ordered when you were “eating healthy.”

No, I’m talking about fiber filled, colorful, BIG, flavorful and healthy salads.

Black Bean Mango Salad Vegan Gluten-Free Plant-Based

Unlike most of the recipes you’ll find here this recipe is for a single serving. Sure my kids would love most of the things in this salad but if your kids are like my kids they don’t want it all mixed together. Today, I’m telling the kids to get back. This one is all mine.

Even though this is for a single serving I prefer to build two (or three or four) at a time to eat later in the week. The only real difference is you’ll want to store the diced mango separately because it can get a little slimy.

Let me take just a moment to mention that the measurements below can be adapted to your taste. I actually added a little more of everything for the salad I ate at home. This size was perfect for work. I don’t know about you but it takes me a long time to eat BIG salads. My lunch salads need to be a little average size.

Black Bean Mango Salad Vegan Gluten-Free

Black Bean Mango Salad


  • 2-3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup organic corn
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato (remove seeds)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (I prefer sweet onion or red onions)
  • 1/4 of a large mango (or half a small mango) diced.
  • diced jalapenos to taste
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 avocado (optional)


  1. Place lettuce in a large bowl then top with beans, corn, tomatoes, onion and mango*.
  2. If using jalapenos and cilantro add now. Give the salad a good stir.
  3. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad and stir one more time.

*Notes: If you are packing an extra salad for another day leave the mango, lime juice and avocado separate I didn’t use avocado above but I stored my mango and lime in a container. See the photo below.

Meal Plan Monday Soups and Salads

Plant-Based meal Plan

I don’t know about you but we have been eating very well. Not that it is summer we are eating salads and fresh veggies daily. My husband has been making these incredible veggie filled meals for our boys everyday and texting me photos so I signed him into my Instagram so he will be sharing them with you all now.

You may have noticed that we’ve done a redesign. I’m still tweaking things a bit. Kathryn at Food Allergy Jams is great to work with. Check out her Instagram, it’s on of my favorite accounts to follow. Follow her graphic design work on Facebook.

Meal Plan

We spent a little time prepping for the week over the weekend. Jim is getting the hang of the Instant Pot. He has already made Breakfast Rice, regular brown rice and beans. I prepped two different salad dressings for the week, Blueberry Vinaigrette and Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing. This weeks meal plan centers around soups and salads.


We have lots of fresh blueberries to put in oatmeal and breakfast rice. We also go through 15-20 pounds of apples per week.  Lately I can’t get enough cantaloupe and nectarines. This week we are going to get peaches too. Check out the Peachy Keen Oatmeal recipe or the Blueberry Oatmeal recipe for inspiration.


Our lunches (even our boys) are usually giant salads with a side of beans, grains and potatoes. This week I’ll be having Black Bean Mango Salad (shown above) and I’ll share the recipe later this week and Chipotle style salads. We also have leftover Enchilada Soup. We always have sandwiches as a back up plan.


As previously mentioned, we have Enchilada Soup. I like to pair it with Baked Potatoes.

Later this week I’ll make Minestrone Soup. This is one of my favorites! We use gluten-free pasta or quinoa to keep it gluten-free.

We’ll also have BBQ Cauliflower Bites with potato wedges and veggies.

I’m a big fan of breakfast for dinner and I’ve been craving Breakfast Tacos.

We will also work in the Beans, Grains and salads this week with the meals mentioned above and on their own.

What are you eating this week? 

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