Veg Week 2012: A Week of Vegan Recipes

Next week, April 23 through April 29, is Veg Week. I am very excited about this. Obviously it was easy for me to pledge to eat vegetarian for a week, you know being a vegan and all, but I am excited thinking about all of the people out there pledging to take one week out of their lives and try something new. The basis of Veg Week is compassion over killing and although my choice to go vegan did not start out for this reason it has quickly become a big part of this lifestyle for me.

In honor of Veg Week I wanted to put a post together filled with quick and healthy recipes that utilize easy to find ingredients. I want people to feel comfortable taking the seven day pledge. Choosing to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet should not be stressful and I thought what better way to help others out who want to take this challenge by giving some advice, tips and recipes to make it as easy as possible.

Breakfast

There are so many great blogs and cookbooks dedicated to vegan cooking and I could provide you with tons of great breakfast recipes but for the sake of your sanity (and mine) and the fact that most people don’t cook huge, elaborate breakfasts during the week I say keep breakfast simple.

Cereal with non-dairy milk (I prefer almond milk) with some sliced fruit. I love Uncle Sam original with sliced banana and almond milk. Some days I’ll even add some walnuts, too. Check out this list of vegan cereals on the PETA website– you will be amazed at the choices of cereals you have!

Oatmeal with Berries/apples/raisins and a splash of non-dairy milk- YUM!

Toast (I prefer Food for Life or other sprouted grain bread which can be found in the freezer section) or English muffin with nut butter and sliced banana – this is usually a snack for me but would make a great breakfast.

Lunch

I am a creature of habit. Most weekdays you will find me eating soup and salad for lunch. I change up the soup weekly/bi-weekly so it’s not really the same thing day in and day out but it kind of is. I like it this way, though. I love salad. I love soup. It’s what I want to eat. Paul…not so much. His lunches are either leftovers (which you will have for most of these recipes) or I make up some grain and bean salad or quick bowls (from the Whole Foods website) for him. However, don’t forget that something as simple and easy as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be a perfect vegan lunch.

I like to keep these salad ingredients on hand for lunches but I also use them in other recipes like the hummus pitas: plastic container of salad mix (I like the organic mesculin mix), cherub tomatoes, bagged shredded carrots, alfalfa/broccoli/radish sprouts, bell peppers, cucumber, and zucchini.

If you are a soup person like me then try making up a batch on Sunday and then portion it out into Ziploc baggies and freeze. I pull a portion out of the freezer for my lunch each day- it’s so super easy. Here are two fast and easy soup recipes I love to make.

Soup Recipes

Asian-Inspired Vegetable Soup from Weight Watchers

Makes 6 hearty servings or 12 smaller servings

2 cup(s) uncooked bok choy, chopped

2 cup(s) uncooked Chinese cabbage, chopped

3 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced

1/4 cup(s) ginger root, thinly sliced and julienned

4 small uncooked oyster mushroom(s), chopped

2 cup(s) uncooked scallion(s), chopped

1 cup(s) canned water chestnut(s), sliced (8 oz can)

1/2 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), thinly sliced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

6 cup(s) vegetable broth

2 cup(s) snow peas, stringed

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup(s) cilantro, finely chopped

Directions
Put bok choy, Chinese cabbage, garlic, ginger root, mushrooms, scallions, water chestnuts, red pepper, red pepper flakes and broth into a large soup pot; stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes. Toss in snow peas during the last 3 to 4 minutes of simmering.

Stir in soy sauce and cilantro.

*If you can’t find oyster mushrooms try white mushrooms instead. No Chinese cabbage use Savoy or green. I don’t like water chestnuts so I omit them and add half a box of prepared thin rice noodles instead.

Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup from Vegan with a Vengeance

This is the first vegan cookbook I owned, months and months before becoming a vegan, and this was the first recipe I tried. I love it! Not a lot of ingredients. Super easy. Very tasty.

Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients
16 oz dried split peas
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced small
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups water
1 carrot, grated
fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Spice blend:
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons salt
generous pinch cinnamon

Directions
Sauté the onions in the olive oil at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Sauté 2 more minutes.

Add the water and stir well. Add the split peas. Cover and bring to a boil.
Bring heat back down to medium; let soup simmer for about an hour, until peas are tender. Grate in the carrot and serve. You can garnish with fresh cilantro if you have it on hand.

Snacks

I am a big fan of snacking and prior to becoming a vegan my routine was 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. That hasn’t changed. I mainly stick to fruits and nuts for snacks but here are some other things I like to keep on hand to snack on as well.

Apples and almonds (my typical morning snack)

Grapefruit (or oranges if you don’t like to eat plain grapefruit)

Hummus and veggies (or pita chips or pretzels)

Toast with nut butter and banana

Popcorn (whole kernels, microwave in a brown paper bag, seasoned with spices)

Dark Chocolate

Non-dairy ice cream with fresh fruit and nuts

Dinners

Paul and I were talking about this post yesterday and what recipes I should include. Here are some of our favorites and anything with an (*) notes the changes/tweaks/tips to the recipe. All of these are from Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet. His recipes are super tasty, easy and healthy and so we use them quite frequently. They also don’t use a ton of ingredients and come together quickly which is important to me as a hungry cook who wants to eat ASAP so she can get to riding. I love my new hobby.

Jane’s Jammin’ Burritos

Serves 6
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage (*I buy one head and use for both this and the asian-inspired vegetable soup)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans fat-free vegetarian refried beans
1 cup cooked brown rice (*cook up 2 cups and save one cup to use on Rip’s Sweet Potato bowl)
2 teaspoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 large Ezekiel sprouted-grain wraps (*if you can’t find Ezekiel brand just use any large/burrito size whole wheat tortillas you can find)
Salsa
Guacamole (*I buy Wholly Guacamole brand guac usually found in the produce section and keep a box or two on hand at all times. I love the 100-calorie packs because they are the perfect size – we split one pack per two burritos)

Preheat oven to 350º.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a large sprayed skillet on high heat for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, and cabbage to the skillet. Cook 4–5 minutes, until the vegetables are al dente (soft but firm) and the cabbage is wilting. Add the black beans, refried beans, and rice to the skillet. Stir the ingredients together on low heat until the mixture is thick and mortar-like. Season with the cumin and cayenne. Slap a large spoonful of veggie mortar onto the center of the Ezekiel wrap and spread it from top to bottom along the center line. Fold the sides over using a bit of the veggie mortar as adhesive for the top flap. Rest the burritos next to each other and place them seam side down on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the wraps are crisp. Serve with salsa and guacamole on top.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Location 3821). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This recipe makes 6 gigantic burritos. You can halve the recipe if that is just too much for you or wrap leftover burritos in aluminum foil and place in Ziploc bag. These keep well frozen and make great leftovers for lunch or for dinner next week.

Rip’s Sweet Potato Bowl

Serves 2
1 large cooked sweet potato, skin removed, cut into cubes (*or two medium/small potatoes)
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ bunch chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Balsamic vinegar to taste

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3795-3801). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*How I make this recipe- I microwave the potatoes for like 5 minutes to cook them (make sure you pierce the skin with a fork first) and then let them cool a bit before peeling them. I warm the black beans in a small pot with some water/veggie broth and some chili powder. I toss in the bell pepper and ½ cup frozen corn and let them warm together. Reheat the leftover brown rice from the burritos. On a plate or bowl layer potatoes, rice and bean mixture then top with mango, avocado and cilantro. I squeeze some fresh lime juice and top with salsa. I omit the vinegar.

Healthy Homemade Hummus

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2–3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium tamari (*low-sodium soy sauce works fine too)
3 tablespoons water or vegetable broth

Blend all the ingredients into a thick paste, using a small amount of water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Variations: Customize by adding one or more of the following:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 roasted, seeded, and chopped red bell pepper
1 cup dark or Kalamata olives
1 bunch fresh mint
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup cooked eggplant

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Location 3940). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This is one of my favorite recipes. I make a batch of the hummus up and spread a thick layer of it inside a pita. I top it with cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, sprouts, squash, really any veggies you have on hand would work. I serve it with a side of canned black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed) warmed in water or veggie broth and topped with some hot sauce. Voila- dinner in less than 10 minutes.

Pasta Primavera

1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bunch fresh kale, rinsed and chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz (I prefer Muir Glen no salt added, organic which they carry at the commissary)
1 jar pasta sauce (I prefer Organic Ville, Whole Foods brand, or Newman’s Own)
16 ounces whole-grain spaghetti, cooked
½ cup raw cashews, finely ground

Sauté the onion, garlic, and corn in a large skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeño, bell pepper, and kale to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and pasta sauce to the vegetables. Ladle the sauce over the pasta and top with the cashews.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3205-3214). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This is a great base recipe and I tweak it based on whatever veggies I have on hand. I have used frozen corn instead or canned, red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno, omitted kale (which I recommend using if you have it) and threw in every frozen veggie I had in the freezer, including okra. Oh, and those shredded carrots I use for my salad- yeah, I toss those in too. This recipe is practically fail proof and it makes a ton and the sauce freezes nicely. I omit the cashews and use half the amount of pasta. I prefer penne or fussili over spaghetti- whatever your preference is go for it.

New York Times Veggie Burgers

Makes 8 Patties
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tomatoes with zesty mild chilies, drained
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup parsley or cilantro
2 cups quick rolled oats
8 whole grain buns
Fresh veggie toppings and healthy condiments

Preheat oven to 450º. Process the first seven ingredients using an immersion or a regular blender or food processor. Remove contents into a large bowl and stir in the oats. Form into patties, place on a sprayed baking sheet, and bake for 8 minutes. Turn oven up to broil and cook for 2 more minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. Toast the buns and pile on your favorite toppings. Variation: Sauté the burgers on medium heat in a sprayed nonstick skillet for 5 minutes on each side, until both sides are browned.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3061-3073). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*The only change I make to the recipe is adding in a tablespoon or two of flour to bind it better. Sometimes make mixture seems a little wet (maybe I don’t drain the tomatoes well enough) and so I found if I add some flour it binds it together nicely. Oh, and I cook mine longer. Ten minutes on each side. I usually cook up half the mixture and freeze the other half since there are only two of us. 8 patties are too much for one meal for us. These are great topped with grilled onions and peppers, guac, and salsa or ketchup, mustard and relish work too.

EMS Portobello Mushroom Fajitas with Rice and Guacamole

Serves 4
4 Portobello mushrooms, sliced into thick strips
1 large onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 jalapeño pepper, diced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
12 corn or whole grain tortillas
Guacamole
Salsa
3 cups cooked brown rice

Cook the mushrooms in a large nonstick skillet on high heat for 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to brown slightly. Add the onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and jalapeño and cook for 3 minutes. Warm the tortillas. To serve, spoon the mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion strips into the corn tortillas with the guacamole and salsa. Serve with a side of rice and beans.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3809-3819). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*I omit the rice and serve with a can of fat free refried beans instead. To the mushroom fajita mix I also add in some taco seasoning blend I made for some added seasoning. Use whatever seasoning you like; cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, etc. Leftover fajita veggies make a great addition to salad the next day.

Three-Bean Chili

Serves 6 to 8
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 bay leaves
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups water
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, with juice, chopped
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1 pound firm tofu, crumbled
1 can corn or frozen equivalent
1 apple, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion on medium-high heat in a large sprayed soup pot for 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, bell peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and jalapeño, and cook on medium for 5 more minutes. Add beans, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, tofu, corn, apple, remaining seasonings, mustard, molasses, and parsley or cilantro. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3682-3701). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This makes a lot. Like a giant pot full of chili. It is not spicy and the apple and molasses add a sweetness not usually found in chili. It is not like any chili I have ever had before. With that being said- I love it. Think of it as a stew and not a chili and then you won’t be disappointed when it isn’t what you expected. Again, this freezes wonderfully and I freeze it in individual portions so I can have for lunches or dinners.

I hope some of these recipes sound good to you and inspire you to try to eat vegan for a week. I picked recipes with ingredients you should be able to find at any regular grocery store but if there is something you can’t find feel free to ask me or a grocery store employee what would be a substitute for it. We eat a lot of foods that have somewhat of a Tex-Mex flavor so we always have guacamole (like I mentioned before Wholly Guacamole is a lifesaver) and salsa (we prefer Muir Glen organic or Newman’s Own both of which we buy from the commissary) on hand. Veggie broth is another staple as well as low-sodium soy sauce, brown rice, and whole grain pastas. All of these items you can buy at any grocery.

Some other great online resources to check out in case you still need some ideas are:
Engine 2 Diet
Post Punk Kitchen
The Blissful Chef
The Happy Herbivore
Oh She Glows
The Sensitive Pantry

And of course don’t forget to check out the Veg Week websiteand take the seven day pledge!

Thanks for reading!

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April 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Veg Week, Vegan.

6 Comments

  1. hungry4ahealthylife replied:

    This is awesome! Thanks for the recipes! It’s nice that you made veg/veganism not so intimidating!

    • Dacia replied:

      Thanks! That was my goal! Let me know if you have any questions about any of the recipes or ingredients.

  2. Shrinking Carrie replied:

    Your foods and snacks look a lot like what I have been eating for my kick-start! I’ll have to try out your dinner recipes!

  3. Bought A Newmans Own Organics Chicken And Vegetable Training replied:

    […] […]

  4. justapilgrimsoul replied:

    I just bought the Engine2 book as well as both Happy Herbviore books. We’re up to about 4 veg days per week, and it’s great! I’m building up a repetoire of veg meals. Right now, I’m focusing on vegetarian; eventually, I hope to be vegan. These are all great meal suggestions, and I’m looking forward to Veg week!

  5. cassiebehle replied:

    You had me at “portobello mushroom.” 🙂

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