Eating homemade foods with whole ingredients is super important to me. Meal planning and preparing meals at home has always been a huge priority for me and something that I dedicated a decent amount of time to. After going vegan, I found that planning ahead was key to always having something delicious – and healthy – to eat.
I know that not everyone has time to spend hours in the kitchen every day or even every week! Maybe you have a full work schedule, a commute, kids, or just plain don’t feel like it. For me, the desire to make meal prep easier happened last year when I found out I was pregnant with our first child.
The first trimester was rough for me. I was fatigued and literally did not have the energy to stand in the kitchen and cook for very long. On top of that, I was nauseated constantly and the smell of the pantry was unbearable! Sometimes I’d make a whole meal without knowing whether or not it would even be appealing to me once it was done.
These days, I have an infant and do a lot of food prep with a baby on my hip! So…I tried to find ways to be able to make healthy meals at home that wouldn’t be super involved. Things I could put together quickly so I could tend to the other tasks that were now vying for my attention.
I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s, so naturally I’ve put together meals with ingredients I bought there. I’ve kept each meal under 5 main ingredients (not including spices) and most take under 20 minutes to prepare. Some recipes have leftover ingredients which you can save for other meals in the week or you can just double the recipe and have a meal prepped for the next day.
You can find similar items at almost any other grocery store, though I cannot guarantee how the meals will turn out if you use alternate items.
Harvest Grains Salad
- 1 cup cooked Quinoa or harvest grains (cooled)
- 1/2 bag organic spring mix (or any other bagged salad greens)
- 1/2 can chickpeas
- 1/2 avocado
- Goddess Dressing
Cook the quinoa ahead of time and store in the fridge so that it is cooled when you put it on the lettuce. I typically make about 3-4 servings of quinoa at once and use it throughout the week as an easy addition of protein to salads and soups.
Rinse chickpeas and pour on top of your choice of salad greens. Store the remaining beans in the fridge for another meal.
Dice avocado on top of chickpeas. Drizzle with dressing.
Kung Pao Cauliflower & Veggies
Makes 4 servings
- 1 bag Kung Pao Cauliflower (frozen)
- 2 cups organic broccoli
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
Prepare the brown rice. While the rice is cooking, prepare the cauliflower according to instructions. Slice the bell pepper and steam it with the broccoli for about 2 minutes. Stir the steamed veggies into the cauliflower and serve over the rice. Optional: sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle on sriracha sauce for extra spice – mmm!
Mediterranean Eggplant Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches
- 1 can Grecian Eggplant
- 4 tablespoons Hummus
- 2 cups Spring Mix
- 1 tomato
- 2 Panini Rolls
Slice the panini rolls lengthwise and lightly toast. Spread each roll with 2 tablespoons of hummus and top with spoonfuls of the eggplant. Layer with slices of tomato and top with spring mix.
Sweet Potato Curry Stew
Makes 2-3 servings
- 1 white onion
- 2 cups diced sweet potato
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 can organic coconut milk
- 2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
Heat vegetable broth in a large pot over medium heat. Dice the onion and add to the broth. Peel and dice the potatoes, add to pot. Bring to a boil then add brown rice, coconut milk and curry powder. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked thoroughly. Add more broth as necessary to make it the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.