This is my new summer favorite vegan dish! It is simple and quick to make – and it uses some of my favorite ingredients: avocado, quinoa and black beans. It is perfect for hot summer nights when you don’t want to cook over a hot stove. It is great for left-overs too (in fact, I like it cold). Again, all these ingredients can be found at Aldi which makes this a reasonably priced and quick vegan meal that your whole family will enjoy!
This dish can be found on page 44 of “One Dish Vegan” and it serves about 4. It usually takes me about 20 minutes or less. For mine I like to substitute black beans for the pinto beans. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto or black beans or 1 (15.5 oz) can of pinto or black beans – rinsed and drained
1 cup tomato salsa (our favorite is Newman’s Own Peach Salsa)
2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (opt)
2 scallions, minced (opt)
Juice and zest of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp. lime juice)
Freshly ground black pepper
Torn mixed salad greens for serving (opt)
Place water in a saucepan, add 1/2 tsp salt, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl to cool. (I like to pop the bowl into the refrigerator until the other ingredients are ready to add).
Add the beans and salsa to the the bowl, and toss to combine. Add the avocados, cilantro, scallions, lime juice and zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
If serving as a salad: arrange the salad greens on plates, top with the quinoa-bean mixture and serve.
I prepared this delicious and colorful dish for supper last night and served it over quinoa. This easy to prepare dish is from “One-Dish Vegan” by Robin Robertson and is packed full of antioxidants and protein from all veggies! It is soy and gluten-free depending on what you serve it over (couscous, rice, pasta, quinoa, or warm flatbread). It took me about 30 minutes to prepare and it serves approximately 4.
1 Tbsp olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1 medium (or half large) yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
6 t0 8 cups chopped stemmed kale, spinach or chard
Lemon wedges, for serving
2 cups of cooked quinoa, couscous, rice or pasta (enough for 4 servings)
Cut up the onion, sweet potato and spinach (spinach needed last).
Follow directions for cooking about 2 cups of couscous, rice, pasta or quinoa.
In the meantime, heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally, Add the sweet potato, coriander, paprika, thyme, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, chickpeas, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the kale (or spinach/chard), stirring to wilt. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender – about another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot over couscous, quinoa, pasta or flatbread and top with a squeeze of lemon.
Today’s Bonus Tip:
Eating a plant-based diet is great for your health – but we need to be mindful of toxins from the environment (chemical pesticides and fertilizers) found on our fruits and vegetables.
Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a list of the “Dirty Dozen,” or the fruits and vegetables the nonprofit claims have the highest amount of pesticides when grown conventionally versus organically.
The EWG has compiled the list annually since 2004 based on internal data that’s not peer-reviewed. Using 40,900 samples for 47 different types of produce, the EWG found these twelve had the most pesticide residue:
The 2019 Dirty Dozen Foods List:
Strawberries rank number one for the fourth year in a row, and the rest of the list looks similar to years past with one exception: Kale made the top 12 for the first time in a decade.
If you’re concerned about pesticides, the EWG also publishes a list of the “Clean 15,” a.k.a. the produce from conventional growers that generally had less residue in the group’s tests. This year they are:
Asparagus is in season now and can often be found on sale at most food stores (I found mine at Aldi). When I was a girl I hated asparagus, but I think it was either over-cooked (mushy) or under-cooked (chewy). This super easy recipe, taken from Taste of Home (Feb/March 2013 edition), earned the coveted 5 stars from my husband! As a side dish I added a bag of quinoa and kale, found in the frozen section at Aldi. It only takes 15-20 minutes to prepare plus another 15 – 20 to bake (30 – 40 minutes total) and serves 3-4 people as a main dish or up to 8 as a side dish.
1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minded (1 tsp)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (opt)
Put asparagus, tomatoes and pine nuts on a foil-lined 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking pan. Mix 2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; toss with asparagus.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until asparagus is just tender. Drizzle with remaining oil and lemon juice; sprinkle with cheese (if using) and lemon peel. Toss to combine. Serve with quinoa and kale mix (available frozen from Aldi’s – see below).
If you like Thai cuisine, I think you will enjoy this recipe with crunchy fresh asparagus and a delicious peanut butter sauce. I’m not a huge fan of tofu – but this is one of the best tofu dishes I have ever tasted! It is taken from One Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson. I really like this cook book for it’s simple and varied recipes that are easy to follow and use easy to find ingredients. This simple to follow recipe took us only about 30 minutes to make. It makes about 4 servings and the leftovers are delicious.
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp wheat-free Tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp natural sugar
2 tsp Asian chili paste, or to taste (I use Pad Thai sauce)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
14 oz extra-firm tofu, well drained, blotted dry, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
6 scallions (green onions) chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Cooked jasmine rice (or instant brown rice), for serving
Prepare jasmine or other rice according to directions on package (make enough for 4 servings). Note: Jasmine rice will take about 40 minutes to cook.
In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, 1 Tbsp of the tamari, the ketchup, sugar, and chili paste until well blended. Stir in the coconut milk, then taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté until browned (about 7 minutes). Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and the remaining 2 Tbsp tamari, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove the tofu mixture from the skillet and keep warm.
Pour the water into the same skillet over high heat, add the asparagus and stir-fry until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved tofu mixture, about half of the peanut sauce, and the cherry tomatoes, and toss gently to heat through. Serve at once over hot cooked rice. Drizzle the remaining peanut sauce over the top of each serving and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and basil.
Let me know how you like this recipe – and don’t forget to sign up for my blog! 🙂
We spent part of our honeymoon in Jamaica and really like the fresh Caribbean flavors of coconut milk, sweet potatoes and broccoli. We modified the original recipe – taken from One Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson – and added Caribbean Jerk Marinade to give it more ‘pop’. This recipe took 30 minutes (or less) and serves 4 people.
2 tsp. olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
1 russet or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice (we prefer sweet potato)
1/2 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (we prefer red)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp. minced)
1 or 2 small hot chiles, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 medium-size zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 (13 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans or 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups hot cooked rice, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
1/2 cup Caribbean Jerk Marinade (optional)
Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potato (or sweet potato), bell pepper, garlic, and chili, and sauce for 5 minutes to soften. Add the thyme, broccoli, zucchini, and coconut milk, stirring to combine, then stir in the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in Caribbean Jerk Marinade (if using) and heat through.
Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve over the cooked rice in shallow bowls with a squeeze of lime, if desired.
I had purchased a butternut squash and was looking for a recipe to use it. This has been a cold winter – a good time for veggie-packed soups. I thought I would try this lentil and butternut soup recipe to add some color to our menu. It ended up making a lot (6+ servings) and is another way to get some protein (lentils) and nutrient-rich leafy greens (I like to use spinach). This recipe was taken from “One Dish Vegan” by Robin Robertson and is budget friendly. I made some minor adjustments – including adding the squash earlier. Preparation should take an hour total (about 15 minutes to peel and cut veggies and 45 minutes to cook). You could try putting all the ingredients into a crock pot and cooking on low for 3-4 hours. If you try it – let me know how it turns out. 🙂
1 Tbsp olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1 medium-size onion, minced
1 celery rib, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 tsp)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
7 cups vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small (or med.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 3 cups) – use 5+ cups for 6+ servings.
4 cups coarsely chopped stemmed chard, kale, or other leafy greens (I like to use spinach)
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
Heat the oil or water in a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the lentils, squash, tomatoes with their juices, marjoram, and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes (covered). Stir in the greens and thyme and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are tender (about 10 – 15 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve hot.
As a vegan, it is sometime a challenge to know what dishes to bring to social gatherings. Recently our church had a special potluck lunch with the theme “Holy Smokes” – featuring BBQ meat dishes. I took up the challenge and decided to try a recipe I found in the Feb/March 2019 edition of Taste of Home Magazine. This would be a great meal for families with younger kids. It was simple to make, tastes great and it serves 14 (perfect for potlucks and family gatherings)!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
6 garlic cloves, minced (3 tsp.)
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can (8 0z) tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
4 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
14 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and carrot; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Add broth and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve on buns.
Note: I found that this mixture was too sloppy so you may want to reduce the vegetable broth some. It did thickened some in the fridge overnight.
The first question most people ask when they discover that we eat a plant based diet is “why”? I covered our reasons on my home page: “You don’t Eat No Meat?!” The second question they ask is – “How do you get your protein without eating meat or dairy?” I remember asking my vegan friends the very same question.
The simple answer is – plants supply all the protein I need for a balanced diet. We get protein from the same place other herbivores do – plants! Those eating a vegan diet can get plenty of protein from grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, leafy greens and small amounts of healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado. Here is a video posted by Dr. Michael Greger (NutritionFacts.org) that talks about plant-based proteins being better for long-term health than meat & dairy (Published on Oct 26, 2011).
Firm tofu (soybean curds) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup.
Edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup.
Tempeh contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup.
Red or green lentils contain plenty of protein, fiber, and key. nutrients, including iron and potassium. Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup.
Cooked chickpeas are high in protein, containing around 7.25 g per ½ cup.
Peanuts are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. They contain around 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup.
Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.
Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.
Spirulina is blue or green algae that contain around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. It is also rich in nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins (although not vitamin B-12) and manganese.
Quinoa is a grain with a high-protein content, and is a complete protein. Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup.
Mycoprotein is a fungus-based protein. Mycoprotein products contain around 13 g of protein per ½ cup serving.
Chia and hemp seeds are complete sources of protein that can be used to make smoothies, yogurts, and puddings.
Seeds are low-calorie foods that are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein that contain 2 g of protein per tablespoon.
Similarly to chia seeds, hemp seeds are a complete protein. Hemp seeds offer 5 g of protein per tablespoon.
Beans with rice
Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.
A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also high in other nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C.
Many dark-colored, leafy greens and vegetables contain protein.
A single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein
Kale offers 2 g of protein per cup.
5 medium mushrooms offer 3 g of protein
Seitan is a complete protein made from mixing wheat gluten with various spices. The high-wheat content means that it should be avoided by people with celiac or gluten intolerance. For others, it can be a protein-rich healthful meat substitute.
When cooked in soy sauce, which is rich in the amino acid lysine, seitan becomes a complete protein source offering 21 g per 1/3 cup.
Ezekiel bread is a nutrient-dense alternative to traditional bread. It is made from barley, wheat, lentils, millet, and spelt.
Ezekiel bread offers 4 g of protein per slice. Get even more protein by toasting Ezekiel bread and spreading it with peanut or almond butter.
I also found a more extensive list that can be printed out at a website called OrdinaryVegan.com.
Do I have to eat all this stuff??
To be honest, I have not tried every food item on the list above. In fact some I have never even heard of (Spirulina). I just wanted to share this list so you can see that you don’t have to eat tofu every day just to get the daily recommended amount of protein. There are many options and most of them are actually cheaper to purchase than meat or cheese. I would say that most of our daily protein comes from beans, nuts, dark green vegetables and quinoa. We add tofu or tempeh to an occasional recipe but usually only once every 2 or 3 weeks.
Do you get the ‘Meat Shakes’??
A friend of mine once asked me if I experienced any meat withdrawal symptoms when I stopped eating meat (he called it the “meat shakes”). Although I occasionally crave Chick-Fil-A or some good BBQ pulled pork – I am actually fine not eating meat and dairy. My taste buds have changed to actually want to eat more veggies and fruit. To be honest, I actually feel relieved to not have to deal with slimy chicken breasts and bloody red meat. It used to make me hate cooking – for real! I will say that I still have a weakness for ice-cream or anything chocolate (which is not good for my sugars – see blood tests below). We found a really good coconut based ice-cream called “So Delicious” which is true to it’s name.
I also wanted to share my most recent blood work (below) which was taken just a couple weeks ago. You will see that the protein in my blood has not gone down much at all since I began eating vegan in June of 2017. The good news is that my cholesterol still remains low – compared to 2015 and 2016 (when it was inching up to 200).
The only nutrients that are not found in a vegan diet are B12 and Omega 3 fatty acids. We take a multi-vitamin that provides the B12 and other B vitamins and I also use nutritional yeast a few times a week (has the same nutrients). I’ve recently found a plant based source for Omega 3 called Ahiflower Oil (it can be found on Amazon at a reasonable price). Flaxseed oil is another possible source.
I hope this information helps you understand how easy it is to get protein on a healthy plant-based diet. If anyone asks you about protein, just tell them that broccoli has more protein, per calorie than steak! If you would like to learn more about eating a healthier plant-based diet make sure to sign up for or follow my blog.