In an earlier post, I wrote about healthy eating and the benefits of a plant-based diet. I also mentioned that, if “you’re not accustomed to this type of eating, it will take a little . . . planning.” It’s easier to transition to plant-based if you plan for only one or two meatless days each week. And, since Mondays are usually difficult days to come home from work or school — and then have to cook — that’s the day this article targets.
On Monday evenings when we get home, we’re usually famished. However, before we reach for snacks, I like to have dinner already planned so that it’s ready in a matter of minutes. When dinner is out of the way early, then our evening is more relaxed and enjoyable, too!
No time to cook? One of the quickest Meatless Mondays Recipes is Pasta and marinara sauce: Just have a jar of organic marinara pasta sauce on hand to go over your favorite whole wheat pasta. I like Trader Giotto’s (Trader Joe’s) organic tomato basil marinara sauce. To make it more filling and nutritious, sauté a medley of broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers, and/or zucchini squash. They can be added to the sauce or serve them as a side dish.
Veggie tacos or fajitas: Chop the veggies the night before. That way, they only need to be sautéed when you get home which saves prep time. Mushrooms are packed with protein so are a wonderful meat replacement. For variety, try freshly chopped zucchini squash, par-boiled and diced potatoes, fresh cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice, and/or dairy-free sour cream for extra creaminess.
Bell pepper and curry stir-fry: Chop the veggies the night before. For variety, add frozen or canned pineapple, mandarin oranges, or pistachios. Also, instead of rice, try Annie Chun’s organic buckwheat soba noodles. These noodles are found in the refrigeration section at your grocery store and are very easy to prepare. Just place in a medium-sized pan, warm through on low heat. Add a tablespoon or two of water as they cook to keep from sticking. Before serving, sprinkle with low-sodium soy sauce and toss lightly.
Homemade potato soup: Chop potatoes, onions, and other veggies in a food chopper. Then put veggies, rice (if using), spices, and water in a crock pot and cook over night. Add the plant-based milk and heat through just before serving. For variety, add 1 cup frozen corn, or 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” taste.
Additional time-saver suggestions:
- Ensure that you have all of the ingredients for the recipe. If not, do you have an acceptable substitute that can be used?
- Gather ingredients (the ones that don’t require refrigeration) the night before and place them in a corner on the kitchen counter.
- Chop or dice all vegetables the night before.
- Cook rice or quinoa the night before.
- Pack any leftovers to be used for lunches the next day.
As always, I would love to entertain yoiur comments!