I have no plant-based meal options at work and am too tired to cook at night. So every weekend, I make 5-7 big complicated salads, a large casserole divided into 5-7 containers, and a big pot of soup or stew also divided. With a piece of fruit and maybe a muffin, I am good to go and I can just grab the containers as I head out the door in the morning. All recipes are plant-based and very healthy and I only have to cook once during the week. Extra servings can be stored in the freezer. This works really well. I’ve been doing it for years.
Workday Plant-Based Meals
Basic work lunch: Giant complicated salad, 1 container of casserole, 1 soup, fruit, green smoothie
My salad: Lettuce, lentil and chickpea sprouts, zucchini (noodles or chopped), tomatoes, cucumber, red seedless grapes, pomegranate seeds, spinach or kale, chopped tempeh, chopped mushrooms, a little kale or spinach. (Pat the salads dry with a paper towel so they keep well all week.)
Main Dishes: Divide each casserole into 5 to 7 portions and store in individual containers. At the end, I’ve included some sauces that you can use to change the taste.
Sweet Potato Lasagna : See recipe this blog, under Camote Lasagna.
I add ½ cup nutritional yeast and diced kale.
Butternut vegetable stew
Red lentil lemon soup
Banana date almond granola (recipe below)
Roasted butternut squash topped with vegetarian chili. If you’ve never roasted vegetables, just take a box of cubed butternut squash and spread it out on a nonstick cookie sheet (or line with baking paper). Optionally you can toss the cubes first with a touch of olive oil or chipotle in adobo sauce but it’s not necessary to put anything at all on them. It takes about 45-60 minutes at 425 degrees for them to start browning.. Top with one can of vegetarian, low fat chili, splitting one can among all 5-7 individual containers. It doesn’t get easier than this!
· Banana raisin muffins (freeze a batch and take one every day; will thaw by lunch)(recipe below)
SIDE ITEMS: Frozen or fresh red seedless grapes (if you haven’t had frozen red seedless grapes before, they are like little nuggets of ice cream)· Watermelon (use ice cream scoop to put in individual day’s container or take half a small one in a ziplock)· Bananas SAUCES(for variety)
ROASTED GARLIC & ONION NUT BUTTAH – Wonderful mixed into any casserole! See recipe this blog called Roasted Garlic and Onion Spread
TAHINI MANGO SAUCE Mix Cindy’s Kitchen Mango Coconut Chipotle dressing with a small amount of roasted tahini.
PEANUT SAUCE: In a medium bowl, combine with a fork: 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, 4 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar (I am going to try just a touch of honey or soaked date instead.)Store in fridge.
ORANGE TAHINI SAUCE: Combine in blender: 1 ½ cup good quality orange juice, 1/8 cup soy sauce, ¼ cup roasted tahini, 2 Tablespoons miso, Several dashes of Tabasco, 2 Tablespoons Thai red chile sauce
DOROTHY’S TAHINI SAUCE: 1 c. sesame seeds, water to cover, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. fresh mustard, juice of 1 lemon, dash of stevia. Soak the seeds in water to cover, for at least 40 minutes. Drain, and blend the seeds with enough water to make a creamy paste. Add the other ingredients and blend to make a super creamy sauce. Taste and add more salt or stevia to your taste!
PLANT-BASED MEALSTAMALE PIE: By Mary Delaney, Herndon, Virginia Top and Bottom Layer: 2 ½ cups water or vegetable broth, 1 cup corn meal. Bring water to boil. Stir in corn meal, whisking constantly till it pulls away from the pan. Spoon half on bottom of casserole and save half for the top. Middle Layer: In mixing bowl combine:1 package drained tofu, pressed to remove water, ½ cup nutritional yeast, 4 cups diced kale, 1 box sliced mushrooms, 1 diced onion, chopped orange or yellow bell pepper, 1 Tbsp. chopped chipotle in adobo sauce (optional; in can in grocery store)1 can spicy vegetarian chile with beans, 1 cup salsa or 1 can diced tomatoes. Layer corn meal, middle layer and corn meal again. Top with:Very thin tomato slices, toasted sesame seeds or ground cashews. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. (Optional: Serve with tortilla chips and sliced avocado or guacamole.)
BUTTERNUT VEGETABLE STEW By Mary Delaney, Herndon, Virginia
In a large soup pot, combine:BASE
1 box cubed butternut squash
2 boxes veggie broth (Trader Joe’s is my favorite)
Bring the veggie broth and squash to a boil and cook on medium heat until completely soft. Blend thoroughly to make a thick base.
1/2 tsp chopped chipotle pepper and sauce, both from a can of Chipotle in Adobo Sauce (available in all grocery stores); this cuts the sweetness of the butternut squash. You can also use tabasco or other hot sauce. Go light!
2 bags of ROASTED, chopped peppers and onions (available at Trader Joe’s) – or roast your own but this ingredient really adds a ton of flavor and makes for a quick recipe.1-2 cups diced fresh cilantro1 package Tempe chopped into cubes
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (optional)
1 chopped sweet onion
2 boxes sliced mushrooms
chopped green onions
1-2 cups chopped broccoli
1 chopped zucchini
3 cups diced kale
Simmer till all the veggies are soft and the quinoa is cooked. Cool thoroughly and store in individual containers in the fridge or freezer.
*Don’t add beans to this recipe as they overpower the wonderful taste of the butternut and roasted peppers.
BAKED OATMEAL By Mary Delaney, Herndon, Virginia
Preheat oven to 350. Spray large baking dish lightly with oil spray. In large bowl, combine:3 mashed bananas, ¾ cup raisins, 3 Tablespoons vanilla extract, 1 container apple sauce, 2 cups uncooked oatmeal (not instant), almond milk as needed. Mix well and spoon into pan. Bake for about 30 minutes. Slice into squares.
RED LENTIL SOUP By Mary Delaney, Herndon, Virginia
In large soup pot, combine: 2-3 cups red lentils, rinsed very well, 2 boxes vegetable broth, 1 small chopped red potato, 1 cup or more of chopped fresh cilantro, 2-3 cups diced kale, 1 diced white onion, 1 chopped green onion, 1 box chopped white mushrooms (portabello gives it a brown color that’s not great; use white), one package chopped tempeh (optional), water as needed as soup thickens. When soup is done, add the juice of 3 or more fresh lemons to taste. * It also works very well to completely cook the lentils and broth first and blend it into a soup base before adding the rest of the ingredients.
CHICKPEA CASSEROLE By Mary Delaney, Herndon, Virginia
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a casserole plan lightly with oil. In large bowl, combine: 1 can cooked, drained, rinsed chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ½-1 box of sprouted or regular tofu, drained well (press between 2 plates to remove liquid), ½ cup nutritional yeast, 3 cups diced kale, 2 cups chopped broccoli, 1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1 caramelized onion and 1 garlic clove (cook together in nonstick frying pan, high heat, in a small amount of veggie broth until very brown); sautéed sliced mushrooms (same pan, no oil, splash veggie broth if needed). Place in casserole. Layer with very thinly sliced tomatoes, ground almonds and/or roasted sesame seeds. Cook about 45 minutes until hot throughout. Optional: Line the bottom of your individual containers with a layer of cooked quinoa, brown rice or zucchini noodles.
BANANA RAISIN MUFFINS By Mary Delaney, Herndon, Virginia
Preheat oven to 350. Use nonstick muffin pan or disposable muffin liners.2 ¼ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour, 4 mashed bananas, 1 ½ cup raisins, 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract, 2 individual containers of plain apple sauce, 1 ½ tsp baking powder. Bake for about 20 minutes and test by inserting a sharp knife in the center. If the knife comes out clean, they are done. These store very well in the freezer. If you take one to work in the morning, it will be thawed and ready to eat by lunch.
BANANA ALMOND GRANOLA
8 cups rolled oats
2 cups pitted and chopped dates
2 ripe bananas, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
This recipe was inspired by my favorite banana
almond muffins. Whether in muffins or in cereal,
bananas and almonds pair perfectly.
1. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
2. Add the oats to a large bowl and set aside. Line
two 13 × 18-inch baking sheets with parchment
3. Place the dates in a medium saucepan with 1 cup
of water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat
for 10 minutes. Add more water if needed to keep the
dates from sticking to the pan.
4. Remove from the heat and add the mixture to a
blender with the bananas, almond extract, and salt.
Process until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the date mixture to the oats and mix well.
Divide the granola between the two prepared baking
sheets and spread out evenly.
6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every 10
minutes, until the granola is crispy. Remove from the
oven and let cool before adding the slivered almonds
(if using). (The cereal will get even crispier as it