The beginning of each semester starts so brightly. I have so much energy during those first few weeks and am relieved by the consistent schedule. Working out 5 times each week, homemade meals 6 days a week. Keeping up with all of my non-school related hobbies like painting and blogging. The dogs get all the walks they can handle. I can always tell when I’m spinning out of control by taking a good look at my diet. Enter week four – the nutrient of highest consumption was sugar. Josh made monkey bread (brownie points), I had about 3 packages of sour patch kids and drank my weight in lemonade. Luckily, I have Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches by Maya Sozer to get me back on track.
Maya’s cookbook is full of delicious recipes, that despite the name, are good for all times of the day. At first I was expecting all of the recipes to come together in 5 minutes, have minimal ingredients or be semi-homemade. Maya takes a different approach in Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches, a lot of recipes require a little bit of time, but with just a touch of planning, your fridge will be like a vegan vending machine for healthy meals and snacks.
I eat healthier when my pantry is well-stocked. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend $100 on groceries a week, simply make sure you always have some canned beans, tomatoes, some sort of whole grain and an abundance of fresh veggies. I am always better off when I spend an extra half hour or hour per week to prepare a few extra items or double the amount of whatever recipe I am making for dinner. Then I can have some grab ‘n’ go meals in the fridge. Otherwise I eat PB&J french toast at midnight…
My favorites from Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches are the Takeaway Sandwich, Curried Polenta, and Veggie Stir Fry. I’m going to make the Salted Tahini Spread and Roasted Eggplant Salad later this week. I’m really tempted to throw chocolate into the Salted Tahini Spread, but that’s against my no-sugar policy for the week. The Roasted Eggplant Salad is an example of a recipe that makes you think ahead, but once you’ve invested in it, it’ll pay you back all week long.
I love this approach to healthy eating. In public health we attribute this approach’s success to making the healthy choice the easy choice. Everyone wants to eat healthy (and delicious), and Maya’s Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches definitely helps turn your fridge around.
This recipe first appeared in Maya Sozer’s cookbook, Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches. This sandwich filling is a cross between a mashed chickpea salad and potato salad. The result is mind-blowing – why I had never tried this before? The filling is completely gluten-free too!
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
- 2 medium potatoes, boiled and chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I used peanuts!)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used raisins!)
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups chopped kale
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- bread or bun & sandwich toppings of your choosing (I recommend thinly sliced tomato and avocado)
- Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor. Combine with all of the other ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste, in a large mixing bowl.
- Store in a covered container in the fridge. I portioned mine into small tupperwares that I could easily pack for lunches.
Coconut Curried Polenta
This recipe originally appeared in Maya Sozer’s cookbook, Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches. Maya pairs the Coconut Curried Polenta with sautéed mushrooms, which is one of my favorite food combinations and my go-to comfort food. Feel free to sauté up some mushrooms with onion, garlic and some seasoning. I usually have a crisper full of veggies and have a tough time choosing just one, so I made a sautéed vegetable medley to top my Coconut Curried Polenta. This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
- 18 ounces precooked polenta (about 1 cup dried polenta cooked in 3 cups of liquid, or you can typically find precooked polenta in the produce department of supermarkets)
- 1/4 cup coconut cream (the solid fat found in a can of coconut milk)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (tip: use a citrus zester)
- 1 teaspoon sweet curry (I like Patak’s curry paste)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Mix the all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large bowl and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the polenta mixture and cook for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Serve sautéed vegetables over a bed of the Coconut Curried Polenta for a warm, filling and comforting lunch or dinner.