Almost Vegan – This week’s meal plan

My coworker who’s a really great cook also has impressive self control. She made a new year’s resolution to stop eating sugar.  That isn’t to say that she’s not eating fruit or carbs, just that she’s not eating sweets, or stuff with sugar added to it.  That’s an impressive resolution, and I expect that she’ll do a great job (crazy good self control).  As part of her resolution she also chose to do one week out of the month eating vegan.  Also, probably pretty great for her, and she’s got great vegan cooking skills, so I know she’ll make it happen.  She asked me if I wanted to join her this month, and after the week of macaroni and cheese that Craig and I did, I was ready for it!  The arrangement is brown rice and vegetables in nature.  Upon discussion of our terms, we came to any whole grains (as long as they’re not wheat), so we’ll be eating quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice.  Any veggies are OK, but I think we’re avoiding legumes (they’re not in this week’s plan anyway, so I’m OK either way).  We can do sauces as long as they don’t add tons of calories to the dish (no heavy coconut or peanut based sauces, or super sweet stuff like sweet and sour sauce.)  And that’s where we stand.  I can’t quite give up on complete proteins though, and the vegan thing isn’t my resolution, so I have agreed to the basics of the vegan thing, with the exception of eggs.  They are an important part of my breakfast, and for me, they make the difference between a side and a main dish, psychologically.  Squash soup is just soup, unless there’s an egg on top.  Then it’s a meal. Anywhoodle, I had MLK Jr. Day off work, so I did my grocery shopping yesterday morning.

almost vegan food haul

I went a little heavy on some things that I was out of, so costs increased a bit.  We were out of tamari (basically wheat-free soy sauce), so that ran about $8, I was out of tahini, which was $12, and apple cider vinegar was another $5.  Otherwise, my biggest expense was the organic, free range eggs, at $4.50/dozen (I got 2).  Otherwise, I got 2 containers of greens, one was “mixed baby greens” and the other was spinach.  A bunch of kale (which ended up being FILLED with some type of insect eggs…. I composted it and harvested the remainder of my kale from the garden instead.  Gross.), a small head of cabbage, 3 bell peppers, several apples, a bunch of bok choy, some flat leaf parsley, 2 hunks of kobucha squash, 1.5 lbs of mushrooms, and some brown rice, quinoa, and wild rice. After subtracting the deli meat for my husband’s sandwiches, chicken for the dogs, and other odds and ends to keep my husband from committing mutiny, I’d say my total was somewhere around $75-80.  But a solid $30 of that was stuff that I don’t normally run out of all at once.  What I had on hand was pretty much just carrots.  I bought a 5lb bag of organic “juicing carrots” at whole foods a few days ago for $4.  Carrots and apples will be my primary snacks.  If all-carbs-all-the-time is killing me, I may start putting all natural peanut butter or almond butter on apple slices to tide me over.

The main meal plan is:
Sesame Rice
Wild Rice w/ winter veggies (beets, squash, mushrooms, kale)
Quinoa Tabouleh
Cabbage salad w/ lemon tahini dressing

My first dish on the menu is a riff on a sesame noodle bowl, but instead of noodles, brown rice.  I usually put fried tofu, shrimp, or chicken on noodle bowls, but since we’re not doing that this week, I just left it off.  It was satisfying. I don’t have a full recipe for you, but I can give you the gist.  I know that I was a little heavy handed with the oil, but realistically, it’s only 2 tsp per serving.

Sesame-Tamari rice bowl - vegan and gluten free

Sesame-Tamari rice bowl – vegan and gluten free
1.5 c of carrot matchsticks
1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small head broccoli, sliced thinly
8oz mushrooms, quartered
2 stalks celery, sliced on a bias
1 bunch baby bok choy, quartered
1 large handful spinach
1 lb dry brown rice
1 qt vegetable stock (I used homemade)
1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup sunflower seed oil
2 T sriracha
2 T granulated sugar (I’d normally use honey, but not vegan)
several dashes chili oil and sesame oil
maybe 2 T apple cider vinegar (possibly 1/4 cup?)
1 T grated ginger
1 t grated garlic

Makes 8 servings equalling about 2 cups.

Basically, cook your brown rice in the stock, prep your veggies, saute them, mix up the dressing, taste and adjust as necessary.  Add your veggies to the dressing, mix in rice.  Enjoy.

Sesame-Tamari rice bowl - vegan and gluten free

I had some for breakfast this morning with a fried egg.  It was delicious.

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