A NEW YEAR...A NEW DECADE..A TIME FOR CHANGE
It's a new year and a new decade. A time when so many of us take stock of daily habits and goals we want to set. For a lot of people, it's around food. Maybe it's to lose X number of pounds before, say, swimsuit season. Or, to try a vegetarian diet for a week or go vegan for a month (hello Veganuary!).
When the rush of excitement with something new begins to fade, the biggest challenge for most people is figuring out what on earth to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Finding new favorites that fit with our on-the-go lifestyles. Meals that the whole family might like.
Adding to the confusion, sometimes our families want to stick with what they've been eating. For example, my husband, Carnivorous Maximus, and his incisors chose not to join me in my vegetarian journey nearly 10 years ago. I ricocheted from feeling like a short-order cook making 2 different dinners every night, to resorting to easy pasta dishes for myself a couple times a week.
Neither was a good solution. After all, I wasn't switching to a vegetarian diet so I could justify eating lasagna. I wanted to eat more greens, and a wider variety of vegetables. I wanted to feel better about what I was eating - and wanted to feel better in general.
MONTHLY VEGETARIAN MEAL CHALLENGE
I know I'm not alone. Am I right?
So starting this month, I will hold a Monthly Vegetarian Meal Challenge focused on a seasonal fruit, vegetable or whole grain for anyone interested in adding new vegetarian dishes to their weekly menus at home. My goal is that by the end of the year, you will have lots of new ideas for vegetarian meals you can quickly go to during the week. And in the process, if you have any questions about the recipes or how to tailor them to your dietary needs, I can help you through the comments section below.
Everyone who participates in the January Vegetarian Meal Challenge is automatically entered into a giveaway. See below for How to Join the Monthly Vegetarian Meal Challenge. My assistant and I will keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month.
This giveaway is open to the whole world, and ends on January 30th, 2020 at midnight Pacific Time (PST or PDT).
1 winner will receive: a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be selected at random and posted in the February Vegetarian Meal Challenge blog post. As the participation increases in these Challenges, I'll either increase the Gift Card amount or the number of Gift Cards. So please tell your friends about this Challenge and invite them to join in!
How to Join January's Vegetarian Meal Challenge
- Recipe: In the 1st week of every month, I will post links to 3 vegetarian or vegan recipes complete with tips and photos. The recipes will be divided between breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Choose One and Make It: Choose at least 1 recipe, and make it during the month.
- Share: Share a photo of your dish in one of the 3 below ways to enter you into the Giveaway, so let's have some fun with this!
How to Sign Up
Not everyone will be interested in the Monthly Vegetarian Meal Challenges. I get it. And that means not everyone will want emails about it showing up in their inbox. So, if you want to participate, please sign up for the Monthly Vegetarian Meal Challenge emails so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published each month.
Since this is new to everyone, including me, I'm including the January Challenge in this email. Starting with the February Vegetarian Meal Challenge, you must be signed up to receive emails about the Challenges.
JANUARY VEGETARIAN MEAL CHALLENGE : CITRUS
Citrus season is here, and our markets are full of fruit we only see for a few weeks of the year. I'm thinking tangerines, tangelos, Meyer lemons and pomelos. Navel oranges are now at their peak for juiciness and flavor too. And there are many healthy reasons to go citrus right now.
Five Healthy Reasons to Eat Citrus
- We all know about Vitamin C, but citrus is also loaded with plant compounds that bring anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to our bodies, too.
- Citrus is a great source of fiber, if you eat the whole fruit and not just use the juice. Fiber aids in lowering cholesterol and supports digestion.
- Oranges are a perfect diet-friendly snack as they’re low in calories with relatively low glycemic index scores.
- Citrus may help keep your skin looking young.
- Citrus is packed with potassium, which, along being important in muscle contractions, helps the body flush out sodium.
Start with nailing breakfast by having a healthy, nutrient-rich meal to fuel your day. This Orange Mango Smoothie with Lime and Ginger is one of my favorite smoothies that I make through the winter. It comes together in about 15 minutes with a strong blender like the Vitamix or Ninja models. Because you're needing to liquify oranges and ½ apple, I recommend the more powerful blenders for this for the best consistency.
Make Ahead Tip: I like to have roasted veggies on hand to add to soups and salads, and cauliflower is one of my favorites for its versatility. If you have some already roasted up stored in the refrigerator, this Sumo Citrus Salad with Cauliflower, Olives and Feta comes together in about 15 minutes.
Super Quick Prep Tip: If you don't want to take the time to roast it, just add the cauliflower raw.
Take to Work Tip: Layer it in a jar with the cabbage at the bottom. The salad should hold up well if you dress it ahead of time, but I like to keep the dressing separate until lunchtime to prevent any sogginess.
Or Make for Dinner: This dish is also perfect for a light dinner tossed with some cooked quinoa for added protein. The amount is totally up to you, but I would start with ½ cup cooked quinoa. As a note, it doesn't take long to make quinoa, but I've found frozen packages of it already cooked at my market that also work great. All it needs is a quick steaming on the stove.
Modify for Omnivores: Sautéed shrimp or salmon would both be great additions for the meat-eaters at the table.
Healthy Dinner in 30 Minutes
Cauliflower steaks are all the rage, and these Pesto Cauliflower Steaks + Citrus Salad are both gorgeous and full of flavor.
Make Ahead Tips:
- I keep a stash of toasted breadcrumbs in a jar in the refrigerator. Having these on hand make it easy to add as a finishing touch of flavor and texture to this dish. If you don’t have them on hand, you can eliminate this extra crunch.
- Either make the Chipotle Spice mix ahead of time, or use your favorite spicy spicy mix, such as a Cajun spice mix if you’re pressed for time.
- The citrus salad can be made ahead, but I typically make it while the cauliflower is roasting.
Modify for Omnivores: Steak, obviously. My husband, Carnivorous Maximus, prefers ribeye steaks rubbed with the same Chipotle Spice Rub.
SOME FINAL WORDS...
So these are the recipes for January. I can't wait to see which you choose to make, and how it goes for you! If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below!