The Theme is Still EASY Vegetarian Meal Plans ...
I completed my first week of rehab on my knee this week, and I'm feeling good. To catch you all up, I had a bad skiing accident at a nearby mountain, and severed my ACL. The good news is I have zero pain. The bad news is it will never heal back. My job right now is to get strong. I need all the surrounding stuff that supports my knee, we're talking muscles, ligaments, tendons, everything, have to do their own job and cover for the ACL that went AWOL. If they don't deliver, then I will have to assess how much I want to continue skiing, and decide whether or not to have surgery. The recovery, I hear is 9 months to 1 year. So I'm working hard on getting strong.
As a result, I'm spending much more time exercising, leaving a smaller amount of time available to figure out and execute evening meals. Me and my knee are pretty tired by dinnertime. The meal plan I put together a couple of weeks ago, really worked well for me, and I now have a couple of new vegetarian dishes to add to my rotation that were solid hits. Special shout-out to the Sheet Pan Fajitas with Bell Peppers and Chickpeas I included in my roundup by With Food + Love blog. I've made it twice, and am taking my version of it to a pot-luck dinner party next week. I'll be posting my lower-carb version this coming week.
What Actually IS a Meal Plan?
A meal plan is different things to different people. Some folks just need to sketch out a general plan, based on the week's activities. For example, Wednesday night's dinner might conflict with an after-school activity and Friday night might be plans to eat out. With that in mind, a general meal plan could list 4 dinners, including ideas for quick dinners for Wednesday night. It's all jotted on a spare piece of paper, or as a random list entry on a smart phone. That's one end of the spectrum of meal planning.
At the other end of the spectrum are printable meal plans downloaded from the internet or ordered off Amazon. This type of meal plan is a true organizational tool. It usually consists of days of the week in large blocks, an area for notes, and the ability to highlight favorite meals. Some promote meal planning for a month at a time. Others have perforated pages for tear-off shopping lists. Many focus on specialized diets. There are even meal planning apps for smart phones and iPads. I had no idea this was a thing until I started really digging into this.
I'm exploring a few of them over the next few weeks and here's what I'd love to know. What do YOU look for in a meal planner?
Do you like it in booklet form or on your phone?
Do you use shopping lists, or is it just as easy to make your own list?
What extra details do you want to put in the planner? For example, how long to make the dish, or identify a part of a dish that can be made ahead?
And now let's move into this week's Weekly Vegetarian Meal Plan.
M O N D A Y
by Vegetarian Ventures
I'm creating a habit of making breakfast for dinner on Monday nights. And I always fall hard for over-easy eggs. This dish bursts with flavor from the herbs processed into the tahini with a little lemon and garlic. And best of all, it's dinner in 15 minutes. I've fallen in love with Morning Star Farms Chorizo Crumbles made from plant-based protein, and might add them to the mix.
Prep Ahead: Not necessary when this can be ready in 15 minutes, but if you wanted to make the Green Tahini ahead you could get this recipe down to a little over 5 minutes.
Omnivore Tip: Layer cooked, meaty chorizo or bacon to the pita stack.
T U E S D A Y
by Hali Bey Ramdene on the Kitchn website
I think of this salad as a riff on a classic Alice Water's salad recipe served with baked goat cheese rounds. It was a big favorite of mine in culinary school - baked goat rounds are sooooo melty good. Use white beans if you don't have chickpeas on hand.
Prep Ahead: Hali suggests making the dressing and shaving the fennel ahead of time. You can also form the goat cheese patties up to 3 days ahead and store in the refrigerator.
Omnivore Tip: I plan to add crabmeat to Carnivorous Maximus' salad, and might do that with mine too since I do eat some fish.
W E D N E S D A Y
by The Wimpy Vegetarian
I'm a contributor to PARADE Magazine's online publication, and published a post this week on 12 Easy Dishes To Make With 1 Can of Chickpeas. This Moroccan Chickpea Pockets dish was the most popular of the 12. I first made it several years ago, and made it regularly for awhile before other experiments in the kitchen took me in new directions. I'm coming full circle and making it again this week.
Prep Ahead: Don't be put off by the number of ingredients. Most of them are the spices and that can all be mixed together ahead of time until you need them. Even if you don't do that, this dish comes together in under 30 minutes.
Omnivore Tip: Add ground lamb to the chickpea mixture, or serve with lamb chops. Use the same spices on the lamb.
T H U R S D A Y
by Love & Lemons
I love pesto anything, and this looks incredibly flavorful that's both vegan and gluten-free. The pesto is a hemp-seed pesto, but I'm sure you could use your favorite pesto as well.
Prep Ahead: Make the pesto ahead. The longest timeline in the recipe is roasting the spaghetti squash and cauliflower. But both are easily prepped, making this an uber easy meal.
Omnivore Tip: This will be a side dish for CM with some pork chops.
F R I D A Y
by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Black bean soup easy to make if you have cooked black beans on hand, and this is one of my favorite versions. If you haven't used them yet, tomatillos look like small green tomatoes in papery husks. But they're more tart in flavor and have a firmer texture - so don't confuse them. Tomatillos make a difference to the overall flavor of this bean soup and worth seeking out.
Prep Ahead: Roast the poblano chiles and peel ahead of time. Store in a sealed baggie or container.
Omnivore Tip: If Carnivorous Maximus insists on meat, I'll add some shredded pork to his.
If you make any of these dishes, I would love to see how it turns out for you!! Take a photo and put it up on Instagram - just don't forget to tag me @wimpyvegetarian.
Did you miss my other Weekly Menu Plans? Check them out here for more meal planning recipes for vegetarians with tips for the omnivores at the table + menu planning tips:
For some general vegetarian meal planning tips and 5 dinner ideas, check out Vegetarian Meal Plan + Tips For Omnivores // Week 1.
Vegetarian Meal Plan + Tips For Omnivores // Week 2 includes 5 dinners and 5 questions to ask yourself when meal planning for the coming week.
Vegetarian Meal Plan + Tips For Omnivores // Week 4 includes 5 dinners and 5 common mistakes made when meal planning for the coming week.
And lastly, Vegetarian Meal Plan + Tips for Omnivores // Week 5 includes 5 ideas for making meal prepping easier along with 5 easy vegetarian dinners.
I know, Week 3 is missing. If you remember I used my roundup of Best Ever Roasted Veggies for Easy Dinners on Parade as my collection of dinner ideas that week.