Healthy Vegan Meal Plan - 5 Nights of Easy Plant-Based Dinners!
Main Ingredients - Black Beans, Spinach,
Serves 2 to 3 Adults or 2 Adults and 2 Children
Last year I received a lot of requests for meal plans, because you're busy, and cooking healthy weeknight dinners can be challenging. Many of you told me that you want to eat vegan full time, but you just didn’t know how to do it, some of you were more concerned about eating healthier, and some of you weren’t good at planning, and/or were to creatively drained at the end of the day to think up dinner ideas. I listened, and this year I’m going to help you with your plant-based meal goals, whatever they may be.
This meal plan should help you eat healthier, ditch animal products, get organized, save money (take-out is expensive), and make you feel good about what you’re feeding yourself and your family. Best of all, you won’t feel deprived.
Meal Planning for the Week
Three of the dinners for this week's meal plan are made with black beans. You'll get plenty of protein, so don't worry about that. Two of the recipes are bean free to give you a break from the legumes, and you'll still get plenty of protein from the brown rice in the stir-fry and the whole grain bread in the BLT, along with all of the vegetables.
To make meal prep easier, I'd suggest getting a head start on Sunday. Make the bean ball mixture and the spicy black beans for the tacos. If you're feeling super ambitious you could even chop the vegetables and make the soup, although it's super easy and fast, so don't feel like you have to.
Except for the bean balls, which take a little longer to make, everything is super fast and easy. As long as you make sure you have all of the ingredients, and read the recipes ahead of time, you should be able to get a healthy and delicious dinner prepped and on the table in less than an hour.
Spaghetti and Simple Vegan Black Bean "Meatballs" with a Simple Spinach and Cucumber Side Salad: Boil a pot of water for the spaghetti while you prepare the "meatballs." If you made them earlier, remove them from the refrigerator and keep them covered in foil, warm them in a 300 degree oven until the balls are hot on the inside. For the salad: toss one cup of spinach per person with cucumber slices and this salad dressing in a large bowl. Note: you can use balsamic or red or white wine vinegar for the dressing if you don't have champagne vinegar.
Black Bean and Veggie Tacos with guacamole and jicama chips. If you can't find zucchini at this time of year you can use cubed sweet potatoes, cauliflower, butternut squash, or mushrooms. If you don't like jicama chips (peeled and thinly sliced jicama) you can use carrots or corn chips to dip in the guacamole.
Portobello Mushroom BLT and a small spinach salad with cucumber slices (make the same dressing as I linked to above). If you feel the need to have some chips on the side, go ahead, but know that I didn't put them in the shopping list. Note: optimize this sandwich with whole GRAIN bread.
Sweet & Spicy Asian Brown Rice and Pineapple Bowl. This is so satisfying and delicious. There are so many flavors and textures going on this vibrant bowl. I didn't put a side dish next to it because it doesn't need one.
Curried Coconut Black Bean Soup with a romaine, spinach, and tomato salad. Use the same dressing recipe that you made for the other two salads this week, or get creative and make up a new one. A warm and crusty loaf of whole grain bread would be great with this. Use the remaining loaf to make this vegan French toast recipe (replace the nog with almond milk and use plain maple syrup if you don't have cranberries) on Saturday or Sunday morning.
Easy and Relaxing Game Plan
With a little bit of prep work and planning, you can can have a healthy dinner on the table in no time. As I suggested above, prepare the bean balls and marinara on Sunday, and if you're really in a culinary mood, make the spicy black beans for the tacos. Make sure you store them in air-tight containers in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat them.
The following is how I'd plan my week, you don't have to follow it, you can eat in whatever order you'd like, just be sure to eat the least fresh produce earlier in the week. For example, if the avocados are soft on Sunday, make the tacos on Monday. If they're hard, make them later in the week. You've got this!
Monday Night: Spaghetti and Simple Black Bean Balls. Fill a large pot with water, cover it, and bring it to a boil for the spaghetti. If you didn't make the marinara and the bean balls on Sunday, do that now. Make the marinara first and get it simmering, then make the bean balls. Put the salad together and make the dressing while you wait for the spaghetti to cook.
Tuesday Night: It's taco Tuesday, so my easy Black Bean and Veggie Tacos are the perfect choice. If you didn't make the beans on Sunday then go ahead and get them on the stove now, if you did, start warming them in the microwave or stove top, just be sure that you don't scorch them. While the beans are cooking prep the vegetables and start cooking them as directed. When the veggies are done, turn the heat to the lowest setting to keep them warm and make the guacamole.
Wednesday Night: This is a good night for Asian food so make the Sweet and Spicy Brown Rice and Pineapple Bowl. Press the tofu in the morning if you can. Open the tofu, remove from the package, place on a flat plate lined with paper towels, put a few layers of paper towels on top of the tofu and place something heavy on top to press the excess water from it. Put it in the refrigerator to keep fresh if you press it in the morning. Start the rice, then prep the vegetables. Once the tofu is ready, slice it and put it in the marinade. Make the dressing. When the rice is ten minutes from being done start cooking the veggies and tofu.
Thursday Night: This is a good night for a simple and delicious Portobello BLT sandwich and a side salad. Slice and marinate the mushrooms. While the mushrooms are marinating make the salad and pat the lettuce for the sandwich dry and slice the tomatoes. Cook the shrooms, toast the bread, and put the BLT together.
Friday Night: I love making a simple and flavorful soup on a Friday night. This Curried Coconut Black Bean Soup couldn't be easier, just follow the instructions and enjoy a glass of wine while you prepare the salad and wait for the soup to warm up. If you're adding a baguette to the plan, warm it in the oven.
1 package of spaghetti – Barilla
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
5 (15 ounce) cans of black beans
2 (15 ounce cans of coconut milk)
1 (20 ounce can of pineapple chunks)
1 package of tortillas (corn or flour)
Bottle of liquid smoke
1 loaf of whole grain bread
3 medium onions
2 bulbs of garlic
Flat leaf parsley (small bunch)
Fresh basil (small bunch)
Fresh cilantro (small bunch)
4 large Portobello mushrooms
2 large packages of baby spinach leaves or 3 large bunches of large spinach leaves
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 jalapeno peppers (optional)
4 large tomatoes
2 large zucchini (if you can't find them at this time of year then use 2 sweet potatoes, cauliflower, butternut squash, or any other vegetable you like for the tacos)
2 medium cucumbers
5 oranges (1 is for the pineapple bowl sauce and the rest are because they’re good for you)
1 small head of broccoli
1 small head of bok-choy
1 medium jicama (for the guacamole, if you don’t want to dip jicama chips you can buy corn chips or baby carrots)
Small bunch of green onions
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 (15 ounce block of tofu)
1 small bag of frozen peas
Pantry Staples (you probably have these already, if not, it's time to stock up)
Dried Italian Seasoning
Olive oil and/or avocado oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
Chinese 5 spice