So long Rice, there is a new girl in town. Her name is Couscous! I fell in love with couscous when I first tried Moroccan food in the South of France. The way this grain takes on the flavor of added spices is quite amazing. Plus couscous literally takes 5 minutes to cook! This is my take on a rice bowl but instead of rice, I use couscous as the base. I also used squash we grew from our urban garden, which our puppy "helped" us harvest. This is perfect for a weeknight meal if you are short on time.
2 medium size yellow squash
3 bell peppers
1/4 cup of roasted/salted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp granulated garlic
3 tbl of olive oil plus more for dizzling the roasted vegetables
1 tsp of garam masala seasoning
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 can of chickpeas- drained and rinced
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the onion, squash and bell peppers into large but still bite sized pieces. Put on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 tsp of garam masala seasoning, salt and pepper to your taste. Massage veggies with your hands to make sure they are coated with the oil. Pop into the oven for 25-30 min until the peppers are slightly charred, the skin of the squash is soft and onions are translucent.
As the veggies are cooking, boil 1 cup of water. Add the smoked paprika, granulated garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tbl of olive oil to the water. Once water is boiling, remove from the heat and stir in 1 1/4 cups of couscous. Return the lid and let sit for 2 min. Fluff with a fork and add 1 tbl of olive oil, chopped basil and pumpkin seeds.
Last but not least, toast the chickpeas on high heat in a santé pan with 1/2 tsp of turmeric and 1 tbl of olive oil for 5 min while frequently stirring.
Now time to build the bowl! Place couscous on the bottom, add the veggies, chickpeas, garnish with more basil and salt and pepper.
My husband has a love affair with "mac salad". Yes, the traditional heavy mayo with elbow noodles pasta salad. He could eat gallons of the stuff. I on the other hand, got so sick of mac salad during the holidays last year I cannot eat another bite of it. This recipe is our happy medium. It still has the creaminess (with vegan mayo!) that he likes but has hints of herbs and vinegar that I like. This is a perfect potluck dish. Hope y'all enjoy!
1 package (12 ounces) bowtie noodles
1 can roasted corn (drained and rinsed)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
2 diced green bell peppers
Can of sliced black olives (drained)
4 chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Optional: 2 large avocados
½ cup of Vegenaise
2 tbl ketchup
1 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp extra to dress the noodles after cooking
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the noodles according to the package, but be sure to add 1 tsp of salt to the cooking water. Cook to al dente, where they still have a slight bite to them and are not mushy.
While the noodles are cooking start the dressing. Mix with a fork the Vegenaise. Ketchup, vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and spices. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix the corn, beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, green onions and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to the veggies according to your taste.
Once the noodles are cooked, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Add a tsp of olive oil to the noodles so they don’t stick together.
Once the noodles are cooled add to the bowl of veggies along with the dressing. Add salt and pepper again to your liking. I like to pop the salad in the frig for 10 min to have the flavors marry before eating.
If you decide to add avocado, cut in bite sized chunks and add to the salad right before serving.
Overnight Oats is one of my favorite go-to breakfasts. When I first started throwing it in my routine, I made really complicated versions blending up fruit and coconut water, but this simple recipe has been a game-changer. So much so that Michelle and I included it in some of our meal plans. We both make Overnight Oats regularly, and hope you decide to make it a staple in your home, too!
And thank you Lively Days for doing this awesome video!
Overnight Oats - YouTube
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup plant-based milk
1/2 cup of chopped fruit (your choice)
2-3 tablespoons of nuts or seeds (your choice)
In a container, glass, or mason jar, add oats, fruit, seeds, and milk.
Cover with lid, saran wrap, or aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight (or for 3+ hours).
When you wake up, mix and enjoy chilled! No cooking or heating necessary—the oats “cook” themselves overnight.
By Josie Steiger
I’d like to preface this post with the following message: I am speaking from my own personal experience. Each person and each pregnancy is different. There are things that happen to you during pregnancy that you can’t control, and I don’t want anyone to walk away from reading this thinking that they or their bodies are not good enough in some way (we get enough of those messages out there in the rest of the world). I am writing this in the hopes that it helps someone looking for resources to answer their questions about vegan pregnancy. I am not a medical professional. Please consult a medical doctor, midwife or registered dietitian for medical advice.
As I sit and write this today, I’m 32 weeks pregnant (pregnancy is normally counted as 40 weeks) and have been vegan for over six years. Although my body is starting to get pretty uncomfortable at this point, being a pregnant vegan woman has, overall, been a very empowering and positive experience.
One of the top questions my vegan husband and I get asked is about what weird food cravings I’ve had. As much as I’d love to tell people that my partner had to run out to the grocery store at midnight for pickles and coconut milk ice cream, that simply hasn’t been the case. My number one craving? Rice and beans. Whether omnivore or vegan, your protein needs increase dramatically during pregnancy, so be sure to educate yourself on how many grams you specifically will need daily. I get my protein needs met from beans, peas, tofu, nuts and nut butter, spinach, vegan meats, protein shakes, and for convenience, the occasional plant-based protein bar.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, foods you should avoid during pregnancy include raw or undercooked meat, deli meats, raw or undercooked eggs, unpasteurized milk, pate (meat spreads), soft cheeses, and various fish, shellfish, and seafood, due to mercury and bacteria that are prevalent in these foods. Guess what? Simply by being vegan, I’ve automatically eliminated all of those hazards from my diet. It’s nice to have one less thing on my plate I need to avoid (literally and figuratively).
Although not always posed as a question, some people have implied to me that they don’t think it’s safe to be pregnant and vegan. On the contrary, research and experience show that everything your body needs for a healthy vegan pregnancy can be found in plants—no animal products are necessary. In fact, a growing body of evidence confirms that consuming animal products during pregnancy leaves you and your baby at increased risk of a wide variety of negative health outcomes.
Also, because I’m a smaller person in stature, I’ve heard comments from observers that I haven’t gained enough weight during my pregnancy, to which I truthfully reply, “My doctor and midwife say that I’m right where I need to be at this stage.” (The average recommended weight gain through the pregnancy is 25-35 pounds).
Again, I can only speak for myself, but I believe that a balanced vegan diet, taking vitamins, staying hydrated and getting exercise have all contributed to me feeling well. My pregnancy hasn’t been perfect; throughout my first trimester I had morning sickness and in this third trimester at times I’ve experienced pretty terrible nausea and heartburn. If you’re feeling nauseous and having a hard time eating or can only eat very little, make sure that whatever you do eat is as nutritious as possible. Even if you can only get a few bites down, make those bites count! Also, at various times I found that fresh papaya, water with lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar, or a spoonful of baking soda) or no-chicken broth from the bulk foods section have all helped me to feel better when nausea was getting the best of me.
I’ve been seeing a doctor and a midwife, and both agree that I’ve had a normal, healthy pregnancy. I’ve also found that it’s really important for me to educate myself on vegan nutrition and to be my own advocate. Doctors notoriously only get a few hours of nutrition training while in medical school and, in my experience, aren’t often up to date on nutritional needs. In general, midwives seem more open to vegetarianism, but I’ve still found opportunities to educate my midwife on vegan nutrition.
I also became pretty suspicious when the healthy eating handout I was given at my doctor’s office was created by the Dairy Council of California. You’ll be shocked to learn that it recommended consuming more dairy products (3 cups daily) than vegetables (2.5 cups), fruit (1.5 cups), grains (6 oz.), or beans (5 oz). And, of course, no mention was made of any health risks associated with dairy consumption during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes and anemia (lower than normal number of healthy red blood cells) are two health issues that are pretty common during pregnancy. If you are a vegan that experiences these issues, don’t automatically assume that veganism is to blame—and don’t assume that there aren’t plant-based fixes either! Finally, please don’t assume that you are doing something “wrong.” I encourage you to work to understand whatever issue you are facing and find a path to fix it that you’re comfortable with.
Here are some resources that have really helped me during my pregnancy:
Because this is a food and budget focused blog, I’d be remiss not to include a sampling of what I eat in an average week, including some supplements I take. Here are a few staples, and I always choose organic options if possible:
Rice, beans and avocado
Lentil or black bean soup
Grapes, apples, papaya, oranges and other fresh fruit (be sure to wash fruits and vegetables well!)
Peanut butter on bananas
Whole grain cereal and plant milk
Sandwiches that include whole grain bread and Tofurky slices
Fresh or cooked greens and/or carrots
Mixed vegetables and tofu
Ground flax seeds (buy them in the bulk section and grind them in a coffee grinder if you have one).
Floravital Iron Supplement (a spoonful of black strap molasses daily is another great, cheap, plant-based way to get iron and potassium).
I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here for now. I hope this post serves its intended purpose to empower vegan parents and to show you that you can be happy, healthy, plant-based (and pregnant!) on a budget!
I'm a big fan of potlucks especially on game day. Not only because I love getting together with friends but I love getting creative with a new plant based dish. This is the PERFECT potluck recipe. It is a crowd pleaser that holds up well while sitting out on the buffet table. I also like making this dish on a Sunday for leftovers during the week. I hope y'all enjoy.
2 diced bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
5 green onions
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp hot sauce
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 bouillon cube
1 cup of water
4 oz can of mild green chilies
15.5 oz can of red kidney beans
8 oz can of corn
Can of green enchilada sauce
1 cup of nutritional yeast
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
2 tbl of olive oil
24 taco size corn tortillas
optional: avocado and chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dice up the onion, garlic, green onions and bell pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the yellow onion and garlic. Cook on medium until onions are translucent. Add the bell pepper, cumin, green onions and hot sauce. After 5 min of cooking, turn up the heat and add the tomatoes, chilies, bouillon and cup of water. Cook down for 20 min on medium/heat heat for the liquid to reduce and favors to develop. Drain and rinse the beans and corn then add, cooking for about 5 min. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Now it's time to layer. In a baking dish, pour about a 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce then cover the bottom of the dish with tortillas, edges overlapping. Pour more enchilada sauce on the top of the tortillas then sprinkle about 2 tbls of nutritional yeast. Add a layer of the bean mixture. Repeat layering, 4 layers of tortillas total. The top layer should be tortillas, enchilada sauce, nutritional yeast. To finish off the masterpiece, top with the rest of the green onions and pumpkin seeds. Bake covered with foil for 15 min and remove foil for last 5 min of cooking time. Serve with slices of avocado and chopped cilantro.
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