5 Vegan Staples to Make Meal Planning Easy and Fun

Lentils and moong beans for healthy cooking copy space background

A well-stocked pantry is essential to making quick and delicious meals.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had two hours each night to devote to cooking dinner? We could make wonderful five-course meals with quaint appetizers, elegant entrées, and dazzling desserts, while discussing our lives with our loved ones. Unfortunately, busy schedules often mean this vegan fantasy becomes reality only on Sundays and holidays. However, by stocking your pantry with our five favorite cupboard staples, you can say goodbye to last-minute dinners, and say hello to healthy and delicious dishes made from ingredients that’ll last (almost) until retirement.

Lentils
Lentils are an extremely versatile and tasty ingredient that add protein to meals, and—unlike other legumes—they don’t require soaking and long cooking times. A quick rinse and about 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the variety) on the stovetop will soften them perfectly as a base for homemade vegan burgers or meatballs, to add bulk to soups, stews, curries, and tomato sauce, or to sprinkle atop salad greens. Run them through a food processor with a mix of savory spices for a great dip, too!

Cashews
This pale little nut is slightly sweet, delicate in flavor, and softer in texture compared to other nuts, which is why it’s so versatile in the kitchen. For many vegans and people who are avoiding dairy, cashews are a must-have staple for making fresh non-dairy milk, cream sauces, and cheese. Soak them overnight, then store in the freezer for easy access when a cheese sauce-craving hits. Throw toasted cashews in your food processor to make a quick and easy nut butter, or toss them whole into stir-fries, salads, or whole-grain pilaf for added crunch.

Quinoa
One of the most delicious and fast-cooking staples there is, quinoa has transformed itself from a once-delegated item at health food stores to prominent displays at many supermarkets around the globe. Although technically in the seed family, quinoa has the personality of a grain with the nutritional strength of a complete protein. Use it as an alternative to rice or couscous, as a stuffing for baked vegetable dishes, or to bulk up homemade vegan burger patties. Make a big pot on weekends, and eat throughout the week with curry, a stir-fry or roasted vegetables, or use it as a base for bowls with steamed broccoli, sweet potatoes, and tahini sauce.

Rolled oats
Versatile, widely available, and inexpensive, rolled oats are a must-have ingredient for healthy, everyday breakfasts and snacks. Cook them for oatmeal, soak them for overnight oats, bake them for granola, or mix them for easy snack bars. Oats are also a wonderful addition to baked goods or when cooked whole or ground into a flour for healthy cookies, cakes, and quick breads. If you’re sensitive to gluten, look for packages that are labeled gluten-free.

Maple syrup
A favorite natural sweetener in many kitchens, maple syrup’s complex flavor pairs nicely with salty foods, tempers spicy ones, and adds a certain richness to everything it touches. Furthermore, it’s perfect for sweetening baked goods, adding to dressings, sauces and glazes to balance acidity, and, of course, topping porridge and pancakes. Even roasted veggies such as beets, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes can pack a flavorful punch with a little drizzle of this sweet syrup.

Source: vegnews.com
2015-12-23T12:41:34+00:00

Related Questions

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    Q: How often should one eat cook food? I'm a vegan, I do not consume any meat, seafood, milk what so ever. I eat water cresses like everyday so as cook food. Like white rice with black bean sauce, spinach, and pasta at time's I'll eat some Chinese fried rice, veggie roll, steamed vegetables, any advice?

    A:

    You can eat cooked food as much as you like. However, try to incorporate as many nutrient-dense raw foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, into your diet to make sure you are receiving an adequate amount of nutrients.

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    Q: What Are Some Natural Sweet Treats (Junk Foods) I can Consume? Under free will you can consume what you like, but healthier products are best. You will find plenty of "healthier" snack, treat, and junk foods at good health food stores such as Whole Foods Market, PCC Natural Food Stores, Erewhon, Trader Joes, Natural Grocers, New Frontiers, etc. Just make sure to abstain from salt, sugar, and other harmful chemicals in the products you buy. We list many companies of alternative foods and products (and their website addresses) in our ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL.

    A:

    Recommended: ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL

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    Q: I have the alternative diet and lifestyle manual and want to make sure that this applies to the respiratory condition as well. Can I have the rice bread with no gluten or wheat? or rice pasta being that I have sarcoid? Can I eat cold water fish or venison in small portions along with veggies? What about rice or soy milk or protein whey shake for breakfast once or twice a week? Thank you once again my breathing has improved greatly and I have ordered many more supplies to maintain what I have accomplished thus far due to your regimen. I am not a vegetarian so I want to make sure it is okay to have white meats. I will do whatever I have to do to live. I love and appreciate everything you have done to change and help me to heal myself.

    A:

    The manual applies when you are FINISHED with a cleanse or kit. Follow the regimen's diet. It clearly states NO COOKED FOOD. You are asking us about cooked food here. Stick to the diet plan and you will be alright! You are asking about foods no good for your condition. Whey is crap. Meat is no good. Grains are no good for you as well. They all produce too much mucus!

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    Q: Is necessary to continue food combining after completing FULL BODY DETOX in 20 Days? For example can you consume sweet fruit with sub acid & acid fruit also starches and vegetable (beans) proteins together? I learned in Nutrition that starches (rice) and beans are complete protein when combined together that our body needs. Are you at risk for protein deficiency if consuming vegan diet?

    A:

    IT'S YOUR CHOICE! OF COURSE IT'S BEST TO CONTINUE TO DO SO. IT'S UP TO YOU, BELOVED! I PERSONALLY DON'T RECOMMEND IT. NOT TRUE! YOU CAN'T GET PROTEIN FROM COOKED FOODS REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE FOOD IS. OF COURSE NOT, UNLESS YOU ARE IGNORANT TO PROTEIN, REAL PROTEIN, HOW AND WHERE TO GET IT.

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    Q: Do you have any suggestions for a breakfast, lunch & dinner schedule? I'm making the transition to a healthier diet due to fibroid tumors. Currently I have broken my eating menu into 3 parts, breakfast - fruits, lunch - salads, & dinner - baked potato or any other heavy meal I intend to eat. Is this a good start? Any suggestions you can give on healthier meals for dinner are most appreciated.

    A:

    Please purchase our ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL e-book for the alternatives you seek. It's a great little resource, especially for new people starting their transition diet. You off to a good start, Beloved!

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    Q: Are vegan burgers with whole grain brown rice a good food combination?

    A:

    There are too many grains in that combination. Consider a veggie side, i.e. salad. We reccomend a vegan, raw foods diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables in order for you to receive the nutrients you need and detoxify your system.

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    Q: Hello I am on day TWO of 10-DAY SUPREME COLON CLEANSE;. May I eat a half cup rolled organic rolled oats a day. I eat the oats to provide fuel just before my two hour core ,spinning and rowing class. May I continue to drink Ivy's drink ? It's 1 tablespoon of Spirulina Powder, 2 tablespoons Psyllium Husk , 2 tablespoons Aloe Vera 1/4 cup of apple juice and 2 tablets of 450 mg Cascara Sagrada ? Look forward to your response.

    A:

    You are free to eat as you please via free will. But we suggest the eating recommendations for a reason. The oats are okay (except they create mucus) and the Ivy's Drink is okay (nothing adverse to the cleanse)and sounds like a pretty healthy tonic.

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    Q: What's the best way to start on a vegan/raw food diet? I am not sure what to eat to make sure I would get a nutritious diet-you may not be able to go into that much detail but how can I get sample meal plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner incorporating this type of diet-perhaps there is somewhere on the web I find something like this? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    A:

    If I do say myself, the best way to start a raw food diet is to be coached by me. I run a 6 month health coaching program that is 60-90 percent raw and 100 percent vegan/gluten free/ allergy free. You can find out more about my program at www.theveganeffect.com. I am running a special of half off my program if you sign up before march 1st. 

    Here are some other tips to get started.

    1: Join a raw food meetup group or community. Surround yourself with supportive people who can point you in the right direction. Try meetup.org or 30bananasaday.com 

    2: Read books like "beauty detox solution" by snyder, "80/10/10" by Dr. Graham., or "The Paradigm diet" by Adam Dave

    3: Start simple with breakfast. Always start your day with a green smoothie. read "Green smoothie revolution" by forget authors name at the moment. heh.

    A sample meal plan would be.

    Breakfast: Green smoothie

    Bridge: raw bar, handful of nuts or seeds, or fruit

    Lunch: Raw wraps made from collard greens. use a base of tahini, hummus, or nut butter. Fill with sprouts and colorful veggies

    Bridge: raw bar, handful nuts or seeds, or fruit

    Dinner: Raw pasta with a large salad

    Snack: Sorbet 

     

    Hope that answers your question,

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT VLC BMI

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    Q: Do you believe that one should eat 3 meals a day or 6 small meals a day? Sometimes I don't feel like eating 3 meals. Back in the day people would fast longer than 15 days and were healthy.

    A:

    I BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD EAT ACCORDING TO THEIR SPECIFIC LIFE STYLES ... THE LESS THE BETTER. FOOD IS KILLING US TODAY!

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    Q: I am currently undergoing testing for sarcoidosis and found your site. I am already mostly vegan, but I read in your article that complex carbs should be greatly reduced or eliminated. I was just wondering what that might include, rice, and oats? Should I be eating only fruits, veggies, beans and nuts?

    A:

    That would include rice (only eat a little brown or wild rice), potatoes, yams, etc. Yes, eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.

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    Q: I've made a lifestyle change about 8 months ago. I excluded all dairy, wheat, grains, gluten, legumes, sugar, oils (except olive oil). I still eat minimum amount of meat (chicken, fish) maybe 2 -3 times/wk. I'm slowly trying to eliminate meat totally as I only use to make my meals more filling. My plan is to do Ozone Therapy midway through the detox program, which also rid the body of toxins.

    A:

    Ozone therapy is beneficial!

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    Q: I have come across several sites that list quinoa as being in the fruit family but this is very confusing to me since it appears to be a grain. My husband uses it as rice and cereal substitute and I am just wondering if it is mucus forming.

    A:

    TECHNICALLY QUINOA IS A FRUIT BECAUSE YOU ARE CONSUMING THE SEEDS, BUT IT IS CONSIDERED A GRAIN. IT IS ALKALINE AND NOT MUCUS FORMING.

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    Q: I am the proud purchaser of your FBC system. My husband will be starting the regiment soon. His occupation requires him to work 6p to 6a, thus he sleeps during the day Fri - Mon. The other 3 days he is on a more "normal" schedule. My concern is around what times he should consume his meals/supplements. As you can see, Breakfast and lunch could pose a problem . I am worried that his meals (Smoothies) will throw off his sleep cycle as well. What times frames should he eat at? Do some {raw} ingredients wake you up more? Please advise.

    A: Thank for contacting us.  We're happy to hear that you were satisfied with the Cleanse and recommended your husband to do it.  He can adjust the intake of the capsules according to his personal schedule. If he works overnight and is asleep during the day, he can start the regimen when he is up. He should just be sure that he's consuming the formula's every 2-3 hours as instructed.   There are raw foods that helps naturally provide the body with more energy, but they're not the same as consuming caffeinated beverages that would keep him up.  Most raw foods just have multiple benefits.  The Cleanse also helps improve your sleep.  

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    Q: I am on day 4 of the FULL BODY DETOX and was wondering what else can or should I eat besides toss salad and fruits and veggies. I know I can do organic non-salt nuts, steamed veggies, fruits smoothies and wild rice but is they’re anything I am not suppose to eat besides meat and sweets (sodas)? I have eaten toss salad was it ok that I put cheese on it? I am struggling to find other food options. Please help!!

    A:

    I WOULD SUGGEST YOU ORDER OUR ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL E-BOOK. IT HAS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. IT'S A GREAT RESOURCE.

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    Q: Hey I was thinking about making some homemade almond milk and one ingredient that's called for is natural vanilla. Is natural vanilla ok to use while on the full body cleanse? Thanks

    A: Yes, you can use natural vanilla just be sure that it does not contain any alcohol. Be sure to only use water and the purified almonds for the milk. Below is a recipes to help. http://dherbs.com/recipes/110/84/Raw-Almond-Milk.html

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    Q: I have incorporated fish into my diet because I have been craving. Is moderation okay.... meaning my fruits for breakfast a regular lunch with salad and a salad for dinner okay to pretty much moderate other foods? It is challenging for me to become a vegan. Do you have any suggestions on how to still eat healthy to maintain an alkalized body with certain foods with moderation that are not raw? I still drink my green veggies at least twice a day. I am praying that my results will be negative.

    A:

    FISH IN MODERATION IS OKAY FOR YOU. TO MAINTAIN ALKALINITY, DESPITE THE ACID-FORMING THINGS YOU EAT, JUST MAKE SURE TO EAT AS MANY GREEN FOODS AS POSSIBLE. YOU CAN ALSO TAKE 6 CAPSULES OF ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD TOO! YOU’RE DOING GOOD SO KEEP YOUR THOUGHTS POSITIVE AND ON YOUR DESIRES.

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    Q: I am just becoming a vegan going on 20 years in June, and it takes a lot of discipline. I was wondering if you knew any good recipes for some good vegan style dishes. I really want to establish a vegan restaurant. I have purchased your Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual, and I know its healthier to eat vegan. But, I also understand its not the healthiest due to soy products. Is their still away to satisfy my appetite and well being at the same time?

    A:

    We have a couple of articles you might be interested in.

    Articles
    Dietary Choices
    Dherbs.Com Position on Soy Products

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    Q: Greetings & Namaste, First, thank you for being U-activated! So many potential energies unable to convert into kinetic activities because of our Earthly baggage(s). Personally, I haven't found the right formula to keep my beautiful curves, which is the major reason I am not vegan/raw now. In my perfect world, I'd have a great-tasting, non-dairy,wheat & gluten source of protein, juiced exotic veggie/fruit smoothies, yummy raw nuts/raisins, and absolutely no meat- the fountain of youth, literally, running thru my body! As i'm sure the cognitive wheels of your expertise are spiraling ready solutions, I ask that you also factor in social-economic status, and workout regiment. From my perspective, the price of health food is aggressively over-inflated compared to the affordability of processed and junk foods; add to that a general inaccessibility to the impoverished & disenfranchised, and dysfunctional eating psychologies impregnating entire families (for generations). I prefer high energy, high impact, anaerobic & weight-lifting training activities. So, you can see a petite person's dilemma. Thanks so much for your time and thoughts. Ms. Tiffany

    A:

    Greetings & Namaste,

    First, thank you for being U-activated!  So many potential energies unable to convert into kinetic activities because of our Earthly baggage(s).  Personally, I haven't found the right formula to keep my beautiful curves, which is the major reason I am not vegan/raw now.  In my perfect world, I'd have a great-tasting, non-dairy,wheat & gluten source of protein, juiced exotic veggie/fruit smoothies, yummy raw nuts/raisins, and absolutely no meat- the fountain of youth, literally, running thru my body!  As i'm sure the cognitive wheels of your expertise are spiraling ready solutions, I ask that you also factor in social-economic status, and workout regiment. From my perspective, the price of health food is aggresively over-inflated compared to the affordability of processed and junk foods; add to that a general inaccessibility to the impoverished & disenfranchised, and dysfunctional eating psychologies impregnating entire families (for generations). I prefer high energy, high impact, anaeorobic & weight-lifting training activities.  So, you can see a petite person's dilemma.  Thanks so much for your time and thoughts.  Ms. Tiffany Janine"

    Being raw or vegan does not have to be hard or expensive. The most inexpensive food are rice and beans. If you are budget consciense you should gravitate towards those foods. Stach based foods are super cheap. You should check out the book "eating vegan on 4 dollars a day" or any of Dr. Mcdougal's programs. 

    I run an online health/fitness/nutrition coaching program that can be found at www.theveganeffect.com. There you might find your answers. 

    Exercise programs do not have to be expensive either. I am a master at building fitness plans with the minimal of equipment. If all you have is your body weight than I can build you a 90 day plan. The same goes if all you have is a resistance band, exercise ball, dumbells, kettlebell, etc.

    If you need any advice or have specific questions you should check out my website and message me there.

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT VLC BMI

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    Q: I recently purchased your Parasite and Worm Kit and wanted to know what grains were good to eat during or after the cleanse. I eat Bulgur, brown rice, black rice, couscous, gold and brown flax seed and ground provisions i.e. yams, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, turnips and etc. Are these ok to eat during the Parasite and Worm Kit or after? Is apple cider or balsamic vinegar ok for consumption? My Queen and I look forward to removing all the parasites form our temple and projecting the increased vibration. Continue to shine the light.

    A:

    Stay RAW while removing the parasites! If you stay mostly RAW, then on a few days you can engage yourself in some of the foods you mention below (maybe once a week)! But RAW is best! Apple Cider Vinegar is the BEST vinegar to use!

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    Q: I know your probably busy helping all these lost people out there, so I'm not going to take a lot of time. Could you please refer me to a good Raw food diet book? I've been vegan for a while and trying to make another transformation towards my Original Diet.

    A:

    Please purchase our "ALTERNATIVE HEALTH DIRECTORY" e-book which lists a plethora of vegan and raw foods resources (books, magazines, lists, etc.). It's just what you're looking for.