During my time this winter cooking at a retreat center in Costa Rica I realized how many people don't know how to create a healthy well balanced MEAL (especially one without meat!).
"Meal" meaning not just one dish, but two to three foods that create a well balanced and full meal. Or in other words...side dishes to accompany a main course.
As a retreat chef and nutritionist that plans meals (and a passionate foodie!) I have learned how to take a main course and combine it with sides to make a healthy vibrant meal.
It is not a lot of extra work and makes a plate more nutritious, colorful, and delicious! So if you want to impress your family (or yourself!) here are a few plant based meal ideas for you to try. The recipes are linked from some of my favorite bloggers that I think you will enjoy.
PRO TIP: do a batch cook night so that you have ingredients on hand throughout the week. For example boil sweet potatoes, roast veggies, cook brown rice and quinoa, make your fav salad dressing, and cut up any veggies on hand to make week night prep easier!
PLANT BASED MEAL IDEAS
Creamy carrot soup with vegan Thai salad in peanut sauce and optional brown rice.
Sweet potato black bean quesadillas with mango salsa and cole slaw.
Lentil soup with brown rice or quinoa and Moroccan carrot raisin salad.
Soba noodle bowl with cucumber side salad.
Fattoush salad with Baba Ganoush and toasted pita chips.
And just for fun, here is an incredibly easy dessert that received rave reviews at the retreat center in Costa Rica...
Banana nice cream with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.
Put the nice cream in a pretty glass dish, top with a drizzle of agave syrup, and then wedge in a cinnamon sugar tortilla triangle. It looks so fancy, but is oh so simple!
Do you have any favorite entree and side ideas? Please comment below!
PHOTO by Stacey Hamblett (me!) at Kindred Spirits in Costa Rica.
What do you do with all that beautiful and abundant patty pan squash that is filling up your garden? Create a delicious and refreshing end of summer salad to bring to the Labor Day weekend party!
This salad is delicious warm or can be served at room temperature. Serve as is or over a bed of fresh garden greens and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
1 cup Israeli couscous (try farro or for gluten free use quinoa or wild rice)
3 cups water
4 cups sliced patty pan squash
1/2 cup diced green onions
1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
In medium saucepan on medium heat, add about 1 Tablespoon olive oil then pour in couscous. Stir couscous until coated with oil. Cook until they are lightly toasted. Pour in water, bring to a gentle boil and cook until water is absorbed and couscous is tender.
In medium saute pan on medium heat, add about 1 Tablespoon olive oil and the patty pan squash. Stir the squash to coat with oil. Add the green onions and spices and saute about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley and saute another couple of minutes. When squash is lightly toasted and softer but not mushy, add almonds in.
Turn off heat in pan and add cooked couscous or other grain. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and add any additional spices to taste.
A good sauce will dress up any meal and make it even more delicious, so it pays to have a few easy to make favorites in your culinary toolbox.
You can pour sauces / dressings on roasted veggies, raw veggies, falafel patties, bean burgers, baked tofu, pan seared tempeh, salads, macrobowls or use them for dipping anything and everything into!
Check out my 3 favorites below. All should last about 5 days in the fridge.
Creamy Tahini Dressing - makes about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1.5 tsp EVOO
1 tsp sunbutter (optional but it makes the dressing pop)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Place all in a mini food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Green Goddess Dressing - makes about 3/4 cup
1 ripe avocado (or tahini or blend of two)
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup green onion
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
2.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
In food processor blend avocados, herbs, water, salt, and garlic. Slowly add in vinegar, EVOO and lemon juice, and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette - makes about 3/4 cup
1/2 cup EVOO
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Whisk together until thoroughly blended. Store in fridge, but take out about 15 minutes before serving so the olive oil can come back to room temp.
October is a great month to get back in the kitchen and get your culinary jam on.
The bounty of fruits and vegetables that our farms produce is a foodie’s dream. If you haven’t made a trip to the farmer’s market yet or visited a ‘pick your own’ farm, you must do so!
Vibrant wild flowers and happy sunflowers dot the fields, while gardens are overflowing with heirloom tomatoes, kale varieties, rainbow chard, mixed greens, golden beets, collards, and more.
To find out what is being harvested now and where you can pick your own raspberries, peaches, apples and flowers check out Seacoast Eat Local’s Harvest Guide.
To inspire you, click this original article for recipes like Beet, Carrot, Walnut Salad and Kale & Cranberry Salad to enjoy during this bountiful time of year!
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.