Editors note: It’s about that time! I go back over all the great content provided by my cool peeps this was a goodie!
By Callie McBride
It’s 5:49 on a Tuesday night, and your workday is finally over. You’re home, you’ve kicked off your shoes and sunk into your favorite chair in front of the television, ready to relax with some trashy reality show. Just as you find your most comfortable position, you remember something vital to your nightly routine: dinner. Exhausted, hungry, and slightly impatient, what do you do?
A. Pull out your phone and place a takeout order from your favorite veg restaurant. You’ll just have to wait half an hour, and then go pick it up.
B. Pop in a frozen vegan pizza and promise to add more greens into your diet…tomorrow.
C. Whip up a quick and delicious dinner filled with veggies, healthy fats, nutty protein, and insane flavor. (Hint: pick C! )
A vital component to both losing weight and keeping it off is consistency. You’ve heard it a million times, right? Only because it’s true! The longer you can devote time and energy into living a healthy lifestyle, the easier and more natural it will eventually become. This means getting in a great yoga session or interval workout every day, constantly drinking tons of water, and kicking your healthy vegan eating into high gear. Of course, consistency is made much easier with planning. Without a proper exercise regimen or meal plan, weight loss becomes a difficult feat. One of my favorite ways to ensure success with healthy eating is planning out my dinners.
For me, after a long day at work/school can result in some laziness and less motivation to cook a big meal. I anticipate this, and plan out the dinner in advance. That way when I get home I just throw everything together and dive in! Really, though. I can get a little too excited with food.
So, my plant-based friends, of what shall your wonderfully easy dinners mainly consist? Plants! The perfect go-to dinner is a huge salad beast, filled to the brim with nutritious add-ins. Your meal should have tons of greens; use kale, spinach, lettuce, or mixed greens as a base. Next comes veggies. Take your favorite vegetables, throw them in a pan with some olive oil, and lightly sautee them in a bit of salt and pepper. If tofu or tempeh is your protein, throw some cut up cubes right in with the veggies! I love to season these with Mrs. Dash or a special greek seasoning with cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic, onion powder, and oregano. Otherwise, black beans or chickpeas can serve as your protein too.
Don’t forget the nuts! I love to throw in sunflower seeds or walnuts into my salads for crunch and more healthy fats. Other mix-ins can be avocado, baked sweet potato cubes, olives, or cooked quinoa.
A perfect finishing touch to your easy dinner salad is some vegan cheese; nutritional yeast or Daiya cheese are super simple to sprinkle on at the end of your salad creation, but if you’ve got a bit more time (and patience), homemade cashew cheese is amazing. To make, soak cashews in cold water overnight, then blend them with a food processor or blender until fluffy and cheesy!
Here are a few marinades (that double as dressings) to spice up your veggies and protein choices:
Chipotle: Teaspoon each of chipotle powder, garlic powder, and a healthy squeeze of lime juice
Classic Grill: 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, teaspoon each of parsley, oregano, basil, minced garlic
Olive Oil: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt
My favorite salad combinations include:
-kale, avocado, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, nutritional yeast, lemon dressing
-spinach, marinated tofu, broccoli, red & yellow pepper, onion, walnuts, balsamic vinegar dressing
-mixed greens, tempeh, cucumber, carrot, quinoa, sunflower seeds, red wine vinegar dressing
This type of dinner can call for a bit of preparation (if you are aiming for my delicious-looking sweet potato & tofu salad inspired by vegan blogger Kathy Palansky), or none at all! Total prep time is 10 minutes, and your easy vegan salad beast satisfies you perfectly while staying in line with your fitness goals.
What does your go-to salad look like?