The Daily Beet

12 Sep Simple meal ideas

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My name is Natala, and I am part of the Engine 2 Team. My husband and I trave full time around the country, living in various cities 1-3 months at a time. We have lived in very small towns of 150 people and larger cities, like Austin. We have also driven 1000’s of miles and we’ve never once gone hungry! We’ve never had a problem eating plant-strong, in fact, sometimes it’s easier when we are in a small cities, the less options we have, the more creative we become!

*Just a note, my husband and I eat 100% plant-strong with a lot of food restrictions because of various allergies and sensitivities, and we’ve still never had a problem.

We get this questions a lot!

“But, what do I eat?!”

We have all been doing this for so long, that it’s just not something we think about. Eating plant-strong becomes second nature at some point, we’re not sure at what point that happens, but you can trust us, it does.

So I thought it might be helpful to write down some simple meal ideas. You don’t need to be a chef, or even all that creative to eat plant-strong!

We recently had lunch with the executive producer of the movie “Forks Over Knives” we had a large plate of delicious fresh figs, nothing else! Needless to say we were completely satisfied with our meal! I absolutely loved it! It made me realize that we could be even MORE simple about the way we eat!

I’ve made a big list of ideas. You can serve them as one big bowl or you can separate everything if you like. And be sure to try out different spices/herbs to go along with them. I’ve found that there is not much that can go wrong with adding spices, just add slowly and see if it is something that you will like. Here are some great combinations:

  • Sweet potato, kale, white beans, brown rice.
  • White potato, black beans, tomatoes, corn, spinach.
  • Quinoa, mixed greens, red beans, cauliflower
  • Brown rice, chickpeas, peas, zucchini,  curry powder, turmeric
  • White beans, fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts, garlic, kale.
  • Whole grain pasta, zucchini,  brocoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Lentils, collard greens, brown rice, artichoke
  • Potatoes, portobello mushrooms, green beans,  spinach, black beans
  • Whole grain  pasta, lentils, strained tomatoes (or tomato puree), garlic, brocoli
  • Whole grain bread with portobello mushrooms, grilled zucchini and oil free hummus.
  • Wild rice, onion, red lentils, greens
  • Brown rice, salsa, frozen southwestern veggie mix, black beans
  • Sweet potato, topped with black beans
  • Brown rice, black pepper, asian style veggie mix.
  • Cauliflower soup – cook cauliflower, blend add chickpeas.
  • Whole grain pasta cooked and chilled, cucumber, tomato, beans, balsamic vinegar
  • Mashed chickpeas, onion, garlic, chopped celery, cucumber served on whole grain bread
  • Lentils, chopped tomato, lettuce, spinach, salsa, served on lettuce or served in corn tortillas
  • Roasted vegetable mix & quinoa
  • Beans & brown rice
  • Spinach salad: strawberries, raisins, balsamic
  • Chop salad: chopped cucumber, celery, carrots, zucchini, tossed with quinoa.
  • Big salad: Whatever fresh vegetables you have on top of greens. (the whatever salad!)
  • *Salad is always a good option if you have fresh vegetables/greens laying around. You can use balsamic vinegar for a dressing, salsa or even just lemon.
  • Huge plate of steamed vegetables with spices.
  • Breakfast: oatmeal or quinoa with fruit and ground flaxseed
  • Breakfast: Rip’s big bowl (of course!)
  • Looking for an easy dressing? We use low sodium salsa, oil free hummus or balsamic vinegar.

All you really need to make a great meal is the following: a whole grain, a bean, some vegetables/greens and some spices. And if you don’t have all three of those you will be just fine as well.

If you are looking for more quick meal ideas and a little more instruction, check out Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD!

Looking for some recipes? Be sure to check out our post FILLED with recipes last Friday!

What are your simplest plant-strong meals?

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Natala Constantine
  • Melissa
    Posted at 10:52h, 12 September

    I cook a wild rice blend and lentils together in the rice cooker. 2 rice cooker cups of the wild rice blend and 1 rice cooker cup of lentils. Add water, press the button and it cooks itself. I like to eat it with some oven roasted vegetables. Green beans and sunshine squash from the farmers market this week. Simple and delicious.

    • Laura
      Posted at 13:11h, 12 September

      We have brown rice, I assume it will work the same way. Do you add the same amount of water you would for the rice?

      • Melissa
        Posted at 17:35h, 12 September

        Laura, yes, brown rice will work the same way. I add the same amount of water as I would for just rice, to the line for 3 cups in the rice cooker.

  • Peggy
    Posted at 13:54h, 12 September

    I mixed cooked brown rice with pre-steamed shredded carrots, chopped onion, celery and broccoli, a little garlic, and rolled them up in huge Swiss chard leaves. Just a touch of tomato sauce (spices of preference) and bake about 20-30 minutes. Serve with extra sauce if preferred; you can even serve whole-grain pasta with this for a larger meal.

  • Cindy
    Posted at 14:21h, 12 September

    Natala – thanks so much for this article. It is very helpful for one who is new to being totally plant-strong, like me. I am preparing for a partial kitchen renovation next week and was fretting about how to prepare easy things while not having use of a full kitchen. Your list of ideas is also perfect for this situation! So many things I can prepare ahead of time and keep in the fridge. Pull out and mix them up and…a meal! Thank you, thank you!

  • Sally
    Posted at 14:54h, 13 September

    Thank you so much for the many wonderful vegan simple meals. We are retired, but seem to be very busy and your ideas will keep us from stopping to eat out, therefore save money! I will start at the top of the list and make my grocery list. Thanks again. I have been vegan for nearly 2 years and my husband a year—-the only way to eat! We thank all for the wonderful engine2diet.com website and hard work.

  • Candie
    Posted at 21:17h, 14 September

    Thank you for posting these ideas 🙂

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