Creating equality in your weekly meal planning with plants
Who said that you can’t appreciate a dinner of plant based food in the same way you do a Sunday steak dinner or B.L.T? Many of my carnivore pals claim eating meat regularly brings fullfilment because of the protein content, but it's also a big job for your digestive system. If eating a meat heavy diet is working, then great, but if you'd like to introduce more plant based meals, here are some suggestions for you.
Hippie, yogi, and vegan/vegetarian cuisine can often put people off because it has a reputation of being over processed, hard to digest, or unfulfilling. Historically, this type of cuisine consisted of tofu stir fry and meat replacements, so it’s no wonder folks were not jumping on the bandwagon. These days, cooking techniques have evolved and chefs are getting really good about making vegetables stars instead of side dishes.
Vegetables, legumes, and nuts can boggle minds with the various flavor and textures they transform into. Take the mushroom for instance; its’ flavor is nutty and earthy, plus it has a -sink your teeth into- quality. It swallows up marinades, smokes beautiful on hot coals, and caramelizes in ghee like what might remind you of a scallop. Have you sautéed kale in a cast iron skillet over high heat until it almost burns, then smother it in olive oil and a fresh squeeze of lemon and sea salt? The depth of flavor and minerality makes my body scream for more!
Let’s talk about SPICE baby! Clove, cardamom, fennel seed, fenugreek, masalas, curries, and ras el hanout, are just a few of my favorites from the magical world of spices. Ancient blends from around the globe are the key to transforming your food from ordinary, to flavor beyond your imagination. Spices are a wonderful collectors item and allow you to experiment with tastes you thought you could only get in restaurants.
OMG, FERMENTATION! Have you ever had miso soup? Do you remember the first time you drank it and what came to mind? Beer, bread, indescribably savory goodness? That’s umami, the 6th sense, satiation. When designing a complete vegan meal, the element of a fermented something is essential in forms like: kimchee, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, or even sun dried tomato.
∆ Let’s review and build a complete meal
your favorite veggies: greens, broccoli, roots, shrooms, lemon, yams, avocado, & herbs!!!!!
beans/legumes/grains: lentils, black eyed peas, or mung beans, brown jasmine rice, black rice, or quinoa
fat: coconut oil + ghee
spices: garam masala, madras curry, dukkah, zaatar, ras el hanout
fermented vegetables: kimchee if you like spicy, kraut if you like it mild, and any of your favorite organic pickles
tools: a blender, a good knife, and a cast iron skillet
∆ Build your bowl
soaking! soak your beans over night in a covered pot with a piece of lemon, salt, and some vinegar. This helps pull out the acid that causes gas. If you are using lentils, it’s the same process but only for 20 mins. You also want to give your grains a good rinse + soak in filtered water for about 20mins. This makes the grain more digestible. Then its time to cook your beans and grains. When cooking beans or lentils, the ration is 3 to 1, 1 Cup beans to 3 Cups water, plus your spices (about 2 T) and a scoop of coconut oil. Add your salt last
grains! you can follow the package instructions, but here is a guide: brown rice 1 Cup rice to 1 ¾ Cup water, Quinoa 1 Cup to 1 ½ C Water, Brown Jasmine rice and Black Rice 1 Cup rice to 1 ¾ Cup water.
veggies! Roast or Sautee? Roots do best in the oven. Coat them in oil with some salt and cook them at 400-425 to get lots of color on the outside. Cooking time varies, so just keep your eyes peeled. Mushrooms take the shortest, and beets and sweet potatoes the longest.
If you’re going leafy, you want to get a cast iron skillet very hot, add ghee, coconut oil, or a bit of both then add your greens. Let them sit until you start to smell the carmelization. Then toss until completely wilted. Turn off heat, season with salt, and squeeze some lemon.
sauces! take at least 3 types of herbs: dill, mint, cilantro, basil- and throw them in your blender. Add toasted nuts (any), salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s the perfect bright condiment for any bowl. Ratios: 2 handful cilantro, 1 handful dill, basil, mint-1/4 Cup nut or seed, drizzle of olive oil, 1-2 T salt, 2-4 lemons depending upon size.
Assembly! Grab your fave bowl. Scoop about 1 Cup of rice, and a big spoon of beans or legumes, then nestle your greens on the side and a big spoonful of roasted rooties in the middle, maybe even a half avocado! Take a spoonful or two of the herb puree and drizzle on top, then sprinkle more toasted seed, or a spice mix like dukkah. And there you have it ladies a gentleman, a perfectly balanced meal that I guarantee satisfies any meat lover!