Tag Archive for easy vegan recipes

Cookbook Review: Vegan Meal Prep

Meal prep is having a hot moment. I’m guessing it all started way back with the mason jar salad, but it’s only continued to grow in popularity, especially with those loving the Keto or Paleo diets. 

I am, personally, a big fan. The reality of my life is that, like many of you, I’m busy. I work, I have a kid and I attempt to have a social life. That doesn’t always leave time for cooking elaborate meals, so I tend to focus on dinners, especially, that come together in under 30 minutes: stir fries, pastas, tacos, veggie burgers.

The other reality of my life is that, if I don’t pre-plan, I often don’t eat at all, or I don’t eat healthy. I’ve been known to survive on peanut butter sandwiches, or Tim Horton’s bagels. So planning a week’s worth of meals in advance seems like a smart thing to do. 

What I dislike about most meal prep plans is the lack of variety. You make a bunch of stuff at the beginning of the week, and then you eat that same thing all week. As a girl who gets bored easily, this can be a challenge. I look at that salad I’ve been eating all week on Thursday, and suddenly a peanut butter sandwich is looking good. So, I appreciate the time meal prepping saves me, and I appreciate that it means I eat healthier, but I hate being bored.

I recently got a copy of Robin Asbell’s Vegan Meal Prep cookbook, published by Robert Rose

The first thing I love about this cookbook is that it has 5 weeks of meal prep plans, and not one meal is the same during the week. Boredom problem: solved! 

The meal preps are laid out: every meal you’ll eat for the week, as well as a comprehensive shopping list, and a list of tasks to do on prep day. 

One thing to love about this cookbook is that it’s for real eaters. They might be vegan, but this is not delicate diet food. You won’t been eating a plate of leaves and twigs. The recipes are hearty; stews, soups, pastas, handfuls of sandwiches. You will not be going hungry on this meal prep plan. 

I also love how Asbell incorporates savoury ingredients into places you’d not expect them. Sweet potato, for example, is a heavy hitter in this book, and I’m really okay with it! They show up in breakfasts, desserts, and of course in the regular ways, too. Quinoa also plays a starring role in many sweet as well as savoury dishes. What I’m saying is, Asbell is creative, and doesn’t rely on tofu as the main ingredient. 

I made quite a few recipes from this book: Sweet Potato Chickpea Cakes, Matcha-Glazed Pistachio Blondies, Blueberry Breakfast Squares, and Korean Mock Duck Lettuce Wraps

Sweet Potato Chickpea Cakes

Sweet Potato Chickpea Cakes: reminded me a lot of a fritter or a falafel, only made with sweet potatoes. Now, again, I’m a big fan of the yam, so I have no problems with this! I ate this all week on the side of a salad, and enjoyed them. I’d make these again. 

Matcha Glazed Pistachio Blondies

Matcha-Glaze Pistachio Blondies: I have a bit of an issue with the name. To me, a blondie needs to include having the fat (usually butter, but we’re being vegan here) melted down on top of the stove with sugar. So I don’t know if I’d technically call this a blondie, but whatever you wanna call it, I really liked the recipe. It was quite tasty, and the matcha glaze gave it a nice punch at the end. 

Blueberry Breakfast Squares: for some reason, in my head, I expected these to be more of an oaty granola-bar texture, but it tasted more like a banana bread with blueberries. 

Korean Mock Duck Lettuce Wraps

Korean Mock Duck Lettuce Wraps: let me just say, before reading this cookbook, I’d never heard of mock duck. I live in Vancouver, we have a huge Asian population and tons of Asian supermarkets, but this one got by me. I found it in a can at my local Asian supermarket, and it is basically seitan, but it’s been marinated and cooked in such a way to resemble duck. I enjoyed this recipe, though it was the most expensive of all the ones I tested. One thing to watch out for with this recipe is that store-bought kimchi may not be vegan. They often add fish sauce or the like to add to that salty, funky flavour. You may want to make your own

So, wanna eat better? More healthy? Save time? Then, yes! Vegan Meal Prep is for you! 

Vegan Date Squares

Grief is a weird animal. 

It’s been eleven years since I lost my mom… a lifetime, almost. Sometimes, when I tell people that I lost my mom to cancer, they say “oh, I’m sorry!” and I get it, that’s a natural reaction. 

I usually brush it off. It has been, after all, a long time. More than a decade. And I did a bunch of therapy, which was really good. 

And mostly, it’s okay. I’m happy, my life is good, and I don’t think about her too much. 

But Mother’s Day is one of those times that I do. How can you not? 

Vegan Date Squares Recipe

The weirdest thing is, I have discovered myself craving certain foods leading up to days that could be emotionally loaded. Like earlier this year, in February, I had the weirdest, obscure craving for pea soup. It’s not something I would normally crave, but crave it I did. I was halfway though making a pot of pea soup when I remembered that it was one of her faves. She made giant pots of it with hamhocks gently bubbling in a green sea. 

My inexplicable craving was actually a longing to be close to my mom, but it played itself out in food. 

More recently, just before Mother’s Day, I had a really strong craving for date squares. Another thing my mom made all the time, and loved. She called them “Matrimony Squares,” though. 

Nobody quite knows where the name came from, but they were popular on the Prairies, where my mom grew up. Supposedly the two layers “sandwiched” together represent marriage. 

Most people today just call them Date Squares, and honestly, they are a really simple and tasty treat. What I love about these is that they require very little processed sugar, a few simple ingredients, and almost no technique. 

They are a simple, rustic, comforting dessert. 

My mom, of course, made these with butter, but I’ve substituted coconut oil, which works great. 

Date Squares Recipe

Vegan Date Squares

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup oats (the quick cooking kind work better here)
  • ½ cup +2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Method

  1. Mix together the flour, oats and brown sugar, then add in the melted coconut oil and mix everything together, using your hands if need be. 
  2. Line a square baking pan with parchment, or grease it well. Dump about half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the pan, and then press it down firmly with your hands. 
  3. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, place the dates, water and baking soda. Stir well, and bring up to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low. Allow the dates to cook and soften, stirring occasionally, until they become a jam-like consistency. Turn off the heat and place to the side to cool a little. 
  4. Scrape the date mixture onto the bottom crumble layer in the pan, and then smooth overtop in an even layer. 
  5. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over top and scatter it around so that it coats the date layer evenly. You don’t need to press it down. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden. 
  7. Allow to cool, then cut into squares. 

 

« Older Entries