? A day in the life of a vegan or vegetarian (what to eat?)
Just like my days as a meat eater I'm often stumped on what to make for dinner. My menu choices are no less now that I'm near vegan but I'm struggling often with what to make. The options are endless but my newness seems to have tapped my creative juices. So I was wondering if you all might throw out your meal choices. And give a glimpse into a day in the life as a vegan or vegetarian. Plus I would love some of your absolute favorite dishes. The ones you might eat often and that have become family pleasers.
This happens to everyone! As much as I try to have a huge list of things I can make, I sometimes end up having the same thing, over and over and over again. So let me try to spark my creativity as well as yours by listing my favorite foods!
Rice & Beans. White rice, brown rice, wild rice. Black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas. With tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, veggies, chilis, garlic, herbs and spices. Pick one or two from each and toss them together.
Check the post regarding how to cook tofu for several of my recipes there. Its so versatle. Saute it, fry it, bake it, grill it, broil it, boil it. Marinate, spice, sauce. Tired of cubes? Cut it into triangles.
Just as versatile as tofu though it requires more prep to make from scratch. I highly recommend Brynna Clark Grogan's recipe for Roast Seitan. Google her name, get to her web site, click on free recipe, holiday recipes, christmas. Its amazing. Then you use the premade roast to make anything from slices, stroganoff, soup, breaded, fried, casserole.
Vegan with a Vengeance's Tempeh Sausage Crumbles. That is all.
Try mexican, italian, japanese, thai, indian. Ok so those are my favorites, but branch out. Check out the ethnic recipes here and experiment.
Now for two recipes that I absolutely love!
For fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos or salad
2t Oil, canola or olive
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Bell Peppers, julienne
3 Carrots, julienne
1 Zucchini, julienne
1 Summer Squash, julienne
1c Celery, diced or julienne
2c Broccoli, florets
2c Cauliflower, florets
10oz Mushrooms, sliced
1 Lime, zest and juice
3 Jalapeño peppers, seeded, diced finely
Garlic to taste
Salt & Pepper & Spices to taste
Prepare all veggies before starting cooking. You can have everything in a bowl, though I prefer to layer it in reverse order of the list, so put mushrooms on the bottom and onions on the top. That way when you slide everything into a large skillet the onions go in first.
Sauté the veggies for five minutes, add diced Jalapeno’s, lime zest and juice. Sauté for five more minutes. Season as desired and sauté until desired doneness.
Serve with refried beans, rice and tortillas.
You can add in any veggie you wish to, simply make it near the same size as the others so everything cooks uniformly. This makes a great base for any Mexican type dish.
2T Olive Oil
1/2c Onion, Diced or Minced
1/2c Celery, Diced (heart w/ leaves preferred)
1/2c Bell Pepper, Diced
3 Hot Peppers, seeded and diced
1 Lime, zest and juice
Garlic (5 cloves)
4 Bullion Cubes (Knorr Veg)
4c Black Beans, soaked dried beans or rinsed canned
2c Corn, frozen kernels
Corn Tortilla, julienne and fried
Sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper and hot pepper in the oil till the onion is translucent. Add in garlic, lime zest and juice then sauté making sure not to allow the garlic to burn. Add in water, bullion, beans, corn and salsa. Simmer for 30 min for canned beans or 2 hours for soaked dried beans.
Serve topped with a lime slice, fried corn tortilla strips and avocado.
You can add in cilantro, but I am not a fan of the flavor so I skipped that.
The name of this post confused me at first, because A day in the life of a vegan is my blog name (visit it at www.primaryconsumer.blogspot.com). :o
Anyhow, I like to have hot cereal in the morning. You can cook rye, barley , or oatmeal flakes along with some dried fruit in non-dairy milk, and stir nut butters into it. You can also microwave cold cereal with some non-dairy milk, and it becomes a soothing mush (more appetizing than it sounds,lol). Another option is miso soup with silken tofu and whole grains added to it (be sure to garnish it with scallion!)
For lunch, I like to make spreads from The Ultimate Uncheese Book by Joanne Stepaniak. I usually make them on the weekend, because they keep for 5-7 days. Also, different kinds of hummus. Another thing I like to make is faux egg, chicken, or tuna salads, which I eat either in a sandwhich or over shredded lettuce and tomato. For faux tuna salad, mash some chickpeas with vegan mayonnaise, chopped celery and onion, and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to get fancier, you can also add grated carrot, minced parsley, and other things that come to mind. I usually eat a big salad for lunch, starting with lettuce and adding any leftovers (e.g. beans, grains, steamed vegetables) as well as nutritional yeast.
For dinner, you can make homemade veggie and bean burgers, bean and/or vegetable soups, whole grain pilafs, beans and rice, casseroles (you can prepare them ahead of time and then bake them when it's nearing dinner time). I usually eat some kind of whole grain along with beans and steamed vegetables and some kind of sauce.
A website that I adore is www.catteacorner.com. If you go to the vegan recipe section, there's loads of recipes. Along with the recipes, there are suggestions for what to serve with the dish.
Here's a typical day for me:
B: oatmeal and raisins cooked in ricemilk with nut butter (usually almond) and flaxseed meal or oil stirred in, along with some fruit (strawberries or a banana).
L: a big salad with beans, rice, steamed vegetables, nutritional yeast, and homemade dressing.
Some kind of non-dairy milk.
D: It depends, but there's always some kind of grain, beans, and vegetables.
I hope this helps, and don't get frustrated. :)
I had the same problem--we have tons of food in the house, but for some reason I didn't know what to make!!!
So, yeah, I eat a lot of:
soup (usually a veggie bouillon cube, maybe a package of miso soup, and some veggies and potatos)
burritos (refried beans, kidney beans, lettuce...)
oatmeal with peanut butter (yes for dinner!!!)
salads (lettuce, apples, strawberries, carrots, shrooms, sometimes some leftover pasta, and this dressing stuff my dad makes)
stuffed peppers (bell peppers cut in half, spread with tahini and then stuffed with leftover beans/rice/whatever or stuffed with hummus.)
The foods I eat aren't as healthy as a lot of vegans, and I use the microwave A LOT. Probably because I'm only fourteen and don't have much time...
This is my basic day:
Breakfast (my biggest meal of the day!): usually cream of wheat (3 T...but I usually make this twice so 6 T) with cocoa powder, some maple syrup, cinnamon and peanut butter stirred in. Sometimes, if I have it, I put in some wheat germ. Or a sliced banana.
Lunch: usually a big plate of veggies (microwaved from frozen) with soy sauce. Some beans. Some tortilla chips. (fine...often more than just "some"...)
snack: chips and salsa, more cream of wheat, maybe a cookie or two...or five...
dinner: something from the above.
I hope this helps! And don't feel discoraged if you fall back to the same thing almost every night--I know plenty of people who do that! Also, sometimes making a meal plan helps, like Monday: pasta, Tuesday: burritos...etc...
This only really helps with one meal, but a great way to put a huge dent in your fruit intake is to start each day with a giant smoothie! That's what I do, and it's honestly like waking up to candy every morning. mmmmmm, candy for breakfast
You might want to eat some whole grain with it or keep one available a bit later because I find that I get hungry again not too soon after.
try this one
my average school/work day:
Breakfast: a ciff bar and a little bit of fruit.
Lunch: cereal and soy milk, or a pb sandwich, or a home made vegan muffin. with carrot sticks and fruit.
snack: crumpets with jam and tea.
or toast or a baked treat.
Dinner: brown rice with cut up veggie burger and spices,
vegan toasted cheese sandwich. and fruits and veggies on the side.
just an average day, my include some kind of dessert! :P
Personally; my favorite dish is Udon noodles with a dash of soy sauce, some sesame seeds, and a package of artificial chicken flavor. I'm a new vegetarian, almost vegan as well. Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. The meals take a bit more preparation and a little getting used to. Cutting meat out of my diet has fortunately been easy. Whenever my family cooks meat I just see it as a platter of dead animal. My meat eating twin bother loves my Udon noodle recipe as well. Hope this helps. :)
Here's what I ate today:
Breakfast - Two bowls of multigrain cereal with soymilk
Morning snack - Pretzels
Lunch - Ramen noodle soup. An apricot. Some dill pickles.
Afternoon snack - A banana. A granola bar with dried apples in it.
Dinner - whole wheat pasta with curried peanut/coconut sauce and vegetables (snow peas, broccoli, carrots, peppers, onions, asparagus, cauliflower, baby corn, cabbage, and lots of other goodies!)
Dessert - I made a smoothie and shared it with my sister. It had a banana, an apricot, a mango, a handful each of strawberries and blueberries, and some apricot juice & orange juice.
I know what you mean. Some days I don't know what to eat either!
One thing I suggest though is finding some good tasting vegan versions of any dairy products you enjoy, like cheese, yogurt, etc. if you haven't already. That alone might be helpful. For me, a former cheese addict, it seems hard to make a meal with no dairy replacers.
Heres some brands I've had success with, but it probably all comes down to personal taste. Keep trying! Stop eating the dairy product you're trying to replace for a couple days before you try the replacer, and DO NOT expect it to taste 100% real, because it usually doesnt. If you set a high standard you may be let down.
Instead O' Cheese is good for sandwiches and nachoes.
And I use Toffuti too.
I use Fleischmann's, and I believe its vegan. The package says lactose free, and theres no milk listed in the ingredients. I've never seen it reccommended by any other vegans however. If you can't find Fleischmann's, although it sounds hopeless, try reading the ingredients label of all the butter you can find in your local supermarket. Thats how I found Fleischmann's. It seems desperate but it payed off for me.
I use tofu for scrambled eggs, and Ener G egg replacer for baking
Follow your heart
That aside, heres some recipies -
Try Dr. Oetkers's organic pancake mix. If you replace milk and eggs with the vegan versions, then its fine. I've bought the mix twice so far.
Another thing to try is scrambled tofu with veggies and nutritional yeast/cheese replacer. You can eat it as a sandwich between toast or by itself.
Lunch: For sandwiches, try Instead O' Cheese with vegan lunch'meat' and lettuce or kale. :)
An easy meal would be tomato soup with grilled soy cheese.. you'd have to find a brand that melts good, though.
You can make spaghetti and buy some vegan meatballs, I've only tried two types but so far the one I like best is 'Meatless Meatballs'.
Harvest Direct Ball and Loaf mix can be used for meatloaf (as well as meatballs).. I recently made some and my dad saw it in the fridge thought it was real.
You could also try long grain rice with kale, beans, carrots and broccoli (or any other veggies you like).
Also, try Yves' microwave lunches/dinners. The Mac and Cheese has casein, though. Try checking the frozen section of your local supermarket to see if they have any vegan options. Also, if you live near a Giant supermarket, check to see if they have a natural food section. Mine just got one, and I've found some stuff there to eat. Check around for natural food stores, as well.
Some of the things I mentioned here can be found at pangeaveg.com.. I may not have found some good products without them!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Here is another sample of what I eat :) Yesterday I was out all day at the Pride festival so I only ate breakfast at home. I had:
Breakfast - 2 slices of peanut butter toast. A banana. An apricot.
Snack - A strawberry smoothie
Other snack - Free fortune cookies from the Trojan condom booth! My fortune: "Love is for the lucky and the fearless"
Lunch - A salad with balsamic dressing, lettuce, tomato, onion, bell pepper, carrot, etc.
Snack - A granola bar
Dinner - A falafel pita with lettuce, onion, other veggies, avocado, and tahini sauce