Ready for more vegan meal ideas!? Thought so. Eating an ever-increasing variety of foods has been my favorite part of going vegan. There have been endless things I’ve never tried before and there are always ways to “veganize” dishes. So let’s get to the good stuff!
First up is the amazing taco night I had at my in-laws during our xmas trip! We were all thinking of a great meal to have that would work for everyone since my husband and I were the only vegans. Tacos are great because most of the stuff is already plant-based and it’s super easy for everyone to put together and customize their own plate. It’s less about everyone eating the same thing and more about eating together! I hadn’t had hard shell tacos in what felt like a decade. Mine were stuffed with fresh guacamole, vegetarian refried beans, lettuce, salsa, tomatoes, and an amazing Tofurkey chorizo style beefless ground.
This stuff was so easy to make! It came pre-seasoned and all we had to do was heat it up in a pan over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes. The texture was awesome and I’ll definitely buy it again. We found it at Meijer but I’ve yet to see it in our local grocery store.
Leftovers the next day for lunch (actually on Christmas) were pheNOMenal. My Aunt in-law (let’s just call her my Aunt because she’s awesome and was super accomodating) had made cilantro rice which I had on the side topped with hot sauce. Then more tacos, guacamole and chips. I could eat this meal every day!
Let’s talk about Mac n ‘Cheese’ for a second. This has to be one of everyone’s favorite comfort foods. And I’ve never given it up. Below are two of my favorite dairy free versions I’ve found so far.
If you’re lucky enough to have Heidi Ho Cheeze at your local Whole Foods or grocery store, it’s delicious! I also tried their Alfredo variety and was not disappointing. The cheeze comes in a tub with the creamy mixture and you can easily heat it up in the microwave and pour over your favorite foods. it would be amazing over steamed broccoli. Here I had it over shells.
I’ve tried a lot of boxed mac n ‘cheese’ varieties and have usually been pretty disappointed. The earth balance kind was filled with MSG and tasted like a chemical shit storm (sorry, EB! I still love your butter!). But this kind was super tasty.
One thing to note before diving into this boxed mix is that it’s instructions are a lot different than most. If you just boil the pasta and mix in the powder like you usually would with boxed mac n cheese, you’re going to be super disappointed. The instructions have you rinse the pasta shells in cold water (something most mixes tell you NOT to do), then you pour in dairy free milk and the powered mix back into the empty pot you used to cook the pasta (and butter or oil if you wish) and heat until the clumps melt away. Then all of the pasta is combined back in and you heat until the sauce thickens. It ends up with an amazing, creamy texture. While the sauce isn’t exactly super “cheesy” it definitely met my Mac n Cheese craving.
For Christmas dinner I had this awesome plant based feast! Complete with a potato salad, beans with brown sugar, salad, and endless rolls. I can’t help myself around rolls! Vegan meal ideas can be easy when you get away from thinking there has to be a “main” part to your plate and just enjoy everything on it.
Quick junk food break! 2015 has been the year of me going vegan but it was far from healthy on MOST occasions. There was just too many great foods to try and I never said “no” to myself. It’s meant that my body has grown soft but my mind feels nourished and excited. Now that I know what my new options are for go-to cheat meals and indulgences, I’m excited for 2016 to be a year of more balance and exercise (way more exercise).
First up is this EatPastry ready-to-go-in-a-tub-eat-with-a-spoon goodness. I got halfway through the thing with my hubby before I realized you could actually make cookies with it! HA! Sorry guys, I can’t tell you how they came out because the oven didn’t even have a chance. This stuff is egg-free, dairy-free, and 100% vegan. And it’s scary good.
Road trip pies. I have my husband to “thank” for finding these. We somehow survived two 13 hour road trips because of these things. While not in anyway healthy, these are a fun treat when you’re touring gas stations. No animal products and they even use agar instead of gelatin. The Little Debby kinds were our go-to, but Meijer’s store brand was also vegan and I believe TastyCakes were, too. Just make sure to double check! The chocolate kind are by far the best. But let me know what your favorite is!
Last up for this post, I’ll share some breakfast stuff I’ve had lately. Did you know you can make hash browns in a waffle maker?! Yeah. Game-changer. These are going to take a little longer than you want. And for best results, don’t keep lifting up the top to check on them like I did. You want the heat to really stay concentrated so they can get nice and crispy and not stick to the top when you pull it up.
I’ll often make hash browns and breakfast cookies (get the recipe here). It’s such a lovely breakfast, super filling, and you can eat a ton of food.
It’s also super easy to make your own potatoes o’brien or breakfast potatoes without any oil. Simply take 2 large potatoes (or as many as you want) and chop them into a small-medium dice. Preheat the oven to 450 and as it’s preheating, place the potatoes in the oven on parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, or your favorite seasonings. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning halfway through and cooking until golden brown and crispy.