Vegan Meal Prep for the New Year

A Colorful Winter Bowl DeconstructedRoasted butternut squash cubes, wild rice, sautéed kale & garlic, baked tempeh, cranberry-date-apple sauce & a roasted garlic walnut dressing taste great together served in a bowl or on a plate.

The details: Soak dates for the sauce 4 hours to overnight. Roast butternut squash cubes on a sheet-lined tray at 400F for 30 minutes along with 1 head of garlic, end sliced off and set on tray. At the same time, coat tempeh with some tamari, onion flakes and garlic powder and bake on 2 sheets of foil for 20 minutes. Cook wild rice (1 cup rice to 2.5 cups veggie broth) in a rice cooker or stovetop according to package. Note: I cooked twice in my rice cooker to get it cooked through (not crunchy), adding another cup or more of water.

For the SauceSimmer in a small pot 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 6-8 pre-soaked medjool dates + the sweet soaking water (about a cup + a few TBS more to add when sticking occurs) + an optional diced Fuji apple until everything breaks down and forms a sauce. Even better on day 2 and great on cinnamon toast!Now, sauté garlic in a skillet with a pinch of salt and a little water for about a minute then add kale, lid on, medium heat until kale turns a vibrant green (takes about 1-2 min). Lastly, the Roasted Garlic Walnut Dressing: Toast 1/4 cup walnuts (with salt to taste), in a dry skillet for 5 minutes, stirring often. Set aside to cool then add to blender or food processor (I used an immersion blender): 1/3 cup water (+ 1-2 TBS more to thin), 2 TBS fresh lemon juice, 1 TBS mellow white or chickpea miso, 2 TBS nutritional yeast flakes (Try Braggs), + 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic then add the walnuts. Blend or process until smooth.Use remaining dressing to make a kale salad of walnuts and dried cranberries.

Protein-Packed Meal PrepThe Details: Bake tempeh coated with tamari (a gluten-free, lower-sodium soy sauce), onion flakes and garlic powder at 425F for 20 minutes. At the same time, on a sheet tray, spread chopped beets, brussel sprouts and onion + 1 head of garlic (end sliced off, left whole and face down on tray) and roast for around 25 minutes. For extra veggies: Boil peas for 3 minutes then broccoli for 3 minutes (optional). Boil then simmer 1 cup rinsed quinoa in 1 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth for 18-20 minutes and fluff with a fork. Boil potatoes for 22 minutes. In a skillet, sauté garlic and add cooked kidney beans or simply mix a drained and rinsed can of beans with a few roasted garlic cloves. Toast almonds in a dry skillet (stir often) for 5 minutes, adding salt to taste. Chop your favorite raw veggies. Make a savory almond butter-tahini sauce by blending 2-3 TBS water with 2 roasted garlic cloves, 1 TBS tahini, 2 TBS crunchy almond butter, 1-2 TBS tamari, a big pinch of ground ginger and brown sugar

Now make a Lunch Box…Over raw or lightly steamed kale, add quinoa, tempeh, potatoes, and kidney beans + optional peas or broccoli. Pour tahini-almond butter sauce into a small container with lid. Place roasted veggies + raw veggies together. Toasted almonds can later be added to quinoa or serve as a treat along with chocolate chips. Note: Muffin tin liners are great for separating items. Reusable silicone liners are available online.

Asian Themed Meal PrepBoil potatoes (22 minutes). Cook white or brown rice according to package directions. Slice tofu (extra firm or sprouted) in slabs and bake coated in tamari at 400F for 35 minutes. Saute shallot, mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic for 8 minutes. Cook frozen edamame in boiling water for 3 minutes. Toast raw cashews or almonds in a dry skillet for 5-8 minutes (adding salt), and finally, cook spinach in a some water on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, adding salt and pepper. 

Japanese Bento BoxIn the large compartment place a handful of fresh spinach with rice on top, followed by edamame, a potato, and fresh veggies. Put almond butter-tahini sauce (or a new quick-sauce of tahini, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt) in a to-go container then cut tofu in small pieces placing next to sauce. Place cooked veggies in a container or muffin liner to prevent nuts from getting wet. 

Around the web…

These BPA-free Easy Lunch Boxes seem to be popular around YouTube

Liv’s Healthy Life has some great meal prep videos and bento box ideas that are easy and delicious

Oh She Glows has a 2-part make-ahead meal plan for some healthy vegan lunches

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