Are you looking for more vegetarian dishes to add to your mid-week meals? Well, instead of meat loaf, how about veggie loaf! As always, feel free to tweak any of my recipes and use some of the ingredients you have on hand, but this is what I came up with using the ingredients I have in my fridge at the time. Enjoy!
note – buy organic whenever you can
1/2 Organic Firm Tofu block – cut in half and chopped fine
1 can or Kidney Beans rinsed
2 cups of chopped crimini mushrooms
1 cup of chopped yellow onion
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped parsley
2 cups of chopped fresh spinach or frozen that’s been thawed and drained
3 garlic cloves chopped fine
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1 T dried Basil
1 T dried Oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mash Kidney Beans with a fork until formed into a smashed paste. Add all ingredients into bowl and mix with a fork. Mixture should be well incorporated so that it sticks together. Prepare a casserole or baking dish with some coconut oil or olive oil. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 1 hour.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. If you cut into this too soon, the mixture tends to crumble.
Other ideas? Want it Mexican style? Add in a small can of diced green chiles and a 1/2 cup of salsa instead of tomato sauce. Add in cumin, and chili powder. Chopped Cilanthro and slices of avocado before serving!
Want it vegan? You’ll need to add in more tomato sauce and mix in some ground flaxseed to bind ingredients. The egg is added as a binding agent.
Want it revved up special for the weekend? Make a fritatta out of it by adding 8 eggs and topped with cheese of your choice. This is delicious, but more fully loaded with fat and calories! You can experiment with vegan cheeses like cashew or almond mozzarella.
Here is a very light and delicious meal that is perfect for mid-week. My kids gave this a huge thumbs up the other day and said, “Mom, you need to post this on your blog!” So, here you go!
1 package of brown rice spaghetti – or pasta or your choice
1 can of low sodium garbanzo beans rinsed
1 package of shelled edamame
1 bunch of fresh spinach chopped
1 lemon – zested
2 cloves of garlic chopped
A few leaves of fresh basil chopped
1-2 T hemp seed
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare stock pot with salted water and boil spaghetti until it’s al dente. Drain and pour back into stock pot. Prepare a skillet with 1 T of coconut oil and saute basil, garlic, and spinach for about 1 minute only. Add back into the stock pot and add garbanzo beans, edamame, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Sprinkle with hemp seeds on top. If you really enjoy lemon, you can squeeze the lemon directly onto your dish for extra bright flavors.
As I am trying to incorporate more plant based dishes in my home during the week, I came up with this recipe and it was a huge thumbs up from the family! Give it a try!
1 cup of brown and wild sprouted rice from Trader Joe’s
2 cups of low sodium broth
2 red onions chopped
1 carton of Crimini mushrooms chopped
2 cups of chopped green beans
1 package of organic broccoli – chop into small pieces – 2 cups
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 – 1 inch piece of ginger chopped
a bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 cup of Thai Cashews from Trader Joe’s
2 T of sesame oil
a bottle of liquid coconut aminos
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Prepare small saucepan with broth and bring to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cup of rice and let simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare baking sheet with all veggies and add sesame oil. Add salt and pepper and toss together. Bake for 10 minute and then stir. Bake another 5 – 10 minutes. Veggies should be tender and still have a crunch.
Prepare a large colorful bowl and place 1 /2 cup of rice in bottom of bowl. Add 1 cup of veggies and garnish with cilantro and crushed Thai cashews.
If you are a pizza and mushroom lover out there, then I propose a marriage of the two! These mushroom pizzas are simple to prepare and are super healthy and delicious for you and your family. It’s also a great dish for the middle of the week and it’s vegetarian too, so that wracks up huge points for this dish!
Large Portobello Mushrooms that have stem and gills cleaned out. 1 mushroom pizza is a serving
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1/2 red onion finely chopped
Few basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup of Kalamata olives chopped
Dairy cheese – you can use a sprinkling of mozzarella or non-dairy cheese – you can use TJ’s shredded almond cheese. You can also use Parmesan/Romano blend for sprinkling cheese on top
Sauce: options – use 2 cubes of frozen garlic and 2 cubes of frozen basil from TJ’s. Melt and mix with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Use can also use a simple tomato sauce with Italian herbs of your choice mixed in.
Preheat oven to 450
Prepare baking sheet with a little olive oil spread over pan. Place mushrooms on pan and add a couple tablespoons of sauce inside mushroom cap. Add cheese of your choice or go directly to adding veggies of your choice. Sprinkle with Parmesan/Romano blend.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until mushroom is cooked all the way through and toppings are slightly browned on top.
Just recently, I have discovered the bean and veggie burger in my kitchen. Now, I’ve known about this wonderful veggie concoction of stuff smooshed together to make a burger patty, but I’ve never actually made one!! So, I’ve been thinking quite a bit that I feel like an idiot because there’s nothing new about veggie and bean burgers and they’ve been around for a long time, yet I’ve never made one. What is wrong with me? This stuff is right up my alley and I use all of these ingredients all the time!
So, there’s no looking back right? What’s in the past is in the past and there’s only looking forward. As you know, I am always trying to find recipes that promote more of a plant based lifestyle because the bottom line is it’s healthier for us in the long run. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy animal protein, but it’s the green stuff and veggies that we should mostly be consuming.
If you are looking for something new to make for lunch or dinner, these veggie and bean burgers are awesome and I’ve been having fun making them! Now, just like in all foods, you can gourmet them up by adding all kinds of lethal ingredients such as mayo, ketchup, and cheese, or you can enjoy them by themselves, on top of a bed of lettuce, or purchase a small think bun around 100 calories to give you that burger feel.
The bottom line is that they are loaded with protein, fiber, good carbs, a variety of vitamins and minerals, and will leave you feeling very satisfied. My son Ryan, who admits that he’s a carnivore, loved these burgers and can’t wait for the next round!
If you are like me and have never gotten around to making a veggie/bean burger, it’s time to try something new for your family and discover an awesome new recipe that is plant based and delicious!
2 cans of low sodium beans drained: use either black beans, kidney beans, white beans, pinto beans, or combinations
1/2 yellow onion finely chopped
1 cup of crimini mushrooms chopped
1/2 cup of red bell pepper chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup of bread crumbs – I used gluten free bread
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1 tsp of ground cumin
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
dash or two of hot sauce
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Saute pan or iron skillet
Extra: 2-3 yellow onions sauteed separately to add to the top of your burger.
Bun choice – this is up to you, but be careful of the big fluffy buns because they cost about 200 to 250 calories and are tons of extra carbs and sugar!
Other ingredients to play around with: mashed yams, diced jalapenos, green chilis, chopped spinach, finely grated carrot and zuccini, Italian seasonings, Indian seasonings like curry, and roasted corn
Directions: In a medium size bowl, smash beans with a fork until they are mushed up and sticky together. Add all ingredients and mix well. Mixture should be dense and sticky. Make patties with your hands and set aside on a plate. Note that the burgers will not shrink down like a typical beef patty.
Heat up skillet with a little coconut oil to medium high heat. Add burgers and cook about 4 minutes. Flip carefully and cook another 4-5 minutes. You can add a lid or tinfoil to cook faster. Serve and enjoy! These are also great make aheads and enjoy for lunch or dinner the following day.
Note: You can use the grill for these burgers, but it’s recommended that you place them on a sheet of tin foil because they don’t hold up well like a beef patty.
You say that you need more protein? Want to eat more of a plant based diet? Cool! This dish is for you! Lentils are loaded with protein and fiber and Trader Joe’s is offering a Red Lentil Pasta that you will want to make a weekly staple for sure! What makes this dish unique is that I use the balsamic dressing from my recipe page that doesn’t have any oil. It’s filled with garlic, ginger, and coconut aminos, which makes it taste like a soy sauce. This dish has an asian flare and will spice up your lunch or dinner anytime! My kids love it too!
1 bag of Red Lentil Pasta
1/2 large red onion
1 cup of chopped crimini mushrooms
No oil Balsamic dressing from my recipes page – about 3-4 tablespoons
Bring large pot of water to a boil and add lentils. It will only take about 6-7 minutes to cook the lentils. Drain and set aside.
Get a medium sauce pan and add onions, yam and mushrooms with a little water. Saute for a about 8-10 minutes. Take off burner and let cool. Add about 3-4 tablespoons of balsamic dressing and stir. Pour mixture over lentils in a bowl and voila! You are done!
Here is a delicious and filling weeknight dish that will surely satisfy the entire family!
1 large yellow onion
2 Red Bell Peppers
2 Cartons of Crimini Mushrooms
5-6 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil or 4 frozen basil cubes from TJ’s Doret brand
1 bag of fresh spinach – chopped
1 can of organic diced tomatoes
1 can of organic white cannellini beans
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Italian dried herbs
Choice of wild rice or pasta – prepare as directed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to finish – 2-3 tablespoons to toss at end
Optional – 1 tablespoon of parmesan/romano blend of cheese to finish dish
Preheat skillet (I use a cast iron skillet for more iron)
Add chopped onion and saute until translucent. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the chopped spinach and basil. Saute for 6-8 minutes. Add spinach and basil for the last two minutes of cooking.
Prepare either rice or pasta, as they both work nicely with this dish.
Add a little olive oil to finish dish.
Finish with a little chopped basil and good quality parmesan/romano – this is optional
I’ve found that it’s always easier for kids to get their greens down if you have yummy stuff that’s mixed in with the greens. Roasted beets and butternut squash are delicious and highly nutritious! I added garbanzo beans for protein and fiber and avocado for healthy fat. Check out this recipe and give it a try!
Your choice of mixed greens placed in bottom of a large bowl. I like a mixture of spring and baby spinach mix.
1 organic butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed.
3 organic large beets, peeled and cubed.
1 organic red onion diced and chopped.
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped fine.
1 tablespoon of rosemary chopped fine.
3 tablespoons of coconut oil melted.
pinch of sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
1 avocado sliced
1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained.
Homemade balsamic dressing – extra virgin olive oil and balsamic, add your own seasonings like garlic powder and Trader Joe’s 21 season salute for a huge punch of flavor!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chopped squash, beets, onion, and garlic in a baking dish and mix with coconut oil, herbs, salt and pepper.
Roast for about 20 minutes and then flip with a spatula. Roast another 20 minutes. Vegetables should be slightly browned and soft inside.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Take 1/2 cup of veggie mixture and place on top of bed of greens. Add slices of avocado and garbanzo beans. Drizzle with balsamic salad dressing and enjoy!
For those of you who are looking for a good mid-week plant based meal with low carbs and high in nutrients, this is a recipe for you! Let me know what you think. It’s very adaptable and can take on many different flavors.
1 package of riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s
1 onion – chopped coarsely
1 package of Crimini mushrooms chopped coarsely
1 Red bell pepper chopped coarsely
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 bunch of fresh Cilantro chopped
1 bunch of fresh Spinach chopped
1 can of reduced sodium Garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 -2 cups of Baby spring mix
1 tablespoon of Olive oil
1 -2 tablespoons of low sodium Soy sauce
Preheat 10 inch skillet and add olive oil to coat pan. On medium high heat, add chopped onion, pepper, and mushroom to skillet and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic, riced cauliflower, chopped spinach, and garbanzo beans to pan and turn down heat. Place lid on and let steam for 8-10 minutes. Toss a couple of times. Remove from heat and add fresh herbs of your choice.
Place baby spring mix in bottom of bowl. Add skillet mixture on top of greens and finish with soy sauce.
For a Thai twist, add 1/2 can of reduced fat coconut milk to skillet, along with curry. Add 1 cup of chopped firm Tofu and add lime juice to finish.
For a Southwest twist, add diced green chiles, chili powder, chili pepper sauce, and 1 cup of black beans. Add sliced avocado on top with additional cilantro and lime juice.
If you are like me and have a busy and sometimes hectic mid-week, it can be hard to pull something together that is home made and nutritious for the whole family. This is one of my go to meals that I make at least once a week and my kids love it! It’s super easy and won’t take a lot of time – plus, tastes delicious!
1 carton low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup green lentils
1 cup quinoa
1 can of organic diced tomatoes
1 cup of mushrooms chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 frozen cubes of basil – TJ’s (Of course, you can use fresh)
2 frozen cubes of garlic ( Of course, you can use fresh)
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
Heat broth in a medium sauce pan. Add in all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer with lid half on for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and put lid on to continue steaming for another 10-15 minutes. Lentils should have absorbed most of the liquid, but still very moist.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Pour the water into a saucepan, and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then pour in the quinoa, recover, and continue to simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Scrape into a mixing bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold. Once cold, stir in the red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red onion, curry powder, cilantro, lime juice, sliced almonds, carrots, and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.
This is a really simple mid-week vegetarian type of meal that is easy to prepare and delicious!
1 cup of red quinoa
2 red bell peppers chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 yellow onions chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of peeled, seeded and chopped seasonal squash such as butternut or acorn squash into 1 inch pieces
3- cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare all vegetables and place into medium size bowl. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and spices and mix with a whisk or fork. Pour over vegetables and make sure mixture is evenly coated. Place vegetables onto baking sheet and put into oven for 30 minutes. Using a spatula, toss vegetables and bake for another 10 minutes or until slightly browned.
Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup of quinoa. You can use half broth and half water for more flavor if desired. Cook to package instructions about 30 minutes and let sit in pot to continue steaming once cooked until ready to serve.
Serve quinoa into bowl and top with roasted vegetables. If you have fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, you can coarsely chop them and add for color and presentation!
Another add on idea is to mix cannnellini beans into the roasted vegetables once they are cooked. Make sure to rinse thoroughly before adding if coming from a can.
Feel free to experiment with this recipe and add other vegetables you might enjoy to the mix!
You know how I’m always talking about the 80/20 rule? Well, pizza is definitely a treat food but you gotta have balance right?
Many of you have asked me how to make a healthier pizza so here it is!
1 fresh whole wheat pizza dough from TJ’s
2 cubes of frozen chopped garlic from TJ’s – fresh is fine too
2 cubes of frozen chopped basil from TJ’s – fresh is fine too
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup of chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup of chopped mushroom
4 slices of good quality prosciutto
1/4 cup of Kalamata olives chopped
3 tblsp of graded parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Let dough sit out for 20-25 minutes on a floured board. Roll out dough with a roller or you can use your hands. Prepare a cookie sheet with a little olive oil spread around. Place dough onto cookie sheet.
Melt garlic and basic cubes in the microwave for about 20 seconds and add 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Use a spoon to spread around garlic and basil mixture on top of pizza.
Add mozzarella cheese, then prosciutto slices, red bell peppers, mushrooms, olives and top off with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes until dough is crisp on the outside and cheese is slightly browned on top.
This is a very simple, yet elegant salad that you could enjoy mid-week or serve to guests for a lunch. It has a nice combination of flavors with the sweet of the potato and sour from the balsamic vinegar.
2 large Sweet Potatoes or Yams cut into one inch pieces
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped fine
2-3 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
Handful of baby mixed greens and baby spinach leaves
2-3 tblsp balsamic dressing – either bottled or homemade
1/4 cup of roasted pine nuts – optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss until well combined. Add sweet potatoes to baking sheet and spread evenly.
Roast for 40-45 min turning after 20 minutes of roasting.
Meanwhile, prepare salad green by washing and drying in a colander.
When sweet potatoes are finished, let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Toss salad with balsamic dressing. Place salad in bowls and add 1/2 cup of sweet potatoes right on top.
Sprinkle with pine nuts if you’d like.
This versatile egg based Italian dish is great for anytime of the day! It’s loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and can be a great snack or anytime meal.
Here is the base recipe and ideas of how to change it up below:
Preheat oven to broil.
You will need a 9 inch skillet that is oven safe.
1 tblsp olive oil
6 organic large eggs
2 tbsp. low fat organic milk
1/2 cup of mozzarrella cheese
2 tblsp of parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup of ingredients to saute of your choice ( see item ideas below)
Heat up olive oil in skillet and add ingredients to be sauteed for 3-4 minutes or until partially cooked and translucent.
Combine 6 eggs in a small bowl with 2 tblsp of milk and any herbs you’d like to add. Pour into frying pan. Stir a few times to incorporate all ingredients and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
Once the egg mixture begins to solidify slightly, add mozzarella and parmesan cheese as the topping.
Place skillet into oven and cook on broil for 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully so that the top doesn’t burn!
Pull out and let cool for a few minutes and then gently lift out of skillet with a spatula onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
Chopped spinach and mushroom
Turkey bacon and onion
Southwest style with salsa, black beans, garlic and onions
Red bell peppers and onions
Italian sausage and ricotta cheese
Asparagus and white cannellini beans
Herbs: rosemary, basil, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder.