Hello my loyal followers!
I know you’re loyal because if you’re reading this it means you haven’t abandoned me after my long absence from the blog.
This blog post isn’t going to be the perfect recipe post due to my current awkward living situation, but still, I want to share some of what I’ve been eating and talk a bit about my weekly vegan meal prep. I wil try and create shareable recipes from my creations – even if they arn’t perfect they will still provide you with ideas if you’re new to the vegan and/or WSLF (whole starch low fat) lifestyle.
*Life update* (skip if you’re only interested in the food)
I’m living in Barcelona now and renting a room in a shared flat. There’s only two of us but I’m slightly restricted in how often I can use the kitchen due to my own working hours, and the fact that my housemate doesn’t want me using the oven….let’s not get into that though! It’s also a small and dark kitchen so, even if I did have the time to take photos of the cooking process and the ingredients, they wouldn’t come out as nice as I’d like.
If you follow my Instagram you’ll know that when I lived in Murcia I was very focused on following the WSLF lifestyle to a tee. Since moving to Barcelona and not having full reign of the kitchen I’ve slipped back into bad habits. I’m eating out more that I used to, (I can afford it now thankfully!), and I don’t have as much time to cook. But I’ve managed to keep relatively on track on weekdays thanks to my new-found dedication to vegan meal-prep.
What is vegan meal-prep?
Meal-prep (vegan or otherwise) is when you bulk prepare meals and store them in batches. You would usually do this on a Sunday and prepare enough breakfast, lunch and dinner meals to do you until Friday. This means you can go to school/college/work all week without worrying about having to cook. It is very very useful!
My own meal-prep method involves making one big pot or batch of something and then taking portions from that on a day to day basis. Every night or every morning I’ll fill my lunch box with whatever I’ve made for lunch, and for dinner I’ll just plate up whatever is on the menu for dinner and either microwave it or heat it up in a pot.
So, if you think meal-prepping sounds like it could be the answer to your busy weeknights, read on…
BREAKFAST – OVERNIGHT OATS
Definitely the easiest part of the meal-prep!
I like to save old jars instead of dumping them and I use them to make overnight oats – having them in a jar makes them portable. “Overnight oats” is basically just oats soaked in any kind of vegan milk, overnight, and topped with your favourite toppings in the morning. I usually top mine with fruit and then close the lid again and take it to work or the gym with me. So handy!
(per portion, multiply X5 for Monday – Friday)
- 1/2 – 1 cup oats
- 1 cup your favourite plantbased milk
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds (or chia, but flax is better for your health)
- 1 – 2 chopped dates for sweetness (optional)
- Chopped fruit and berries of your choice
- Add oats and flax or chia to a jar and cover with your favourite vegan milk.
- Put the lid on and store in the fridge.
- If the fruit you’ve bought is already ripe, chop it up and store in zip-lock bags in th freezer.
- Top the oats with the fruit in the morning.
- *If the fruit isn’t ripe, leave it in the fruit bowl and use when it’s ready.
Toppings that don’t require waiting: goji berries, dried mulberries, frozen berries, chopped dried fruit, passion fruit.
LUNCH – CHICKPEA AND SWEET POTATO SALAD
Lunch is usually always a salad for me, but, not just a plain green salad: I like to combine different starches, lentils, beans and veggies to create a new and interesting salad every week. I also made sure and buy a good strong variety of lettuce that won’t wilt. Spinach and kale would be good options too. Pre-chop it and store it dry in an air-tight container and use when needed.
(for one person’s lunch Mon – Fri)
- 1 -2 cans chickpeas
- 1-2 cups wheat groats or other grain (spelt, barley etc.)
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 limes
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 head of tough variety of lettuce such as escarole (I think that’s the one I used) or spinach
- Juice the limes and slice the red onion finely. Add both to a bowl and let the onion marinade in the lime.
- Cook the grains as per packet instructions: it will usually be a similar process to making rice.
- Peel and cube the sweet potatoe and steam or roast. I’d recommend dry-roasting them as they’ll hold their shape better than when steamed (as you’ll see from my picture mine turned to mush after steaming them…)
- Wash, dry and chop the lettuce and store in an airtight container.
- When the sweet potatoes are cooked through toss everything together in a bowl and then add to an airtight container.
- Add a portion of lettuce and the salad to your lunch box every night before work, or in the morning if you can be that proactive!
I’ve also taken to making my own vegan patés. This requires minimal ingredients – a food processor is key though (or a good blender). Making a paté is a good way to get in more veggies and beans, both are so important for overall health. I dollop mine in the middle of my salad, dip in chopped veggies, or, add to rice cakes or wholegrain bread.
CARROT AND CHICKPEA PATÉ
- 3 steamed carrots
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2/3 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until at your desired consistency.
- I chopped up some red peppers and carrots to dip into the paté. I also brought whole small cucumbers to lunch with me as a base for the paté.
SNACKS – BEET CAROB BALLS
I couldn’t live without snacks! I get bored sitting working at a computer unless I have something to nibble on. To try to avoid hidden oils, sugars, and artifical additives I’ve taken to making my own snacks in the form of energy balls. Every week I’ll experiment with new flavours but in general it will always be a low-fat recipe so as to keep it WSLF friendly. And because low-fat is what works best for me.
Carob is a very healthy alternative to cocoa or cacao. Have you ever walked around the country side in the summer in the Algarve in Portugal, or in Spain? Carob grows plentifully out here/there! It looks like a long thin black stick. But the finished product that you get in the tub resembles chocolate powder, and the taste is very similar. It’s also caffein and fat-free!
- 1 steamed beetroot
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1-2 tbsp carob powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Blend everything together until smooth. Take a little chunk in your hands and roll into a ball. Repeat until you have lots of little balls. Refridgerate!
DINNER – MUSHROOM STIR-FRY
Dinner is definetly not the easiest to prepare when you can’t use the oven. Ideally I’d be making baked potatoes in batches and topping with a variety of toppings. But that’s not possible at the moment so I’ve had to get creative. I chose a mushroom stir-fry this week as I kew it wouldn’t take long to heat up in the evenings.
- 2 punnets mushrooms (or the equivalent if you get them loose – a lot!) – sliced
- A packet of oyster or wild mushrooms (or any other fancy looking mushrooms you can find!) – sliced
- 1 large onion – finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1 chinese cabbage – finely chopped
- 1 packet of your grain of choice – I used wheat berries but can’t say I’d recommend it. Rice would have been better!
- Tamari or soy sauce – 2 – 3 tablespoons (or to taste)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 – 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup o agave syrup
- Put your rice or other grain on to cook in a separate pot.
- In a non-stick pan start by frying the onions in some water or vinegar (not included in the ingredients – use whatever liquid you want except oil) Stir as much as you can!
- Add the garlic when the onions start to go translucent.
- Then add the cabbage and any time the pan dries up – add more liquid.
- When the veggies are soft and starting to cook through, add the mushrooms – stiring all the time!
- When all the veggies look like they are starting to sweat and cook through, add the spices and the sauce ingredients (tamari, lime juice etc.)
- Toss everything through untill it looks cooked through.
- Store in a seald container until needed and heat in microwave or on the hob.
And that’s how my week of meal-prep went I definitely think there’s room for improvement. If you have any nice ideas or helpful tips please let me know. And remember, no baking or roasting allowed! Haha..glad I can laugh about it 🙂