I was talking to a friend the other day and she was telling me that she has been enjoying my vegan posts. I often wonder who reads it, enjoys it, etc. She said something that I needed to hear…any new plant based eater loves the new information. When anyone is deciding to incorporate more plant based meals into their life, it can be so overwhelming and disappointing. The food we grew up loving is gone. Right? Well, I thought that for a long time. I mean who doesn’t miss biscuits and gravy, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy…just to name a few. I thought I had to give up on my favorite foods and miss out on all of the wonderful meat based meals I grew up on. This is the biggest misconception!
Where To Start?
When I first began changing out ingredients, I had to start with gluten. For almost 13 years, I have known that it is not my friend. It makes me feel like I am dying when I eat it. I have body aches all the time, migraines, foggy brain and inflammation just to name a few! Looking back, you wonder in the moment what is wrong with me? Why do I feel sick all the time? Then two weeks in to a gluten free diet and your whole world changes. Energy is back, my hair is healthier, my joints don’t hurt all the time. Crazy really….
So, recipes started out gluten free. You can imagine the struggle. I mean gluten is delicious. I thought I was not going to enjoy bread again or cake! Well, it takes some practice and some failures, but over the years I have figured out what works and what doesn’t. My absolute favorite flour to use for breads or baking is the cup for cup gluten free flour. This is similar in density and the most consistent in texture to normal white and wheat flour. Just a little fyi…
I mention all the above because cooking has evolved for me over the years and if it were not for all the things I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t be where I am today. A gluten free plant based eater! So…I decided to bring a vegan meal idea to you every week! I am also going to give you a few ideas on how to create something new with the leftovers. Let me know your thoughts on this…are you loving it? Not so much?
One of our favorite go-to dinners is tacos. I know…I know… you are thinking “how boring”… but we all live busy lives and sometime all you have time for is to brown some meat and throw it in a tortilla! It’s hands down the most requested meal in my house! LOL! So, to put a spin on taco night, sometimes we have it in our favorite gluten free almond flour tortillas by Siete and sometimes we make a big taco bowl. Here are my two favorite “plant based meat options” for the base. First is the Ultimate Green Taco Wraps with Lentil-Walnut Taco Meat by Oh She Glows. Second is something I made up but it starts with vegan crumbles by Gardein or Beyond Meat. You can check out my highlights on Instagram for a “How To”. The recipe is this:
Saute chopped onions (one small or half of a medium), sautés chopped red pepper. Add the gardein or beyond meat crumbles and brown. Once this cooks I add 2 Tbsp of chili powder, 1 Tbsp of Mexican seasoning or adobo seasoning. 2 Tbsp of tomato paste or ketchup if you don’t have paste. I swear you won’t notice the difference. HA! I sometimes add some heat…red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeños. It truly depends on who’s eating it that night. I have some light weights at home. ;). That’s it guys…so stinking easy!
Once the taco meat is prepared, we decide what sounds better that night. Sometimes we are in the mood for crunchy and sometimes it’s a soft taco. Whichever we decide, I cut up all the fixings to go on top. Chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce or shaved Brussel sprouts, chopped avocado, jalapeños, a little Chalula and it’s sooo yummy!
Left Over Ideas…
When I make the lentil taco meat, this make so much guys. Be prepared. I often take half and freeze it for a lazy day. Anyway, if you don’t want to freeze it, the next day you can stuff some bell peppers with it and cook at 400 degrees for 40 min and then broil for 5. This is a different recipe linked above, but a glimpse of what it could look like with your ingredients stuffed inside. So good, and you don’t feel like you are eating the same thing.
Another way to use it up is to make a big bowl of goodness. Try cooking some fresh beans in your insta pot and season them like a charro bean. Then, you can make some brown rice, quinoa or a cilantro white rice and add all of those together to make a big bowl. If I have any veggies in the fridge that need to be used up, I broil these and then pop them in the bowl. I even keep mine a little soupy with the liquid from the beans, but totally your choice. Top it with all of the taco toppings or another fav is to brown some plantains and add it to the bowl. YUM!
Another quick appetizer idea if you decide to freeze the left overs. I was making dinner for friends one night and totally forgot to have some munchies for an appetizer. So, I took out the frozen taco mixture and placed a spoon full on some endive. Then I topped with fresh pico, cilantro and a splash of Chalula. It actually turned out lovely!
Happy eating guys… Let me know if you think of anything else to use your leftovers with!
Thanks for reading along with me everything I find fabulous,
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