This Week in My Kitchen: From Lentils to Leftovers

I get this a lot: “You make cooking [vegan] sound so easy.” So I say this a lot, “(A) It really is easy and (2) it takes a little planning.”

We all have to shop, right? Most of us set aside a shopping day and plan ahead for a week’s worth of meals. When creating your next weekly market visit, design a vegan menu and shop for what you need. This is how I did it this week.

It all started last Sunday when I made Jason Wrobel’s Cauliflower Lentil Tacos. Whenever I make lentils, I always make more than I need and the first thing that came to mind were my meatless meatballs. As I was cooking the lentils, I was also cooking up black beans which I had soaked over Saturday night.

I wasn’t sure what the black beans were going to become yet but it was time to start planning – Sunday is prep day. I surveyed the refrigerator for whatever was leftover from the week before and I spied a cup of cooked chickpeas. And then I checked the freezer to see if there were any goodies already made for an instant din din and I spied my homemade tomato sauce, corn and Barry’s tempeh. The wheels starting turning.

I went to my Recipage to search my recipes. I was thinking Chana Saag with coconut cashew rice would be great for the rest of the chickpeas. The cashews from the Chana Saag plus the lentils from the tacos got me thinking about my meatless meatballs. The black beans are my husband’s favorite and there were leftover corn tortillas so I thought tacos and tacos go well with broccoli corn chowder. I knew I would have leftover broccoli so a Blue Plate Special with Barry’s tempeh and rice made sense. And then with the rest of the black beans I thought black bean hummus.

I went through my kitchen to see what I had on hand. I checked my onion, garlic, shallot, ginger, turmeric, lemon, and fresh herbs supply which must always be in plentiful abundance in my kitchen. Then I checked the produce drawer, freezer, pantry and spice rack to see if any supplies are low. I am talking about things like coconut milk, rice, quinoa flakes, pasta, nuts, nutritional yeast, and miso. And then I was off to the market to stock up!

Here is the week’s menu

Monday: Chana Saag & Coconut Cashew Rice
Main ingredients: chickpeas, spinach, coconut milk, cashews, raisins

Tuesday: Meatless Meatballs & Spaghetti
Main ingredients: lentils, cashews, quinoa flakes, tomato paste, tomato sauce,spaghetti

Wednesday: Black Bean Tacos with Broccoli Corn Chowder
Main ingredients: black beans, avocado, lettuce, broccoli, corn, potatoes

Thursday: Blue Plate Special #47: “Grown in Brooklyn” Tempeh, Broccoli & Yellow Rice Pilaf (It’s so good, it is in the weekly rotation!)
Main ingredients: tempeh, broccoli, rice

Friday: Curried Cauliflower & Black Bean Hummus Tartines
Main ingredients: black beans, cauliflower, bread

Today: My Day Off / Leftovers / Clean out the refrigerator because we are going to Florida!

A tip for making things easy. While in the kitchen making dinner anyway, and having certain ingredients out, why not prep those ingredients for future meals. My meatless meatballs call for toasted cashews so I popped them in the oven when I was making the Chana Saag and I made the black bean hummus on taco night. I stored both in the refrigerator until it was their turn to make an appearance again.

Overall, a satisfying week of food.

And the best part?

My husband said, “I like your cooking the best!”

5 thoughts on “This Week in My Kitchen: From Lentils to Leftovers

  1. Organization ! That’s key…and something I need to work on! Soaking my beans the night before has been my greatest forethought thus far . Thanks for the continued inspiration 🙂

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