2020 was weird alright, and for me, it was also incredibly busy. I start 2021 on a completely different note. With a new job that I do from home and a lockdown, I have more time on my hands and for the first time I am able to spend extra time on cooking and creating a meal plan every single week. I guess it’s important to note that in this plant-based meal plan, I only include dinners since for breakfast I eat random stuff (sometimes just almonds) and for lunch I eat either some sandwich, bread with something or leftovers from dinner.
It is my favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning – grab my cup of coffee, open up my vegan recipes Google docs and get planning. After that, I make a long shopping list and take a walk to the store to shop for the next few days. A nice little Sunday ritual that makes my week a lot easier and gives me a productive start of what used to be a lazy Sunday before. If you are the person in your household responsible for meals (which I am because I like it), having a meal plan seems to relieve one from a lot of stress that is usually associated with not knowing what you’ll cook for dinner, realizing halfway through a meal that you don’t have any onions. For some of us, this little bit of extra order can make a big difference helping relieve anxiety and worry.
I hope you enjoy my weekly plan for week 1 of January and maybe some of the comments will be useful for the creation of your vegan meal plan as well.
Vegan Meal Plan Week 1
This plan was for me a combination of trying out new things and at the same time cooking some of my favorite meals as well (COUSCOUS).
Monday – Vegan Couscous
Mondays are for me a bit busier than other days. I tend to have a couple of meetings in the morning which take quite a lot of time, then I try to do some tasks for work and get my workout before it’s time to cook. I like to have a bit of time to relax after my workout as well so on these days I prefer cooking something that is not too demanding and take it easy. This couscous is exactly that because it is also so heavenly tasty that you can’t go wrong – and that’s what you need for a good start of the week!
Cooking time: Around an hour (the whole thing)
Tuesday – Tofu Coconut Noodles
That Tuesday was for me a day for experimentation. I tried for the first time the coconut noodles with broccoli and tofu which was one of the first time I started experimenting with coconut milk. The recipe turned out so much better than we expected and has since then been something we eat every couple of weeks (sometimes every week).
Cooking time: Around 40 minutes.
Vegan Tofu Coconut Noodles
- 400 g / 14 oz firm tofu
- 2 onions
- 400 g / 14 oz mushrooms for example champignon
- 1 red pepper
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 head of broccoli
- 2 cubes vegetable bouillon
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 can coconut milk full fat
- 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
- 200 g / 7 oz noodles of choice or whole wheat spaghetti
- Cut up onion and carrot in 1 bowl.
- Cut up garlic, peppers, broccoli and mushrooms in 1 (another) bowl.
- Cut up tofu in little squares.
How to make the Tofu Coconut Noodles
- Put the onion and carrot (both chopped up thinly) in a deep wok pan and "fry" them in a bit of water, while also dissolving the bouillon.
- Add the curry paste and stir around.
- Add the garlic, peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms.
- Add the coconut milk and cook until the veggies seem done.
- You can now just add the tofu to the mix or you can cook tofu first on the side and add the soy sauce and any spices/tastes of your own.
- Stir around and taste, add salt if needed.
- Cook the noodles on the side according to package instructions and add them to the mix.
- Warning: This is a big portion, your pan might almost overflow, be careful stirring it all around.
- Enjoy warm or keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Wednesday – General Tso’s Tofu
Another day for experimentation. I loved cooking this because I am fairly new at cooking with tofu and each time I do it, I love it more and more! Tofu is seriously amazing if you cook it right. A lot of people say you need a tofu press and that it has changed their lives, but I actually never used one. I just tend to press my tofu with some paper towels and a plate to get most of the liquid out of it and I am quite happy with the result. For best results though, you might enjoy having a tofu press.
I used SimpleVegan’s General Tso’s Tofu recipe that day and it tasted so good! However, I did make some mistakes: My sauce became incredibly thick and the whole meal ended up a bit dry. For best result, you might want to keep an extra eye on your sauce’s thickness and try to add a bit extra of the liquid ingredients or simply a bit less tofu.
Check out the recipe on Simple Vegan Blog —>
Thursday – Portobello Steaks with Mashed Potato
This one I did because my boyfriend loves mashed potato a lot and I wanted to figure out a new way to incorporate it into our meals. The recipe for Portobello steak was amazing and I again, used the one from SimpleVeganBlog. When I first became vegan, I believe Iosune saved my life with her easy and super tasty recipes. Incredibly good for beginner vegans who struggle making simple vegan meals.
The steaks were absolutely amazing and I have no comments except that I wish Portobello mushrooms were not so expensive so that I could make a million more steaks! For the mashed potato, I used my own recipe which is basically the easiest way to make mashed potato.
How to make vegan mashed potatoes
- Start by cooking around 1kg of potatoes (cut up in squares) in a large pot with some salt, add a cube of bouillon for extra taste (optional).
- Bring them to a boil and when they’re ready pour out the water (bouillon) and leave a little bit at the bottom.
- Mash the potato well into the leftover water to make them a bit juicier.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and mash into the potato.
- Add 2 tablespoons of rosemary and mash again.
- Taste your mashed potatoes and add extra salt/ butter if necessary.
Friday – Vegan Buddha Bowl
Friday was supposed to be a day for a healthy dinner, except for the fact that I ended up eating Barbecue chips due to seeing a movie that night. Close enough, right?
I have never been a fan of Buddha Bowls but that day I was determined to give them another try. Buddha Bowls are usually pretty straightforward to make:
- Start with a leafy base (I used spinach)
- Add veggies (I used tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli)
- You can add fruit (I did not)
- Choose a source of protein (I used quinoa)
- Add some complex carbs (I used sweet potatoes)
- Add a healthy fat (I would have used avocado, but they were not ripe, so I used olives instead).
- For extra, I added some sesame seeds on top and a few hazelnuts.
- I topped mine with a tahini dressing and I thing that is where the problem started (the dressing is so important, be careful!)
I ended up feeling hungry just an hour after and ended up snacking on chips. I guess it may not be for me – savory is more my type of Friday dinner.
Saturday – Easy Vegan Daal
On Saturdays, I tend to go on very walks lately since it’s the only thing to do during the pandemic and I get home quite tired after, so I tend to cook something quick and easy – like a daal. This vegan Daal is the best one I ever tried and the simplest one at the same time (I like my Daal simple and without coconut milk). It is the perfect thing to make when you are in a hurry or new to plant-based cuisine.
- 260 g / 9 oz red lentils
- 140 g / 5 oz green lentils
- 80 g / 3 oz tomato puree
- 1 red onion or white
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 liter / 33 fluid oz water
- Put a bit of water in a big pot to "fry" the onion, garlic and all spices together (Except salt).
- Stir around for a few minutes and then add the lentils together with the tomato puree, sugar, water and salt.
- Let the lentils cook for 20-25 minutes in the sauce (add more water if it feels too thick or starts sticking too much to the bottom)* under a lid on low heat.
- Check the taste when it looks done and add more salt if needed.
- Enjoy with rice or flatbread (or just as it is!)
- Remember to stir well around often otherwise it might stick to the bottom and burn.
- This meal is super tasty the next day (I actually prefer it the next day)! Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Cooking time: Around 30-40 minutes.
A simple, budget-friendly vegan recipe for Daal. Enjoy a plant-based daal made from red and green lentils – so easy to prepare. Perfect dinner for busy days.
Sunday – Use those leftovers!!
Sunday is the day to let your imagination run wild! If you live in the same world as I do, that means that you are often unable to buy exactly 175g of spinach or 130ml of canned tomatoes. That means that you probably got leftovers. Here’s the thing about leftovers – they’re the best! They are the reason for that one day in the week in which you eat for free! Yes! You don’t have to buy anything new on Sundays – just cook your leftovers.
On that Sunday, I ended up cooking one of the easiest, simplest meals that saved my life many times when I started eating plant-based – Rice with any vegetable.
Cooking time: Can be as low as 30 minutes.
Looking for the easiest vegan recipe for when you have leftover vegetables? Try the simple vegan rice that is my ultimate favorite easy recipe.
Other possible leftover Sunday meals:
I hope my weekly meal plan is able to help you out with yours or at least inspire you to create your own. If you wish, you are welcome to try out this plan exactly as it is.