One of the questions I often hear from people trying to figure out how to plan their vegan meals is “how do you make menu planning easy?” This is especially so when you’re busy, you’re working, you have kids. You don’t have a lot of time to cook but you want to eat good food. Here are three things that you can do, and actually one bonus item too, that will help you be able to consistently make your meal planning and meal preparation much easier.
The first tip is to build a collection of go-to recipes.
Your goal is to have 10 to 20 recipes that you can use for making delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners that satisfy you and your family. With these recipes on hand you’ll be able to quickly plug them in to your menus when you’re planning your meals for the week.
And while I teach about the power of menu planning and how to do it in our courses and with my coaching clients, if you’re more of a spur-of-the-moment cook, (like me), having this collection of recipes will give you a bank of recipes to draw from when you’re deciding what to make that day.
When you have a set of go to recipes, you’ll be able to add the ingredients to your shopping list to make sure you have the staples on hand. That way you’ll always be ready to quickly make delicious meals along with the fresh fruits and vegetables that you have on hand.
I suggest finding five salad recipes that you really like. And think all different kinds of salads. There’s of course lettuce salads and kale salads but there’s carrot apple salad, there’s chopped salad and more. Click here for all the salad recipes here on Food For The Soul. I’m sure you’ll find some you like.
Along with those salads you’ll also need to have some salad dressing recipes. That way you can very quickly make up a super tasty salad without having to resort to bottled dressings. Here is a video I did on making your own vinaigrette dressing. Be sure to check that out.
How about some bean recipes whether that’s dried beans or canned beans? Have three or four different bean recipes that you can turn to, that you know to make quickly. Of course you won’t know how to do it quickly right away. Spend a little time perfecting the recipes that you love so that you know how to make them without a lot of thinking. This will help make your meal planning and your meal preparation easy.
Find other main dish recipes like vegan pasta recipes, Asian stir fry recipes, breakfast recipes, side dishes, desserts etc. I have tons of them here on the blog. Here are seven vegan recipes you should know how to make and 10 basic recipes for a raw food diet. You can also find them on YouTube on other people’s blogs on Instagram, Pinterest. Type in “easy vegan recipes” and you will have so many things to choose from. So that’s tip number one.
Tip number two is to think multiple meals.
For example, back to those beans if you make a pot of beans on Saturday, you can have leftover beans for adding to a salad or for adding to a pasta recipe. One pot of beans can be used in multiple ways. Maybe you have taco night another night. Think about how you can use one dish in multiple ways or for multiple meals. Leftover spaghetti can be made into sesame noodles. Fruit salad can become a smoothie. If you pack lunches, your leftovers will make a great lunch. Many things often taste even better the second time around. the flavors have more time to blend together and intensify. Think multiple meals/leftovers is tip number two.
Tip number three is one pot meals.
I love one pot meals. They’re quicker to make, quicker to clean up. I just love them. There are one pot pastas, stews, soups. There’s so many different one pot meals out there that will really speed up your preparation time and your cleanup time. Here are some really yummy vegan one-pot meals.
And now for the bonus tip and that is don’t be afraid to take shortcuts.
I mean, I have so many recipes where they say, “okay chop this up, then saute the onions until golden, and then do this and then…” I will often just throw it all in the pot at the same time. I don’t have necessarily have time for all of that. So if I’m supposed to be doing all these different steps I will try to think, can I shorten this? Can I combine two or three steps or just skip a step all together? Don’t be afraid to take shortcuts. Experiment and see what works for you. If it doesn’t work then don’t do it again the next time. But you can probably find shortcuts to many recipes. This is really more of a tip for MAKING meals quick, but knowing how to take a more complicated recipe and simplify it will expand your options.
So those are my three tips, plus my one bonus tip for making vegan meal planning easy.
Now I have a question for you.
Do you think that cooking vegan is time consuming? Yes or no? Tell me one thing you learned that you will use to make your meal planning easier.
Or if you have a tip that’s helped you reduce the amount of time be sure to leave a comment below as well so that we can learn from each other.
If you have questions or things you’d like to know about be sure to leave those in the comments as well and I’ll do my best to do a video or a blog post about those in the future.