Vegan Black Beans and Greens Meal Prep

Recipes

Sunday is meal prep day! And today I made delicious protein and fiber-packed bowls that I can’t wait to eat throughout the week. This recipe is also super simple to make, inexpensive, and extra filling. The ingredients are also available pretty much year round making this the perfect meal prep for any season.

Black beans and rice are a protein-packed combination. Add the broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms to that and you’re adding even more fiber as well as a calcium boost. I love heating this dish in the winter time or eating it cold in the summer months – both ways are delicious! My favorite part is definitely the dollop of hummus added at the end. Simply mix the entire bowl together to create a delicious comfort food feeling meal. Let’s show you how to make it.

Vegan Black Beans and Greens Meal Prep

2 zucchinis, sliced

3 small crowns of broccoli, chopped

1 box of baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of brown rice (cook to package directions)

Garlic powder (if desired)

8 Tbsp Hummus

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

  1. Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to package directions. My bag says that 1 cup of dry rice makes 5 3/4 cup servings. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare a baking sheet (I like to use foil for easy clean up), place all vegetables and beans on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Once everything is cooked, place even portions into 4 food containers (or more if you want smaller portions).
  4. Top each filled container with 2 Tbsp of hummus.
  5. Place lid on container for eating throughout the current week. Enjoy!

Easy Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos

Recipes

Sometimes I get home from the gym knowing exactly what I want for dinner. This event is rare, but it does happen every so often. The night I made these nachos was one of those times. It was hot, I was tired and lazy and was craving something salty. I started to think about what I had at home to work with and the only thing I could think of was Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef. What could I make with crumbles that would be satisfying and easy? Immediately into my head popped NACHOS. I hadn’t made them at home in a while and that made me wonder why. They can be incredibly filling, easy to make and ready in less than 10 minutes. And so, I headed to the grocery store to buy a few inexpensive ingredients that I knew would combine into a giant plate of nachos that would satisfy my cravings.

One of the best ways to keep a dinner easy is to make the clean up easy. Meals that only require one pan to create are the perfect solution. This nacho recipe only uses one sheet pan, and you can cover it in foil to make clean up even easier. What makes this recipe even better is that you can use any combination of ingredients that you like. My recipe is simply a guideline. I enjoy refried beans with the crumbles since the beans help the crumbles stick to a chip. However, you could totally use whole beans (or both!) if you prefer. I also added corn for a sweet crunchy element and tomatoes with chiles for a spicy kick. You could also make this recipe vegan by using a vegan cheese option. Make sure you purchase one that has a nice melting consistency as that is the best part of eating nachos.

Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos

1 package of meatless crumbles – any brand you desire. If using something that comes frozen, make sure you thaw before cooking in the oven

1 can refried black beans

1 can corn, drained

1 can Rotel, drained

2 cups Mexican style cheese blend

1 bag tortilla chips

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Layer items on foiled sheet pan in this order – chips, beans, crumbles, corn, rotel, cheese.
  3. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted

Seriously, it’s that easy! Enjoy!

Fast Food Options for Vegetarians

Ramble On

Fast food isn’t ever a great life choice. It’s generally unhealthy, creates a ton of waste and usually doesn’t taste too great either (compared to home-cooked meals). But sometimes ish happens. Sometimes you need a quick meal for cheap. Sometimes you have to ignore your better instincts and simply put some food in your belly. In this post, I hope to be able to give you some options for when you’re stuck in a fast food pinch. It’s exciting to see more and more options becoming available for vegetarians (technically I’m a pescatarian but would NEVER EVER eat fish from a fast food restaurant). Here are some of my favorites for when I find myself needing a little sustenance without alot of time or money.

Taco Bell

This option may not seem very surprising considering the variety of menu options at Taco Bell. But let me tell you something you may not have known before – you can substitute the beef in other items for beans. For example, that Crunch Wrap you used to love so much? Substitute the beef for extra refried beans. My personal favorite is to order the crunchy tacos and substitute the beef for black beans. This gives you a taco with a similar consistency without all the, ya know, meat. Taco Bell is also great because of all the items they offer that have beans in them. Beans are a great source of protein and are a major staple in a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet. They also offer a complete vegetarian menu on their website and are probably one of the more healthy (and cheap!) fast food options out there.

Carls Jr. Beyond Famous Star

Starting in 2019, Carl’s Jr. began offering their Beyond Famous Star with the Beyond Meat patty. I used to like their Famous Star burgers so I was incredibly excited when I learned that they are now offering a meat-free version. I’ve loved all of the Beyond Meat products I’ve tried so far, and this patty (also available in grocery stores to cook at home) is no exception. The texture is very similar to a traditional meat patty, and it doesn’t have any of the dryness or blandness sometimes found in other “veggie patties”. Not a fan of the Famous Star? You can substitute the Beyond Meat patty into any burger on their menu. You can also order their Beyond Burger without cheese and mayo for a vegan option (or so I’m told).

In N Out

In N Out is an exclusively west coast (and maybe Texas and Utah?) fast food chain that prides itself on the quality of their ingredients and the freshness of their made to order menu items. But, their main menu item is a hamburger. They don’t offer a veggie option (yet?), but you can order off of their not-so-secret menu to get your meat-free fix. Order a grilled cheese with grilled onions – seriously it’s so good. It comes with all the same fixings as a cheeseburger just without the meat patty. Another great option are their addicting animal style fries – french fries topped with melted cheese, grilled onions and their famous In N Out spread. If you don’t have an In N Out near you, my sincerest apologies. If you ever get a chance to make it to the west coast, be sure to try their cheesy meat-free options and their delectable milkshakes.

Burger King

Before Carl’s Jr. came on the scene with their Beyond Burger, the only other veggie burger I could find from a fast food place was the MorningStar Veggie burger from Burger King. In my opinion, it’s not as delicious as the Beyond Burger, but I think the difference is in the veggie patty. I’m not as big of a fan of the MorningStar patties, even when I purchase them separately from the grocery store. In any case, it’s a cheaper alternative to the Carl’s burger and is a good simple burger for when you need one in a pinch. Order it with a side of fries, and you have a classic fast food burger meal that’s meat-free.

Del Taco

Carl’s Jr. isn’t the only fast food joint to hop on the Beyond Meat train. Del Taco is testing the success of using the Beyond Meat crumbles in their tacos as well. Unfortunately, this option is only currently available in certain locations in Southern California and Oklahoma (does anyone else think that’s random?). I hope they are successful in this new offering and decide to expand it to all of their locations. If you are in the area that serves them, be sure to go get one and tell me what you think.

Chipotle

Some people may not consider Chipotle fast food, but I thought I’d include their options anyway since it is in fact a fast and relatively inexpensive place to get a quick bite. I used to love their chicken burrito bowls with a bag of chips. Once I stopped eating meat, I tried their Sofritas (which is their staple vegetarian/vegan soy-based option), but wasn’t really a fan of the flavors. Instead, I now substitute the chicken for guacamole. This is great because without meat they don’t charge you the extra fee for the guac. Make your bowl or burrito with brown rice and black beans (I also love their corn salsa) and you have a mostly nutritious meal with a protein punch. They also offer fajita veggies if you’re looking to add more substance to your veggie bowl. I’d imagine you could probably order their tacos this way as well.

Overall, it’s encouraging to see how many fast food restaurants are embracing change and trying to offer items that coincide with their customers values. I hope this list is helpful to you when you have to settle for fast food. Hopefully more places continue to follow suit by offering more meat-free options. Let me know in the comments below if you know of any other fast food menu items that are being offered for vegetarian customers.

I should also note that not all options are available at all locations. Check with your local restaurants to see what’s available in your area. All images used above are the property of the respective restaurants and were taken from their websites.

Until next time!

MelissaRose

Dried Orange Garland

Sustainability

A dried orange garland is the perfect bohemian accessory for your home around the holidays. It is cheap, easy to create and has an interesting history. To keep the story short, before Christianity the Romans would celebrate winter solstice. To decorate they would hang wreaths, garlands and other natural elements to honor their gods. This is where the idea for the Christmas tree came from. So in a sense, the dried orange garland is simply a blast from the past – a little piece of nature in honor of nature. Anyway, this garland is a charming and unique addition that I enjoyed making and hanging in my home. Here’s what you need:

2 navel oranges

A knife

Rope, string or twine of some kind for the actual garland

Scissors

Lint free cloth (basically something that isn’t going to leave fuzzies on your oranges)

Parchment or a silicone baking mat

Baking sheet

  1. Preheat oven to 250ºF.
  2. Slice the oranges into 1/4” slices and press with a lint free cloth to dry.
  3. Use your slices and your top to determine how long you want your garland by laying them out as far apart as you want them to be. I made my oranges very close together, almost overlapping one another, but you could also leave space between them as well if you like that look better. Once you have your length determined, cut the rope to size.
  4. Place orange slices on your parchment lined baking sheet (or silicone baking mat) and bake oranges for 1 1/2 hours. Once complete, flip over and bake for additional 1 1/2 hours. After 3 1/2 hours if oranges have started to brown, remove them from the oven and continue baking the rest until they have dried. This took me about 4 hours overall for every slice, but will depend based on varying oven temperatures.
  5. Once all the oranges are dry, thread them onto the rope. You can poke two holes in the oranges about 1/4” apart, or you can do what I did and thread through the center and then through any opening in the fruit. I thought this gave it a more natural look, but both ways work.
  6. Once all slices are on the rope, tie off the ends and hang to enjoy!
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