Vegan chickpea quinoa salad

This is a great dish to bring along to a potluck or a picnic! It’s a great meal to make for friends who are sceptical about vegan foods too (no seitan or tempeh scaring them away!). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas 
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage 
  • 1 cup broccoli sprouts 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup raisins 

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup 

Quick and easy to toss together! Experiment with whatever veggies are in your fridge! 

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Vegan tofu (not fried) rice


I made this yummy tofu rice stir fry last night and it was delish! Normally I fry the tofu but this time I baked it in the oven with a little tahini and it came out just as tasty. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red rice (the more colourful your food, the better)
  • Firm tofu- 1 package 
  • Tahini- 2 tablespoons 
  • Broccoli- 1 cup chopped 
  • Mung bean sprouts- 1/2 cup
  • Mushrooms- 1/2 cup chopped 
  • Red cabbage- 1/2 cup chopped 
  • Pineapple chunks- 1/4 cup
  • Leek- 1/2 cup of half moons 
  • Red onion- 1/4 cup diced 
  • Garlic- 2 cloves minced
  • Tamari- 2 tablespoons 
  • Umeboshi plum paste- 1 tablespoon 
  • Spices: ginger, turmeric, pepper 

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 180C
  2. Press/pat dry tofu
  3. Cut tofu into cubes
  4. Spread a thin layer of tahini over tofu
  5. Bake tofu in oven for 20 minutes (you can use a little oil on pan to prevent sticking or use baking paper)
  6. While tofu is baking, chop your vegetables and stir fry with a bit of water
  7. Mix together tamari, umeboshi paste and spices and add to stir fry
  8. Add in rice, pineapple, and tofu
  9. Enjoy!

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Vegan falafel wrap upgrade 


I threw together a falafel wrap for dinner (with one hand while bouncing my teething baby) and I added in some healthy upgrades!

Normally when we buy falafel kebabs the falafel is fried, the hummus has heaps of fat, and the sauces are full of sugar. I thought I’d make a healthier version. 

Falafel wrap ingredients:

  • Baked falafel bites
  • Quinoa whole grain wraps
  • Just Hummus brand hummus (no added oils and salt)
  • Avocado 
  • Red cabbage 
  • Broccoli sprouts 
  • Spicy sauerkraut 


It was quick to throw together and a delicious plant-based meal! (I think Ziggy was a bit jealous) 😊

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Vegan risotto with kidney bean chilli and steamed broccoli 

I scraped together this yummy plant based dinner last night. It was my first foray into the world of risotto but it turned out really nice. Plus it ticked off 5 of Dr. Greger’s daily dozen!

Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grain risotto
  • 5 cups low sodium veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic 

Steps:

  1. Sautée onion and garlic with a splash of water (I don’t use oil because it’s empty calories and not good for arterial function)
  2. Add in risotto and 1 cup veggie stock, stirring until liquid is fully absorbed 
  3. Keep adding stock one cup at a time until risotto is tender 

Kidney bean chilli

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can kidney beans 
  • 1/4 cup red split lentils
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Pinch of spices: turmeric, cumin, chilli powder, black pepper 

Steps: 

  1. To be honest I was so busy stirring the risotto and entertaining my baby that I just threw all these ingredients in a pot and cooked them until the carrot was tender! #mumlife

Serve with steamed broccoli for a yummy and healthy plant based dinner! 

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Got leftovers? Make quick and easy vegan enchiladas!

Enchiladas are a great go-to recipe to make with leftovers. If you like to make veggie stir-frys or chilis, you can use those leftovers to build a whole new meal! 

Mum tip: An easy way to save time cooking dinner is to stir fry a bunch of veggies at the beginning of the week and then add them to whatever meal you’re making.

Enchiladas Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of leftovers. I like to use a leftover stir fry of red bell peppers, zucchini, corn and spinach
  • 1 can low sodium refried beans (check that they aren’t made with a bunch of oil, a can of black beans works well too)
  • Guacamole or chopped avocado (I make my own guacamole. Store-bought guacamole usually has heaps of salt) 
  • Whole grain tortillas 
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes 
  • A pinch of spices: chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper (I usually add tumeric as well because it’s so good for you) 


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F)
  2. Place a thin strip of refried beans down the centre of the tortilla 
  3. Add in a few spoonfuls of leftover filling 
  4. Add a pinch of chilli powder, cumin, and black pepper 
  5. Roll tortillas and place on baking tray with the seam facing down 
  6. Cover tortillas evenly with a can of chopped tomatoes and a sprinkling of paprika 
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges of the tortillas are crispy brown 
  8. Add guacamole or avocado on top before serving 
  9. Enjoy!

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Making a lifestyle change

So here’s the skinny (pun intended I suppose): a year ago I was newly pregnant, just shy of obesity and living a “fat-tarian” lifestyle of bad vegetarian foods. A year later I’m 10 kilos heavier still and living on a diet of caffeine and sugar to get through the exhaustion of having a young baby. Looming over me is the knowledge that I know how to be healthy, but it is my last priority. I think most mums tend to make themselves the last priority. But I can’t keep on the road I’m on. I want a healthy life and a healthy family and if I don’t want my daughter to follow in my footsteps then I need to make this a priority now, before it’s her habits that need breaking too.

As I sit here feeding my four-month-old, I’m thinking about all of the diets I’ve been on, the countless pounds I’ve gained and lost and gained again, the life I want for my family… I’m reluctant to call my whole-food plant-based journey a “diet”. To me diets are quick fixes, they stop and start and always eventually end. I want to live healthy forever. Starting this food makeover is exciting and encouraging but I worry for the future. I worry about when I’m too tired to cook, when we go out to eat, and when the communal plate of sweets is passed to me at a mothers gathering. Will my conviction be there then? Because we all know starting is the easy part, it’s the sticking to it when the novelty wears off that’s the hard part.

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